Summary: This is about how God's intervention rendered useless the wicked counsel of Ahithophel
Designed 2 Disgrace, Designed 2 Destroy (1): God has another plan
Text2 Sam 16:21-17:2, 17:7, 14
There are some people who are just like a bomb waiting to explode; you could almost hear them ticking away when they come near you. They appear normal, they talk normal, walk normal, come to church like normal church people, praise God like normal believers and you can have normal conversations with them about almost every issue under the sun. But whenever you bring up certain subjects they have issues with or you introduce certain issues related to their past, it is like pulling the trigger. Bang! If you are not careful, they may explode. These sorts of people are those carrying a grudge, those who have been offended by something or someone in the past, and this past may be years and years before.
Let’s pause and ask the question: What is a grudge? The dictionary defines it as a “cherished dislike,” which is like someone cherishing what he or she dislikes, someone holding tight to what they abhor. Extraordinary isn’t it. It really doesn’t make send hold on something you dislike when there are loads of things you can like and hold on to: like the Holy Spirit, like righteousness, like holiness, like your wife, like your husband, like your children, like the Word of God! But these people keep on holding to what they loath, what they detest, until it swallows them completely! Cherished dislike, an oxymoron, a combination of contrasting words that ordinarily doesn’t ordinarily make sense, but it is the contrast in the two words that vividly illustrate what grudge really is.
There are four main characters in my message today: a man in the second book of Samuel known as Ahithophel, David the King, his son Absalom and a true friend of David called Hushai. Ahithophel was a walking bomb, waiting to explode, David had allowed sin into his home and kingdom, Absalom was mounting a rebellion against his father, and Hushai it was that God used to keep David alive! Now, let’s consider a few key points today:
1. Carrying a grudge makes you bitter and bitter people don’t get better
If you are carrying a grudge, you are a bitter person and bitterness has been described as strong, unpleasant, sharp in taste; being resentful, angry, hostile and very cold. The Bible goes further by talking about the root of bitterness, in other words, bitterness has a root. See Heb. 12:15. If you haven’t noticed, bitterness takes you away from God’s grace, it takes you farther from your destiny; in fact it is a destiny destroyer. Why does the bible talk about its root? Because roots start out by being hidden in the soil, just like bitterness starts out unnoticed, like a benign tumour that grows and becomes cancerous if it is not surgically removed. Bitterness begins hidden within the soil of your heart; its roots are entwined around the heart and mind, until they choke the life out of you emotionally and spiritually. If left to grow unchecked, the root of bitterness will cast a huge shadow over everything you are, over everything you do and it will dominate your life. And once the root of bitterness is immersed inside of you, you will find it extremely difficult in becoming better in whatever you are doing.
2. A good person can also be a “grudge person”
Ahithophel was a good man who worshiped God and the Bible says he sacrificed to God (2 Sam. 15:12) which means he was a believer of sorts. He was a smart man whose counsel was like that of God (2 Sam. 16:23). The Bible says his advice is like that of someone who inquired from the Lord. His advice was always accurate, always spot on. He was a wise, because only a wise man could be a counsellor to a great King like David. David trusted his advice and direction. He was an influential man who had direct access to the King. He could approach the King at any time of the day or night. He was a great friend companion of the king. In Psalms 41:9, David described him as his great friend. Yet, despite being a good worshiper, a wise counsellor a great friend and companion of the King, he was a time bomb, he was carrying a grudge, he was bitter, angry and hostile, because of an experience that he was not able to get over. An ordinarily normal and friendly man was wound up tighter than a clock. And he was ready to explode. He was good, but the grudge in him eventually squeezed out the good. What a tragedy.
3. Bitterness Overshadows Smartness
This wise man’s inside was being eaten by an event that happened years before. On the outside he looked normal, which tells you that inside a ‘normal person’ there may be an abnormal situation. The Bible says the heart of man is desperately wicked. In Matthew 23, Jesus described the Scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites. He likens them to a white washed tomb that is bright and beautiful on the outside, but rough and rotten on the inside where dead bodies lay. The word hypocrite originates from a word that means an actor, one who plays a part. And in the famous Greek tragedies of old, a single actor would often play many parts, wearing a different mask for each part. He will transition from one part to other by switching one mask for another. Hence, a hypocrite is someone who plays different roles by hiding behind different masks.