by: Allen Domelle
2 Samuel 2:26
“Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?”
The time of instability during the transition from Saul to David was hurtful in many areas, but maybe the most hurtful was that many innocent lives were taken. Abner wanted Saul’s son to be King of Israel; whereas, God had anointed David to be the next king. It wasn’t just Asahel’s loss of life that was tragic, but it was the loss of every man who died in this needless battle. The foolishness that went on during this period was tragic no matter how you look at it.
Throughout the years of my ministry, one of the sad results I have noticed from fighting is that innocent people always get hurt. Innocent people get caught up in battles that could have been avoided if everyone would have done what they were supposed to do. I have found there are four things that lead to the needless fighting which results in the innocent being hurt.
First, fighting over an agenda will hurt the innocent. Abner’s agenda was for Saul’s son to become king no matter what he had to do. There is truly one agenda we all should be interested in and that is Christ’s agenda. You have got to lay aside your plans and how you want everything done, and accept what Christ wants done. When your agendas become your sole focus, you will fight over it and hurt innocent people. Don’t let your agenda become the sword used to hurt an innocent bystander.
Second, fighting over personalities will always hurt the innocent. This needless battle in the verse above was about two personalities when they should have had their focus on one personality, God. There are always good people whom God uses, but don’t fall into the trap of fighting over them. Personalities are never worth fighting over because innocent bystanders will always choose sides to their own detriment.
Third, fighting over traditions will always hurt the innocent. It was tradition that made Abner feel that Saul’s son should be king. All the kings during this time had their oldest son take the throne when they either got old or died. There is nothing wrong with traditions as long as they don’t conflict with scriptural principles. You must be careful about letting man’s tradition dictate your emotion. Always remember that everyone has a tradition, but just because it’s your tradition doesn’t make it better than another’s. Instead of getting wrapped up in tradition, focus on scriptural principles.
Fourth, fighting over loyalties will always hurt the innocent. I have seen many people become loyal to the wrong thing, when truth is the only thing to which you should be loyal. Loyalty to man is fine as long as man stays loyal to truth, but when man’s actions or beliefs contradict the Scriptures, you are to stay loyal to your first loyalty which is the Word of God. Don’t let your loyalties to personalities and institutions hurt innocent people who don’t know better.
The innocent will never be hurt if you stay focused on God and His will. If Israel would have stayed focused on God’s will, the battle would have never happened. You will always have battles to fight, but battles over selfish motives are needless and hurtful. Keep your focus right, and the innocent won’t be hurt.