This morning my thoughts linger on stooges, and not the three funny ones. There is a servant leadership but then there is one that is absent of grace. That leadership values expedience and uses leverage.
David's general Joab had stooges. This man was loyal to David but not to God. This passage takes place during a rebellion in Israel. Absolam, one of David's sons, was trying to take his father's throne by force...
"And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. And a certain man saw it and told Joab, 'Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.' Joab said to the man who told him, 'What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.' But the man said to Joab, 'Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king's son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake protect the young man Absalom.' On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.' Joab said, 'I will not waste time like this with you.' And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him." - 2 Samuel 18:9-15 ESV
The nameless man was loyal to God and King but Joab's stooges were loyal to Joab. If you are stooge then you will end up with blood on your hands and guilt in your heart.
There was another man who was a noble leader in Israel. He also had an armor bearer in a different war. Notice this man's dealings with him.
"Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.' And his armor-bearer said to him, 'Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.' Then Jonathan said, 'Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.' So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, 'Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.' And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, 'Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.' And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, 'Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.' Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land. And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic." - 1 Samuel 14:6-15 ESV
Jonathan's armor bearer was no stooge. Jonathan and this man had a grace collaboration. There was mutual respect. There was faith.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Ephesians 6:12 KJV
Our enemies are not flesh and blood but there is a spiritual warfare that wars against our life. Our love and support for one another makes a difference in that battle.
It is funny that there is often a Joab serving a David and that man is high up on the ladder of leadership. He can rise so high that he often comes between you and the King. We have to encounter these men in our life. We must be wise in how we deal with them. Exposure is not often a wise option. If we opt out entirely then we miss out on being with the king.
Loyalty to God first is primary. Men of God will have blind-spots as anointed words flow from their lips. God lets these Joabs stay in the mix. Perhaps it is a braking mechanism of some kind just as he allows tares to be sown in with the wheat. God knows why He allows these things. We often don't.
Joab deals with a nameless man in 2 Samuel chapter 18 and we learn about integrity by being witnesses to this conversation.
God let us be nameless but loyal people who honor You as we honor those with vision in our midst. As we honor our Heavenly king and resist the stooge mentality we trust that our conversation will make You visible in the world. Give us grace collaborators God. We cast away the Joab mentality. Let it be far from us. At the same time if we must work near that spirit give us creativity to give things over to You as situations arise. Thank You God. We worship You.
You will deal with the Joabs in good season.We want to live our lives with clean hands.