Joab passed the big test: he remained loyal and true to David for nearly four decades, and he resisted the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. It might seem unlikely that a man of such proven integrity would ever turn his back on God. And yet, when David was on his deathbed, Joab conspired to help the scheming Adonijah seize the throne (1 Kings 1:1–7).

Always remain alert to the fact that where one has turned back, any may turn back. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Have you recently passed a big test of loyalty to God? Now is the time to pay attention to the details. “But,” you protest, “it’s not at all likely that I’ll turn back now—not after everything I’ve been through.” Don’t try to predict how temptation will come; peril lies in the least likely thing. It is in the aftermath of a great spiritual transaction that the sphere of the small and seemingly insignificant begins to exert itself. It doesn’t become dominant, but if we don’t remember that it is there, if we don’t remember to warn ourselves about it, it will trip us up.

If you’ve remained true to God under great and intense trials, now is the time to watch out for the undertow. Don’t become morbidly introspective, looking toward the future with dread. Just remain alert, keeping your memory bright before God. Unguarded strength is double weakness. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones. “Shielded by God’s power” (1 Peter 1:5): that is the only safety.

Wisdom from Oswald

The attitude of a Christian towards the providential order in which he is placed is to recognize that God is behind it for purposes of His own.  Biblical Ethics, 99 R