Unnecessary Battles


1 Chronicles 19 retells the story of the folly of the King of the Ammonites. He listens to his foolish counselors who tell him that David’s men, who came to express their condolences, were really spies set on overthrowing them.

The king then treats them scandalously; David treats them with compassion. But the king’s folly doesn’t stop there. He realizes he judged poorly and then does it again. He decides he’s made himself a stench to David and so hires himself an army.

David’s reaction had just been to care for his men. He didn’t react by calling out his soldiers. He had some self-control.

The Ammonite king shows no such thing. It’s not until David learns they are drawing up in battle against him that he sends out his troops. David and Israel handily win the battle. Tens of thousands die because of an unnecessary battle. The king of Ammon brought it on himself. They end up as servants to David and Israel.

How often do we bring unnecessary battles on ourselves?

We can certainly out ourselves in this king’s situation and be mad at someone for something we think they did, and struggle with being upset and fighting a battle struggling to forgive but maybe we had just made wrong assumptions, had wrong understanding.

We may worry about something that never happens. All our worry created a battle within us since we’re commanded to not be anxious. It didn’t prepare you for what was to come or prevent it; it just hurt you.

Maybe you’ve damaged a relationship, fighting to control what the other person should do, when it was never your job to play God and try to direct the outcome of their lives.

You may be struggling with wrong thoughts, words and images in your head that you are fighting to get rid of and not dwell on, but you were the one who first watched whatever it was that got them in your head in the first place.

What if we just submitted everything to the Lord, took every thought captive, responded in love and with the Lord’s guidance instead of reacting, and choose to love with God’s love that covers over sin? We could walk in victory, because we would be avoiding the battles that never needed fighting.