Horns That Don’t Work

1 Kings 2:28 – Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

1 Kings 2:29 – And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.

Hello readers, horns that don’t work. By the end of this blog, you will know what this means. But for Joab, one day he reached for the horns of the altar… and they did not work for him. He thought they had power to spare him and to save him… but boy was he wrong. Those horns usually did work, they usually had power to save… but this day they did not. Do not expect to live a life not needing the altar and the altar work for you on judgment day when you’ve checkmated yourself with a life of sin and rebellion. Oh there is power in the altar, but that power does not work without true repentance and faith… all of which is on God’s timescale. Joab thought God was on his time… but all he was was out of time.

Today is just your friendly reminder from the word of God that Jesus Christ is not at your convenience. What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve quoted a little bit of scripture from 1 Kings 2, where we read about a guy called Joab who did have that much use for God except for when he needed some of the perks of religion such as grace and mercy. And he found neither in his death. Fair or unfair? Maybe you think unfair… but what Solomon did was right.

The Bible says in Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” But if you find out more about Joab from the Bible, you will see that this man did not show mercy to others. In fact, the one thing you will most definitely find… is that he was an incredibly unmerciful man. He was incredibly calculated and cunning and ruthless. People were scared of him and didn’t know how to handle him, even David was at wit’s end with this guy.

Ever met someone like Joab? People out there who are a force to be  reckoned with… who seem to hold all the aces, who know how to get ahead, people who you leave to God to deal with because they’re too hard for you… because they are. Joab is most definitely an interesting character in the Bible, because he seems okay at times… but which of us doesn’t? And being okay at times doesn’t mean salvation? Look a little deeper and get to know who Joab really was. Look at what motivated him… look at how he operated… some guy he was.

We learn that Joab lived a life as he saw fit. He was in control, and he wielded a lot of power… which he used. He wasn’t really interested in honouring God. And David did not even list him among his mighty men… despite the fact that Joab was the general of David’s army… so you’d think he should be in there especially as he figures prominently in David’s life.

But Joab’s life and death teaches us some crucial truths which apply to us today. Because he is like many professing Christians today. They may be mostly good, they may do a lot of good, they may be pretty mighty… but that doesn’t mean they’re saved. That does not mean there is not a heart issue. Because Joab had a heart issue. I’ve often thought of him as like today’s Christian who serves Christ, but they do it their way… rather than the Bible way. Joab served David, but it often looked like Joab was the one calling the shots, not David. Because David would say something, but Joab would take or leave what David said.

Joab was able to work the “system” to his advantage in life. There are so many Christians working the “system” to their advantage out there. Joab won his position through military exploits, but it doesn’t mean he was a saved man. Yeah he was a good warrior, and worthy of being reckoned with… but that doesn’t mean he was right with God at all. Many people are on the right side as well, as he was… but for completely the wrong reasons and with all the wrong motives.

Like Joab, many professing Christians take and leave Jesus Christ as they please. They’re far more the God than God is. Oh they call him God… but that’s as much a mockery as placing the purple robe and crown of thorns on Christ. We all know you’re the one really calling the shots… just as Joab did. Just like Joab, Christians choose how they will serve God. They choose what parts they like. They choose what they will obey. And we see Joab on multiple times blatantly disregarding and disobeying David and doing things as he saw fit. We see him murder in cold blood even.

Joab didn’t mind murdering, but when his justice came for all the garbage he did… man he didn’t want to pay the price. After a lifetime making others pay the price… suddenly this guy doesn’t want to pay the price himself. And he’s trying to die right with God… after he’s lived a life not right with God and not wanting to be right with God. He’s trying to get heaven at the end. But the news is that heaven does not await a life who’s destination has been hell all along.

