2 Samuel 19:1-14 (Part 2) – Doing What Needs to Be Done Despite Public Opinion

Posted: August 3, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

2 Samuel 19:1-14 (Part 2 of 3)
Joab Rebukes the King

In today’s America, it seems to be the popular thing to bash President Trump. Certainly, I am here to tell you that I am not his biggest fan. Although I am intrinsically a Republican when it comes to my views on government and economic issues, I am not one of those that thinks whatever Trump does is golden. I did not support him in the Republican primaries because I thought he was a thoughtless man who was running for President just because he wanted to add that prize to his list of life accomplishments. I still think that. I think that Marco Rubio would have made a much better President than Trump. During the primaries, I heard no plans or political philosophy from Trump, he was simply the big bully calling other people names on both the Republican and Democratic side of the primaries. That’s what got him elected. His election reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. The final speech in the movie is classic and I thought of it during the 2016 primaries. It goes like this:

I’ve known Bob Rumson for years. And I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it!

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she’s to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.

That was how Trump got elected – making us afraid of it and blaming anybody else who was running for it.

Now, because of his bragadocious rhetoric and his inexperience at national and international politics and his stupid Twitter account, anything Trump does is comparatively almost satanic to those who are of a liberal, Democratic bend politically. It does not matter that the economy is growing at sustainable rates and business confidence is really good. It does not matter than Trump has not issued any orders or proposed any legislation to Congress that has abridged anyone’s rights in any way. It does not matter that he is trying his best to come up with solutions for our broken immigration system when it comes to our southern border where we all complain about undocumented illegals but then complain when he enforces laws that are already on the books. It does not matter than families get separated all the time when other laws of our nation, states, counties, or municipalities are broken. It does not matter that he has made significant progress in controlling the threat of North Korea. The truth is that no matter what Trump does, the democratic side of the aisle is not going to like it. Because of this hatred for Trump, it is hard to even trust what the news media says anymore because investigative journalism standards and journalistic integrity are now replaced with nightly opinions on the news. I once told a friend here recently that even if Trump adopted a malnourished third world infant and made that child an heir to his fortune, the Democrats would make it out to be somehow morally reprehensible.

It is in the face of just plain out hatred (not just political division) for Trump and EVERYTHING he does, that Trump must operate. It is apparent that he does not listen to his detractors and operates his plan (whatever that is) regardless. He, in this regard, is a far-cry from the master politician, Bill Clinton. It was said of Bill Clinton that he would flip-flop on issues depending on how his polling was going. It was said that he would take an opinion poll on whether it was OK to go the bathroom. Because of the presidency’s nature, you are going to make somebody, some group, mad by the decisions you make. Clinton was often mired in inaction because of the fact that he was more concerned about his electability than about his stand on any issues. He was morally empty and swayed by whatever was the most popular, prevailing public opinion. Sometimes, as President, though, you have to make tough decisions regardless of the backlash for that decision. It is the ultimate job of deciding priorities. It is the ultimate job of no-win scenarios. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose by every decision that is made. Thus, as President, you have to have thick skin. You have to have a view of what you stand for and what will get you and the nation to the place where you want it to go.

Similarly, we see in this passage that the public is certainly fickle and that one day they will be supporting one guy or one issue and the next day they are on to something else. As a leader, we must have that guiding light for what we need to do. Let’s read the passage, 2 Samuel 19:1-14, and see how the nation which was once enthralled with Absalom and is now wanting David to act like the king he is:

Chapter 19
1 Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2 As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. 3 They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. 4 The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

5 Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. 6 You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. 7 Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.”

8 So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him.

Meanwhile, the Israelites who had supported Absalom fled to their homes. 9 And throughout all the tribes of Israel there was much discussion and argument going on. The people were saying, “The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, but Absalom chased him out of the country. 10 Now Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, is dead. Why not ask David to come back and be our king again?”

11 Then King David sent Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, to say to the elders of Judah, “Why are you the last ones to welcome back the king into his palace? For I have heard that all Israel is ready. 12 You are my relatives, my own tribe, my own flesh and blood! So why are you the last ones to welcome back the king?” 13 And David told them to tell Amasa, “Since you are my own flesh and blood, like Joab, may God strike me and even kill me if I do not appoint you as commander of my army in his place.”

14 Then Amasa[b] convinced all the men of Judah, and they responded unanimously. They sent word to the king, “Return to us, and bring back all who are with you.

Here, we can reflect on the fact that just a few days before the scene depicted in this passage, most of Israel was supporting the rebel ruler, Absalom. Now, the people wanted David back as their king. Because the crowd, the mob, the general public is often fickle, there must be a higher moral code to follow than doing what is popular. Following the moral principles given by God in His Word should be our measuring stick for what choices we make rather than what seems to be the prevailing cultural trend(s).

As to what this means to our current situation in America, I think what we as Christians must do is not to bash Trump but to pray for him. We must become active in our nation’s politics such that braggards such as Trump are not our only options. Let us become more involved and force our politicians not just to blame others for our problems but actually require them to have positions on issues on how they can solve our nation’s problems. Let us pray that in the meantime that Trump will find a relationship with Jesus Christ such that he will make decisions that are morally upright and not make so many decisions and statements that feed his own ego. We need a President that, yes, like Trump, will take action no matter the public opinions of him but we need that to be wrapped in the moral guidance of the Holy Spirit so that his decisions are God-glorifying rather than Trump-glorifying.

Amen and amen.

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