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Why Bitterness Bites – And Forgiveness is Sweet

Tuff Stuff Series - #2

Gages Lake Bible Church

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Pastor Daniel Darling

Intro:

Poet Robert Frost said this:

If one by one we counted people out

For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long

To get so we had no one left to live with.

For to be social is to be forgiving.

A Betrayal Most Bitter

Tonight, we’re going to talk about forgiveness. Perhaps nothing God asks us to do is harder than forgiving that person who has wronged us deeply.

And we’re not going to talk about little silly flaws, like the guy in traffic who cuts you off or the McDonalds server who is rude. Those are little slights that pass in a fleeting moment.

No, tonight we’re going to talk about those deep hurts. Those painful blows we take from people we least expect, from people we love and cherish and trust.

In the Psalms, we read the very raw personal reflections of King David, about a betrayal that nearly took his breath away. If you have your Bible’s please turn first to Psalm 41:9 and Psalm 55.

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (KJV)

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: [13] But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. [14] We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Psalm 55:12-14 (KJV)

In these psalms, David speaks of the betrayal of his closest friend and advisor. This was a trusted man who spent many years at David’s side, giving great counsel. This man’s name was Ahithophel. Tonight, we’re going to learn Ahithophel’s story.

Who is Ahithophel?

Who was Ahithophel? His name means, “brother of folly, but his life was anything but that. He was David’s most trusted counselor. He was known throughout the kingdom for his great, great wisdom.

In fact, it says in 2 Samuel 16:23 (KJV) “And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.”

This man was so wise, so tuned into God, that when he spoke and when people inquired of his wisdom, it was as if God Himself was speaking.

Have you ever known someone who has that kind of wisdom? I’ve known some older pastors who seemed that way. They just exuded wisdom. They wasted no words. And when you sought advice, you got advice.

I’ll bet this man saved David a lot of foolish choices. I’ll bet this man helped David in times of battle, in building the kingdom, in expanding the borders. David, according the psalms, relied on nobody more than Ahithophel.

A Stunning Betrayal

But as we open the pages of 2 Samuel, we find a stunning set of circumstances. First, we have Absalom’s attempted coup upon David.

These were tough days in David’s life. Not only was someone trying to take the throne, but his own son was trying to take the throne. I can’t imagine the pain David felt. Much of this was because of David’s own sin, that his family was ripped apart.

In 2 Samuel 15, we read about Absalom’s charm offensive among the people of Israel:

And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 2 Samuel 15:1-6 (KJV)

David’s servants warned David what was going on. They said, you need to flee Jerusalem.

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