August 08, 2012
Written by Daniel Hazard

Excerpt from 2 Samuel 13:37-14:24

"But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur.  David mourned for his son day after day…yearning for Absalom…

...Joab said, 'Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.'  So Joab set off, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem."

Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell

Things have gotten in quite a tangle in King David's family.  Partly for good reason, partly not, David is angry with his son Absalom, who heads for the hills to escape his father.  Three years go by, and David longs for his son, but has been angry so long he finds himself not quite able to swallow his pride and invite his son home.  His nephew Joab sees what's going on and devises an elaborate ruse to trick the king into relenting.  It works, and the two are reconciled (for a while, anyway).

Don't you know what it's like to be trapped by your own whatever - pride, anger, high moral dudgeon, offendedness, propriety, rightness, hurt?  Haven't you banished someone from your life before, and haven't you found yourself longing for him and not known how to invite him back?

We seem to be endlessly able to trap ourselves into misery that would all disappear if we could just bring ourselves to swallow our whatever.  Which is why we have churches full of Joabs: good people who love us and who know a little about the heart of God.  Who will, from time to time, trick us or talk us or smack us into waking up, getting over it, inviting the exile home, and climbing out of our own traps.


God, you know my traps better than I know them myself.  You sent Jesus to spring me from the biggest one, but I could use a little more help here.  So send me a Joab or two, and help me get over my whatever.  Amen.

About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell, a United Church of Christ minister, is the co-author, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.

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