Believing the Best in Others
Day: 41 | Plan: 1-2 Samuel
Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 10
2 Samuel 10:2-3 (NIV) “David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun their lord, ‘Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?’”
Have you ever created a conflict because you misinterpreted someone’s motives? I have. My wrong assumptions about others can be damaging. In today’s passage, one of David’s political allies makes a wrong assumption and it costs him David’s peace and goodwill.
In 2 Samuel 10, David learns of the death of the Ammonite king and decides to send a delegation of men to show his respect and sorrow.
Unfortunately, Hanun, the king’s son, has succeeded his father on the throne and listens to the negative suspicions of his leaders. Hanun chooses to believe that David’s intentions are malicious and that the delegation are spies.
Hanun responds by seizing, assaulting and humiliating David’s men. To forcibly remove a Jewish man’s beard made him an outcast and a violator of Levitical law. (Leviticus 19:27) Further, to desecrate their robes and expose them publicly was horribly degrading.
David shows tender care for his men when he tells them to stay in Jericho until their beards have regrown, rather than returning right away. Jericho is the first city they would have passed after returning from the Ammonite country. This would spare them further humiliation by returning home in shame to their families and royal court.
David’s response to Hanun and the Ammonite people is less gracious. The rest of the chapter records David’s shrewd military mind and successful conquest of the Ammonites and their allies.
All this carnage because Hanun chose to believe the worst about David, rather than the best. If Hanun had chosen to take David at his word, Hanun could have maintained peace in the land and for his people.
When we look for the worst in people, we will usually find it. We see this in 2 Samuel 9 in David’s care for Mephibosheth. David was gracious and merciful, even to the family of the man who hunted and tried to kill him. With Hanun, David’s integrity would have kept peace because of the treaty David had with Nahash, Hanun’s father.
It’s not that we should never be on the lookout for manipulation. Even Jesus commanded us to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). But when someone’s motives seem unclear, we may avoid unnecessary conflict if we first choose to believe the best before assuming the worst.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, oh how often I let my heart become sour or critical unnecessarily. I would like to be known as a person who believes in others and works to find the best in them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hanun’s choices led to the defeat of his people. As king, he should have been more... Read More
Download the First 5 app to get the full experience