Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
2 Samuel 3:38-39 (NIV)
Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”
2 Samuel 3:38-39 (MSG)
The king spoke to his servants: “You realize, don’t you, that today a prince and hero fell victim of foul play in Israel? And I, though anointed king, was helpless to do anything about it. These sons of Zeruiah are too much for me. God, requite the criminal for his crime!
“Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? Today I am weak, though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer [Joab] in accordance with his wickedness!” -Amplified
Joab has gone behind David’s back and murdered Abner. David’s reaction and response to this news could make or break him and his future as king. Knowing this he carefully took the time to acknowledge and remember Abner’s life and now his death. If he had tried to sweep this whole scandal under the carpet (as some people so often try to do) eventually there would have been a public scandal and David would have had to deal with something extremely worse.
Scripture tells us that when David found out about the death of Abner he informed everyone that there would be a time of mourning for this great man. David himself stepped up and took a very public part in observing and remembering Abner’s contribution to Israel; even weeping before all the people for the loss of Abner. “Then David said to Joab and to all the people with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. They buried Abner in Hebron; and the king raised his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.” -2 Samuel 3:31-32 (AMP)
David sang this song, a song of lament, over Abner in front of all the people:
“Should Abner [the great warrior] die as a fool dies?
Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As a man falls before the wicked, so you have fallen.” –2 Samuel 3:33-34 (AMP)
Once again the people wept over the loss of Abner. (This included the perpetrator; for David compelled Joab to participate in this ceremony of mourning.)
The Voice Translation has this footnote that gives us some insight about David:
“This song reminds us that David may be the writer of many psalms, and that David is a great warrior, musician, poet, and soon, a great king. David is also a person of great contradiction—not perfect, by any means—but a man of oversized loves and passions who must generally have his heart in the right place, since we’re reminded again and again that God loves him. He is powerful, and people in his way do tend to have horrible things happen to them. But he respects the dead, and sometimes, as with Saul, grieves in ways that feel—all these centuries later—authentic.”
It was Jewish tradition to fast until the sun went down when mourning. David insisted on participating with the mourning fast along with the rest of the people; despite the fact that they tried to convince him otherwise. When they tried to persuade him to eat his response was, “May the True God punish me severely if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets.”
Now let us take notice of the people’s response to David’s humble attitude in mourning. “The people noticed that he honored Abner by fasting, and they approved—as they approved of everything their king did. So everyone believed it was not David’s intention, nor did he have any part in the murder of Abner, the son of Ner.” -2 Samuel 3:26-27 (VOICE)
The thing is, David could have ignored the death of Abner; Abner was a trouble-maker and a power hungry fool. But, as stated earlier, if David had done so the news would have come out sooner-or-later that it was his commander-in-chief that had murdered him and it would have caused major problems. Instead, David chose to humbly step forward and acknowledge the death of a great man; mourning right along with the people. This caused the people to realize that it was NOT David who had called for the death of Abner.
David realized that without the backing of the people he was no king at all. Abner’s death had the potential to destroy any chances of his reign ever happening or the unification of the nation of Israel coming together. He had to set aside any pride and humbly accept the responsibility that someone in his administration had done wrong.
God’s Word has much to say about the need for us to have a humble attitude:
* “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” -Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
* “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” -Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
* “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” -Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV)
* “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” -Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)
* “Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” -Proverbs 15:33 (NIV)
* “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” -Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
“What we want is to be real. Let us not appear to be more than we are. Don’t let us put on any cant, any assumed humility, but let us be real; that is the delight of God. God wants us to be real men and women, and if we profess to be what we are not, God knows all about us. God hates sham.” -D. L, Moody
“The beginning of greatness is to be little; the increase of greatness is to be less; the perfection of greatness is to be nothing.” -D. L. Moody
Lord, give me a humble spirit, I pray. Too often my pride gets in the way and causes bigger problems. If I would just learn to have a humble attitude and spirit so many of life’s problems would be lessened. Please, Lord, crush the root of pride that insists on growing in my life.