LINK: 2 Samuel 20-21
The schism between Israel and Judah shows up again here when Sheba, a Benjamite (Saul's tribe) of Israel, led a rebellion against David. The tribes of Israel followed Sheba while Judah remained loyal to David. David told Amasa to gather his men for battle, but he took too long to do it, so David sent Abishai after Sheba. Joab joined Abishai in the venture, and the two leaders (and brothers) pursued Sheba. When Joab encountered Amasa, he killed him, thus regaining his position as head of the army, then he continued his pursuit of Sheba.
Sheba was hiding in the city of Abel Beth-maacah (Abel, for short), so the army besieged the city. A wise woman of Abel called for Joab to find out what he wanted. In order to save the city, the woman convinced the people of the city to kill Sheba and so end the siege.
There was a famine for three years. David recognized the famine as chastening from God, so he asked God the reason. God revealed to him that Israel was guilty of killing some of the Gibeonites under the leadership of Saul. (Remember, they had made a treaty with the Gibeonites not to kill any of them.) So David talked to the leaders of the Gibeonites and asked how he could make restitution. They took the lives of seven of Saul's descendents.
This section of narrative ends with more exploits of David and his men against the Philistines -- giants, even.
Many difficulties arise in our lives as believers, often just because life is difficult. But there are also times when God chastises his own children. You can read about it in Hebrews 12:5-11. Many Christians go through life's difficulties always wondering if God is punishing them for some unknown deed, and they live in a state of defeatedness because of it. I am of the opinion that God does not leave his children wondering. If he is disciplining you, you will know it, and he will also make known to you what your offense is. Otherwise, his discipline would be pointless. So, when life is difficult, seek the Lord. He will sustain you through the rough times, and you will grow from them. (See Romans 5:3-5.)
Father, thank you for loving us when we were your enemies and making us your children. We rejoice in our reconciliation to you! Lead us in serving you with our lives. Bring us comfort in sadness, strength in difficulties, and confidence in who we are as your children. Amen.