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Beware of Selfish Ambition

September 13, 2018

While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 2 Samuel 3:6

As the long war continued between the house of David and the house of Saul, the problem for Abner was that “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker” (3:1).

So Abner was becoming more in a house that was becoming less. Rising to the top in a house that is going down is not a position that anyone wants to be in.

At this point we are told about a major falling out between Abner and Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul he had anointed as king. Abner took Saul’s concubine, Rizpah, which was a very public way of laying claim to the throne. So when Abner did this, Ish-bosheth challenged him: “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” (3:7).

Abner was not a man who liked to be challenged, especially by Ish-bosheth, who depended entirely on Abner to keep him in power. Abner was so angry with Ish-bosheth that he was ready to change sides (3:9-10). So Abner sent messengers to David, and said, “Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you” (3:12).

What would you have done if you had received an offer like that? David might easily have said, “Think what this man could do for us if he were on our team!”

But Abner had always been about himself. When it suited him to promote Ish-bosheth, he promoted Ish-bosheth. When he thought he would be better off with David, he went over to David. The question is how David would respond.

What would you have said to Abner’s offer? Why?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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