David’s army is surrounded – and the two enemies they fight each have a history with God.
2 Samuel 10:7-19
7 On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. 8 The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance of their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maakah were by themselves in the open country.
9 Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 10 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. 11 Joab said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. 12 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.’
13 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites realised that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.
15 After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the River Euphrates; they went to Helam, with Shobak the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.
17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him. 18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers.[a] He also struck down Shobak the commander of their army, and he died there. 19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them.
So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites any more.
Personally, I couldn’t find much in this passage that pointed directly to the Gospel, which is usually what I primarily look for in in the Old Testament. But the inter-connected nature of God’s plan reveals itself after a bit of digging – or Googling.
First of all, the Ammonites were descendants of Abraham’s nephew, Lot. We can see here, like many of Lot’s descendants, the Ammonites were enemies of Israel, and it seems like things don’t go well for them as a rule of thumb. Generations later, God hasn’t forgotten the evil in Lot’s family.
The Arameans, on the other hand are a different story. Their language, Aramaic, would go on to be the primary language spoken during the time of the Gospel, and spoken by Jesus himself. And
Wikipedia kindly informs me that the Arameans went on to adopt Christianity, and still exist today as a Christian minority in the middle east. They lost out to King David because they fought against him but later generations, when encountering David’s greater son, bowed to him and found new life.
Head: Does this passage remind you of any other stories in the Bible?
Heart: How do you hear God speaking through stories of battles like this one?
Hands: What does it look like to fight bravely for God in your life?
Lord, give me the same courage that Joab and his brother have as they fight the enemies of Israel. I might not be facing armies in my life today, but I still have to bravely fight in your name. Be with me and give me wisdom and patience and courage to face today, whatever it brings. Amen.
A song to listen to: Only a Holy God
Living Church Creek Road