Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 9, 2013

Awkward Alliances (2 Samuel 10$

Awkward Alliances
(2 Samuel 10)

When Saul chased David, trying to kill him, David asked the king of the Ammonites to hide his family from Saul. He did, so when that king died David, now king in Saul’s place, sent his servants with condolences to the Ammonite king’s son.

But instead of taking this as a sign of friendship and respect, the Ammonite king’s son (now king in his place) listens to foolish counselors. They accuse David of being treacherous. And they seek to shame David and provoke a fight by shaving one half of the beard of all the servants David had sent and cut off their clothes leaving them naked in the back from the waist down.

We might think that’s embarrassing, even silly, but just shave off your beard and change your clothes. But they would have had no other clothes and the beard was a big deal. For a Jewish man, if you were old enough to grow a beard you did. If you were clean-shaven you were either a boy or an emasculated eunuch. To have no beard to these men would be like…Well I was trying to think of something equally embarrassing for today. But today’s world is so depraved nothing is embarrassing anymore. So I’ll just say it was an outrageous insult. The Ammonites had thrown away what would have been a powerful alliance with David.

For his part, David sends escorts to bring them to the safe city of Jericho to wait for their beards to grow back. But the stupidity of the Ammonites increases. They “throw fuel on the fire” not only by disrespecting a potential friend but now start hiring mercenary troops. Again, they assume the worst of David. They think that he, like they, would attack. But he only does so when they make the first move.

Now the Syrians and Ammonites were a tag team. The Syrians blocked Israel from one end and the Ammonites from the other. This truly was an unholy alliance.

But Joab, head of David’s Army, had some teamwork of his own. He had his brother Abishai take some of the army and he took the other half. Whichever had the upper hand over the enemy would help the one having the tougher time. But there wasn’t much of a fight. The Syrians ran as soon as they saw Joab coming. And the Ammonites ran when they found out the Syrians ran.
And Israel’s armies called it a day.

The difference is that the Syrians, who only fought because the Ammonites asked them to, had some pride. They recruited other Syrians from out of town. But that’s when it “got real”, as they say today. By then David himself had enough and went into battle with an overwhelming army that decimated the Syrians.

The Syrians learned the truth of the proverb “Someone who gets involved with things that don’t involve them are like fools who grab vicious dogs by the ears.” They got in a war that was none of their business, that had been started for no good reason, and the ones who started it had run away and left them to die. They learned to never defend the Ammonites again.

Even JESUS made friends of unbelievers. Knowing, in fact maybe because, He knew Judas would betray Him, JESUS made Judas one of the team and treated him equally in love. When betrayal came from Judas it was not for lack of love from JESUS. But JESUS knew He would be betrayed to fulfill GOD’s plan. We usually don’t want or need to be betrayed, so GOD tells us not to be unequally yoked in marriage and to be in the world but not of the world. Bad company corrupts good character, as the Apostle Paul will say.

As Christians, especially in these politically volatile times, we must choose our battles carefully. We must choose our alliances wisely so we don’t dishonor Christ. But when the LORD calls us to act we know that He will give us victory when we join with fellow Believers to do His will.

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