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Two Questions to Ask in Any Conflict

September 10, 2018

Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. And as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah. 2 Samuel 2:24

After the death of Asahel, the conflict escalated to a whole new level. For Joab and Abishai, this loss was personal. It fueled their anger, and so they set out after Abner. Where will it all end?

Abner’s forces had been on the run, but they regrouped and took a stand together at the top of a hill called Ammah (2:24). The sun was going down at the end of this tragic day of bloodshed.

Abner called out to Joab: “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?” (2:26). Abner focuses on two questions that are helpful to ask in any conflict:

1. Who am I fighting? “How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?”

2. Where will this lead? “Do you not know that the end will be bitter?”

Abner should have thought about that in the morning. If he had, he would not have suggested the twelve-on-twelve contest that led to such awful violence. But, to his credit, he speaks with wisdom in the evening, even if it was in his own self-interest.

Abner was not a good man, but even bad people can do good things. That’s called “common grace”—the kindness of God by which bad people sometimes do good things.

Reflect on these questions in light of a conflict you are currently dealing with.

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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