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2 Samuel 3

June 24, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Abner was very angry about Ish-bosheth’s accusation. ‘Am I a dog’s head who belongs to Judah?’ he asked. 'All this time I’ve been loyal to the family of your father Saul...'”

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2 Samuel 3

“Abner was very angry about Ish-bosheth’s accusation. ‘Am I a dog’s head who belongs to Judah?’ he asked. ‘All this time I’ve been loyal to the family of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven’t betrayed you to David, but now you accuse me of wrongdoing with this woman! May God punish Abner and do so severely if I don’t do for David what the Lord swore to him: to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish the throne of David over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beer-sheba.’” 2 Samuel 3:8-10 (HCSB)

Abner reminds me of the story of “Little Billy.” Little Billy crawled onto the ice one wintry afternoon and rescued a playmate who had fallen through. Praise and admiration were being heaped on him. Then, a news reporter asked Billy, “Tell us, boy, how were you brave enough to risk your life to save your friend?” In between breaths, Billy shot back, “He had my skates on!” What seems like heroism is sometimes plain old self-service.

Abner was not driven to expand David’s kingdom because of his theology. He was politically motivated. If Ish-bosheth was not going to roll over and play dead, then the next best option for Abner was to swing his support to David and use his influence over the Northern tribes as a bargaining chip. In this way, Abner would assure himself a more powerful position in David’s regime. After all, David’s power was increasing while Saul’s was diminishing.

Yet, in all his maneuvering, Abner didn’t count on Joab’s knife! God secured David’s kingdom, but not Abner, although Abner acted as a broker to help establish it. Abner couldn’t secure his own power, although it looked like his scheme would pay off.

We meet more Abners in Scripture. They do not bear Abner’s name, but they wear his disposition. For example, Simon the magician in Acts 8 was the perfect “new believer” in Samaria under Philip’s ministry. He went through all the hoops – a profession of faith, baptism, and Bible studies. Then, when Peter and John came along, he flew his true flag, offering to pay them well if they gave him the powers to bestow the Holy Spirit on whoever he laid his hands. The Gospel had eclipsed Simon’s popularity as a magician. But Simon saw a chance to work within the Gospel establishment and win his reputation back: Simon, the “Miracle Healer.”

Whether 2 Samuel 3 or Acts 8, Christians must fight the tendencies of their own Abner-mentality. Some claims to “build” God’s Kingdom may only be a cover for “using” it. Among the “Christian soldiers” marching onward, we must realize there are self-serving mercenaries in the ranks. Even faithful preachers, for example, who seek to grow their ministries to make God’s truth known and bring renown to His Name, admit there are times when they seem more concerned with whether God’s people will be impressed with them, like them, congratulate and dote over them. No, Abner is not that far away from any one of us. Let’s stay humble and willing to give all the credit to God, laboring to make His Name famous, not our own!

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