“How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. (2 Samuel 20:9-10)
Relate: This is one of the few times when I really do not like the NLT version of the scripture I am using. In the NIV it says: “Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand.” The best word for word (but not very readable) version, the NASB, says: “Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand.” For those KJV only folks who might happen to be reading: “Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand.” All three versions are saying pretty much the same thing. Amasa was no on his guard against the dagger. It is not that he did not notice the weapon. It is more that he saw the dagger but not the threat it posed.
React: The title of this post is not one of my creation. Those three words will forever be linked to this scripture in my mind thanks to a sermon my Bible College President, Maurice Lednecky, shared on this. Amasa lost his life because of one unguarded moment. That is all it takes. A reputation takes years to build and seconds to topple. Integrity is a long, slow, faithful process. Its loss comes in one unguarded moment.
The consequence might take us by surprise but the threat doesn’t. We see the temptation, we recognize the sin, we just are not aware of how far, deep, and destructive it might truly be. I could give examples, but I am sure you could give just as many. We all know people who have lost decades of work thanks to moments of stupidity. We are all aware of people who have spent years trying to rebuild the trust, the reputation, that was obliterated thanks to a brief instant of insanity. One unguarded moment is all it takes to destroy a life. God, don’t ever let me drop my guard.
I need You, Father, to guard and protect me. There are dangers around me physical and spiritual that I simply cannot, on my own, always be alert and on guard against. Keep me from sin. Provide a way out when temptation seeks to ensnare me. But also protect me from slander and lies. Guard me against anything that might prevent me from being an active and effective ambassador for You. Bring to my awareness those daggers that I might see but do not truly recognize. As Your child, I long to be known as a person of integrity. Help me to never fall prey to that one unguarded moment.