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I love reading the stories of the Old Testament.  I can relate to the stories, because the people are flawed… much like we are.  They find themselves in impossible situations… much like we do.  The stories of the Old-Testament are better than any box-office thriller.  One of my favorite people in the bible is King David.  I glean so much wisdom from his victories and his failures. 

THE DEEP ROOTS OF BITTERNESS

Mathew 5:21-25a:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.  Settle matters quickly with your adversary….” 

Today, let’s take a look at one of the saddest stories in the Bible. The story is about a man named Ahithophel.  Throughout history Ahithophel has been compared to Judas Iscariot and has been labeled “the man who betrayed King David” … but there is so much more to his story.  Ahithophel was really a good man… a man who was betrayed by a friend…. a man who became bitter… and that bitterness led him to a tragic end.

From our expose’ on the tragedy of Ahithophel, we will see that bitterness left unchecked often will produce a murderous spirit.  We are no different when we look for opportunities to gossip, slander, and make back-handed compliments about those who we are angry with.  Jesus tells us that we are in danger when we reach this place.

WE HAD THINGS IN COMMON

2 Samuel 16:23:

“And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.” 

I Chronicles 27:33:

“And Ahithophel was the king’s counselor: and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion.”

1 Chronicles 27:33 tells us Ahithophel’s rank in David’s court.  Ahithophel was one of David’s most cherished and trusted advisers.  It seems difficult to understand how this highly beloved and esteemed friend could become a traitor.  Let’s keep reading, the answer is in the scriptures. 

Our first clue:

2 Samuel 11:2-3:

“And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.  And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”

Now we know that Bathsheba is the daughter of Eliam.  Now, let’s find out who was Eliam.  Our final clue is found in the list of David’s Mighty Men in 2 Samuel 23:34(b), “…Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.”  

Eliam is one of King David’s Mighty-Men.  These men were radically loyal to King David.  These men loved King David. They would give their life for King David.  They were David’s skilled assassins.     Now, we see a clear picture, Bathsheba was Eliam’s daughter and Ahithophel’s grand-daughter. 

BETRAYED

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This is where the tragedy begins.  You know the story.  David defiles Bathsheba; the daughter of Eliam, who had risked his life in the service of the King; the grand-daughter of Ahithophel, the one in whom he had taken sweet counsel.

The etymological root of Bathsheba’s name Bathshua “daughter of my prosperity” gives us a clue of how much this beautiful young woman was adored by her fathers.  I am sure that careful attention had been given to the planning of her future.  Her marriage to the young military officer, Uriah, no doubt arranged by her father, would have provided Bathsheba with a secure and honorable life.  Ahithophel’s grand-daughter had been defiled and disgraced by his best friend, King David.

Had this been any other adulterous couple, both would have been stoned to death. Instead, careful planning went into covering up their sin. Including, David having Uriah killed.

So, we now understand Ahithophel’s fury towards David. David crossed the line. From this tragedy we learn that in friendships it is good to have “defined boundaries” so that we walk carefully with one another in the utmost respect, love, and wisdom.

I have seen men tolerate a lot of differences, but when a man’s family is threatened, it is a man’s instinctive behavior to protect and defend his family. Ahithophel knew the king very well. Ahithophel knew that King David’s initial intentions towards Bathsheba were not honorable and were motivated by passion and lust. 

Isn’t it ironic, that the enemy often uses the people closest to us to break our hearts?  The person you let your guard down for…  The person you trusted with your secrets….  The person you laughed with… the person you cried with… your prayer partner… your confidant… your friend.

At times, no amount of vetting could prepare us for the sting of betrayal.  The crippling pain that comes from betrayal is indescribable.  How to get over is no easy task.  My prescription has always been to scream out to God in tears and stay in His presence until He takes away the sting, mends my broken heart, dries my tears, caresses my soul, and restores my joy. 

Psalms 55:12-14:

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him.  But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.  We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.” 

Unfortunately, people do not come with warning labels.  We cannot control the actions of others.  We will suffer some hurt in this life. Yet, I am a witness, that God does take away the sting… and you will find your way to sing again, to laugh, and to love again. 

HOLDING A GRUDGE

“Betrayed by his friend the king… Ahithophel saddled his donkey and returned to his home in Giloh….”

2 Samuel 13:12:

“Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.”

We hear from Ahithophel again about ten years later, shortly before Absalom’s rebellion.   For ten years, Ahithophel nursed his offenses, stoked the fire of his pain, and fanned the flames of the injustice done to him.  The hurt became hate and grew into a big, hairy, gnarling monster of a grudge with teeth.

It is a myth that times heal all wounds.  Time just causes wounds to fester.  The sting of betrayal is like serpents bite leaving a deadly venom that if left uncheck could eventually destroy you – as it did Ahithophel. 

We all have our stories…  Hurt is real.  Pain is real.  Jesus does not dismiss the wrong done to us.  However, we miss God when we demand justice…. “Well, you say someone has to pay”… Jesus already paid.  Jesus covers the offense, the offender, and the offended with His precious BLOOD – and if we stay in His presence He will bring us to a place of lasting peace. 

For ten years, Ahithophel, sat in his house, and waited for the opportune time to strike at David.  Yet, little did Ahithophel know that during those ten years, David was dealing with the consequences of sin.  We cannot be the victim, the judge, the jury, and the executioner.  GOD IS IN CONTROL – and He handles these hard situations for better than we can. 

A TRAGIC END

“Be very careful when your enemies and your friends… become friends…. You just may become the casualty that they both have in common.” 

You know the rest of the story…

2 Samuel 17:14:

“…For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster upon Absalom.”

Absalom and Ahithophel plotted against King David, to take the scepter of Israel… and end King David’s life.  The Bible indicates that God had to intervene in Ahithophel’s counsel, or David would have been killed.

“The purposes of God are always far greater than the men whom He uses to bring about His purpose.  “

King David was not a perfect man.  But he was the man God had chosen to lead Israel.  The house of David would also be the house in which the Messiah would come.  God would defend His interest in Israel and in David no matter what. 

Seeing that Absalom’s fate was doomed….  Ahithophel knew that he was a dead man walking…. it was just a matter of time that King David would return to Jerusalem and to the throne.  So Ahithophel, this powerful man, who once upon a time, walked closely with God, and with the king, returned to his home, put his affairs in order, and took his own life.  

2 Samuel 17:14:

“When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself.” 

Nothing good ever comes out of bitterness….

Powerful Prayer Resource – Healing Traumatic Experiences – CLICK HERE – POWERFUL!

More Prayer Points:

“Father I release {person’s name} from the offense they have caused me.  Jesus, I bring us both to the foot of the cross where your Blood covers their sins and my sins.  I forgive {person’s name}. 

Father, please help {person’s name} to forgive me.  Please help me to forgive
{person’s name}.

Father, please remove every form of bitterness from our hearts.

Father, please take away the sting and erase the memory from the offense from the recesses our souls 

Lord, fill us with Your joy, Your love, and Your peace until we can love one another like You love us. 

In Jesus name – AMEN.”

Worship Experience:

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