Don't Be A Fool
By Ed Wrather
(The idea for this devotional came from a message by the evangelist Steve Cody.)
Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Tear your clothes, gird yourselves with sackcloth, and mourn for Abner." And King David followed the coffin. So they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. And the king sang a lament over Abner and said: "Should Abner die as a fool dies? Your hands were not bound nor your feet put into fetters; as a man falls before wicked men, so you fell." Then all the people wept over him again. - 2 Samuel 3:34-35.
In the Old Testament, we read how God had established cities of refuge where people could flee and they would be safe from those who sought to harm them. If a man with an axe made a swing at the tree to cut it and the axe head flew off striking a fellow worker that would be an accident. In that time, it would have been legal for a relative of the man killed to take the life of the man who had been using the axe. However, this would have been an accident and to prevent the taking of lives in situations like this cities of refuge had been established (Deuteronomy 19). The man could run to the city of refuge and be safe from those who would take his life. But if a man had intentionally slain someone, the elders of the city could deliver him over to his pursuers to be executed.
Abner had killed the brother of Joab during battle when Asahel had refused to stop pursuing Abner. Abner warned Asahel to stop pursuing him twice but Asahel continued on. Abner struck him with the blunt end of his spear which went through him resulting in his death (2 Samuel 2:23). At this point Abner makes a wise decision and makes a covenant or peace treaty with King David going over to his side (2 Samuel 3:12-13). But Joab is not aware of this covenant being made and would have been furious about it which he was later on (2 Samuel 3:24-25).
Joab did finally find Abner and he killed him (2 Samuel 3:27). But why did Abner die as a fool? Because Abner had returned to Hebron and was standing at the gate when Joab took him aside and killed him. Hebron was a city of refuge and all Abner had to do in order to live was to take a step through the gate to find refuge. Abner died a fool because he could have lived by stepping through the gate and into refuge.
Abner is a picture of the lost people in this world today. Hebron, the city of refuge, is a picture of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The lost of this world are only one step away from eternal safety. To escape eternal punishment in hell they only need to receive Jesus as their Savior turning from their sin and accepting the salvation that God has provided at such great cost (John 3:16; John 1:12; Romans 10:9-13).
Are you lost and without a Savior? Have you never received Christ as your personal city of refuge? Donít die a fool like Abner and go out into eternal punishment. Instead receive the free gift of eternal life from God (Romans 6:23). Step through the gate, go through the door of Jesus Christ and live. Jesus says in John 10:7-9, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be savedÖ.Ē
Donít die a fool! Step through the door of Jesus Christ and into eternal life.