2 Samuel 3:6-21 (Part 1) – Championship Teams Always Involve Humility & Submission

Posted: May 15, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

2 Samuel 3:6-21 (Part 1 of 3)

Abner Joins Forces with David

There is a song that sometimes get played in commercials nowadays that actually dates back to a 1946 Broadway musical (had to google that to find out), Annie Get Your Gun. It was called “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better”. No you can’t! Yes, I can! No, you can’t! Yes, I can! You know the chorus. The most famous use of it is in the Michael (Jordan) vs. Mia (Hamm) Gatorade commercial from a few years back. The idea of that song came to mind this morning as I read this passage for today, 2 Samuel 3:6-21. I could imagine Abner singing this song to the king of the northern tribes, Ishbosheth.

You can see it in successful sports teams, where the players jockey for position amongst each other and certain players think they are bigger than the team. There are certain players that think they are bigger and more important to the team and its fans that the owner (and sometimes, founder) of the team. We’ve seen it before. Where a team is successful for a long-period of time but then money and pride get in the way and then the backbiting begins, then the team becomes a locker room mess with all the egos and pride abounding. Then, people start thinking they are bigger than the owner or the other members of the team. Then, owners are forced to trade away a problem player to return the team to its main focus – winning ball games. You can look back and say yes this team was great for a period of time, but pride and greed snuck in and destroyed the chemistry that was there. Always evident in great teams is the willingness of individuals to submit themselves to their leadership and to make the needs of the team greater than their own personal needs. Always absent in teams in decline or teams that never got anywhere is the absence of this humility. You can have the most talented individuals in the world on your team but if they cannot or will not submit to leadership or do not have the humility to submit their needs to that of the team, you will see a team that always underachieves.

That’s the thing that I thought of this morning as I read through this passage for the first of three reads. That idea that great teams require great humility by the members of the team before anything great can be achieved. That idea is transferrable to any organization not just sports teams. With that idea in mind, let us read this passage now:

6 As the war between the house of Saul and the house of David went on, Abner became a powerful leader among those loyal to Saul. 7 One day Ishbosheth,[a] Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah.


8 Abner was furious. “Am I some Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for your father, Saul, and his family and friends by not handing you over to David, is this my reward—that you find fault with me about this woman? 9 May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him! 10 I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” 11 Ishbosheth didn’t dare say another word because he was afraid of what Abner might do.


12 Then Abner sent messengers to David, saying, “Doesn’t the entire land belong to you? Make a solemn pact with me, and I will help turn over all of Israel to you.”


13 “All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come.”


14 David then sent this message to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son: “Give me back my wife Michal, for I bought her with the lives[b] of 100 Philistines.”


15 So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti[c] son of Laish. 16 Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, “Go back home!” So Palti returned.


17 Meanwhile, Abner had consulted with the elders of Israel. “For some time now,” he told them, “you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now is the time! For the Lord has said, ‘I have chosen David to save my people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and from all their other enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke with the men of Benjamin. Then he went to Hebron to tell David that all the people of Israel and Benjamin had agreed to support him.


20 When Abner and twenty of his men came to Hebron, David entertained them with a great feast. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go and call an assembly of all Israel to support my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you to make you their king, and you will rule over everything your heart desires.” So David sent Abner safely on his way.


In this passage, we can understand that to sleep with any of the king’s wives or concubines was to make a claim to the throne, and it was considered an act of treason. Because Ishbosheth was a weak ruler, Abner was, in fact, running the country. Thus, he may have justified sleeping with the king’s concubine because he felt he deserved it. Ishbosheth, however, saw it as Abner trying to usurp his power and that Abner’s power and his view of his place in the kingdom was becoming too great. He called him out on it.

In this passage, Abner was unable to submit himself the leadership of the more rightful king. Sometimes in life, we cannot be the leader even though we think we can do it better than the one who is. Sometimes, we have to learn humility and simply serve those who are above us. We must pray for them to be great leaders and serve them knowing that God will use them in some way. We must have the humility to see that God has us in a support role for a reason. We are to learn. We are to submit ourselves. We are to learn to be advisers and how to give good advice. We are learn what we need to know that we do not know now. Leaders, believers or not, are allowed to be in the positions that they are by the grace of God. Thus, we must honor they roles and the position that we are in right now. God always has us at the place he wants for the season that he wants us there. It is up to us to humbly understand God’s plan. He does not randomly place us in situations. There is always something to be learned regardless of whether you are the leader of an organization of one of those who report to him or her. God has you right where He wants you right now. He will let you know when it’s time to lead. He will let you know when it’s time to follow. He will let you know when it’s time to go. In the meantime, we pray daily for those who are over us. We support them in every way that we can. We learn as much as we can from them. And that all begins with humility.

Abner let his pride get the best of him. His pride then caused him to leave what was a good situation for him and forced him to “get traded to another team.” He thought he was bigger than the king and more valuable to the nation than the king. As a result of pride, he took the attitude that this is my rightful thing since I am the REAL leader of the country. As a result of pride, he crossed the line. As a result of pride, he switched teams. As a result of pride, he ended up dead. If Abner had been less prideful, maybe he would have lived to an old age.

Let us take heart from the tale of Abner. It is really about the sovereignty of God vs. our personal desires. We must see where we are as part of God’s plan. We must see that He has us where he wants us and that when we are not the top guy, we are there to serve and to learn. We must take this attitude in whatever we encounter. What does God want me to learn or do because I am where I am right now and you are where you are right now? Look at Paul in prison. He didn’t whine and complain that he was not outside the prison doing what he thought God intended for him. He used the prison to witness to others. There is something for you and me everywhere we are. Everywhere that God places us. Every position that God allows us to hold is a position that he wants us in right now. We soak it all in and serve until He commands us to do something else. We serve our leaders. We pray for them. We learn from them. We must be humble and learn even if we are in a position for 1 year, 10 years or 20 years until God puts us in our next season. He’s got a purpose in it. Do not get out ahead of it.

Abner tried to short-circuit God’s plan and it cost him his life ultimately. Let us be wise and discerning enough to not try to get ahead of God as Abner did.


Amen and Amen.

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