In last Saturday's Nugget, LESSONS FROM DAVID'S FALL, Part 12, we learned that when God gives you a command, it is in your best interest to do it! Right away! If you don't, you might lose the privilege of working for Him, and worse still, you cause someone to lose their life!
Much sorry has happened since David's great sin. Surely it is over now. Surely there aren't any more negative consequences forthcoming!
But it is not to be.
There is yet another traitor in the land, a man named Sheba:
"Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maacah and through the entire region of the Berites, who gathered together and followed him. All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maacah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications." (2 Sam. 20:14-16 NIV)
So yet another result of David's sin is the upcoming destruction of a city full of Israelites ...
But what can we learn from this incident with Sheba? Let's take a look at Joab, the one sent in search of Sheba.
Now Joab was a seasoned warrior. He had been David's Commander-in-Chief ever since David became king. He had successfully defeated the Isrealite army headed by Abner and ensured that David became king of Israel. He headed up successful campaigns against the Philistines, the Edomites and the Moabites (2 Sam 8), the Arameans (2 Sam. 10), the Ammonites (2 Sam. 11), etc, and most recently, Joab had personally defeated Absalom, David's own son, who tried to usurp the throne from his father. It can truthfully be said that Joab knew how to defeat David's enemies! And he was at it again. He followed Sheba to Maacah where Sheba took up refuge, and here he built a siege ramp and began to destroy the wall.
Was it a good method?
Well, why not? It was one he has successfully used before. After all, Joab wasn't one to sit back and watch his enemies advance! He had always taken a direct approach to David's enemies!
Only one problem this time:
"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.' He 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. She continued, 'Long ago they used to say, "Get your answer at Abel," and that settled it. We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. 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 Sam. 20:17-19)
Joab's problem? Someone was standing in his way! A courageous woman! A woman who realized that her home was about to be destroyed by a fellow Israelite. A woman who was not afraid to take a stand. Notice that she goes right to the point: "Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him …Long ago they used to say, 'Get your answer at Abel" … You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord's inheritance?"
This wise woman realized she needed to speak to the top and immediately asked for Joab. Then she proceeded to remind him of the city's historical status, and then she played on his sense of loyalty to Israel as a country by asking him why he wanted to "swallow up the Lord's inheritance".
And Joab's reply?
"'Far be it from me!' Joab replied, 'Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bicri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I'll withdraw from the city.' The woman said to Joab, 'His head will be thrown to you from the wall.'" (2 Sam. 20:20-21)
And Joab, the seasoned man of war listens to her arguments. Remember, Joab is NOT the kind of warrior to go off and let others fight his battles for him. He's the kind who gets in there and gets his hands dirty! He builds siege ramps! He destroys towns! But the woman is proposing another way.
Now we aren't told if Joab's work on the siege ramps stopped at this point, or whether he simply proceeded thinking that the woman was crazy. But we do know that it wasn't long before the head of Sheba son of Bicri was catapulted over the wall:
"Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem." (2 Sam. 20: 22 NIV)
Friends, the wise woman of Abel was faced with an impossible situation: A fellow Israelite was destroying her city, and she courageously stood up to Joab. In the same way, when we are faced with impossible circumstances, we shouldn't just pussy-foot around. We shouldn't take on the victim mentality. Instead, we should: "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Eph 6:11-12 NIV). And then we need to stand up victoriously against those schemes!
This is one more lesson to be learned from the story of Joab and the wise woman of Abel. Join us next Saturday for LESSONS FROM JOSHUA, Part 14: The Wise Counsellor.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.
(To access the entire "Lessons From David's Fall" mini-series, please click here.)