Scripture: 1 Kings 2: (King David instructed his son Solomon just before his death) 5 “Moreover you know also what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner son of Ner, and Amasa son of Jether, whom he murdered, retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist, and on the sandals on his feet. 6 Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace.
Observation: David was not long for this world, so he offered final directions to his son Solomon who would succeed him as king. He asked Solomon to get revenge on Joab who had been commander of David’s army for many years. Joab’s aggression crossed a line when he killed two other of David’s commanders. Joab also put to death David’s son Absolom when Absolom tried to usurp David’s throne.
Application: Yesterday I went to see a movie called “Hacksaw Ridge” which tells the story of a conscientious objector during WWII who refuses to carry a weapon, but serves instead as a combat medic. Based on a true story, the soldier was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the Pacific theatre. I’ll give the movie 4 of 5 stars.
Why am I bringing this up in today’s blog post? Because the requirements of men and women in wartime are very different than in peace time. In times of military conflict we need people who are inherently aggressive and violent. They are warriors and, without them, our entire way of life would be in serious jeopardy. Unfortunately, these warriors often have a hard time adapting to peace time, when high levels violence and aggression are no longer needed.
In some ways this is what happened to Joab. David depended on him immensely when he was running for his life before he was king, and then when defending his kingdom. But Joab’s violent ways had a down side as well, which got him in trouble. Solomon ultimately put Joab to death.
While it’s true that we’ve taken a number of military actions since WWII, our fundamental sovereignty has not really been in jeopardy since the 1940s – when our entire nation was mobilized for war. As such, I fear the warrior class has been mostly devalued and maligned in our culture. They are perceived as barbaric sociopaths who need therapy, medication, or even incarceration. But the day will come, brothers and sisters, when we will need our warriors once again. Count on it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, today we thank you for warriors past and present. For they have never failed to answer the call in our nation’s time of need. Amen.