“Then Joab said to Amasa, “Are you in health, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword that was in Joab’s hand. And he struck him with it in the stomach…” (2 Sam 20:9-10)
Looking at king David’s great commander Joab, I can’t but feel that he is a very controversial character. Joab was a great warrior who accomplished much for king David, and who was always faithful to his master. However, he was also a very jealous and cruel man. This is particularly evident in his murder of Amasa (2 Sam 20:8-10), whom he killed by pretending to greet him with a kiss.
Today, we are all soldiers of Christ, fighting a constant spiritual battle. As such, we are also servants of Christ. But, while we zealously serve God, have we started to think highly of ourselves? Has our pride caused us to fight with our brethren-in-Christ when opinions differ or when we are not entrusted with the ministry that we were hoping for? Are we envying others for being more talented or better off than us? Are we serving God out of true love, zeal, and faithfulness, or are we motivated by selfish reasons, such as the craving for other people’s respect, admiration, and praise?
No matter what our answer is, the record of Joab’s life reminds us to be watchful, lest our fallible human nature overtake us; lest we become proud and even turn against our own brothers and sisters.
Yes, we need to be mighty men of God; yet we should not only be mighty in works and zeal, but we must be mighty in drawing near to God. With this understanding, we will remain humble and loving, and yet increasing ever more in strength to fight for our faith and to capture many more lost souls for our Lord.