What a difficult time of transition...
David is rising in fame, power and position.
Yet those near him are falling to
deceit, revenge and wickedness.
Now there was a long war
between the house of Saul
and the house of David.
But David grew stronger and stronger,
and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
2 Samuel 3:6 NKJV
And behind the scenes,
we see here the turmoil of politics...
an ugly side of human nature
that stirs the pot and lacks loyalty.
Abner, troop commander for the House of Saul,
suddenly seeks to change teams.
He has been accused of wrong doing
by the son of Saul.
So he quickly turns his allegiance to the House of David...
almost as if he is abandoning a sinking ship.
While this could be a true change of loyalty,
it is possibly a savvy move to the winning side.
But before he goes...
he uses his influence in Israel to tilt the balance of power
in David's favor.
Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying,
“In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you.
Now then, do it!
For the Lord has spoken of David, saying,
‘By the hand of My servant David,
I will save My people Israel
from the hand of the Philistines
and the hand of all their enemies.’
2 Samuel 3:17-18
All the while, under the watchful eye of God.
For even the plans of man, can be used for His purposes.
But as Abner draws nearer to finding his footing in a new command,
Joab steps in, to thicken the plot.
For Joab is David's commander of troops.
And he has a hatred for this foe, Abner.
As in a battle past,
Abner killed his brother.
Revenge is on Joab's mind.
Without David's knowledge,
Joab secretly calls Abner to meet.
And in a dark and secret place,
a dagger is plunged deep...
Joab avenging his brother, killing Abner.
David does not celebrate this mess Joab has made.
For he calls a curse on Joab for his wicked behavior
then mourns Abner greatly, as he did Saul...
singing a lament at his funeral.
How is it so dark, on this rise to power?
Is there a call to evil, that tries to discourage to the faithful?
For wickedness prevails even more...
when two of the captains in the House of Saul
kill Israel's new king, Ishbosheth in his bed.
And bragging on their conquest,
they take the news...
and the head of their victim,
And the tangled web of deceit wraps tighter
as these men justify their kill to honor King David.
Are they too looking for a swift way into his good graces...
possibly to be commanders among his mighty men?
But David is disturbed by this.
And just as he had executed
the man who claimed to have killed King Saul...
David orders the same for these two men.
And he condemns their deed
as worse than Saul's death on the battlefield.
How much more,
when wicked men have killed a righteous person
in his own house on his bed?
Therefore, shall I not now require his blood at your hand
and remove you from the earth?”
So David commanded his young men,
and they executed them...
2 Samuel 4:11-12
How sad it must be in this rise to power...
seeking to maintain pure heart,
when wickedness is certainly all around.
Do you ever feel like that?
As you try, aspire, and long to lift yourself out of this worldliness,
that there would be some near, and around you,
drowning in their own wickedness?
And try as you might, there is no saving them.
But standing afar from them,
seems lofty and prideful...
as if you are unwilling to give them another chance.
It's a balance as we try to maintain a right life.
Longing for the higher things of God,
not giving into the compromise that surrounds.
But how do we still stay connected to those we love
that make wrong choices,
compromise their heart,
and dare to tread at the edge...
without being dragged under with them... by them?
Let us understand cry of David's heart...
Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways,
The Lord shall lead them away
With the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel!
Word of God,
train me, today...
to trust in You, as the Lord who surrounds my life,
to turn aside from the crooked way, and not accept this scepter of wickedness.
Lord, even in the balance of today,
we face choices for good and for evil.
Let us not become overwhelmed...
struggling the with powers that sway.
Lord lead away the workers of iniquity,
and surround us with your peace.
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