Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
2 Samuel 3:24-25 (NIV)
So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”
2 Samuel 3:24-25 (MSG)
Joab went straight to the king: “What’s this you’ve done? Abner shows up, and you let him walk away scot-free? You know Abner son of Ner better than that. This was no friendly visit. He was here to spy on you, figure out your comings and goings, find out what you’re up to.”
“Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why did you send him away, so that he is already gone? You know Abner the son of Ner, that he [only] came to deceive you [with flattering words] and to learn of your going out and coming in, and to find out what you are doing.” -AMPLIFIED
Abner was contemplating defecting to David’s side. Ultimately he was looking to climb the proverbial ladder of power. And he will do whatever it takes to gain more of it.
Abner had come with 20 of his men. David gives audience to Abner and listened to what he has to say. “Let me go now and enlist all of Israel behind you my lord, the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and you will be ruler over all your heart desires.” -2 Samuel 3:21 (VOICE)
We then find David dismissing Abner and allowing him to leave in peace. This is when things get a bit complicated. Remember, it was Abner who had killed Joab’s brother Asahel. Joab, the commander of David’s army, and his men came back from a raid. The first thing that Joab heard about was the visit from Abner.
Now, Joab was still angry over the death of his brother. He considered it his personal responsibility to collect on that blood debt. The Law of Moses said, “A life for a life.”
Joab came storming into David’s presence filled with animosity. “What have you done? You had Abner in your hands! Why did you let him get away? He’s gone. Don’t you know that Abner, the son of Ner, came here only to deceive you, to find out your strength and what you are up to?” -2 Samuel 3:24 (VOICE)
Joab decided to take matters into his own hands. Scripture tells us, “When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David knew nothing [about Joab’s action].” -2 Samuel 3:26 (AMP)(Remember the fact that David knew nothing about what Joab was up to.)
This is when things got a bit messy. Joab’s anger and bitterness drove him to do something horrendous; he murdered Abner. “So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside to the middle of the gate to speak to him privately, and there he struck Abner in the abdomen so that he died, to avenge the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother. Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. Let the guilt fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house (family); and may there never disappear from the house of Joab one who suffers with a discharge or one who is a leper or one who walks with a crutch [being unfit for war], or one who falls by the sword, or one who lacks food.” So Joab and Abishai his brother murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.” -2 Samuel 3:27-30 (AMP)
Vengeance is very harsh; done in anger, when we have lost control of ourselves, it causes us to do things that we may not have done otherwise if we had a level head at the time. God told the Israelites, “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their disaster is at hand, and their doom hurries to meet them.” -Deuteronomy 32:34(AMP)
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Romans to teach them HOW they were to treat those who had hurt them. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.” -Romans 12:18-20 (AMP)
God will avenge. He will take care of those who have hurt us. We need to remember that pay-back is not part of our job description, but it is part of God’s, and He does not need our help in accomplishing it either. Trust Him to take care of those who have spitefully used you. When His vengeance is carried out there will be no repercussions to you; as there was for Joab as we will see soon.
“And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? 8 I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?” -Luke 18:7-8 (AMP)
Lord, help me to trust in every area of my life; including taking care of those who have spitefully used me or hurt me. My job is to love my enemies and do good to those who hurt me. Your job is to help them realize that what they did was wrong. Sometimes that urge to get-back is overwhelming. Remind me to let go of my anger and let you take care of things. Forgive me for that anger. Forgive me for my judgmental spirit too; for I know that I am not without sin either. Thank you that your mercy and grace has been extended to me. Help me to extend that same mercy and grace to others.