Session 14

A life of harmony or hostility

From 2 Samuel: A 5-Week Devotional

Upsetting news can bring out raw emotions in everyone. We often respond in irrational ways because we’re not thinking clearly. Our fears and frustrations often snowball out of control until our reaction becomes more dramatic than the actual event. 

The king of the Ammonites, Hanun, had just experienced tragedy in his family. His father had passed away, and Hanun was suddenly thrust into being king. David, the king of Israel, sent a team of messengers to express sympathy to Hanun and offer assistance. 

However, Hanun was misinformed about the messengers’ intent. He was told David’s intentions were bad — that he had sent these men as spies. Instead of welcoming David’s men, Hanun captured them, shaved their beards as a form of public humiliation, disrobed the men from the waist down, and forced them to leave the city in a demeaning march (2 Samuel 10:4). 

Hanun was picking a fight, and there was indeed a fight. David launched a vicious attack to avenge the humiliation of his men. Rather than apologize to David for his overreaction, Hanun foolishly held to his original viewpoint. The war escalated and increased in intensity, resulting in multiple fatalities.  

How often have we, like Hanun, watched mistakes pile up until it feels like we have painted ourselves into a corner? Often instead of admitting our faults and apologizing (James 5:16), we respond angrily and defensively.

How we respond to situations can make the difference between a life of harmony or a life of hostility.

How we respond to situations can make the difference between a life of harmony or a life of hostility. Proverbs 19:11 states, “A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense.” God instructs us to turn from evil and do good; to seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14). When we learn to apologize for our mistakes and forgive others we can avoid the pain Hanun experienced and live a more peaceful life. 

Reflect:

  • How do you handle anger? Do your reactions during conflict reflect an attitude of harmony or hostility? 
  • What relationship in your life needs the healing power of confession and forgiveness?
  • What is one thing you can do today to move toward peace in that relationship?

14 of 35

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

It’s OK to allow ourselves to grieve

Lots of people like David mourn in the Bible. Yet, we often don’t allow ourselves space or vulnerability to feel the emotions raging thro...

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Session 2

Respecting someone after they hurt you

During this life, someone is going to hurt us. It might be a friend we thought we knew, or even our own flesh and blood. We are not going...

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Session 3

When following God, always ask for directions

Have you ever followed your GPS only to end up at a dead end or a remote area? Perhaps you started on your journey without looking at the...

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Session 4

Does God call us to quit?

We’re all chasing after something—a career, a relationship, popularity, money, glory. In 2 Samuel 2:19, Asahel, one of David’s warriors,...

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Session 5

Has your anger gone too far?

Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Th...

Read Devotional

Session 6

What “they” say doesn’t matter

If you live for people’s approval, you will die from their rejection. Anybody who has ever lived through high school knows that is more ...

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Session 7

Why waiting is worth it

David knew God had called him to be king, but the journey from the field to the palace was hard fought and often bloody. David could have...

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Session 8

Why should I ask God what to do?

Most of us don’t like being told what to do. Often, pride makes us want to rebel. Maybe we think we should know what to do on our own, or...

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Session 9

Sing like no one is listening

Singing, dancing, raising hands and crying are all part of worshipping God. The Old Testament is filled with stories of God’s children si...

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Session 10

God always has a better plan

It’s often said that when we make plans, God laughs. Sometimes, we make plans without considering God at all. But other times, we think o...

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Session 11

Why would God choose me?

Has God’s grace ever overwhelmed you? We know who we are, what we’ve done, and how undeserving we are of all that God has blessed us with...

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Session 12

What is the secret to success?

The old farmer was frustrated with his new-fangled saw, and there was no way he could cut two cords of wood a day as promised. “This saw...

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Session 13

Come out of the shadows

Mephibosheth is born into a wealthy and prominent family with a future that is secured. This grandson of King Saul and son of Jonathan is...

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Session 14

A life of harmony or hostility

Upsetting news can bring out raw emotions in everyone. We often respond in irrational ways because we’re not thinking clearly. Our fears ...

Read Devotional

Session 15

What popcorn can teach you about sin

Have you ever sat down with popcorn at the movies? You’re not super hungry, but it’s the thing to do, so you take a piece — then a few bi...

Read Devotional

Session 16

Did you hear what she did last night?!

Who doesn’t like flattery and attention? What if the person doling compliments is not your spouse? What’s the harm with a little innocent...

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Session 17

Is God fair?

“It’s not fair!” If we’re parents, we’ve heard our children say this many times. Even if we aren’t parents, we’ve said it ourselves. We’v...

Read Devotional

Session 18

The difference between love and lust

Today, love is a very misconstrued word. We throw the word love around so much the true meaning has been watered down. Love has become mo...

Read Devotional

Session 19

Why would I reconcile with God?

In 2 Samuel 14:1-24, the wise widow helped David see that his actions did not reflect the heart of God. 2 Samuel 14:14 (NIV 84) tells us...

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Session 20

Is the work of discipline worth it?

Shepherds in Kenya use the thorny branches of the acacia tree to make a tall, thick sheepfold, guarding their animals from predators.  G...

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Session 21

How do you know who to trust?

Do you know someone who will say one thing but do another? It can be pretty annoying. Whether it’s doing your fair share of a school or w...

Read Devotional

Session 22

Choose your battles wisely

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Choose your battles wisely”?  Maybe your mom told you this when you asked advice about how to handle a ...

Read Devotional

Session 23

How to handle the haters

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  Contrary to the childhood rhyme, words do hurt. Justified or not, ...

Read Devotional

Session 24

Pride: a fatal flaw

In 2 Samuel 17, Absalom tries to steal the throne from his father. Hushai, one of David’s confidants, pretends to be on Team Absalom in o...

Read Devotional

Session 25

Do you act before you think?

Have you ever done or said something before thinking about it?  You can probably imagine a dozen instances when you wish you would have ...

Read Devotional

Session 26

Getting over the grip of grief

Loss is like a freight-train that hits us unexpectedly — then continues to drag us around the tracks for miles to come. When we lose a l...

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Session 27

Do for others what Jesus has done for you

After winning the kingdom back from his son, David makes a triumphant return to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 19. It would seem like a perfect ti...

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Session 28

Your words can ease the tension

Two children grow up in the same home sharing the same environment. They know each other well, so they always get along with each other, ...

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Session 29

Is God your last resort?

Ever have one of those days? You know, when something goes wrong, and you think, “At least it can’t get any worse,” but then it does get ...

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Session 30

How do you feel about God?

Have you heard the saying: “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally”?  It’s is mostly used in reference to gossip, but...

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Session 31

How to praise God in all circumstances

A lot happened to David in his life. He went from being a shepherd to God’s anointed king (1 Samuel 16:11-13). He loved God and wrote som...

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Session 32

Waiting for a leader worth following?

David is remembered as Israel’s greatest king, but Scripture is full of reminders that David was far from perfect. His legacy is marred b...

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Session 33

What you need to lead others well

Would you risk your life to bring your commander a drink from his favorite watering hole? How about risking your popularity to defend the...

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Session 34

How to fight with God’s strength

As Christians, we fight battles on a daily basis. Some are internal, like the fight for personal integrity and purity. Others are on beha...

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Session 35

God’s character revealed

As the scorpion leaped from the fish’s back, landing on the river bank, the stinger hit its mark and the fish struggled to stay upright a...

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