Three Strikes and You’re Out
Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire. ~2 Samuel 14:29-30
In baseball, a batter is considered “out” when he has three strikes. A strike is when he has had an opportunity to try to hit the ball that is thrown to him, but he is unsuccessful and misses. In California, our legal system declares a criminal who is incarcerated a third time as a third strike, and he is no longer eligible for release. Our devotion this morning considers God’s law of three strikes and you’re out.
We see the reasonable request.
Absalom requested Joab to come to him so that Absalom could see the king, his father. He had been away for a period of time and wanted an audience with his father. He did not expect to be turned away or delayed in his request. When God calls upon us, He expects us to respond and not to turn Him away.
We see the repeated reiteration.
Absalom had no response from Joab. Joab ignored the first request. So, Absalom called a second time. The request was the same: he wanted an audience with the king. God, in His patience towards us, will give us a second opportunity to answer His request.
We see the reluctant refusal.
“He sent again the second time, he would not come.” Absalom made two very clear and understandable requests for Joab to come to him. In each case, Joab would not come. He refused the requests. Someone once wrote and asked Emily Post, the etiquette expert of another generation, "What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the White House but has a previous engagement?" Replied Post, "An invitation to dine at the White House is a command, and it automatically cancels any other engagement." Joab refused to change his mind and disregarded the call of Absalom.
We see the ravaging repercussions.
Absalom told his servants that Joab had a barley field near unto his. He told them to set his barley field on fire. The barley field represented his livelihood and sustenance. It represented his life savings and investment. It represented something that he loved and worked on. Absalom’s servants set it on fire. A year’s crops would go up in flames. He would feel the pain of monetary loss. He would see his dreams go up in smoke. Absalom wanted his attention and, so, he set Joab’s barley field on fire.
We see the realistic representation.
Absalom called once, he called twice, and the third time, he set Joab’s barley field on fire. That’s how it is when we refuse to hear the Lord and obey Him. He calls once, He calls twice, and the third time, He sets our barley field on fire! He calls the sinner to be saved. He calls once, He calls twice, and the third time, He sets the barley field on fire. He calls the backsliding child of God to come back into fellowship. He calls once, He calls twice, and the third time, He sets the backslider’s barley field on fire. He calls a man to be a preacher of the gospel. He calls once, He calls twice, and the third time, He sets the barley field on fire.
The third time that He calls is, “Third strike and you’re out!” The third time that He calls might be the final call! The third time that He calls could be costly and hurtful! Don’t get down to the final strikeout with God. Obey Him, follow Him, and respond when He calls!
Have an obedient God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 31-32