"Then Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the King; but Joab would not come to him. He sent a second time, but Jaob wouldn't come... So Absalom's servants set (Joab's) field on fire."
(2 Samuel 14:29, 30b)
Sometimes, if you're like me, you don't feel like returning phone calls or emails. Not all, of course, but a select few that you know will be either uncomfortable or frustrating. So I put them off. Well, a story in 2 Samuel 14 reminded me of how dangerous that practice can be...
King David's house was falling apart. Ever since his affair with the married woman Bathsheba, things had gone downhill within his family. One son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar's brother, Absalom, then killed Amnon 2 years later in retribution. Though distraught, David didn't punish Absalom, who fled the country for three years.
Joab, David's military commander, brokered Absalom's return to Jerusalem, but for two more years David wouldn't see his son. So Absalom asked Joab to get him in to see the king. Twice! Joab didn't respond to Absalom's request. He simply ignored it.
Bad move. They lived next to each other. To get Joab's attention, Absalom set his fields on fire! Harsh, yes. But it worked! Joab came to see him and set up a meeting with his father, the King. Do I condone field burning? No. But it reminded me to be timely in responding to calls, notes and requests.
How about you?