2 Samuel 2:12-3:1
Now because Abner and the leaders of Israel chose Ishbosheth and Judah chose David, we have a problem. The nation is split and somehow has to be reunited. If the people had sought God, everyone would have chosen David and there would be peace. But, some of them decided to do their own thing so now they have to fight to settle this problem.
Abner proposes to Joab, David’s army commander, to settle the issue with a 12 versus 12 contest. Joab agrees, however the competition ends up a tie and the armies begin an all-out war. As the battle progresses, Joab’s brother, Asahel, starts chasing after Abner to kill him. Abner asks him to stop, because he respects his brother Joab and doesn’t want to hurt him by killing his brother. However, Asahel refuses so Abner, who is a stronger warrior, is forced to kill Asahel. As the sun begins to set, Abner’s forces gather together and basically ask for a cease fire. Joab agrees. Abner’s men continue away from Joab’s men who regroup where they are, then return to Hebron. Abner has lost 360 men, but Joab has only lost 20. David’s army has won the battle. Chapter 3 verse 1 goes on to say that Saul’s army grew weaker and weaker while David’s grew stronger and stronger throughout a long war.
It is sad that the children of Israel are fighting against one another. Unfortunately bad things happen as a consequence of bad choices. When we follow God’s will we can avoid those consequences, but we often, like Abner, have to learn the hard way.
On small slips of paper write small instructions like: you get to pick one piece of candy, you have to jump on one foot 10 times or you have to take out the trash. Basically, some fun, some neutral and some yucky. Make enough that everyone can choose 2 or 3 times. Fold the slips up and then let each person make a “choice.” Point out that some were fun and other weren’t. Repeat (you can allow not picking anything as a choice the 2nd time if you want) until the choices are gone. Discuss that some choices have good results and some bad. In this game we didn’t know the results but in real life we often know what will have good results and what will have bad. Let’s make good choices!