(2 Samuel 28:26-28 NLT) 26 Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” 27 Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” 28 So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel.
Have you ever found yourself in an endless cycle of destructive behavior? Sometimes conflict starts for valid reasons but then it seems to go on forever with no apparent resolution in sight. It’s in times like these that we sometimes think, “I’m just tired of fighting about this issue. I’ll give a little if you’ll give a little and we’ll just move on to other things.”
In our passage of scripture today, we see a similar situation. War and struggle was on everyone’s mind; land needed to be taken, governments protected, honor defended. Lives were being lost with no real advance in the battle.
One very popular young man by the name of Asahal was one of the big losers. He was described as being able to run as fast as a gazelle. He was so fast that he easily caught up with Abner who was attempting to escape. Abner suggested that he go fight with someone else so that he wouldn’t have to kill him. But Asahal wasn’t having it. He would die fighting if need be. And, die he did…
We are told that other individuals came by and stopped to observe the dead body of Asahal. I wonder what they were thinking. Do you think his death inflamed a deeper bitterness against their enemy? Do you think the men renewed their desire to see the enemy destroyed? Or, is it possible they started asking, “Why are we fighting this stupid battle?”
I would suggest the latter. Notice the recorded conversation between the leaders: When Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.”
It sounds to me they were happy to consider a cease fire; a truce that would allow the fighting to stop. And just like that, “Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel.
Sometimes it just takes an agreement to stop fighting. Many times the wounds that result from an extended period of fighting only serve to produce bitterness. Nothing of value comes from refusing to “back off!”
Are you fighting battles with loved ones that have ceased to produce positive results? Is the fight creating a deeper sense of bitterness and frustration with the one you’re fighting with? Let me make a suggestion. STOP IT! Just blow the ram’s horn and stop pursuing the battle. Choose to live another day! It is in your power to do it. Convince yourself that sometimes GIVING UP IS A GOOD THING!
PRAYER: Father, give me a discerning heart when it comes to conflict. Help me to know when the battle is worth fighting and when giving up would produce a more positive result. It’s not important that I get everything I think I should have. It’s more important that I live another day, and fight battles that will secure kingdom advancement. Let it be so…Amen!