“Be of good courage and let us be strong for our people……and for Our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” 2 Samuel 10:12
The Israelite Army is in a pickle. Not the cucumber type but the baseball type. That is they are in between two enemies each with the seeming ability and desire to tag them “out” that is to destroy them (to get a visual example of a “pickle” watch this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI4yCoIygNs). King David and his army have already been victorious in many battles. That made many people living next to Israel very nervous. One of those people are the Ammonites who had abused Jewish representatives that David sent to them out of friendship. The people of Ammon knew they could not defeat David on their own so they hired a very powerful army; the Syrians.
So the battle is about to begin and the Ammonites and the Syrians have devised a plan that is historically one of the best ways to defeat a strong enemy. They plan to attack from two opposite sides. The tactic causes the defending army to split their forces in two, with obviously less men, resources, reserves to use against either enemy. So Joab, who is the commanding general of David’s Army, is required to split his forces to meet the oncoming threat. In fact, Joab is not completely sure that his split army is up to the task. He tells his brother, Abishai the commander of one of the split armies, if I am getting beaten you must come to me and if you’re getting beaten I will come to you. Not necessarily the most optimistic or motivating battle speeches. But Joab doesn’t leave it there. He gives to his brother the quote above, reminding him that they are not an army of just a people or a king, they are an army of God. And as such they can be of good courage. That whatever happens; the Lord will do and what the Lord does will be good in His sight.
Dear brothers and sisters understand that we, our faith is under attack on many fronts. There are those in the world that think we are not only completely wrong; that there is no God; but also the very fact that we exist and speak is a danger which needs be eliminated. We are under attack by those forces who say we should not speak out. That we may have our belief but it must be a silent one, not confronting the evil that we see all around. We have a front even within our midst. A front who desires to uplift humankind to the level of God, believing in the basic fundamental goodness of people not needing redemption or a savior. These fronts (and many more) can seem overwhelming. In our own strength, our own wisdom, our own resources we may doubt our ability to win. Our courage may wane or falter.
So let this be our battle cry. A cry of Love and not Hate. A cry of longing to heal and not hurt. Let us be of Good Courage as we meet these enemies. For we are an army of Jesus Christ. He is no general who leads from behind. No Jesus Christ goes before us, has taken the wounds meant for us upon Himself. He has promised to keep us and sustain us. We can know that through Him, we will be victorious!
Oh by the way, back to Joab and his brother. What was good in the Lord’s sight? First, the bible tells us that the mighty Syrian Army fled before Joab. When the Ammonite Army saw the the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled from in front of Abishai and were conquered. Sounds pretty good in Joab’s sight as well. May we find ourselves with equal “good courage” to do battle at the Lord’s side and in the Lord’s name today.
Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You know that Your Word, Your People are under attack today. Your Son Jesus asked that we not be taken from the world, but that You would keep us from harm while in the world. Make us Holy Warriors for Your Word and those who would come to You. Let us not be an army of hate, destruction and judgement; but let us be like Your Son Jesus Christ, an army armed with Love and Righteousness. Make us of good courage so that we will go forth to do battle and the way we do battle will bring praise and glory to Your Most Holy Name. In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen