The battle was very fierce that day. And Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David. 2 Samuel 2:17
Joab had set out on a mission to defend David. When Abner fled, Joab’s mission was accomplished! The threat was gone. It was time for the army to go home and let David resume his mission of diplomacy to unite the nation by reaching out with grace.
But after the carnage of the twelve-on-twelve, Joab lost sight of his mission. He chased after Abner’s men who were fleeing back to the north, and the result was a much greater loss of life.
When a conflict breaks out, the original mission is easily forgotten. At the start, it had been about defending David. Now it was about destroying Abner and his forces, the very people King David was seeking to win. How can David’s mission of grace be accomplished if Joab wipes out the people David is seeking to win?
The mission of our king, Jesus, is to win people by his grace. Yet history is littered with the devastating effects of hotheads and hardliners who professed loyalty to Jesus. James and John wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Jesus. Peter lashed out with his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. Whatever their motivation, the Crusades were a tragic example of hotheads and hardliners destroying people Christ sought to win by his grace—and we are still living with the effects of these evils more than a thousand years later.
Is there a conflict that has broken out in your life? How great is the danger that, in the heat of the battle, you might lose sight of your King’s mission?