“Then King David said to the people, ‘Do you not realize that a great leader and a great man has fallen today in Israel?’ ” (2 Samuel 3:38) New Living Translation
Abner was a dedicated leader and patriot for Israel. His strained relationship with David, though extremely complicated, caused him great pain and stress. When he died David was devastated. Why would Abner, a man who mentored David, choose to participate in a campaign to kill him at the behest of King Saul? Saul’s obsession to kill David placed both men, David and Abner, on opposite ends of the battle field. Their respect for each other is evident in several scriptures throughout 2 Samuel. Did Abner have selfish motivations other than to be loyal to his king? Abner was the commander and chief of Saul’s army and a skilled military mind. Abner knew God’s plan to remove his cousin from power and knew that this would be forthcoming yet he still sought after him. What was Abner’s true motivation? Abner’s true conviction was to reunite Judah and Israel other than to follow God’s plan.
When David’s succession became ever so clear, because God had made it so, Abner then switched to align himself with David hoping that a reconciliation would keep him as the commander of the army. Their reconciliation and David’s willingness to place him back into a leadership position was Abner’s recognition and submission to God’s plan because the two served each other. Abner only followed God’s plan when it suited his own purpose.
Is God someone who we will only cooperate with when it suits our purpose? When we see God’s plan headed in an opposite direction of our own do we only choose to follow it when they are both aligned? Is it our duty as followers of God, to follow his plan even if it means that we may be placed in an uncomfortable position or complicate our human relationships with others?
As you celebrate this beautiful sabbath day think about how God requires more than conditional, half-hearted cooperation. He requires our whole heart. The Life Application Study Bible highlights that “Abner had selfish motives for his effort to reunite Judah and Israel rather than godly conviction.” As Christians it is important for us all to ask ourselves what our true convictions really are…and are they aligned with the plan that God has set before us.
Happy Sabbath and God Bless