Tempered Zeal

However, he (Asahel) refused to turn aside; therefore, Abner struck him in the belly with the butt end of the spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died on the spot. And it came about that all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still. – 2 Samuel 2:23


Asahel was the brother of Joab (the man who commanded the army of Judah for King David). The commander of the army of Israel was Abner. Sensing defeat, Abner fled in retreat from Joab’s army, but Asahel (being fleet afoot) pursued him. Abner (being the superior fighter) knew that he was capable of killing Asahel and, fearing the reprisal of Joab, begged Asahel to turn back. He did not and Abner took his life. Sometimes we, like Asahel, might be just a bit too zealous for our own good.

Zeal for the things of God is commendable, but this zeal needs to be tempered by the wisdom that comes from our Creator. Zeal or passion without God’s added wisdom often leads to rash action, failure, and even destruction. On the other hand, when zeal is paired with God’s wisdom, it is powerful and often leads to His greater glory.

Be zealous, yes, but also be wise. Sometimes it is a good idea to turn back.

 Zeal is fit for wise men, but flourishes chiefly among fools. – John Tillotson

Published by Dr. David Pope

Dr. David Pope is the Founder and CEO of Pope Initiatives. ARM Solutions is a division of Pope Initiatives that exists to activate collaborative efforts for sustainable impact among the global unreached.

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