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2 Samuel 10:1–8

It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.”

So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon. And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you? Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”

Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”

When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men. Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men. Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-Tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.

This is all on Hanun and the princes of the Ammonites. Their stupidity and immaturity are 100 percent responsible for the war and all the tragedy it yields.

At root, their error is projection. They assume that David is just as evil as they are. The idea that David is sincere hasn’t even crossed their minds.

They aren’t sincere and they can’t imagine anyone who is.

Projection is so common, it’s essentially universal. The only thought processes we’re intimately familiar with are our own. If someone thinks in a completely different way, we’re not going to understand how.

The classic example of this is the way we project our thinking onto animals. I recently learned this the hard way by seeing, first hand, why gardeners should never feed squirrels. The squirrels weren’t thinking about how I’m friendly; they were just salivating. Salivating squirrels will eat anything, including my wife’s basil plants. Yes, they’d prefer the peanuts I was putting out, but they’re not leaving empty.

Never forget this when sharing the gospel. Many people cannot imagine that you don’t have some kind of selfish purpose behind your message. The first step is often to just show that you’re sincere. Starting off with the gospel may not work best. Establish sincerity first. That may take time if they’re not expecting it.

In that case, sincerity will impress them, which can make them open to your teaching.

These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe click here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, can be downloaded here:

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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