Follow along as I journal through the book of 2nd Samuel, if you haven’t been keeping up, go back and read 1st Samuel. -John
2 Samuel 2: 18-24
“Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrusted the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.”
Reading this, I would love to ask that kid, “What in the world are you chasing? Have you even thought about what you are going to do if you catch up?”
It wasn’t a foot race; if it was Asahel would have won. Unfortunately, it was a battle, and Asahel was not ready for a battle.
What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?
We could speculate but we will never know for sure. Was it that Asahel was always in Big Brother Joab’s shadow?
The local news rag would read: Joab the mighty warrior! Asahel the…quick.
Or, Joab the formidable opponent. Asahel the Gazelle.
Yeah, nope. Doesnt have the same ring to it. For real, how many kids have pictures of track stars on their walls? Some I’m sure, but compared to boxers, wrestlers and MMA guys, the numbers don’t even compare.
So it could have been that Asahel was having to deal with older brother comparisons, or maybe it’s just as simple as, he got caught up in the excitement of the fight?
How many times do we do the exact same thing? Chase after something without an intelligible reason for doing so. How many instances can you recall in your life that have figuratively knocked you to the ground by some “Abner” you were blindly chasing?
Perhaps it was a career path? Perhaps the opposite sex?
Maybe an illicit affair, a hobby, a drink, a drug, a dream or an idea?
Reality can knock the wind out of you; for Asahel, it took his life. I know for me, there have been a few instances where I can look back and say that the warnings signs were there, though I relentlessly blew right past them, the guardrails, and headed perilously towards the cliff. I can’t say what I was thinking. I don’t fully understand that part. I know there was an inner struggle, but the flesh man got the upper hand.
The enemy knows our weaknesses even better than we do ourselves. So we get on this deadly pursuit led by our evil desires that have us blindly racing toward treacherous territory. Not everybody gets second chances, and most end up a spectacle on the side of life road like Asahel, while people gather around wondering, “why didn’t he stop when he had the chance?”
Why didn’t Asahel heed the warnings? Why didn’t he humbly submit to what turned out to be some “spot on” counsel? We may never know. Perhaps pride got the best of him? It’s not easy to admit you are being reckless. It’s even harder to look a person or people in the eye and ask them to forgive you.
But this I do know, if you happen to receive the gift of grace. Don’t squander it! Ask for forgiveness and work towards reconciliation. Then maybe, just maybe, you can rebuild or reestablish trust.
Father God, thank you for second and third chances as I (we) ask for forgiveness, and thank you for your gift of grace and mercy. Jesus, thank you for saving and redeeming this wretched sinner, and Holy Spirit you are welcome to prompt, prod and penetrate this heart of mine, enable me (us) to be Spirit-attentive to your warnings. Thank you Heavenly Father for this Word, it struck some very raw areas, but I (we) know it doesn’t return to you empty or void, but it accomplishes what you purpose it to accomplish in my (our) lives. Thank you for never giving up on us, for remaining faithful even when we are faithless. Love – John