Words. An insult from one man. These words spoken in insult during a tense time nearly sparked a second civil war in Israel as David returned to Jerusalem.
David's family and men were chased from Jerusalem by Absalom's (David's son) rebellion. A ferocious conflict ensued and many lives were lost in the civil conflict. After the fighting, Absalom was dead, David wept, and everyone was disheartened. On returning home, it was not a march of triumph, but of more conflict. The men of Israel and the men of Judah bickered with each other over their claim to King David, and Sheba got in the final word, calling the Israelites to desert David. Later, Sheba was hunted down. Were it not for the wisdom of one woman, he would have plunged the nation into another civil war. In the end, Sheba lost his life because of his harsh and rash words, because the wise woman of the town of Abel cut off Sheba's head to dissuade David's army from destroying the city.
Words are powerful, harmful, brilliant, beautiful, lively, and deadly. Imagine the devastation of a word like "Guilty!" How many lives have been forever altered by its utterance. Imagine the ultimate Word of God come to pronounce "Forgiveness" on all who would receive him through faith. Truly, the forgiveness for our sins available through faith in Christ is "a better word," (Heb 12:24). This passage challenges me to choose my words well, and to seek to use them to point others to their need for forgiveness and the source of salvation in Christ. God, use me to speak a good word for you today.