Week of Monday June 10 – June 16, 2024
Straight Talk – Battle Buddy

Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” Then the king arose and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king. - 2 Samuel 19:5-8 ESV

My long-time Battle Buddy, Stu Weber, wrote an excellent booklet for Stand Courageous that you can download, titled 
A Man and His Friends. It is an excerpt from his classic book Tender Warrior. In it, he quotes Kent Hughes:

Men, if you’re married, your wife must be your most intimate friend, but to say “my wife is my best friend” can be a cop-out. You also need Christian male friends who have a same-sex understanding of the serpentine passages of your heart, who will not only offer counsel and pray for you but will also hold you accountable to your commitments and responsibilities when necessary.

Then Stu comments:

I’ll never forget the day, maybe twenty years ago, when my friend interrupted me midsentence. There was steel in his eyes as he looked right into mine. His words were, “Why don’t you just DO IT. It’s your JOB as his father.” It was a confrontational statement and it stung—for the moment. Nevertheless, because he was my friend, I had given him the right to say it. His words struck deep and strong, and they made a change in my life.

As we read our Scripture text, we find that David was blessed in this pivotal moment to have a long-time Battle Buddy who was willing to assess the reality of their shared circumstances, look honestly at his emotions, and then counsel directly as to the solution. Joab looked David in the eye and spoke the straight truth to him, essentially sticking a finger in his chest: “Buddy, you better get your head in the game and be the person God created you to be because if you don’t, no one will respect your authority and follow your leadership from this moment on!”

Although I’m paraphrasing Joab’s seemingly harsh words, they were necessary and on target! What David experienced in this episode was tragic. But in his most vulnerable season of leadership, it was Joab, his crusty old comrade in many a military campaign, who had the courage to speak truth to his life. And thankfully, David listened!

A true Battle Buddy isn’t just a “yes man.” He doesn’t just nod in agreement like that old toy dog people used to put in the back window of their cars. No, you need a guy friend who is willing to speak the truth in love to you when you need it most. Men, we not only need friends like that, but we also need to be that kind of friend to another man. When your buddy is about to make a bad decision, step up and speak straight truth. 

Do you have such a friend who would risk the friendship he has with you just to tell you the truth?
- Are you willing to speak truth to another man of God who is veering from the straight path?
- Ask God for the courage to speak straight truth to your friend and the discernment to identify when and how to do it.