The Death of a Brilliant Fool

2 Samuel 3:33, 38

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 3:33, 38

2 Samuel 3 tells of the tragic demise of Abner, a great man of middle age and robust health who died in a foolish manner.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel’” (2 Samuel 3:38)?

Abner’s story is instructive for those who want to live lives full of wisdom and abundance.

First, we see that Abner was in a place of fearful danger; he was in the middle of a battle, fighting on the wrong side against David. Seeing his defeat, he fled and was chased down by the brother of Joab, the king’s commander-in-chief.

Abner killed his hunter, and as a result, faced a foolish death, himself. “Now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately, and there stabbed him in the stomach so that he died for the blood of Asahel his brother” (2 Samuel 3:27).

Hebron was a city of refuge where Abner would be safe. But he was lured outside of the city gate by Joab, who killed him to avenge his brother’s death. Abner’s foolish death is an illustration of what it is like to die without faith in Jesus Christ.

Adrian Rogers says, “Jesus is our city of refuge, and yet many great, discerning men are going to die like fools because they will die just outside the gate of the city of refuge.”

Abner, a brilliant man, died like a fool because he was deceived. Likewise, the devil has deceived many into believing he is their ally and God is their enemy. This friendly deceiver lures them outside of Christ our refuge to strike them down.

Finally, we see the final determination of David and his tears after the fact: “And the king sang a lament over Abner and said: ‘Should Abner die as a fool dies’” (2 Samuel 3:33)?

Abner’s destiny was fixed, and David’s tears could not bring him back. Adrian Rogers says, “David wept after the fact, but Jesus wept before the fact. Oh, may God give me a heart that’s broken over the lost destiny of men.”

Apply it to your life

Are you safe in the city of refuge that is a relationship with Jesus Christ? Is your heart broken for the lost? Pray for the salvation of those who may not yet know Jesus.