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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Paying Attention

to the things that deserve it.

2 Samuel 18:19–27 (ESV)

Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”

Joab knows that David didn’t want Absalom killed. Now he doesn’t want Ahimaaz to deliver the news. Why? If it’s okay for the Cushite to tell David, why not Ahimaaz?

We don’t know the answer and neither does Joab. He displays his confusion when he changes his mind on whether to let Ahimaaz run and tell David what happened.

Joab has made a huge mistake and he’d like to cover it up, or at least break the news to David gently, and he doesn’t know how to do it. Absalom stuck in a tree was an incredible blessing—making it easy to capture him alive and deliver him in chains to David. The rebellion would then collapse instantly and the nation would be unified.

But Joab took it on himself to overrule David’s command and go against what sure looks like an answered prayer.

The sight of Absalom hanging there helpless in a tree should have smacked Joab right between the eyes. It’s possible for this to have happened randomly, but it has the strong look of divine intervention.

There’s a lesson in this for us—attention-getting things should get our attention. Joab just blowing off this amazing blessing was the kind of mistake a believer should never make. He was ignoring even the possibility that this was God’s doing.

That said, we shouldn’t see every improbable event as a miracle. Some things are just meaningless coincidences.

But they always deserve some thought.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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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