Leadership in War and in Peace
Let's focus on 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 for our devotional thought.
It is difficult for one person to provide leadership in war and in peace.
The people of Israel felt the need for strong leadership. They lacked unity and enemies wanted to destroy them. David had shown ability to lead men in battle. The people reasoned David should be able to lead the country like an army. Their belief proved correct. However, it is incorrect to assume the same kind of leadership called for in war will be effective in peace.
The United States has had to enlist military heroes such as president. George Washington. He was an effective general and politician. Ulysses S. Grant was not. His administration was noted for corruptions and bad choices. Dwight D. Eisenhower was mediocre as a politician.
General MacArthur while never elected to political office showed himself to be both a great General and a strong administrator of the country of Japan in the post war years.
Choose your leaders carefully understanding we all are human and very much flawed by our sin.
Understanding God's Love
In 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33, King David pleads with his commanders to deal gently with his rebellious son, Absalom. Absalom had tried to unseat David from the throne, yet David still loved him. In this text we begin to catch a glimpse in David about what God's love for sinners might be like.
Absalom ended up getting caught in a tree and left dangling between heaven and earth. He was completely helpless. The result of his own treachery. In the end one of David's commanders killed Absalom to avoid future threats to the throne.
So how is God's love like the love David had for son Absalom? How would you want your son or daughter dealt with if they committed a serious crime? How does God treat us?
He forgives us because of Christ's death on the Cross. We are forgiven, but we do not deserve forgiveness. In a sense sinners are like Absalom, we are in completely helpless state, the result of our own choices.
How do you understand God's love for you?
Prayer for National Trouble
And Samuel took a lamb, and offering it for a burnt offering unto the Lord;
and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel and the Lord heard him.
— 1 Samuel 7:9
The need for divine help felt in time of war drives men to God. Battlefield prayers were common in the early history of Israel. So Samuel prays before the battle of Ebenezar. The people asked him to pray for them in such an emergency. God heard Samuel's prayer.
What do we learn from this experience?
1. God is more ready to hear the prayers of his people when they repent than when they remain proud and disobedient. Amen.
2. God's ministers can pray with more comfort and confidence for a repentant people, than when the people do not repent.