Thursday, July 29, 2021

2021.07.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 18:19–33

Read 2 Samuel 18:19–33

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Ahimaaz ask to do in 2 Samuel 18:19? How does he summarize the results of the battle? What does Joab answer in 2 Samuel 18:20? What does he offer him instead? Why not let him carry the news today? Whom does Joab send instead (2 Samuel 18:21)? What does Ahimaaz now ask to do in 2 Samuel 18:22? What does Joab ask in response? But how does Ahimaaz now respond in 2 Samuel 18:23? And what does Joab now say? But which way does Ahimaaz run, and with what result? Where was David sitting in 2 Samuel 18:24? Who else went where? What did he see? Whom did he tell (2 Samuel 18:25)? How does the king respond? What does the watchman now see, and say, in 2 Samuel 18:26? And how does the king respond? What does the watchman recognize in 2 Samuel 18:27? What does the king conclude from the fact that the runner is Ahimaaz? What does Ahimaaz first cry in 2 Samuel 18:28? What does he then do? Whom does he bless? For what? But what does the king ask in 2 Samuel 18:29? And how does Ahimaaz answer? What does the king then tell him to do (2 Samuel 18:30)? Who arrives at that point (2 Samuel 18:31)? What does the king say? How does he summarize the results of the battle (cf. 2 Samuel 18:192 Samuel 18:28)? But what does the king ask him in 2 Samuel 18:32? And how does the Cushite answer? What effect does this have upon the king (2 Samuel 18:33)? Where does he go? What does he do there? And what does he say as he goes? What does he say he wishes had happened?

The advance of the kingdom sometimes requires honest brutality and brutal honesty. Honest brutality, we have already seen. What the Lord had told us in 2 Samuel 17:15b, Joab and company had executed in 2 Samuel 18:14–15. Our sanctification requires such brutality as well (cf. Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5), even collateral damage if that’s what it requires (cf. Matthew 18:8–9). 

But now it’s time for the brutal honesty. Whether it’s because Joab wants to spare Ahimaaz the implied fate in 2 Samuel 18:13, or because he doesn’t think Ahimaaz will deliver the brutal truth in 2 Samuel 18:32, Joab doesn’t think Ahimaaz is the one to deliver the news of the death of the king’s son (2 Samuel 18:20). And Joab is correct. Ahimaaz begins with the most important half of the truth in 2 Samuel 18:28, but hedges when the king’s question in 2 Samuel 18:29 shows that he isn’t interested in the God’s agenda (cf. 2 Samuel 17:15b) but his own (cf. 2 Samuel 18:5).

The right Israelite for the job turns out to be a Cushite—even if he lacks the local knowledge to take the long, flat route (2 Samuel 18:23) instead of the more direct route over rougher terrain. He doesn’t have the personal nearness to David, and so he is not so sparing with him as Ahimaaz. 

There is a lesson here for our interactions with other believers. Sometimes, we come into a conversation to serve them in the Lord’s work in their lives, and things take a turn when we realize that they are not quite so onboard with Him as we had expected. We have a choice at that point: plead with them the goodness of the Lord even in this thing that they dislike (note well, the manner of the Cushite’s answer in 2 Samuel 18:32), or try to find a way to back out of the interaction (cf. 2 Samuel 18:29b). When Ahimaaz does the latter, he even compromises himself before God by lying.

It is possible to be faithful to the truth without being churlish. But it is impossible to be faithful to God and man while hedging on the truth. Even the Cushite’s faithfulness doesn’t get through to David (2 Samuel 18:33), which will require even more bluntness by Joab in 2 Samuel 19:5–7. But the Lord is too committed to David’s good to let him go. In order to follow Him in this, we need to recognize when the sympathy of our nearness, like that of Ahimaaz, endangers us of being unfaithful.

What blunt truth about your sin do you need to be telling yourself? With whom have you been soft-peddling the goodness of God to destroy His and our enemies (including their sin)?

Suggested Songs: ARP5 “Listen to My Words, O LORD” or TPH5 “Hear My Words, O LORD”

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