sermon: Bitterness Can Kill

Mike Ford (1955-2021)
Given 04-Apr-20; Sermon #1536B; 37 minutes

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Ahithophel was David's trusted counselor and later the champion of Absalom. The desire to avenge the crime committed by David against his granddaughter Bath Sheba and son-in-law Uriah consumed him, ultimately turning his heart irreversibly bitter and treacherous. Interestingly, the etymology of the proper noun Ahithophel means "brother of a fool," appropriately describing his alliance with Nabal, whose name means "fool." David's adultery with Bath Sheba and his murder Uriah to cover up his moral turpitude may have provided more gall than Ahithophel could process. He perhaps did not feel God's judgement on David was strong enough, and therefore determined to take matters into his own hands. Obviously, Ahithophel's treachery blindsided David, inspiring him to compose Psalm 55. David, instead of praying for revenge, prayed that God would turn Ahithophel's counsel to nonsense. God granted David's request; Ahithophel, having lost Absalom's confidence, withdrew and committed suicide, seeing his years of plotting for revenge come to nothing. A desire to take revenge is a strong part of our carnal nature. Yet, God has not delegated to individuals the duty of taking revenge; He claims that "vengeance is Mine." Ahithophel serves as a poignant example that we should not permit a root of bitterness to undermine our faith that the sovereign God is able to bring justice to all.

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