2 Samuel 10:6-7 When the Ammonites realised that they had become an offence to David’s nostrils, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maacah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob. On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men.
There is so much for us to learn from this chapter about the dangers of allowing our fallen human nature to get the better of us in times of inter-personal conflict. We might see it all working itself out on a much smaller scale in our marriages, our family lives, our churches, etc, but the warning signs remain the same!
King David had acted to show genuine kindness to King Hanun of Ammon at a time of his personal grieving (1-2), but such God-inspired kindness was so unexpected by a man who had never knowingly experienced such kindness himself that he totally misinterpreted David’s intentions and took action to show opposition instead of gratitude (4).
This naturally led to displeasure on David’s part (5), and when Hanun realised this (6), instead of apologising and humbly seeking reconciliation decided to go to war, only making the situation much worse with much ‘blood on the floor’ (6ff) and a final victory for David and his troops.
Is not this something we can easily allow to happen in our personal relationships when we let our pride get the better of us and don’t make the effort to communicate and listen to each other and try to really understand each other’s feelings and motives?
Much in the Apostle Paul’s correspondence with the fledgling churches of Europe and Asia Minor addressed this very thing, writing things like “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:9-18), and “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26b).
– Bruce Christian