Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.
1 Chronicles 19:13
This chapter is an account of an event I considered when it happened in the book of Samuel, but it bears consideration a second time.
David had received kindness from Nahash, king of the Ammonites. Then Nahash died and David thought that he would send comforters to Nahash’s son, Hanun. When the comforters arrived, Hanun’s advisers opined that the comforters were really spies, so Hanun treated them accordingly. The trouble is that David had been in earnest when he sent the comforters.
If Hanun had left the offense there, or even apologized and explained what had happened, then things might have gone very differently. But Hanun did not explain or apologize. He decided that he should hire mercenaries and stage a preemptive strike against David.
David saw this and sent the army to deal with it. Joab and his brother commanded the army and were victorious. In fact, Joab told his brother that they would split their forces and come to one another’s aid if necessary and the LORD would do what was right in His sight. The mercenaries called out more soldiers and David, in response, brought out the rest of the army himself. The victory was made more complete and the mercenaries were made to pay tribute to the kingdom of Israel.
And I must ask how this applies to me.
There are three main lessons.
The first lesson is taught by David. People will sometimes misunderstand a kindness shown them. Perhaps it is because of bad experiences or because bad company is offering shoddy counsel. Whatever the reason, I may have the right motives for my actions and still not have my actions be understood or accepted as intended.
The second lesson is taught by Hanun. Hanun listened to bad counsel which, in and of itself, is lesson enough. I should make sure that I surround myself with good counselors. But Hanun compounded error. Instead of telling David that a mistake had been made, he hires mercenaries. Instead of trying to make peace with a neighbor, as his father had done, Hanun chose belligerence. Let me not compound my errors, but instead seek to be a peacemaker.
The third lesson is taught by Joab. Joab saw that he was outnumbered and likely to have trouble, so he devised the best strategy he could and trusted God for the outcome. This is not the best strategy possible. The best strategy is when the king sought God’s counsel before even setting foot on the battlefield and executed the plan that God gave him. But Joab has the right heart. He decides to be courageous for the sake of God’s people and leave the outcome in God’s hands. I, too, need to leave outcomes in God’s hands. I can do my best and be as thorough as I know how to be, but the results are in God’s control and may involve people misunderstanding what I am trying to do.
Know that I may be misunderstood. Try to make peace with my neighbors. And leave the outcomes in God’s hands.
Father, thank You for these reminders. It is not a new idea that I may be misunderstood or that the outcomes are in Your control, but these are things of which I need to be reminded. Please keep me mindful that I may be misunderstood and that the outcome may not be what I would prefer it be. In spite of these, please make me a peacemaker, that I might be called a son of God.