In our passage today, we read about the relationship between the Ammonites and the Israelites. The King of the Ammonites has just died, and David wants to honor him by sending messengers to their land to offer condolences for the death of their king.
The new King of the Ammonites clearly misinterprets David’s intentions in sending these ambassadors. They are captured and sent back to Israel naked and ashamed. They even shaved their beards, which would have been a large cultural no-no. David treated the Ammonites with honor, but they treated David with dishonor.
We then see a large fight break out between the two nations! Because of one act of dishonor toward the Israelite people, the Ammonites guarantee destruction for themselves. When we look through Chronicles at the life of David, we see a man “after God’s own heart.” David, in showing honor to the Ammonites, is fulfilling the Great Commandment to “love the Lord” with everything in him and to “love his neighbor as himself” (Deut. 6:4, Matt. 22:34-40).
In contrast, the Ammonites, a people who did not follow God, fail to fulfill the Great Commandment by dishonoring the Israelite people, and this leads to their destruction. As soon as I read this story, the words of Galatians 6 came to my mind:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8, ESV
What can we take from our passage today? We must realize that God is not mocked. The Lord will not tolerate the dishonoring of our neighbor whether they love God or not. We are to love those around us, even when they are difficult to get along with. Whatever we sow, we will reap. Our actions and attitudes towards others have consequences.
When you look at your life, are you loving God and your neighbor?
Take some time today to pray for one person in your life that you find hard to love. Ask God to help you to see that person as someone created in His image and valuable to Him.
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice