A Troublemaker or Peacekeeper
Day: 51 | Plan: 1-2 Samuel
Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 20
2 Samuel 20:15b-16 (NIV) “While they were battering the wall to bring it down, a wise woman called from the city, ‘Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.’”
Would you rather encounter a troublemaker or a peacekeeper? I think I know your answer and me too … I’m all about keeping peace and steering clear of anyone who likes to create conflict. But in today’s reading we encounter one of each: a troublemaker and a peacekeeper. Each an outspoken individual, but with different views and approaches.
David was still recovering from a broken heart because of the personal revolt and tragic loss of his son, Absalom, when a Benjamite by the name of Sheba started stirring opposition against him.
Sheba tried to intensify the rift between Israel and Judah by creating his own campaign slogan against the king — telling the northern tribes they would receive no portion or inheritance from David and not support him. (2 Samuel 20:1b) He traveled north spreading rebellion and ended up in the peaceful town of Abel Beth Maakah. David sent his military best after this troublemaker, and as Joab and his army approached Abel Beth Maakah they decided to build a siege ramp and began battering down the city wall. That’s when something profoundly unorthodox happened:
“While they were battering the wall to bring it down, a wise woman called from the city, ‘Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him’” (2 Samuel 20:15b-16).
Can you imagine? Here we see one very brave woman calling out the commander of David’s mighty army – as her city is being attacked – requesting him to come to her! Honestly, if I were in that crowd I wouldn’t have called her wise at that moment. I would have probably considered her a little crazy to do such a thing.
But look what happened when she chose to step forward in courage and speak with boldness to keep peace in her community:
“He [Joab] went toward her, and she asked, ‘Are you Joab?’ ‘I am,’ he answered. She said, ‘Listen to what your servant has to say.’ ‘I’m listening,’ he said” (2 Samuel 20:17).
Imagine for a moment the entire army standing still and watching as their commander stops and has a hospitable conversation with this bold, outspoken woman.
She reasons with Joab, tells him about her wonderful city and what it represents to Israel, and then asks him a jaw-dropping bold question: “You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?” (2 Samuel 20:19b).
Her question caused Joab to quickly backpedal, and he accommodates her even further by explaining why he was attacking her town. Without hesitation she took swift action to eradicate the threat and restore peace in her community by having Sheba captured and beheaded. (2 Samuel 20:20-22)
This woman goes from being just another person in the crowd to a key representative, negotiating the safety and well-being of her neighbors. We don’t know her name, but her words and actions speak volumes!
She could have tried to run and hide when her city was under attack. But, instead she stepped forward in great courage and saved her town from destruction.
She could have kept silent and thought her ideas wouldn’t matter. But, instead she spoke boldly, addressing Joab and making a deal to protect herself and others.
She stopped Joab’s attack and restored peace to her community through wise thinking, truthful words and faith-filled actions.
Are you facing a situation that appears threatening but you’re not sure what to do? Maybe the opponent you’re up against seems so intimidating that you feel powerless and doubtful things could change. Or maybe you see others at risk and being robbed of peace or protection, but wonder if your ideas and suggestions can really make a difference in their circumstances.
We have an obligation to help each other and offer the peace of Christ when trouble tries to take up residency among us. It’s so easy to become entrenched with our own problems that we delay in reaching out to offer help or assume someone else will step in and solve the problem for us. Are we keeping silent and not taking action even though we know we should?
If you’re thinking that’s me, then take some time now and ask God for help. Ask Him to give you words of wisdom to boldly speak the truth in love and to show you how to take courageous steps of faith in getting help for yourself or giving help to others. Your willingness to step up and be bold in God’s strength could make a dramatic difference in your life or in the lives of others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I haven’t been very courageous lately. I’ve gotten comfortable with doing life the easy way and looking out for myself, instead of looking out for others. Help me become more aware of those in need and step forward in faith-filled action. Give me wisdom to speak the truth boldly and look for solutions that could make a difference in someone else’s life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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