CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH

TRUST THE BIBLE

“Bitterness

      Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 Recently I preached the message “When you can’t forgive” using the shameful event of David & Bathsheba’s terrible adultery as my text [II Sam 11] which it would help you to read before continuing. By way of introduction let me say that one of the most painful things in life is betrayal! If you’ve lived very long you may already know the great pain & heartache of having been done wrong…maybe even by someone you loved and trusted! Often in the wake of betrayal & heartache come great wrath, anger and bitterness. Let me tell you a story: Back before David slew Goliath there was a man of great wisdom named Ahithophel. So very wise and great was he that the Bible says his counsel was “as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God” [II Sam 16:23]. Ahithophel later became one of David’s counselors and most trusted friends. But David fell into a terrible sin – adultery with a married woman known as Bathsheba! She was the young beautiful wife of up and coming military hero Uriah. Uriah was a great warrior and though young himself he had already risen to David’s own elite force of valiant fighting men! Together Uriah & Bathsheba had dreams and a bright future! But while Uriah was off fighting for King and country, his King was committing adultery with his beautiful young wife! David and Bathsheba ruined forever that bright future with a night of adultery. If you’ve read the text, you know that Bathsheba ended up pregnant and to hide it, David brought Uriah home from the front to spend time with his wife so that it would appear the baby was Uriah’s and not David’s. When that failed, David had Uriah murdered in battle. Bathsheba had a loving Dad and doting Grandfather. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many times Bathsheba’s granddad gave her piggy back rides and took her fishing as a child, but it does tell us who he was. Can you guess? The beautiful young Bathsheba’s grandfather was none other than the great Ahithophel {David’s friend and counselor}. When Ahithophel discovered the dark secret of what his dear friend the great King David had done with his precious granddaughter; how he’d defiled her and gotten her pregnant & ruined a family’s hopes and had murdered her husband to hide it all he was consumed with rage! It was a painful betrayal of his son, his granddaughter, his grandson-in-law, of the throne and of God! Anger & outrage spread like a wildfire in Ahithophel! It consumed him so deeply he said horrible things [II Sam 16:15 to 17:6] and even asked David’s wicked son Absalom to let him have some men with which to go hunt David down and kill him personally [II Sam 17:1-4]. But meanwhile David had been confronted with his sin, and he and Bathsheba had paid in tears with the death of their baby for that night of fun and that murder [II Sam 12]. Sin always has a price and it’s always much higher than you think it’ll be! David sought and obtained mercy & forgiveness from God. We don’t know if he ever went to Ahithophel and asked his friend’s forgiveness, but if he did it fell on deaf ears. This betrayal had hurt Ahithophel too deeply for him to forgive. The bitterness of seeing Bathsheba in David’s arms, while her husband and baby lay cold in the grave turned his heart to stone and his great wisdom to darkness. I would caution you as your friend and as a pastor, anger and bitterness will eat you alive – you must forgive! By the end of II Sam 17 Ahithophel hung himself. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Many verses come to mind in dealing with the results of anger and betrayal, of bitterness and wrath and all of them point to a simple truth: The heart that’s been born again and filled with the Spirit of God cannot long endure the heavy burden of bitterness and anger without suffering harm. See Colossians 3:13   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” and Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. I encourage you to search for God’s strength in mercy by asking God to help you find compassion and forgiveness! This is the will of God. Yes, it is hard but with God all things are possible! Robert E Lee, a great Christian man, was once asked “whatever shall we do…just look what they’ve done” by a war ravaged family whose large old Oak tree had been shattered to shreds by Union cannon fire. He reflected a moment in silence and then said, “cut it down”. That’s good advice! Get the sad reminders out of sight, cut the bad memories down and move on! Come visit us at Calvary Baptist Church! 903-729-5924