But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now. (2 Sam. 19:4-7)
Joab rightfully discerned that David’s grief over Absalom had turned the victory of the armies of David into a shameful display of mourning over Absalom, who though a son was also an enemy of David as king. Joab recognized that the excessive grief by David had utterly destroyed the morale of his armies, who had been victorious and yet felt ashamed. What should have been celebrated, not gloating over the deaths, but praising God for the victory, instead led the armies to hide and slink away as though defeated. Joab went a little over the top in pointing out the disparity between David mourning his son, who opposed David, and the lives of all his servants and soldiers who remained alive and had faithfully served David, but his message got through to David, leading David to return to Jerusalem in victory.
Grief often makes us thing and do differently than we would do otherwise, especially in the death of someone close to us. Even if that person had obstructed and opposed us, our grief can catch us unawares to what we are doing and cause us to act based on the loss and separation and not on the reality of that which we now face. Christians have the assurance of eternal life which gives us hope and blessing, but even we can focus on the temporal in times of mourning. Grief and loss, even for a Christian who has the blessed hope of Christ by faith in Him and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary, can lead to faulty or hasty decisions and disruption of those around us. Each of us handles grief differently but moving forward and trusting God should be our focus and goal. Alienating our friends and fellow servants in the LORD while we grieve not only damages our relationships with them but also damages our testimony before God and unto those we are trying to reach for Him. He has called us to reach the lost, teach the nations, and preach the Word, and a period of grief may temporarily interrupt our service, but it should not undermine our ministry and our reliance on Him who has saved us unto Himself through forgiveness and grace. He is our Rock, our Strength, and our Peace and He comforts the mourning even as we continue to serve Him and glorify Him in all things.
While we are here, God has sent those of us who are His saints and know Him out into this world to reach the lost that they might be saved from sin. He desires that His people strive to be holy and obedient unto Him that we might minister to those around us who are hurting and in need as He provides. We serve others, equipped with the Word of reconciliation and righteousness, rightly divided and fitly spoken, that they may see Christ in us, the hope of Glory. Our God has commanded us to love one another with an unfeigned love, even as He first loved us, and to disciple one another in the Word of God so that we may all grow in grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our Lord has commissioned those who are His with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to go where He sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and reconciliation with the Father through faith in His Son, that those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God might have life in His Name.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. God calls you to faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary to pay your sIn debt. He has provided the only way of reconciliation with God, forgiveness from God, and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.
(For more on dealing with death, grief, and mourning, check out GriefShare and a local support class near you.)