We need someone to call us out when our thinking, feeling and acting cause us to veer off the path of faith. That person is God’s gift to us, a true friend. But we will not have friends like that unless we invite them in, invest trust in their godly wisdom, and then give them permission to treat us roughly when we need it. One of the unavoidable essentials for healthy living is to have people who will speak the truth in love when we are acting in ways that are contrary to the will of God.
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 19:5-7
Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.”
Do you have a friend who will call you out for inappropriate behavior? I hope so. You and I need at least one person in our lives that will speak the truth in love when we are acting in ways contrary to the will of God. Now those contrary ways might be out-and-out sinful behavior, but it could also be shrinking back in fear, moping in self-pity, or failing to see the hand of God in some difficulty we are experiencing.
Whatever the case may be, we need somebody to call out our thinking, feeling and acting when we are veering off the path of faith and into the ditch of shortsightedness. But we will not have people like that in our lives unless we invite them in, invest trust in their godly wisdom, and then give them permission to treat us roughly when we need it.
Joab was that kind of friend to King David. The king had just lost his son Absalom in battle. Absalom had usurped the throne and led a rebellion against David that had resulted in the loss of many Israelite lives. The troops loyal to David had rescued the king and saved the nation from civil war, but in the process, the king’s son, his favorite son, had been killed. And now David was mourning the loss of Absalom to the point that the hard-fought victory seemed like a defeat to those who had put their own lives on the line for the king and the kingdom.
Joab risked his reputation, job and life to call out the king for his shortsighted behavior. To make this brave act all the more impressive, keep in mind that King David had a history of not responding too well to this kind of bad news. (cf. 2 Samuel 1:1-15, 4:1-12) But Joab had the heart of a lion, and he knew that if he didn’t shock the weeping king into more kingly behavior the kingdom would be lost. So he called out the king, the king responded, and the kingdom was saved.
Who is your Joab? Have you invited a trustworthy friend to speak hard truth into your life whenever they see the need? I would not advise that you give too many people this privilege, and for sure, do not invite the first on your friend list into this role. You will regret it if you do. But find someone who is wise, experienced, godly, and who loves the vision God has for your life more than they care about being popular with you 24/7.
Prayerfully select someone like that, and then give them the keys to the front door of your heart. Believe me, they will steer you out of the ditch of short-sight thinking, harmful emotions and sinful actions at some point in your life.
When God gives you your Joab, thank God, and thank your Joab, early and often. They are a gift!