God’s Providence gives us confidence in the face of threats.
Read 2 Sam. 10:9-14.
“May the Lord do what is good in His sight.”
In a surprising twist, the only words of trust in God in this chapter do not come from the lips of David. In the next chapter we find David beginning to fail as a leader when he failed in his kingly responsibility to lead his people into battle. This would eventually lead to David’s moral and spiritual failure when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then sought to cover his sin with the murder of her husband. Therefore, it is not surprising that the expression of faith is not found on his lips, but the lips of his generals.
In chapter 10 we find the Ammonites repelling David’s gesture of peace. Rather than accepting the gesture, the new king, Hanun, humiliated the messengers sent by David by shaving half their beards and cutting off their garments in the middle of their hips. Soon, the cultural humiliation turned into a threat of war as Ammon, joined by the Arameans, marshaled the troops for battle. When David heard of it, rather than going out himself, he sent Joab to lead his armies to fight against them.
Facing the formidable threat of two armies, Joab split his forces and placed half under his command and the other half under the command of his brother, Abishai. Even then Joab recognized the forces arrayed against him might be too great and defeat might be imminent. In response, Joab makes the only direct reference to God in the chapter and what he says serves to govern the whole episode. When confronted with the threat before him, Joab assures Abishai of the providential care of God. These words expressed his faith that God is good and will care for his people. But in his statement, “May the Lord do what is good in His sight,” there is also faith and surrender to the purposes of God, that God is the one who decides the outcome and what is good not us. This expression is not just a hope that God will do what is good, but that God himself is the one who determines what is good. Trusting in the providence of God is trusting that God not only preserves and cares for us and orders everything according to what is good, but he himself determines what is good.
This is what makes Joab statement so remarkable. He was confident in God and fully trusting God in the outcome, no matter what the outcome would be. It is one thing to trust God when things come up “smelling like roses”. It is quite another to trust him in the face of possible death. This is the essence of faith. Because God cares for us, we can trust him no matter what the enemy we face. He cares for us in any situation or any threat and he provide us the strength we need. As we walk in dependence of God, doing his will, he gives us a power surpassing the struggles we face. The outcome may be different than what we want or expect, but we have the assurance that the results will be good based upon God’s perspective not ours. Too often in times of trial we pray for God to do what is good in our sight. Instead we need to pray for him to do what is good in his sight. Our sight is limited and faulty, his sight is eternal and perfect. Today, as you bring your struggles before the presence of God, do so resting in his providential care and trusting that he is infinitely wiser in determining what is good and right.