If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Samuel 19, 2 Corinthians 12, Ezekiel 26, Psalm 74. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read 2 Samuel 19.
Absalom was dead and his insurgency died with him. All that was left was to pick up the pieces of David’s kingdom and return him to power in Jerusalem. But there were several awkward situations that had to be addressed:
- David had to encourage his fighters who won but felt like they lost (vv. 1-8).
- David had to some how become the leader of the very people who had just being trying to defeat him (vv. 9-18).
- David had to discipline his insubordinate general Joab (v. 13).
- David had to deal with Shimei who had fear and regret about how he had treated David earlier (vv. 18c-23).
- David had to decide what to do with Mephibosheth and Ziba who had conflicting stories about Mephibosheth’s loyalty (vv. 24-30).
- David wanted to reward a man who had provided for David & his men when David needed help (vv. 31-40).
- David had to navigate tension between Judah and the other tribes over David’s restoration (vv. 41-43).
That’s a lot to digest, so let’s just deal with the first awkward situation; namely, that David had to act like Israel’s leader again. He was understandably heartbroken over the death of his son—particularly since David had commanded the army not to kill Absalom. While mourning was appropriate, it was also important for the king to remember the men that saved his life and restored his kingdom. David’s field general, Joab, was a cold-blooded killer (see 2 Sam 3:27, 18:14) but did have good leadership instincts. Seeing the humiliation that David’s mourning brought to the king’s army (vv. 1-4), Joab confronted David, calling him to pull himself together and rally his army emotionally (vv. 5-7). Joab was certain that, unless David acknowledged his men, he would be defenseless against another insurrection because all of his soldiers would give up on him (v. 7). David did what Joab told him to do, which helped him begin the process of putting his kingdom back together.
This leads us to the issue of feelings. Often in life we have to do things we don’t feel like doing. A mature person—especially someone serving in leadership—must learn how to feel emotions like grief, fear, anger, or contempt without being derailed or debilitated by them. Our culture values authenticity and I think that is a good thing; but authenticity does not give us an excuse to abdicate our responsibilities. Good leadership means doing what is wise, what is best, what is right even at times when you don’t feel like it. David was not ungrateful for the risks his men took; he was just overcome with a loss that was more intense and personal to him than the victory his men had just provided him. But Joab’s frustration in verses 5-6 indicates that David’s loyal men misunderstood his grief for ingratitude. As a leader, David did not need to deny his pain for Absalom; he needed to reserve it for an appropriate time. Learning to deal well with our emotions is part of becoming a mature person; it also demonstrates spiritual growth because “The fruit of the Spirit is…. self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.