Monday, May 06, 2019

"The Spirit of Joab and the Spirit of Jesus"

1st Kings 2.5-6 “The Message”

“And don't forget what Joab son of Zeruiah did to the two commanders of Israel's army, to Abner son of Ner and to Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in cold blood, acting in peacetime as if he were at war, and has been stained with that blood ever since. Do what you think best with him, but by no means let him get off scot-free — make him pay.”

Joab was a man of bloodshed. He killed unnecessarily, but he had his reasons. 
  • Joab murdered Abner to avenge the death of his brother Asahel, whom Abner killed in self-defense during a time of war (2nd Samuel 3.30). 

  • Joab ended Amasa’s life because Amasa was a political rival whom David intended on replacing Joab as commander of the army (2nd Samuel 19.13). 

Joab was a man of violence, intent on exerting military control and gaining political power. He caused David great stress. The king admitted Joab was “too difficult for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil” (2nd Samuel 3.39).

The Bible says “there is a time for every event under heaven”…

“A time to kill and a time to heal… A time for war and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3.1, 3, 8 NASU

There are undoubtedly times when we must fight. When under direct attack it may be necessary to engage in conflict to protect life. A soldier who kills in the line of fire while fighting for the freedom of the country he loves deserves a hero’s welcome home. A man who uses force to defend his family from an unwelcome intruder intending harm is doing the right thing.

“There is a time for war” and “there is a time to kill.” But there is also “a time to heal” and “a time for peace.” A wise person knows the difference. “Blessed are the peacemakers” Jesus claimed, “for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5.9). It appears that Jesus leaned toward peace, not war. He would prefer to heal than to kill.

I know men who want to fight. They have too much testosterone. Aggression is in their DNA. They thrive on conflict. This was the sort of fellow Joab was. You might say he was the opposite of Jesus. Joab was judged for “acting in peacetime as if he were at war.” Although I have the spirit of Jesus living within me, I am sometimes tempted by the spirit of Joab. 

May I learn to overcome the hostility which sometime lies just beneath the surface of my demeanor. When I am the object of someone’s aggression, may I have the grace to disarm my opponent with the love of Christ and, if possible, convert “a time for war” into “a time for peace.”


Dave T. said...

Beavis and Butthead AND the Simpsons in one post! Amazing. Joab is an amazing charachter. Keep up the blogging Dave. dt

Kelly L said...

May we all have the ability to disarm our opponents with the love of Christ...
I love this post...