Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are you Asahel? Part I

3:29 p.m. Today's project was to focus on a man who makes a brief but dramatic appearance in the Bible. Asahel, a nephew of  David's, was the brother of Joab and Abishai. David's family members were the first to join forces with him in I Samuel 22, when it became impossible for him to remain in the presence of King Saul.

Saul and his warrior sons were killed by the Philistines. David was anointed king of Judah, the largest tribe, and a war began between David's forces and Abner, Saul's uncle, who put up Saul's son Ishbosheth as a puppet king. By II Samuel Chapter 2, civil war was to begin in earnest between Israel for Ishbosheth, against Judah for David.

Asahel was known for being "as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle" (II Samuel 2:18). That quality of his life proved to be his undoing.

Abner had challenged Joab, David's captain, to war games that remind me of the cruel gladiator contests of the Romans much later in history.II Samuel 2 tells us that the opposing forces set 12 each of their young men against the other side at the Pool of Gibeon. Verse 16:

And each one grasped his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent's side; so they all fell down together...So there was a very fierce battle that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

Asahel pursued  the fleeing Abner,

...and in going he did not turn to the right hand or to the left from following Abner.
Then Abner looked behind him and said, "Are you Asahel?"
He answered, I am."
And Abner said to him, "Turn aside to your right hand or to yur left, and lay hold on one of the young men and take his armor for yourself."  But Asahel would not turn aside from following him. so Abner said again to Asahel, "Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I face your brother Joab? However, he refused to turn aside.

Asahel's gift and talent for running did not serve him well at all, because wily, experienced warrior Abner turned, and struck him with the blunt end of the spear with such force that it ran through Asahel from the front and went out the back, killing him on the spot.

You and I often think that we should "pursue" our goals using the bonafide strength the Lord has given us, which generally does work, or He would not have given us our gift to begin with. But we need to know when and where to use our unique gift! It's like playing "Rock, paper scissors." Scissors are always going to cut paper, just as a thrust spear will beat fleet  feet! In Romans 12:6-8, Christians are instructed by Paul,

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let us use our gifts for the exact purposes that God intended, by listening to the Holy Spirit and following His direction throughout each day. God will guide each of  perfectly in the way we should go. Our part is to listen, pray, and follow our Lord's leadership!

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