Have you ever tried to prove your loyalty to someone only to have it backfire on you? I'm sure we've all done something of this nature and I believe that usually the "proving" comes out of something other than a pure motive. In 2 Samuel 4, we see such a miscalculation.
Saul's son, Ishbosheth, had just found out about his father's death and was resting in grief on his bed in the middle of the day (2 Samuel 4:5). You would think a person would be safe minding his own business in his own house in the middle of the day. Think again. Saul's son, Ishbosheth also had two men that were captains of his armies, who had apparently decided that this day was the day they were going to prove their loyalty to David. So, these two men/captains went into Ish's house, killed him and took his head way across "town" to David.
First of all, I can't believe that in these times people hauled bloody heads around as souvenirs. Secondly, as I write this I'm trying to imagine what was going on in the minds of these captains as they betrayed their former "boss" to prove their loyalty to the new king (David). I bet they thought they were going places. Little did they know that David was a man of God. Look at David's response upon finding out about the "deed" and then we'll apply this passage to our lives:
David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as the Lord lives, how has delivered me out of all trouble, when a man told me, 'Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more - when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed - should I not now demand his blood from you hand and rid the earth of you!" (2 Samuel 4:9-11 NIV)
Yes, the plot of Recab and Baanah didn't quite turn out as they had planned. They were trying to achieve favor with a man by disobeying the laws of God and ended up dead. Friends, that never works for long. We must always strive to please God with pure hearts and pure motives. If we do that alone, we will win favor with men.
To think about:
1) Who am I serving, really? Am I trying to impress others by improper deeds?
2) Do I seek God's direction before I act or do I rely on my own wisdom for my decision making?