2 Samuel, chapters 19-21

Chapter twenty relates to us how Joab ambitiously regained the position of chief military commander and incurred God’s wrath.

After Joab disobeyed King David by killing his son, David fired Joab and gave his job to Amasa (2 Sam. 18:12-14; 19:13).

Amasa had previously served as the commander in the insurgent army (2 Sam. 17:25).

When the two men met to chase down a new insurgent, Joab tricked Amasa and ran his sword through him.

“Joab said to Amasa: ‘Are you all right, my brother?’ Then with his right hand, Joab took hold of Amasa’s beard as if to kiss him. Amasa was not on guard against the sword that was in Joab’s hand, and Joab stabbed him with it in the abdomen […]” (2 Sam. 20:9,10).

Thus, by the end of the story, we are told that “Joab was in charge of all the army of Israel,” (2 Sam. 20:23).

Joab allowed his zeal for his job as David’s right-hand man to turn into self-centered ambition.

This disproportionate ambition led him to commit at least two murders and participate in at least one other (2 Sam. 3:27; 11:16,17).

Eventually, Joab was held accountable for his evil deeds (1 Kings 2:31-33).

What we learn from this story is that while zeal for attaining greater privileges in God’s service is commendable, one should not allow that zeal to turn into selfish ambition.

An overly ambitious attitude could lead us to give priority to a personal agenda rather than to obeying God’s theocratic arrangements.

When we ignore God’s instructions handed to us through the congregation in order to protect our self-interests, we wind up hurting others and displeasing Jehovah (Heb. 13:17).

Exodus, chapters 34-37

“Let all who are skilled* among you come and make everything that Jehovah has commanded.”
~Exodus 35:10

*skilled: wise of heart

Jehovah extended out an invitation to all his people to volunteer and take part in the privilege of building the tabernacle, which was to be the center of true worship for around 500 years.
Today, we live in a time of great spiritual growth and enlightenment.
Despite society’s moral decay, “the path of the righteous […] grows brighter and brighter until full daylight,” (Prov. 4:18).
Prophecies relating to the abundance and accessibility of God’s word are being fulfilled as we venture further into “the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4; Matt. 24:14)
Jesus extended an invitation into the future to those now living to join in the ‘harvest work,’ so to speak, and spread his father’s message. (Matt. 9:37,38)
We may feel inept, unworthy, or too insignificant to partake in the fulfillment of these prophecies, but as the footnote explains, “skilled” literally means “wise of heart” in the original language. This understanding enables us to see ourselves from God’s point of view.
King Solomon, one of the wisest men to have lived, describes someone with a wise heart as a person who knows “the right time and procedure,” or who knows “both time and judgment,” (Eccl. 8:5 {New World Translation}; {Reference Bible}).
This implies letting ourselves be guided by God’s spirit as we strive to display qualities such as faith and patience. (Ps. 37:7; Gal. 5:22,23)
Regardless of our origins, Jehovah God is the one choosing us to draw close to him, (John 6:44).
If we pray to him for wisdom and other fine qualities, he grants them to us through his spirit and his word. (Ja. 1:5)
Therefor, anyone can come to be “skilled” or “wise of heart” if we use our gifts to serve him instead of serving self-centered goals.
God’s modern-day servants accept today’s equivalent of the invitation and selflessly set aside lucrative careers to volunteer where there is greater need of Bible ministers, to build more halls and branch offices for the growing organization, to humbly serve anonymously in those branch offices in the capacity of artists, translators or lesser-recognized fields, or as traveling overseers supervising and motivating over a dozen congregations at a time.
Jehovah is the one making us “skilled” and worthy, provided that we are willing to carry out his work.