Israelites killing Israelites. It comes down to a matter of alliance. Are you a follower and supporter of the late king Saul, or does your allegiance rest in David’s camp? We are witnessing the clash between these two sides in our reading today.
Sadly, Asahel and others had to lose their lives in a battle that should never have been. It’s imperative that David rise up and show his strength, but not at the expense of his Israelite brothers. I was glad that Abner had the sense to say what he did. “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?”
Men on both sides had been trained to fight for their cause. I’m not sure what Abner and Ishbosheth are fighting for since king Saul is now dead. David is the king anointed by God who they should be loyal to now.
This is only the beginning of a “long war” between the two camps. Abner’s killing of Asahel did escalate things. What kind of a ruthless man could kill so confidently? Asahel was apparently gifted in speed but not in common sense. His impetuousness got him killed.
I was reminded today that we have two choices or “sides” to pick from. We can accept what the world has to offer and seek pleasures of the flesh, or we can search out the peace and abundance promised by Jesus and allow ourselves to be immersed in God’s love.
A no brainer in my opinion. But then the evil one can sure make the fleshly enticements highly desirable. We can be disillusioned into thinking they are “okay.” Remember Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit? It’s nothing new. Evil has only been upgrading it’s effectiveness over time.
Which side are you on? Who do you follow? What motivates you? Where does your empowerment come from? Are your answers to these questions one and the same?
Let’s pray …
Lord, I know that evil exists and surrounds me, tempting to take me down the wrong path. Help me see clearly so that I can choose to follow only you, Jesus. Give me the wisdom I need to discern your direction for my life. Mold me. Guide me. Use me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.