Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
2 Samuel 2:8-11 (NIV)
Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.
2 Samuel 2:8-11 (MSG)
In the meantime, Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim and made him king over Gilead, over Asher, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin—king, as it turns out, over all Israel. Ish-Bosheth Saul’s son, was forty years old when he was made king over Israel. He lasted only two years. But the people of Judah stuck with David. David ruled the people of Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years.
“Now [Saul’s cousin] Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, even over all Israel [except Judah]. Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned for two years. But the house of Judah followed David. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.” -AMPLIFIED
David has been accepted by the house of Judah as king, but the rest of Israel are continuing to follow the family of Saul. Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, and crowned him king. We are told from the get-go that Ish-Bosheth was forty years old and his reign lasted only two years.
We are going to quickly find out that Abner was a bit of a trouble maker. One day we find Abner and the servants of Ish-bosheth traveling from Mahanaim to Gibeon. Incidentally, “David’s general Joab, whose mother was David’s sister Zeruiah, and David’s servants went out to meet them at the pool of Gibeon. Abner’s forces were by one side of the pool, Joab’s forces by the other.” -2 Samuel 2:13 (VOICE)
“As the two army generals are sitting next to the pool, shooting the breeze, Abner makes a suggestion. “Put up your best fighters. Let’s see them do their stuff.” And we find Joab foolishly going along with the suggestion. ““Good! Let them go at it!” Twelve men came forward to represent the people of Benjamin and Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, and twelve to represent David and his people. They all caught their opponents by the head and thrust their swords into their opponents’ sides, so they all fell down together. That is why this place was called the Field of Adversaries, Helkath-hazzurim in Gibeon.” The battle that followed this contest was brutal that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the servants of David.” -2 Samuel 2:15-17 (VOICE)
It looked as if things could not get any worse, but they do. We find all three of Zeruiah’s sons fighting for David. They were Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a very fast runner, as quick as a gazelle. Asahel took it upon himself to chase after Abner. Abner tried to persuade Abishai to stop, but he refused. In the end Aishai lost his life in this way: “Asahel refused to be diverted. Abner didn’t even use the point of his spear. He thrust with the butt of his spear, and the spear struck Asahel in his abdomen and passed all the way through him. He fell, and there he died. And all those who arrived on that spot stopped and just stood there staring in amazement. But Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai, pursued Abner with their forces. As the sun was setting, they reached the hill of Ammah that is in front of Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. The people of Benjamin banded together to protect Abner, and they made their stand on top of a hill.” -2 Samuel 2:23-25 (VOICE)
The battle would have continued indefinitely if Abner had not spoken up with these words of wisdom. “Are we to continue this killing forever? Don’t you see that this will come to a bitter end? How long until you order your forces to stop pursuing their brothers?” -2 Samuel 2:27 (VOICE)
Joab’s response? “As God lives,” said Joab, “if you hadn’t spoken up, we’d have kept up the chase until morning!” Then he blew the ram’s horn trumpet and the whole army of Judah stopped in its tracks. They quit chasing Israel and called off the fighting.” -2 Samuel 2:27-28 (MSG)
Jesus cautioned against division in the house.
* “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” -Mark 3:25 (AMP)
* “Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces.” -Luke 11:17 (MSG)
* “Knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will [continue to] stand.” -Matthew 12:25 (AMP)
What is needed, is that we stand together united; not divided. The Bible has much to say about being unified.
* “But I urge you, believers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in full agreement in what you say, and that there be no divisions or factions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your way of thinking and in your judgment [about matters of the faith].” -1 Corinthians 1:10 (AMP)
* “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” -Colossians 3:13-14 (MSG)
* “Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. For, “The one who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not], must keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from speaking guile (treachery, deceit). “He must turn away from wickedness and do what is right. He must search for peace [with God, with self, with others] and pursue it eagerly [actively—not merely desiring it]. “For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), and His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), but the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.” -1 Peter 3:8-12 (AMP)
Lord, you have called your people to be unified together; one body to be used by you. Help us, Lord, to put aside our differences so that we may work together as the family of God that you have called us to be. Make us like-minded, united in spirit, humble, forgiving; in order that we may work as one to bring glory and honor to your Name. Let your love be in us, Lord, so that we may be the lights that you have called us to be to reach a lost and dying World. United may we stand!