Don’t think you are going to live a Christless life and turn to Christ in the end. You will reap what you sowed. Somehow people think they can spend a lifetime sowing to the flesh… and yet not reap corruption.  Maybe that’s why they believe evolution, because they think sowing their tars will somehow come up wheat in the end. And you see this guy finally have a need for what he’s lived destitute of and deprived others of in the end. Oh please spare me, he’s trying to use religion to save his own skin from the fate he rightly deserves. Like Solomon is a dummy. He had no need for the horns of the altar in his life… why’s he grabbing onto it now? Christians treat God like he’s some dumb idiot who they can fool the whole way to glory. But don’t expect to live an unrepentant little life and get a magic pass into heaven in the end. Joab did not, and he was a “better” man than you most likely are.

Yes Joab had power and achievements and credentials… but that does not substitute for repentance and forgiveness of sin. Yes Joab fought for the right team… but it did not mean he was right with God. Yes Joab served the right king… but he did not honour the king in his life. Yes Joab seemed to be in the right way… but he did not do things God’s way. Jaob did a lot, and he did a lot right… but that doesn’t mean he was going to heaven or that he was right with God. And same for all of us. And he’s only got a need for the altar at the end. Not because he’s sorry for his sin, but because he’s trying to get away with sin again. Hey, he was able to get away with a fair bit… but he, like you will not escape the vengeance of God.

You may think you’re going to get away with living life how you see fit, and yeah, maybe even with a strong Christian flavour to it… and you somehow have convinced yourself that you’re going to pop into heaven at the last. But you live your way… and God will make sure you go to the destination where you lived your life heading. Your lifetime trajectory cannot be hell and you end up in heaven. Check with your navigator for different directions, because to get to a different place, you need a different route. Make no mistake… if you’re not saved… hell is your place. That’s where you belong already. Hell is opening her mouth to receive you as you read this. It need not be so, but today is the day of salvation, don’t think you’re going to hook and crook and manipulate your way in at the last as Joab did.

This Christianity of us working the system and playing the game to get ahead is not going to cut it. It already does not cut it… and it won’t cut it at the end. Suddenly after a life of merciless, crafty and cutthroat maneuvers…  Joab sees he’s in big trouble because he’s once again connived and crafted… but he’s been caught out… and he reaches for the religious ace of  mercy and forgiveness card to once again wiggle through. But God’s wheels of justice had turned on him finally.

He’d manage to control David for a long time, he’d had the upperhand on David for many years… but he finally met his match. As you will meet yours. You may think you’ve got life by the tail… but really Satan has you by the tail.

Today is a reminder that God is not at your convenience. Salvation and following Jesus Christ is not something we just turn on and off when convenient. God is not your little bell boy who comes running to serve you when you need a get out of jail card. He is God, you are not. He is the Creator, you are the creation. He is not on your time… you are on his time… and it’s borrowed time at that.

You live like you can give and take him and guess what, he’ll give and take you. It doesn’t matter how well you run the religious gauntlet to your advantage in this life… and you may look the part, and you may have people scared of you, and you’ve positioned yourself and others where you need everything and you may have gotten ahead in life… but God will sort you out in the end. You’re not bigger than him. You won’t manipulate and twist your way past the light that no man can approach unto.

Really, I just reflected on the gall of this guy who lived an ungodly life to try pull some religious levers to save his own skin. He murdered people in cold blood, he would call them friend and stab them in the same breath. And he thought he could avoid payday? Joab finished in a grave in the wilderness… because he was a man who was really in the wilderness… even while in church, even while in charge of David’s army. Maybe you’re in church, maybe you’ve been in church… but you’re as in the wilderness as any man on the planet. Joab was not right  with God… are you?

And Joab tried pulling out some religion to get away with accountability and consequences in the end. He tried living a life destined for hell and turning into heaven. And it did not work, neither will it for us. Get saved today, get right with God now, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ… get to the altar now… the horns of the altar are still there to grab on to… but grab them now, grab hold of mercy, grab hold of truth and don’t let go. Because one day, if you don’t, you’ll find those horns don’t work for you. Those horns didn’t work for Joab, because he never laid hold on them when he could have and should have in his life… so they didn’t work in his death either. Take hold on salvation today… because now is the accepted time, TODAY is the day of salvation.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)

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