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Who or what is the Lord?

2 Samuel 19:1–8a

And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people. For the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” And the people stole back into the city that day, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face, and the king cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, “Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the LORD, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.” Then the king arose and sat in the gate. And they told all the people, saying, “There is the king, sitting in the gate.” So all the people came before the king.

David’s weeping for Absalom may make sense personally, but it makes no sense for the nation. “Suck it up, buttercup! You’ve got a nation to run,” (or something like that). So, Joab delivers the word to David.

But he adds a harsher note, which basically says, “Act like a king, or we’ll find someone else who does.” “And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.”

Joab’s advice is good. David takes it and positions himself in the gate. The king is back.

While it’s good for David to grieve over his sin and its consequences, it is not okay to do that instead of being responsible. David is only thinking about himself. There’s a lesson in this.

Many good things are not good if done too much or at the wrong time. Reading this devotional is a good thing, but only when you have time. If something important pops up, let this wait.

All Christians are called to properly balance their priorities. That can get tricky, especially for high impact people such as doctors and pastors. Families often get neglected, to a catastrophic extent. Some things are hard to say no to. “No” can have significant consequences. Families can often be counted on to say, “It’s okay.” So the “emergency” gets addressed, and the family gets ignored. Again.

And that’s just one example. We all have priority challenges. How can they be weighed?

That question is too deep for a daily devotional, but do watch out for two traps: the temptation of self-importance and “The Tyranny of the Urgent.” Beware of any task that will make you feel important, and be especially cautious if someone tries to sell it to you on that basis. Also, watch out for tasks that cry out for immediate attention. This holds double with people who consistently make their tasks seem urgent.

To forward this devotional, see the link in green below.

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:

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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