2 Samuel 19:40–20:2 True Loyalty Resonates With Vision & Values
2 Samuel 19:40 – 20:2
40 The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops (men) of Judah and half the troops (men) of Israel escorted the king on his way. 41 But all the men of Israel complained to the king, “The men of Judah stole the king and didn’t give us the honor of helping take you, your household, and all your men across the Jordan.”
42 The men of Judah replied, “The king is one of our own kinsmen. Why should this make you angry? We haven’t eaten any of the king’s food or received any special favors!” 43 “But there are ten tribes in Israel,” the others replied. “So we have ten times as much right to the king as you do. What right do you have to treat us with such contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing him back to be our king again?” The argument continued back and forth, and the men of Judah spoke even more harshly than the men of Israel.
1 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:
“Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Come on, you men of Israel, back to your homes!”
2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
The men of Judah stole the opportunity to escort David while the northerners are still deliberating on a consensus towards David. Although the northerners were vocal concerning their apparent unfair treatment, their zeal for the monarch again turned into outright rebellion. Today’s passage teaches us the ingredients of true loyalty and what make us stay loyal to the course and to one another.
The men of Judah stole the king – The men of Judah stole the honor of escorting the king across Jordan river as the northerners’ attitude are still divided towards David: only half the troops (men) of Israel escorted the king on his way, whilst all the men of Judah turned up to escort David. The northerners’ complain is their way of voicing David’s bias towards his fellow men of Judah. The men of Judah denied privileged status before David while claiming him as one of their own. The argument flows along the issue of rights and fairness among tribes: So we have ten times as much right to the king as you do, thus exposing the tensions which existed between Judah and the northern tribes.
Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse – One rebellion instigated another, only this time, Sheba the rebel leader lacks the ubiquitous military support that Absalom enjoyed. Nevertheless, David has to contend with another opposition from Saul’s old tribe. The sounding of the ram’s horn signifies the rallying of troops for rebellion. Sheba’s chant consists of a jingle intend on cutting ties with David: We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Consequently, all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri leaving the men of Judah firmly on David’s side.
True loyalty resonates with vision and values, and not with personal benefits or chemistry. The northerners try to project an image of loyalty by hubbing on the lack of opportunity to escort David. However, when a new rebellion arises, they immediately abandon David. Those who differ in vision and values will be half-hearted in their support and will continue to be so despite your all out efforts to win them. On the other hand, those whose vision and values resonate with yours will support you wholeheartedly and for years to come.
There are reasons why people support who they support. True support and loyalty come from the resonance of vision and values; elements that are immutable. If people are looking to obtain some benefits from you, they are liabilities, not supporters. And they will eventually drain your energy and break your heart. The northerners come to David because of what he can do for them. But when a seemingly better alternative arises, they immediately switch camp. The men of Judah, unlike in the previous rebellion stayed with their king in unwavering loyalty. The ideals of the Judahites seem closer to David as evident by their support towards Rehoboam, the grandson of David when the nation eventually split into two. Therefore, leaders must articulate their vision and values clearly and in greater frequency. In doing so, you retain the loyal and like-minded people while weeding out those who are in just for the ride.
- Why do you stay loyal to your church and to your country? What are the vision and values of the church that resonates with you? If you have notions of migrating to another country, what drives you towards that?
- Are you devastated when the members of your team leave you? If they differ in vision and values, their leaving would actually contribute to greater unity in your team. But if they are like-minded in vision and values, perhaps you should look at the way you execute your goals and daily operations. It is also important to look at your personal development and explore ways to develop the individuals of your team.
Dear Lord, I declare my commitment and loyalty to you as my Lord. In the same vein, I declare my loyalty to my church/organization, to those who love and care for me. Help me to stay loyal to you and to my church/organization in helping to advance the mission of Christ on earth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.