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Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!

And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?” (2 Samuel 3:38)

The context may not fit what I want to speak of, but it does open the conversation. David was speaking of a man named Abner who had been the general of King Saul, and had been key in installing Ishbosheth as King of Israel following the death of Ishbosheth’s father, King Saul. Meanwhile, Judah had chosen David as their king, so there was a division then that preceded the divided monarchy yet to come following the death of Solomon.

David had a sister named Zeruiah, who had three sons, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. All three were great fighting men, with Joab, who became David’s general of armed forces, probably the fiercest. And there was a history of bad blood between Joab and Abner, as Joab’s brother Asahel had been killed by Abner in battle. But although Abner supported Ish-Bosheth as king, he also took the liberty of dallying (and I’m being delicate using that term) with Rizpah, one of the now deceased Saul’s concubines, which was considered an insult and an affront to the current King, who would, shall we say, by virtue of his position, inherit the previous king’s concubine’s. And when Ishbosheth confronted Abner about the matter, Abner was indignant and vowed to transfer the Kingdom completely over to David.

The “peace summit” between David and Abner went well, but as Abner was on his way home, Joab returned from one of his forays and heard of the goings on. He called for Abner to return, supposedly peacefully, and 2 Samuel 3:27 says “And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” But David was not happy at all, saying (2 Samuel 3:39) “And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” That verse follows our introductory verse where David says, “…Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?”

Physical death is a part of our eternal journey of life. It is often an unpleasant experience both physically and emotionally, and leaves those “left behind” in a heightened state of grief. The Bible speaks of mourning periods for men such as Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8) and speaks of us highly regarding those who are now serving Christ in this life (“And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13) We recently had to say “so long for a time” to Pastor Smith, and I can say that “a prince and a great man has fallen in America and Christendom.” We had wonderful services recognizing and honoring Pastor Smith, and we should have. The services were uplifting, reminded us of the brevity of this life and the beautiful reality of the next life, and reminded us to treasure our moments together.

We shall see Pastor Smith again quite soon, assuming we have established our relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ through the new birth. In the meantime, let’s not engage each other in prideful battles that result in deaths of relationships, and let’s not stoop so low as to shed the blood of war in peace (1 Kings 2:5). Such things represent the diametric of esteeming one another for their service of Christ, which we are not just to do, but to “highly do” as we did for Pastor Smith. And let’s practice esteeming one another thusly - long before the funeral is scheduled!

Love and Prayers to all,

Pastor

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