When Kind David got back his Kingdom second time from the hands of his son Absalom, the tribes of Judah on the one side and the remaining 11 tribes of Israel on the other side argued with each other and used harsh words to in an attempt to prove their loyalty to King David! Using this opportunity one of the trouble makers
in Israel, Sheba went around and incited people to turn against the King:“We have no share in David,
no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!” (2 Samuel 20:1) Many in Israel followed him. Sheba went from tribe to tribe, trying to get an army together to fi ght against David. When David came to know about
this he realized that Sheba would do more harm than Absalom did. He ordered Abishai, Commander
of his army, to pursue Sheba so that he would be killed. But Sheba hid himself in the city of Abel.
Joab, Abishai’s brother (another commander) came and surrounded the city. He was a ruthless man and
would not hesitate to destroy the whole city of Abel for the sake of one man – Sheba! It seemed like the
foolish act of setting the whole house on fi re to kill one rat! Joab had assumed that the people of the
city were friends of Sheba just because he ran into their city. The people did not even know what was going on!
One wise woman of the city (name not known) calls Joab and speaks wisely to him. She speaks of the fame of Abel. (v 20-21)She explains its heritage. Abel was a city with a long reputation for wisdom of its inhabitants and faithfulness to the tradition of Israel. Parties who had disputes appealed to their judgment. This would be accepted as fi nal by consent of all parties. In the current scenario, her city and herself were willing to negotiate peace. They were not in favour of a war with their very own people. She spoke not only for herself, but for
her city. She wanted Joab to give them a chance to prove their loyalty.
The ruthless general was a patriot at heart and was ready to end further bloodshed. He listened to what
this woman had to say. He was not out to destroy Abel, he just wanted to stop Sheba. He answered, “I am listening!” (2 Samuel. 20:17)
Wisdom is a combination of intelligent insight and bold action. Sometimes very devoted people,such as Joab, can do much damage similarly in a church or an organization. Like the 12 tribes we can also be overzealous and be the cause for misunderstandings. Using those opportunities, some may, like Sheba, even try to fish in troubled waters! Because of one trouble maker the whole fellowship may lose its vibrancy in love. The wise talk of the woman solved a problem that war would only have complicated. Wisdom saved the woman,
her city, David’s reputation, Joab’s career, and many innocent lives.
Dear Students, Where are the wise men and women today? Students are in the forefront to lead many causes. Can we be like the people of Abel to them?
As we look at the campus environment we need many student leaders like the wise woman who can wisely counsel the leaders and avert major conflicts. Within EU fellowships also, we need student leaders who will stand in the gap and plead for peace
Do we have listeners like Joab in our EUs? A great deal of mischief would be prevented, if contending parties would understand one another. Many a time our passionate arguments can lead to misunderstandings in our fellowships and have their roots in lack of understanding. The messages we send through whatsapp, emails and letters have the potential to damage the fellowships!
The single condition of peace is, the surrender of the traitors. Once they are identified and sidelined, problems will become opportunities for peace! There is no peace on any other terms. (2 Samuel 20:23-26).
– Arul Manohar