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Allies in the Battle

I’ve always enjoyed movies that have big, epic battle scenes. This is especially true if it looks like the “good guys” are going to be overrun by the “bad guys” until a pivotal moment happens, and the tide is turned. The perfect example of this is in the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers, when Gandalf returns to the battle with reinforcements and effectively saves the day.

The Bible is filled with the retelling of many real-life battle scenes. Many are noteworthy, but I want to focus on the battle in 2 Samuel chapter 10. In this passage, the Israelites are drawn into battle with the Ammonites as well as the Arameans. Fighting a battle on two fronts is almost always a recipe for defeat. The commander of the Israelite army, Joab, knows this all too well and so he makes a plan.

In verses 9 to 12, we learn that Joab has analyzed the coming battle and he decides to split his forces. Joab takes command of some of the forces, and he puts the rest under the command of his brother. He tells his brother that if either of them need help during the fight, the other will need to come to his recue. In verse 12, he tells his brother to be strong and to fight bravely for the people of God.

Though Joab has created a sound strategy, he recognizes that the outcome of the battle is not entirely up to him. In a rare moment of faith, Joab says “The LORD will do what is good in his sight.” If they are victorious, or if they experience a humiliating defeat, they can trust that God’s will is being done in their lives.

We can learn a lot from Joab’s planning and the faith he exhibited in this passage. Joab wisely seeks out help from his brother. And we should do the same thing in our lives. We all need allies we can rely upon when life gets difficult or when a major decision needs to be made. We were never meant to live our lives alone. Instead, we need a strong, Christ-centered community that we can rely upon. And it is wise to build up these relationships when life is good, so they are available when you need help the most.

But it is important that we see God as our ultimate hope and ally. We need to have the same kind of faith that Joab exhibited and trust that God will only do what is good in his sight. This can serve as our great comfort when the future looks uncertain. And, as John Piper commented on this passage, this kind of reliance of God can give us boldness as we follow Christ.

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