Summary: We are born with them. We are often driven by them. Our emotions can help us and hurt us. The real challenge? Can our emotions help us Make a Difference?
Pt. 3 - It's a Process
We have been talking about how we communicate anger. We could say, "I'm fired up!" I'm steamed. That grinds my gears! I'm grated. I'm triffin'!" The way we say it isn't nearly as important as what we do with anger once we experience it. If we handle anger incorrectly, we destroy. If we learn the lessons of the account found in 2 Samuel 23, we discover that mad can become MAD. It is the account of David's mighty men. Remember how they were described?
TEXT: 1 Samuel 22:1-2 (NIV)
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
There were men who were in some kind of trouble, men who owed a lot of money, and men who were just not satisfied with life. (Bitter about life.)
Broke, busted and disgusted.
And yet these angry men learn to graduate, mature, and handle their anger until they MAD. I think we can learn from them right now.
Let's go back and read about another man that did this.
TEXT: 2 Samuel 23:18-19 (GW)
Joab’s brother Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, was the leader of the thirty. He used his spear to kill 300 men. He was as famous as the three and was honored more than they were. So he became their captain, but he didn’t become a member of the three.
As you know, if you have been here, this is my favorite account in the entire Bible. After reading what I just read to you you may ask why? It doesn't appear that this guy Abishai did that much. Sure, he was the leader of the mighty men and he was more honored than the 3 greatest, but that is all we know right?
In order to see why I love his account so much you must go deeper into other accounts and you must do some digging. It is as you dig that you also discover the lessons that will help make this transition from mad to MAD. I will reference the following passages for you, but if you will allow me, I would prefer just to tell his story.
I can see the young man leaning over the exhausted but radiant young woman. She has given him the greatest gift you could give a man in those days - a son. He sees the continuation of his name and lineage wrapped in the new cloths they had secured for this very purpose. The baby is content to rest after the struggle of birth. The new father looks at the questioning eyes of the wife. It is almost as if, with the questioning look, she is asking if he is certain about this. With no hesitation he whispers with force - he will be called Abishai! In the moment of that utterance unseen gears begin to turn. Strings begin to be pulled. Destiny is set into motion. Abishai - what a name to hang on a little baby boy. Abishai means "The Father of a gift."
It is inevitable. The name did it. The young boy hears his name whispered at school, in the street, on the playground. He is the "Father of a gift." Maybe teachers would ask at the start of each school year - "what is your gift?" Perhaps other young men used it as a taunt. What is your gift? Tell us! Show us! And so, it is inevitable. This young man tries to show them.
We read at least 5 occasions where Abishai tries to live up to his name. The first is when David sneaks into a sleeping king's camp. Saul isn't even aware of David - his rivals’ presence. David gets so close to the slumbering king that he is able to take Saul's spear and water jug. Abishai asks David for permission to kill Saul and place the kingdom into David's hands. Let me give my gift David! The second and third accounts are similar. David has been elevated to king and now David's own son, Absalom, rebels and David, rather than going to battle against his own blood, he flees. On the way out of town and then after Absalom's death on the way back in Shimei curses and throws rocks at David. Abishai asks permission to kill this heckler. Let me give my gift David! In the account we read in 2 Samuel 23 Abishai kills 300 men by himself. And finally, in 1 Chronicles 18 we are told that Abishai leads the armies to a victory in which they strike down 18,000 enemy soldiers. In each snapshot, Abishai is attempting to live up to his name. There is a final account that I will read in a moment. But let me stop here and tell you a few things that help us today.