Discover His heart: He rewards our patience and integrity; He desires that our zeal is surrendered to Him
“I was just trying to help.” How many times have we offered this explanation when our attempt to help someone has not been helpful. Often unsolicited, our help is well-intended, but sometimes it doesn’t achieve our goal. So often we don’t understand the big picture in a situation or the long-term ramifications, yet we charge ahead with opinions that we feel would be helpful. Through the years I learned to offer my help to others with enthusiasm; but if it’s not accepted, I know there must be a reason for it. In our reading today, the less than helpful Amalekite and valiant Asahel had not learned this lesson.
The Amalekites, Esau’s descendants, had been the bane of Israel’s existence for quite some time, and now one lone Amalekite came to David bearing the crown and armband of David’s arch-rival, King Saul, announcing his death as well as the death of his son, Jonathan. Some believe his story of killing Saul to put him out of his misery was fabricated; but regardless of the truth, David did not congratulate him. “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” (2 Samuel 1:14) Apparently, the Amalekite did not anticipate the integrity of David, and David ordered him killed for his terrible deed. I guess he was just trying to help. Shortly after this, David was anointed king of the southern kingdom of Judah.
@ 2 Samuel 2
Ishbosheth (say that fast three times), Saul’s son, was crowned king of the northern kingdom of Israel, and almost immediately fighting ensued between the divided nations. David had the three sons of Zeruiah who were dominant figures in his army – Joel, Abishai and Asahel. Chapter 2 gives the fateful account of the young Asahel who put upon himself the task of taking out Abner, Ishbosheth’s mighty leader. We learn through this story that the life of even the fastest runner in the land is worth very little when he is running in the wrong direction. Abner tried hard not to kill this young warrior, but the confrontation was a case of kill or be killed, and Asahel died at the hand of the mighty Abner. Although Asahel’s desire to diminish the strength of the enemy by killing Abner seemed valiant, dead self-directed heroes can do little else for the kingdom.
Not only did Asahel die that day, but his murder sparked a great civil war between the two kingdoms that finally culminated seven years later at the murder of Ishbosheth. David was crowned king of Israel, and the two kingdoms were finally united. God rewarded David for his integrity and patience. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land many years before, their assignment was to rid the land of its inhabitants and to build a holy nation, God’s special treasure. It took many more years to accomplish this than was necessary because of disunity and infighting. Asahel’s self-directed zeal came at a cost. Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).
Several times throughout my life I tried to help God out in areas where He hadn’t asked for my assistance. My intentions were honorable, but my actions were not. Anytime I try to be the Holy Spirit, rather than be led by Him, I can expect poor results. Fortunately, the Lord has not let it kill me, but I have found myself on my knees, asking forgiveness, pleading His mercy. And, true to His nature, He is merciful. The Holy Spirit is big enough for any task, and His guidance never misdirects.
Moving Forward: Like all the examples from His Word, I receive its life-giving counsel to make me better, more like Him.
Tomorrow @ Psalm 48-50