So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, fought against it and captured it.
2 Samuel 12:29
Bookending the account of David’s sin with Bathsheba, attempted cover-up, and eventual repentance are two accounts of the Israelites at war. In the first instance, it is pointed out that David stayed home during the time when kings normally went to war. He should have been on the battlefield and was, instead, laying around the palace. In this second instance, no such information is given. The account states that Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city (v 26). I know that at least two years have passed between the other battle and this, because Bathsheba has been pregnant twice in that time. But I do not know when the battle took place. What I do know is that Joab is ordering the king around. Joab’s message is impertinent: Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it will be named after me (v 28). But David does it.
Earlier in his life, David commented that Joab and his brothers were too much for him (David) to handle. Instead of ridding himself of them in some fashion, David kept them around. They were good generals, after all.
The verses that close out 2 Samuel 12 record David being victorious in warfare, but the book is going to pivot to his home life in the next chapter and there is very little victory there. What I am reminded of is David’s tendency to not deal with things. He does not deal with Joab and his brother(s), so they become a thorn in his side. He does not deal with the sins of his children, so he has discord in his household.
Far be it from me to condemn him, as I am oftentimes guilty of the same thing. I am just as often aware of what needs to be done, but unwilling to do it for whatever reason. Maybe I just want to avoid conflict. Maybe I want to spare someone’s feelings. Regardless of the reason, I am wrong not to deal with things.
God has no such compunction. He is ready and willing to address things in my life and in the lives of all of His children. Jesus readily called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Jesus never gilded people’s sin, but called it exactly what it was — sin — and told them to stop doing it. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sins of adultery and murder. The heart of God in these things is to see us repent; to see us turn from our wayward and rebellious way to the paths of righteousness. He is not addressing these things to condemn me, but to invite me to confess and be forgiven and move forward.
Thank You, Father, for Your willingness to address things in me and for the example of David that shows what sorts of things can happen when issues are left unresolved. Please not only show me the things that need to be done, but also give me the strength and endurance to do them and see them through to completion.