Honoring Authority

2 Samuel 12:26-28 “Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, and captured the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, I have even captured the city of waters. Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it be named after me.”

Observation: Joab was a remarkable man. As commander of King David’s armies he had shown that he had learned to trust in God under David’s mentoring (see 2 Sam. 10:12). Here he demonstrated another dimension of his good character: honoring authority. He had just overwhelmed the defenses of Rabbah, the Ammonite capitol. But rather than march victoriously into the city at the head of his troops, he sent for David to come and lead the conquering army into the city.

This showed a profound deference to the king. Joab refused limelight for himself, while exalting David. Joab had done the work; he had risked his life in the battle, yet he wisely remembered that it was David, and not himself, who was king.

Application: How desperately the world needs to see and learn how to honor authority. It goes completely against the grain to not grab all the glory I can for myself. Flesh cries out for self-advancement, while God tells me I must die to self.

It saddens me to realize that my inclination, had I filled Joab’s shoes, would be to mount the white horse leading the troops into the city center. At the same time, part of me that knows I am learning to submit to those in authority, to support their efforts, and to make quiet contribution when I see an opportunity. My wife, Cindy’s, long illness was such a learning tool, as I had to step back from my historically more public roles to be supportive of her needs. Christ calls me to keep first things first, to love Him with my whole heart. I cannot do that while exalting myself.

Prayer: Lord, make me constantly watchful for opportunities to be a good servant in family, in church, among friends, and within the workplace.  Thank You for the leaders You have placed me under. Bless them, Lord, and do it through me whenever possible.

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