2 Samuel 2:17-23; 3:23-27; 11:15-25; 20:7-11; 1 Kings 1
Joab’s life shows us what happens when a leader subtly tries to usurp God’s agenda. As the chief of staff of King David’s army, Joab was unwilling to forgive and willing to compromise at any cost.
Bibles, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- “Rank has its privileges.” Have you ever heard someone use that phrase? Have you noticed that those “privileges” usually give someone license to bend the rules in his or her favor? Share a brief incident where you observed this taking place. (Be sensitive to how much information you share about someone else.)
- As you listen to others share, do you see any common threads when it comes to leadership positions? What similarities do you hear?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Is there “rank” in the kingdom of heaven? Do status and position appear in the Bible? Summarize your view of rank and leadership in the Bible by using boxes and arrows to draw an organizational chart.
- Thought Questions
Read 2 Samuel 2:17-23; 3:22-27. Can we learn anything from this bloody mess?
- David was a man of war, and bloodshed was simply par for the course in his life and work.
- Not everyone on your team may have the same values you have as leader.
- Bitterness and revenge go deep and are not easily shaken.
- David forgave Abner. Joab’s bitterness led him to directly violate the king’s command.
- The end result of bitterness is murder. We are just as guilty of this as Joab.
Read 2 Samuel 11:14-27. Was Joab simply following the king’s orders or did his own wishes get in the way of a just response?
- You can’t blame Joab for obeying his commanding officer’s orders. This is on David’s head.
- Wait a minute! You can’t blame David for all of this. Joab had the freedom to disobey David.
- Joab was willing to follow David’s order to allow Uriah to be put in a position where he would be killed in battle.
- Joab later disobeyed David (see 2 Samuel 18:5-15). What does this say about how Joab functioned?
- Joab appeared to base his decisions on whether he would benefit personally.
David bypasses Joab and uses Amasa to gather an army to deal with a troublemaker named Sheba (read 2 Samuel 20:4-11). What can we learn from Joab’s example?
- Not much.
- The thirst for power corrupts a leader’s moral values.
- Joab was unwilling to be second in command. He could not step back and allow someone else to lead.
- When you read more stories about Joab, you realize that this is a long-term pattern, not a little slip-up.
- We can learn that if we do not deal with deep problems in our hearts, things will go from bad to worse.
In 1 Kings 1, we find a final story about Joab. Once again he seems to be in the midst of power plots. How are the themes of this story similar to or different from the following:
- Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples (Luke 22)
- King Herod (Matthew 2)
- Cain and Abel (Genesis 4)
- Moses and Korah (Numbers 16)
- Daniel and the Satraps (Daniel 6)
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
- Option 1: Venting about a friend who cheated him, your teenage son says, “I hate him so much I’d like to knock his front teeth out!” How might you encourage your son to deal with this injustice in a healthier way?
- Option 2: What is the difference between justice and revenge? On posterboard (or a large sheet of paper), create two columns with the word JUSTICE at the top of one column and REVENGE at the top of the other. Illustrate the differences between these two actions by using Scripture to support your points.
- Option 3: Who is the Bible’s counterpart to Joab? Who stands in an opposite position in how he or she lived? Share with your group who this person is and why he or she is so different from Joab.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Is there any revenge or bitterness in your heart that needs cleansing? Have you sought power or position or been willing to compromise biblical values to achieve your goals? Spend a few moments searching your heart and asking God to cleanse you from these sinful attitudes.
- Gather as a group and pray that God will give each of you an attitude of service toward one another (and toward those outside your group) during the coming week, showing true strength in the Lord.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Deuteronomy 30:19; 2 Samuel 3:6-11; 21:1-9; Psalm 91:4; Mark 13:13