2 Samuel 2:1-7 (Part 2) – Practical Advice from God’s Word: How to Deal With Difficult People

Posted: May 8, 2018 in Book of 2 Samuel

2 Samuel 2:1-7 (Part 2 of 2)
David Anointed King of Judah

Why is this passage here? What does it accomplish in the overarching story of David? What does it teach us that we can use in our lives in the 21st century? That was the question plaguing me this morning as I sat down to write. Why was it important for the author to put this segment into God’s Holy Word? After reading and re-reading this passage a couple of times for this, my second day in this passage, is that we must be kind and gracious to those who are our enemies, those who oppose us in some way, those who have different opinions from us, those who we just know are going to say B as soon as we say A.

Have you ever had someone who just seems to be in opposition to your in everything? I am not talking about the who just plain out hate us and are our known enemies because of a hurt, a circumstance, or whatever that caused a major rift. I am talking about those who are passive/aggressive in their opposition to you. Those that feign friendship to your face but seem to always have an opposite opinion to you no matter what you say or how you say it. They make subtle comments of superiority to you about their talents compared to yours – never an outright thing of saying that they think they are better than you but just subtle stuff. Those are often the people that are the hardest to deal with rather than an outright enemy who just doesn’t like you and doesn’t mind telling you straight to your face that they don’t like you. At least with an outright enemy, you know what you are dealing with. However, the passive/aggressive kind is often in your own camp. Those that support you outwardly but behind the scenes are chiseling away at you. To your face, they are subtly discrediting you with little remarks here and there that can slowly, ever so slowly breed a lack of confidence in you such that they become elevated. We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced that at some point in our lives!

That’s what I see David dealing with here. Those that retrieved Saul’s body demonstrated their loyalty to the Saulian line to the throne. David knew that the northern tribes were going to a problem and he needed to be gracious and peaceful toward them. He needed to find out where they really stood rather than having to deal with intrigue later. Let us read 2 Samuel 2:1-7 now with this idea in mind:

2 After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?”

“Yes,” the Lord replied.

Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

2 David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives 3 and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. 4 Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.

When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, 5 he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. 6 May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. 7 Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.”

In this passage, we see that David sent a message thanking the men of Jabesh who had risked their lives to retrieve the body of Saul and bury him. Saul had rescued Jabesh from certain defeat when Nahesh the Ammonite had surrounded the city (1 Samuel 11), so these citizens showed their gratitude and kindnesss. In his message, David also suggested that they follow Judah’s lead and acknowledge him as their king. In that, David was seeking to gain support among the remaining 10 tribes who not yet recognized him as king. However, the rest of Israel did not accept David as king until over 7 years later.

What is that we can take away this morning from this passage, from this idea? I think it is this. We have choices in life in dealing with difficult people. We would like to think that people do not have hidden agendas in life and that people would just try to get along. However, sometimes that is just not the case. Then, we have a choice. Do we join in on the intrigue or do we show graciousness and peace to these subtle enemies? I think our example is what David does here. He extends them courtesy. He extends them kindness. Just as Jesus showed grace to those who opposed Him even from the cross, we, too, should extend kindness even to our subtlest of critics. We should be gracious and kind to them even when we know that we they are working against us, often in subtle ways. We should show them Christ-likeness even when our insides scream that we should join in the subtle war with this type of opposition. Through kindness and gentleness of spirit, we do not play into their subtle games. When we do join in the fray with such opposition, it often confirms their opinions about us. When we show them love and honor and respect, they will either change their opinion of us or they would come out in the open with their contempt for us. As we shall see in David’s story here in 2 Samuel, the northern kingdoms did not take long to show themselves as David’s enemies. They broke into an all out civil war against David.

So, this passage I think teaches us to be gracious to our enemies, especially those who are subtly opposed to us. We must take the high road and show them Christ-like love rather than joining in with their subtle games. We will either win them over through love or they will show themselves just as David’s enemies will do in the following passages.

Who says the Bible is not practical to everyday life? Here, we have some plain out good advice on how to deal with people that you know are going to oppose you. Thank you, God, for giving us your practical Word.

Amen and Amen.

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