TODAY’S READING: 2 Samuel 13–15
No good thing comes from passive resistance to the missionary plan of God. The turning point for David and his kingdom was the Bathsheba incident, occasioned by David staying home when he should have been pursuing the glory of God among the nations. David’s passivity led to immorality and murder, which in turn opened the door for even more damaging immorality and murder: incest and fratricide. It is daunting to look at the rage of the nations and tempting to avoid the thick of the fray, but it is delusional to think that we can escape the conflict or remain neutral as the great powers collide. God is at war. He is at war for the hearts and souls of men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. We must actively fight with Him lest our passivity lead to home front disaster. Lounging around home didn’t end well for either David or Amnon.
Incest led to murder, and murder led to one of the great missions truths of David’s story. Absalom was banished and then allowed to return to Jerusalem after Joab used a hypothetical tale in the mouth of a wise woman. Trapping David through emotional appeal, the wise woman uttered the timeless truth, unwittingly prophesying the gospel: “God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him” (2 Sam. 14:14). Other translations say “not cast out” or “not driven away.” How beautiful is this gospel truth: that God devises means to save life. God’s immutable laws must be upheld: A holy God must punish sin with death; a holy God cannot allow sinful men into His presence; a holy God must destroy all sin in fiery wrath; and a holy God must banish the sinful offender from His sacred presence. All this must be done, and yet God devises means for the impossible to happen, God devises means to bring His lost ones home.
God devising means for the lost to be found is ever the gist of missions. William Carey, revolting against the missions passivity of his day, insisted that the church intentionally create mission sending structures so that the gospel might be sent to unreached peoples. Andrew Walls comments on Carey’s famous pamphlet:
The title of his seminal tract of 1792 is itself eloquent: An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, In Which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings and the Practicability of Further Undertakings, Are Considered. The crucial words are “the obligation to use means.” There is theology in Carey’s pamphlet, and there is history, and there is demography; but at the heart of it lies the responsibility of Christians to seek the appropriate instrument to accomplish a task which God has laid upon them.
The link between Joab’s meddling in the mouth of a wise old mother in Israel, William Carey and the modern missions movement, and the 2.7 million Palestinian Arab Muslims in Jordan is God devising means, means to bring His banished ones home.
David’s sin meant he must leave home, hounded by his own flesh and blood. Exiting the city of Jerusalem David granted grace to his loyalists, telling them they need not be banished with him. The Cherethites and the Pelethites demur (ironically these two peoples are from Crete and Palestine) (15:18). David’s son was trying to kill him while his mercenary troops from other nations preferred banishment and risked their own lives to keep him safe. Even the Gittites from the Philistine capital of Gath (which was ground zero for David’s sworn enemies) refused to leave David’s side saying, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant shall be” (v. 21). A foreigner swore loyalty not just to David, but to Jehovah, the God of Israel, and that foreigner was from Gath—a proto-Palestinian of the same people we pray for today. Surely God finds ways to bring His lost ones home!
 Andrew F. Walls. “Missionary Societies and the Fortunate Subversion of the Church.” The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith. Andrew Walls, ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996. 243–244.