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People Who Promote You For Themselves in Shame

Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and moved him to Mahanaim.  He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin—over all Israel.
2 Samuel 2:8-9

Have you ever been in a situation where there is personal ambition and competition that got ugly?  Everyone is ambitious and we are all competitive.  But, certain people are so ambitious and competitive, that they behave in immoral, unethical, anti-social, deviant, or psychopathic ways with others, to get what they want.

The account here says that Abner made Ish-bosheth king.  Sounds sort of good.  Abner might have been the most powerful figure on the 'Saul side'.

Unfortunately, the 'Saul side' is the wrong side.  We know that God wanted David.  But from a worldly perspective, it was Ish-bosheth's turn and Abner knew that.

Because Ish-bosheth did not get it about David and stepped up into a kingship that was not his, there would be civil war, with a lot of blood spilled (2 Sam. 3:1).  Abner openly took a step, to show just how deep his lust for power and contempt for Ish-bosheth and the house of Saul went, when he took Saul's concubine, Rizpah, and slept with her (2. Sam. 3:6-7).  In his weakness, Ish-bosheth, did nothing and showed everyone who had the power (2 Sam. 3:11).

Abner and Ish-bosheth will both be killed in 2 years.

What is the lesson here?

  • Be careful about taking a promotion that is not from the Lord.  God does promote us, but in his way and in his time.  
  • Sometimes in hierarchies, there is someone without the title who has the power and feels entitled to that power.
  • Beware of people in powerful positions who lack Christ's character.
  • Be careful not to yoke yourself to someone 'unequally' (2. Cor. 6:14).
  • Being ambitious is good, but selfish ambition, where we run over other people is wrong (Phil. 2:3-4).


Ish-bosheth's name means, 'man of shame'.  Abner was shameful, in what he did, as was Saul.  At the very least, Ish-bosheth bore their shame and acted out on it.

From the little we know about Ish-bosheth, we can say that he had low self-esteem.  He was weak and might have even been a coward.  Yet, he took the throne, in the midst of a violent warrior culture.

Picture: Pixabay

The consensus opinion in the psychology/counseling/recovery community seems to be that shame is usually and commonly the result of lack of nurture in childhood.  We were not loved for who we are.  Our caregivers did crazy stuff, abused us, or neglected us; all resulting in the lack of nurturing of our authentic selves.  That is shame, in a nut-shell.

Folks who have this inner shame feel a 'badness' ("I am bad"), or even self-hate.  Many times, it is sub-conscious.  Either way, low self-esteem is the result and inauthentic, dysfunctional behavior patterns are developed and lived out; that are all the result of a self that was not loved unconditionally, that is off kilter and trying to "fake it to make it" as a survival mechanism.

But, at some point, we encounter the Love of God, the Father's affection, the Love of Jesus, and the loving comfort of the Holy Spirit, that is real.  Then begins our journey to wholeness, our awakening to unconditional love.

In regards to promotion or getting something you want, there is a saying that goes something like, "Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it".  The lesson is to be wise, be considerate, take consideration, look at the big picture, and count the cost before you take the job, the promotion, or get involved with a person.

Imagine being ushered into power by someone.  If someone tries to make you king, you should have a 'red flag' go off for you.  No man made David king.



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