Love That Failed: Joab

Reading: 1 Kings chapter 2 verses 28-34.
It is tragic for a person to reach the end of life’s journey, only to discover that they have achieved nothing of worth. Such was the case with JOAB. Outwardly he was successful and seemingly indispensable to David but God viewed things from a different perspective. He does not appear in David’s gallery of thirty mighty men, other than a means of identifying others, e.g. ‘Asahel, the brother of JOAB, was one of the thirty’, 2 Samuel chapter 23 verse 24. He may have been the most prominent person in the kingdom but it was others who gained the honour.

Joab’s end befitted the self-seeking, hypocritical and vindictive character that he was! His apparent loyalty to the king disappeared as David was about to die. He threw in his lot with Adonijah, David’s rebellious son, who exalted himself to the position of king. Clearly, Joab saw no future in following Solomon, the man of peace. He only understood the way of war and bloodshed. However, when he realised his error, he escaped to the tabernacle and clung on to the horns of the altar, imagining that this would save him.

His actions were indicative of a man who had no appreciation of the way of approach to God. He used the altar for self-preservation but he did not come on the grounds of repentance and sacrifice; therefore, far from saving him, the altar condemned him! He was slain by Benaiah and was appropriately buried in his own house, which was situated in the barren wilderness, verse 34. He appeared to love David but love of self was of paramount importance to him. In reality, his heart was far from David.

May the Lord challenge us all as we reflect on these three characters. ‘Love never fails’, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 8 is so true of our Saviour’s love for us; what of our love for Him?