By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
Focal Passage: II Samuel 20:1-2, 14-21
On June 14, 2000, J.P. Morgan & Company, a bank worth $21 billion at the time, could have averted a one-day internet shutdown by simply paying a $35 bill. The venerable Wall Street firm found itself without a website or an e-mail connection to the outside world because it had failed to renew the registration of its domain name that served as its online address. Client after client was unable to visit the website or exchange e-mail messages with the firm’s bankers and traders.
All of that frustration could have been averted if Morgan had sent a check for $35 for the annual registration fee to Network Solutions. The vice president of Network Solutions said it “pulled the plug on Morgan six weeks after Morgan’s bill came due and after sending the firm at least three bills” (The New York Times).
Life is full of situations that could easily be averted, but often the people involved fail to advocate for such aversion. In II Samuel 20:1-2, 20-14, a catastrophe was averted. What lessons can we learn from this situation that was averted?
First, some make decisions for division (v. 1). King David’s reign on the throne was a real life game of thrones. One attempt after another was made to usurp the kingship of David. The rebellious Sheba was a worthless man who wanted the king’s throne for himself (v. 1). The trumpet that Sheba blew to announce a hellish lie about the kingship of David was a ram’s horn (v. 1). The ram’s horn was used to announce gatherings of praise, but Sheba used it for division.
Sheba made a decision for division. Far too many believers use resources and opportunities in a way God never intended, that is, for division. Let’s stop making decisions for division!
Second, others make a choice to rejoice (v. 2). Sheba defiled the ram’s horn by using it for division and not for rejoicing. Like Sheba, some make decisions for division while others make a choice to rejoice. All the men of Judah made a choice to steadfastly follow king David (v. 2). Let’s stop making decisions for division and start making a choice to rejoice!
Third, some are wanting to war (vv. 14-16). Sheba was ready and wanting to go to war for the throne. Joab, the former commander of David’s army, was ready to go to war to defend king David (vv. 14-15). As a result of Joab’s men building a ramp to breech the city of Abel to defeat Sheba, much of the city would be destroyed (v. 15). Relational, emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical collateral damage from people going to war is an ongoing reality. We can always choose our sin, but we can never choose the consequences of our sin.
Fourth, others are willing to be wise (vv. 16-21). At least one in this city was willing to be wise. In fact, the Bible refers to this woman as a wise woman (v. 16). She wisely asks Joab to simply listen to her. Joab wisely listens (vv. 16-17). Listening to wise counsel is always wise. Joab was willing to be wise and catastrophe was averted (vv. 18-21). As one pastor has said, “wisdom is knowing when to turn the other cheek and when to turn over the tables.”
God’s Word says that Jesus came to this earth for the purpose of averting the ultimate catastrophe of sin and death. Won’t you listen to the wise Word of God and follow Jesus?