September 25, 2001, is a date many Michael Jordan fans would rather forget. It is the day Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards. While he played at a high level, age and injuries had taken their toll on the esteemed athlete. He was not the dominant force he had been on the Chicago Bulls.
Despite winning the war against Absalom, David was not the king he had once been. Before he even made it back to Jerusalem, another rebellion against his rule had launched. A Benjaminite named Sheba convinced “all the men of Israel” to desert David and follow him (v. 2).
Since David had removed Joab from authority, he ordered Amasa, his new general, to gather the army and pursue the rebels (v. 4). For unknown reasons, Amasa was delayed (v. 5). Worried, David sent Abishai to find out what happened. Joab went along (v. 7).
They quickly located Amasa just a few miles outside of Jerusalem. Joab greeted the new general, then used the opportunity to kill him (v. 10). Amasa had not suspected a thing; they were cousins after all. This was the fourth murder Joab had committed. Joab then took charge of the army and pursued Sheba (vv. 11–12). Apparently, there was nothing David could do about Joab’s coup (v. 23).
In Joab’s world, power was demonstrated through strength of arms and violence. When he discovered that Sheba had fled to a walled city, he laid siege to it. There he encountered power of a different kind. A wise woman and leader in the town skillfully negotiated with Joab. Through diplomacy, she ended the rebellion and prevented her city from being destroyed (vv. 16–22).
>> There is a great deal of unrest in our world today. Power is a destructive force and can be used for great evil. Thankfully, we know a God who holds the ultimate power, and He promises the “victory that has overcome the world” (1 John 5:4).
No power proceeds without Your leave. Even Satan needed Your permission to torment Job. We don’t always understand why You permit bad things to happen, but we know You are good and trustworthy.