Good morning my friends,
The question is did Joab do good or evil toward the king?
In today's reading we find Absalom setting up his household in Jerusalem. He would have solidified his power by killing his father but king David's spy managed to give bad advice to protect the king. When Absalom finally mounted an attack against his father David had enough time to rally a good size army to defend himself.
Now David was a kind and compassionate man, most of the time. He disliked bloodshed even though his life was filled with it. Here he was facing his son, his eldest son whom he loved dearly. Perhaps that is hard for some people to understand but it is amazing the capacity parents have to forgive the worse actions of a child. Parents always hope that children will change and live up to their potential. So it is not unreasonable that David would tell his army to protect his enemy for his enemy was his son.
Joab had a much different character than David. I believe that Joab loved king David and part of the reason for what he did was to protect him. But he was also arrogant. He thought he knew better than David so he ignored the order of the king and he personally killed the king's son. Why would he do this? Was there any personal gain in it? Remember that Joab tended to see things in a way that would benefit him. As long as David was kept from his throne Joab would also be kept from his position of power. Absalom was a continuing threat to David. He rebelled against him once so who's to say that he would not do it a second time. As long as Absalom was a threat to David he was also a threat to Joab. So, did Joab kill Absalom for the preservation of David or himself?
Regardless, Joab went against the king but David was so grief stricken that he could not deal with Joab. I also think that David feared Joab. Did David's compassionate heart strengthen him or weaken him as king? Was it a good part of his character or did it lead to problems? We all have our ideas of what a good leader is and what character he should possess. However, aspects of our character can be like a double-edged sword. In one instant it can make us a good leader and in another it can bring us harm. It is wisdom and discernment that allows us to know when and how to use different aspects of our character. We need the guidance of the Spirit because it is not always simple.
In the case of David and Absalom it is clear that David loved Absalom. However David put this love above his responsibility toward his people. He put a family matter ahead of the kingdom he was given to govern. He made it clear to Joab that he would continue to make mistakes as far as Absalom was concerned. This was wrong of David. It is not to say that he should have killed Absalom but David needed to show greater strength and resolve to take the matter in hand and deal with Absalom. In some ways he left Joab no choice, even though I disagree with the actions of Joab.
This is life. Life is not always so cut and dry. Life is messy. We are so desperate for the direction and support of the Spirit, especially in matters of the heart. We can try it on our own but there will always be decisions that we make that will bring more harm than good. Sometimes we may wonder about this even when we are directed by the Spirit. Yet with the Spirit we can be assured that God is working it all out to be good. It comes down to the fact that life is to complicated to try it without God. It really comes down to one question: do you believe this or not? Are you willing to allow the Spirit to be your guide and counselor or are you going to try to go it alone?