Conflict before Victory
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of March 1, 2015
2 Samuel 2:1-32
At the direction of the Lord, David and his men moved their families from Ziklag and took up residence in Hebron, which was centrally located in Judah on the ridge route in the hill country. People came from all over Judah to Hebron where “they anointed David king over the house of Judah” (2 Sam. 2:4). David ruled from Hebron over Judah for seven and one-half years, and Joab was the commander of his army.
Meanwhile Saul’s son Ish-bosheth had been crowned king over the rest of Israel, and Abner was the commander of his army. The two armies met at the pool of Gibeon, located north of Jerusalem on the Benjamin plateau. In another example of ancient warfare by selected warriors, they counted off twelve men from each army who engaged in a conflict that ended in a draw—twenty-four casualties! Thus the full armies had to engage in combat and “the men of Israel were defeated by David’s men” (v. 17).
During the battle Joab’s brother Asahel was killed by Ishbosheth’s commander, Abner. Eventually Abner called for a cessation of battle and “Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel” (v. 28). David’s men were back in Hebron by daybreak the next morning. But Joab looked forward to settling the score with Abner for killing his brother Asahel. The war between the opposing armies “lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker” (3:1).
Remember this: Change for the good does not always take place all at once. Seven years of conflict passed before David was crowned king over all Israel. In spiritual warfare that we experience there is often a period of conflict before “the acts of the sinful nature” are replaced by “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-23). To achieve the desired victory in that conflict, “Let us keep in step with the Spirit” (v. 24).