2 Samuel 18 tells the story of David’s troops facing his son Absalom’s troops for control of the kingdom. David has been reluctant to fight and desperately wants to find a way to reconcile with Absalom and avoid his death.
Absalom dies in the battle, and David mourns. Chapter 19 gives you insight into how Joab and the others feel about David’s grief. But there are some practical takeaways from chapter 18 that we can apply to our everyday lives.
Some People Are Game Changers
The leaders did not want David to go out to battle. They knew that Absalom would be seeking to kill the king. They also understood David’s value as a leader. They said David was worth more than 10,000 warriors. Some people are game-changers. Their value to a situation is more than multiple other people. It may be their skill set or ideas, but acquiring them or losing them changes everything. We see this in sports all the time. Teams will trade one single player for multiple players or multiple picks. In David’s case, his leadership was key to the success of Israel.
Our Environment Can Set Us Up For Success or Failure
They were fighting in the forest of Ephraim. The story says that the forest took more men than the sword. It eventually becomes Absalom’s downfall. His long hair gets caught in a tree, resulting in him hanging there helplessly. Joab arrives at the scene and kills him. Our environment can be deadly. Where we spend our time can assist us or harm us. Rarely is an environment neutral.
Know What Is Mission-Critical
Taking Absalom out needed to happen. David would have preferred to defeat his troops or get a surrender than for Absalom to die. The truth is, Absalom’s death prevented numerous other deaths. David’s mission was to save Absalom. Joab's mission was to save the people. Joab understood the assignment. He knew what was mission-critical.
Good People Do Not Always Bring Good News
David saw a messenger coming who he knew to be a good man. David assumed he was bringing good news. The messenger brought good news to the people, but it was not good news to David. Absalom was dead, and this was not what David wanted to hear. The people who speak into your life need to be good people. They need to be trustworthy people. But they may not always tell you what you want to hear. Good people do not always bring good news, but they should always bring the truth.
Choose The Right Solution Over The Utopian Solution
Absalom’s death consumes David. After all the years, he still believed there was some utopian solution where they would all live happily ever after. Sometimes that is not possible. Occasionally a person has to be removed from your life to bring peace to the others around you. One person may be toxic to everyone else. The right solution was for Absalom to be gone. David struggled with this.
Tensions in family units can be overwhelming. Sometimes they bleed over into everything we do. David’s personal life had affected the entire nation of Israel. Something had to be done. As painful as it was, the people were better off. What things did you take away from 2 Samuel 18?