My way or the high way

 David had a great military commander naemd Joab. Joab was actually a bit of a 'hothead' in that he did what he wanted, often being quite ruthless in battle. He was feared by many and respected by those he commanded. Every king of those days had heard of the 'fierceness' of David's armies. They were able to overcome great armies and take much plunder as a result of the battles won. There came a time when David wanted peace with those around him - knowing they were aware of the 'greatness' of David's military force and his capabilities to overtake them if he wanted to. Abner was one such leader he desired a 'peace treaty' with - the commander of the armies that belonged to Saul at the time. He no longer wanted 'war' between the people of Judah and Israel. So, he reached out to form a 'peace pact'. As he did, Joab was off doing something else and did not know of the peace treaty. When he returned home and heard of this having occurred, he was furious with David because he wanted Abner dead. Why? Abner had killed his brother and he wanted revenge. Revenge makes us do very weird things and sometimes it even makes us violate what God desires us to do!

Joab then left David and sent messengers to catch up with Abner, asking him to return. They found him at the well of Sirah and brought him back, though David knew nothing about it. When Abner arrived back at Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gateway as if to speak with him privately. But then he stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him in revenge for killing his brother Asahel. (2 Samuel 3:26-27)

This action greatly grieved David and he was not well-pleased with Joab. In fact, he declared the 'innocence' of both himself and his kingdom for this death. Then he called for a time of fasting and prayer. While everyone knew David was not responsible for the death of Abner, the death and burial became a time when those with David declared their loyalty to his leadership. While Joab was not quick to forgive those who had offended him, David was. In the military, I learned the importance of obeying the orders of those you served under. It was not something to be taken lightly whenever someone chose to disobey an order. Joab does not impress me as a man who liked to obey orders - choosing his own way time and time again. Eventually this kind of disobedience will catch up with a person, though.

The bad news for Joab is that David was greatly displeased with him and appointed someone else over his armies - Amasa. The stubborn and rebellious one who continuously seeks his own way in life will eventually find themselves in circumstances they don't want. Joab wanted power and actually deligthed in his position as the commander of the armies. To have another appointed in his place really tweaked his ego. That 'blow' to his ego resulted in another death - killing Amasa in spite of David having appointed him as his replacement. Unfotunately, our self-willed rebellion can result in us not being at peace with ourselves and others. When we want what we want and determine it is 'our way or the high way', we can be sure judgment will soon follow. We are never 'justified in our disobedience - though it seems 'right' to us, it can be very clearly wrong in God's eyes. 

Something I have realized about those who always see their way as the only way is that there is no reasoning with them. They will always see their way as 'best' and any opposing way as just not acceptable. When pride gets the best of us, we will do things we should not do. When anger leads to revenge, we are clearly moving into very dangerous territory. God will never be pleased with either our own 'self-determined willfulness' or our desire to take revenge. Both the leadership of our lives and revenge belong to him, not us. Remember this and we might just avoid some of the pitfalls of Joab's life. Just sayin!

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