Dear Ministry Partner,
There probably has been an ambitious
in your life who has eventually given you problems, but you
may have not realized that you were letting him (or her) stay
in that place of causing harm and pain. This is deep truth,
but well worth digging into the eternal principles of success
from the Word
was the commander of David's
army. Joab was a man who could "get the job done".
He was very results oriented, and appeared to be a great "help"
to King David. Joab got his place in leadership by getting something
done that King David wanted a way into the city of Jebus
(later named Jerusalem)
to conquer it militarily and take it from the Jebusites
Chron. 11:4-6). David had stated that whoever found a way
to enter the city and was the first in would be the new commander
of David's army. This was a mistake on David's part (not exactly
by the Spirit),
but it was a great chance for an opportunist like Joab. Driven
by his selfish ambition, Joab was the first into the city which
gave him what he was wanting power and authority.
Once Joab had his new position,
he would do anything to keep his power, authority, position,
and prestige he would even kill for it. He killed Abner
Samuel 3:30) and Amasa
Samuel 20:10) when they appeared to be a threat to his position.
(Abner and Amasa were described as "righteous" men
Kings 2:32.) Over the years, this kind of ruthless behavior
by Joab slowly ceased to be distasteful to King David
so much so that David sent Uriah
Hittite to Joab with instructions to "take care of
him" after David's adulterous affair with Uriah's wife,
Samuel 11:14-17). David knew what kind of man Joab was
but still used him to lead his army. The fact that Joab's strategy
to kill Uriah caused "some of the servants of David"
to also be killed didn't bother Joab at all. They were just
collateral damage. Joab was only looking out for "number
one." And Joab knew getting Uriah killed would give him
more leverage with the King in holding the position as commander
of the army.
However, Joab's tendency to kill
those who got in his way eventually got out of hand and harmed
David. (David played with fire by keeping Joab around, and eventually
got burned.) And even though Joab's aggressiveness seemed useful
to David, it resulted in Joab killing one of David's own sons
in one of the saddest events in David's life. You know
the story about how Absalom led a rebellion against David, and
David left Jerusalem. When the two armies clashed, David gave
specific instructions to not kill Absalom. David knew Absalom's
life better than anyone, and perhaps Absalom could still be
redeemed. But when Joab came upon Absalom hanging with his hair
caught in the tree limbs, Joab immediately killed him
even after being reminded of the King's instructions by those
standing around. (Joab's actions were very consistent
Absalom represented a threat to Joab's position.)
By this time, Joab had too much
"dirt" on David for the King to punish him, and Joab
and David both knew it. Therefore David had become unable to
control Joab, and Joab remained the army's commander for the
rest of David's life. It wasn't until after David's death, when
had become King, that Joab was put to death for all his evil
Kings 2:28-34). David knew Joab deserved death, and implied
such to Solomon when David was about to die (1st
Perhaps you have known some "Joabs"
either male or female versions. They are people of selfish
ambition, "users" of others. Perhaps you have been
a victim of their greed for position or authority in the workplace,
or school, or church, or even in your family line. Or perhaps
you have a "Joab" working for you, or under your authority
in your family or some other social setting. Joabs can seem
very useful. They may be very technically proficient in their
line of work or vocation, or perhaps have great skills in manipulating
other people's behavior. They may make you look good if they
report to you, or solve your problems. But Joabs have some of
the following characteristics:
1. they put self ahead of others,
2. they are motivated by selfish
ambition, not compassion or obedience to God,
3. they use or destroy other
people (usually leaving a trail of the hurt/wounded behind them),
4. they use manipulation,
cunning, smooth speech, or intimidation to influence others,
5. they use conspiracy and
deception to get ahead,
6. they either corrupt the
innocent, or else hurt them,
7. they reward loyalty to
themselves by others, rather than loyalty to God,
8. they explain away their
behavior, and justify it, or rationalize it,
9. they reproduce "after
their own kind" resulting in even more "Joabs",
10. they are
often Christians, sometimes even in Kingdom positions.
Examples like Joab in
the Bible were given to demonstrate timeless principles that you
and I can apply to our lives today. First of all, we want to make
sure that we have not let any of those same characteristics creep
unnoticed into our own lives. (Many times unforgiveness towards
a "Joab" will open us up to influence from the same
spirits to cause us to be a Joab!)
Also, we need to live a sin-free
life so a Joab does not have the ability to find something to
use against us (like he did with David and Uriah). And if you
recognize a "Joab" around you, you want to try to end
any relationship with him or her "lest you learn his
22:25). The Bible says, "bad company corrupts good
Cor.15:33). We are to shun the appearance of evil, and that
includes Joabs if possible.
If you are in a place of authority
over a Joab, and let him or her remain in that condition and position
of influence, you "share in his or her sins"
Joabs must be dealt with firmly and intelligently, because they
will not give up position or authority willingly. Some leaders
become "co-dependant" on Joabs, because the Joab will
do the "dirty work" being the hatchet man or
woman for the leader.
Sometimes we find a Joab over us
and therefore are not really in a position to make a change
(much like the soldiers in Israel's army in the days of King David).
This is one of the most difficult situations in life. You might
be a wife where the husband is a Joab. You might be a son or daughter
where the parent is a Joab. You might have a job where your boss
is a Joab. In these situations, first of all we have to "walk
in love" (Eph.
5:2). It can seem unbearable, but the Bible gives us some
exhortation to "Rejoice to the extent that you partake
of Christ's sufferings... if anyone suffers as a Christian...
let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for
judgment to begin at the house of God... what will be the end
of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Therefore let those
who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to
Him in doing good." (1st
Peter 4:13-19). This last verse is not saying it is God's
will for you to suffer under a Joab, but rather if you find yourself
suffering commit it to God and do good (not planning revenge).
But also pray!
The main thing God has made available
to us in dealing with difficult problems like a Joab is prayer!
There are many different
kinds of prayer, and prayer
changes situations. As my dad once said, "Life
is difficult." We need God's help to deal with those
"Joabs" we come in contact with. And the Word of God
contains many principles to help us overcome.
Avoiding the Joabs,
Dale & Judi Leander
things are possible with God! Your break-through may be our
teaching series on prayer!