It was with great interest that I engaged with the story of Abner. Lot’s of things went wrong and some things went right. At the end of the day there was peace and David reigned as king.
So what went right. Here is one example I like. It reminds me of a few words of Jesus when He talked about how to handle conflict.
When Abner and the twenty men who were with him met with David in Hebron, David laid out a feast for them.
Abner then said, “I’m ready. Let me go now to rally everyone in Israel for my master, the king. They’ll make a treaty with you, authorizing you to rule them however you see fit.” Abner was sent off with David’s blessing. – 2 Samuel 3:20-21 MSG
There is no greater strategy than to go follow, and serve the army that is anointed by God. David was impressed with the zeal of Abner and his voice which was able to sway Israel and Benjamin to follow him. This could not have been done without Abner. I am reminded that David, who had the heart of a shepherd king, did not want to see war continuing to ravage his people. He welcomed this honourable arrangement because it would prevent more bloodshed.
This leads directly to what went wrong and in a word – Joab. Joab is messed up emotionally and has revenge in his heart against Abner. He broke every law of hospitality and he came very close to jeopardizing this delicate period of negotiation for peace and reconciliation.
Joab left David and went into action. He sent messengers after Abner; they caught up with him at the well at Sirah and brought him back. David knew nothing of all this. When Abner got back to Hebron, Joab steered him aside at the gate for a personal word with him. There he stabbed him in the belly, killed him in cold blood for the murder of his brother Asahel. – 2 Samuel 3:26-27 MSG
There is a double wrong here with this additional thought – I think Joab justified his actions with this inner voice – “I’m doing this to defend and honour my king.” He lost the truth in that thought because no wrong ever resulted in a right. How can sin or treachery honour someone?
Father, in this world, as I engage with You, I need to be prepared to see myself as serving You and not be self-serving. That was such an easy sentence to pray, but I know it is a much harder thing to put into action. Help me see where I can come alongside others to support and encourage. Those would be great steps to take. Thank You for those opportunities.