We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Humilitation–Beards Trimmed and Clothes Cut

How do you respond when someone humiliates you? Do you retaliate? In 1st Chronicles 19, David’s men are humiliated while delivering gifts to the new king of the Ammonites. His men are shaved (beards were important in those days) and their clothes cut so that they were half naked.

Paranoid and insecure, the new king’s advisor thought that David was sending his men to spy out the land for an offensive–an offensive that didn’t exist. Responding out of fear, he shamed David’s servants.

When he realized his error, the king chose to launch an offensive attack rather than humble himself. Isn’t that what we often do when we face conflict? Our pride takes us down a destructive path until the end is worse than the beginning. Oh, that we would learn that shaming others for our own self-protection reveals our insecurity and the depth of our weakness.

Knowing that Israel was too strong, the king of the Ammonites hired the Syrians to help attack Israel. Now that’s a modern-day parallel, as the fearful and offensive need to enlist others to strengthen their position.

Attacking from the front and rear, the Syrians and the Ammonites far outnumbered Israel. But Israelite commander Joab, seeing his plight, rallies his troops by saying: “Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.”

So how does a king and commander handle humiliation? They didn’t respond in order to protect their honor. They only responded to defend and protect the honor of God and others.

If you were to continue reading 1 Chronicles 19, you would read: “And when the servants of the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Syrians were not willing to save the Ammonites any more.” Can you catch the practical implications for us today? When we humble ourselves and behave valiantly on behalf of God and others, the enemy of pride will be bumbled into submission.

Published in: on October 3, 2010 at 3:14 am  Leave a Comment