Romans 12 is a beautiful chapter: it is such a contrast to the disharmony of 2 Samuel and the frictions between individuals in the final years of David’s reign. Romans demonstrates once again that the New Testament provides guidance for individuals and offers principles to live by for all those who walk in the footsteps of Christ.

There is no such thing as a ‘Christian’ nation, nor has there ever been. Oh yes, nations have seen themselves as such, but what does God see? Paul’s says, “repay no one evil for evil” (verse 17) which is the very opposite to what we have read today in 2 Samuel and this reflects the relationships between most nations throughout history. The United Nations have attempted the impossible in its during its history, without much success.

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil” (Romans 12:16,17). Despite such advice there can be a tendency to look at others and think how they fail to do this, which is unproductive. We must look within our own hearts. Many situations surrounding the life of David illustrate the opposite, but not in David himself. We must not confuse this with his zeal to serve the Lord. Those who became enemies of the Lord became David’s enemies. In his relationship with individuals he often displayed mercy and forgiveness. He appointed Amasa, who had been captain of Absalom’s army, as captain of his army, but Amasa came to an unworthy end at the hands of Joab, and we will read soon of Joab’s traumatic end.

As we read the Old Testament we perceive the lesson that, “all who take the sword perish by the sword”, as Jesus said (Matthew 26:52). We can trace many occasions when God sets up evil people to deal with one another. With those who love the Lord, the opposite occurs. In Romans we read, “if possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all … never avenge yourselves …” (verse 18).