2 Samuel 20:1-26 (Part 2) – When Someone’s “B” is Better Than Your “A”

Posted: August 16, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 20:1-26 (Part 2 of 3)
The Revolt of Sheba

Have you ever had someone in your life that is the counterpoint to your point? They are the B to your A. They are the west to your east. No matter what it is, they are going to offer up a differing opinion than the course of action that you are supporting. I think we all have had one of those in our lives. How does that make you feel? Does it grab your goat (as the old saying goes)? Does it anger you? Do you think, “ok here come the words out of my mouth and … wait for it … differing opinion coming…now!” Does it frustrate you? How do you handle it?

In life, there are certain things we can control and certain things we cannot. The main thing that we can control is ourselves and how we react to things. So, then, in these situations, let us examine ourselves. That’s what we can control. Why is it that we are being frustrated by the differing opinions? Are we so prideful that we cannot see another point of view? Maybe, we have come to associate our chosen actions with our ourselves and that differing opinions are an attack on us personally. Maybe, we need to step back and separate our chosen course of action from ourselves. What is it we are after here? Are we not here to do what is best for our family, if that’s the situation, or our company, if that’s the situation, or our church, if that’s the situation. Are we so prideful that we associate anything that we do with our ego? If someone questions our choice of action, then, they are questioning our value as a person, right? Let us examine if our own pride is making the situation more stark that it really is. Maybe, this person loves you and wants you to make the right choice for your family. Maybe, this person wants to see you and your function/group within the company to steer the company toward success. Maybe, this person wants your church to be successful and just wants the right choices to be made.

Let us lose our pride and really look at the situation. Is it pride? That’s usually it! Almost always. When we have to make choices of courses of action for a family or your job (for your department, for your whole organization) or your church, it’s not about you. It’s about what’s best for your family or what’s best for your company or what’s best for your church. Being able to step back and see that is growing up as a person and as a child of God. When we become so married to our chosen course of action, it’s just prideful not to be able to examine alternative courses of action that are either more efficient, or less time consuming, or uses less resources or produces more revenue or creates the more ideal outcome. It is a mark of a man to be able to say, “you know what? The course of action that you recommend is better than what I had come up with! Let’s go with your idea?” Or “I had not considered that ramification! Let’s modify the plan I developed to incorporate what you have said!” Or “You know! I really do see what you are saying! We don’t have time at the moment to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it but let me think on it for a day or two and get back to you.” Sometimes, that time to consider other options through prayer will allow you to see the flaws in your own chosen course of action or it may allow you to say well on the whole my idea is better but there are certain aspects of what you say that I can incorporate into the course of action that I have chosen. It’s all about thinking of the team more than thinking of yourself. It is the essence of teamwork to be able to consider other points of view without taking it as a personal affront.

It is this idea of losing our pride and doing what is best for the people that we live, work and play with is what I thought about this morning. Here, for once, Joab does something that we can admire about him. Rather than continue down the path he was on, a path that would have cost many lives and many resources, he listen to someone else’s opinion about what to do in this situation. Let’s read now the latest in the episode “Joab: The Commando!” in 2 Samuel 20:1-26:

Chapter 20
1 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:

“Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Come on, you men of Israel,
back to your homes!”

2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.

3 When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.

4 Then the king told Amasa, “Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time.” 5 So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.

6 Then David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can’t reach him.”

7 So Abishai and Joab,[a] together with the king’s bodyguard[b] and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba. 8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.[c]

9 “How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.

11 One of Joab’s young men shouted to Amasa’s troops, “If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab’s man saw that everyone was stopping to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him. 13 With Amasa’s body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba son of Bicri.

14 Meanwhile, Sheba traveled through all the tribes of Israel and eventually came to the town of Abel-beth-maacah. All the members of his own clan, the Bicrites,[d] assembled for battle and followed him into the town. 15 When Joab’s forces arrived, they attacked Abel-beth-maacah. They built a siege ramp against the town’s fortifications and began battering down the wall. 16 But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.” 17 As he approached, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”

“I am,” he replied.

So she said, “Listen carefully to your servant.”

“I’m listening,” he said.

18 Then she continued, “There used to be a saying, ‘If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the town of Abel.’ 19 I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel.[e] Why do you want to devour what belongs to the Lord?”

20 And Joab replied, “Believe me, I don’t want to devour or destroy your town! 21 That’s not my purpose. All I want is a man named Sheba son of Bicri from the hill country of Ephraim, who has revolted against King David. If you hand over this one man to me, I will leave the town in peace.”

“All right,” the woman replied, “we will throw his head over the wall to you.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and called his troops back from the attack. They all returned to their homes, and Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.

23 Now Joab was the commander of the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. 24 Adoniram[f] was in charge of forced labor. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 25 Sheva was the court secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was David’s personal priest.

In this passage, we see that Joab’s men were attacking the city and looked as if it were going to be destroyed (most assuredly after expending much effort, time, resources and people). Though women in the ancient Middle East were usually expected to be quiet in the presence of men while in public, this woman spoke out. She stopped Joab’s attack not with weapons but with wise words and an alternative plan of action.

What can we learn from this episode of “Joab: The Commando!”? I think that there are three things. First, as we have discussed, we must not be so prideful that we cannot or are not willing to see alternative courses of action that are better than the one we have chosen. Often, we get so tied up with the path that we have chosen that we often see others’ alternatives as a personal attack on us. That’s just pride. Let us lose our pride and do what is best for the people we have influence over – whether it be at work, at home, or at church. Second, I think we learn from this woman that we should not just be people who complain about a leader’s chosen course of action but rather be ones who can offer up better, faster, cheaper, smarter options for the leader to consider. Let us not just complain but be solution seekers. Let us not be part of the problem but be part of the solution. Third, it reminds us that we are all part of a team anywhere we go in life – whether it be with family, co-workers, or fellow volunteers at church. We should always put the good of our team ahead of our own prideful needs. If we come at a problem, let’s work together to come up with solutions.

Jesus put his divinity, his royalty, aside to do what was best for mankind. He came to earth to live a sinless life and then offer himself up as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could be reconciled to the Father and be covered in His righteousness. He did not HAVE to do that. He did that because He loved us that much. He did that because that was what was best for us. He did that even though it took great humility to do so. He thought of us before He thought of Himself. Why then are we so prideful at home, at work, at church? Let us demonstrate the humility of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and do what is best for others even if it means that we have to set aside our pride and our personal desires. Let’s be all-in for the teams we play on in our lives and humble ourselves for what is best for the team rather than what is best for us personally. That means sometimes listening to someone’s B to your A and then deciding that B is better than A.

Amen and Amen.

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