David Has a Wake-Up Call
Great and mighty God, how majestic are the works of Your hands! I thank You for simple things, good things, and great things.
2 Samuel 19:1-8
Consider: "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?... But I trust in your unfailing love" (Psa. 13:2,5).
David has ceased to behave like a national leader--the one in charge, who has to make decisions for a whole people--because he is bound up in the tragedy of his son, killed ignominiously, hanging helpless by his hair. Would it have been different if he had been a better father--disciplining his sons, first Amnon for rape, then Absalom for murder? All this has caught up with him, and Joab, in no uncertain terms, tells him to act like a king. Does Joab despise this show of weakness? He was the commander whom David ordered to kill Uriah. "This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you," he tells David (7).
There is something touching about the soldiers, weary but victorious, who creep back into town as if they had lost the battle. When David at last takes his place in the gateway, they come to him.
It is hard to take charge, to run the department, the school, or the home, when overcome with depression or grief. We can infect those dependent on us, so that they almost feel responsible for our miseries. It can be harder still to be the deputy, the partner, or the spouse and wonder how to be both challenging and sympathetic at the same time. David did what he had to do, but in the end he made sure that Joab was called to account (1 Kings 2:5-6). Perhaps the lesson to take from this passage is that we need to encourage a greater openness in all bureaucracies and organizations, church leaderships, even families. Often revealing our problems is not welcomed; we are expected to keep personal issues private--but sometimes the whole enterprise suffers as a result.
Think about the groups you are a part of. Are there ways in which you can encourage greater honesty and sharing?
Father, I know it is sometimes easy to shirk responsibilities in leadership roles. Thank You for this reminder that such abdication of duty can lead to greater chaos.
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