Friends in the Fray
Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue (2 Samuel 21:17).
Tim Kreider wrote about modern-day busyness in a New York Times opinion column. His piece titled “The ‘Busy’ Trap” included a personal experience in which he contacted a friend about getting together. The friend replied that he was busy but might be persuaded to “ditch work for a few hours” if “something was going on.” Kreider didn’t press for a rendezvous. He described his friend’s busyness as “some vast, churning noise through which he was shouting.”
The busier we become, the harder it is to reach out to people who need our companionship, care, and help. Abishai, an Old Testament warrior (1 Chronicles 11:20), extended himself to help David when “David and his men were in the thick of battle” (2 Samuel 21:15). I can think of few busier, more frenzied scenes in the Old Testament than this clash with the Philistines. It must have been overwhelming, fast-paced, and adrenaline-filled. Kind of like life today (but with clubs and spears!).
During this battle, “David became weak and exhausted” (2 Samuel 21:15), and an enemy named Ishbi-benob had him cornered. This guy was large, armed with a 7-pound spear and a shiny new sword. As he closed in for the kill, “Abishai . . . came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine” (2 Samuel 21:17). Abishai had a history of loyalty to Israel’s king (2 Samuel 16:9). So it’s no surprise that he chose David’s welfare over his own as the battle raged around them.
Abishai’s actions can inspire us to look past all that is going on around us as we help our comrades. When life gets hectic and demands are assaulting us from every angle, busyness may test our loyalties. Will we be faithful to the things that occupy our time, or to the people who matter the most?
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
How does busyness affect our “friendship” with God? Why should we strive to do more rather than to be more?