"ROOT OF BITTERNESS"
I. AHITHOPHEL HAD AT ONE TIME BEEN A CLOSE FRIEND OF DAVID.
A. In 15:12 it tells us that he had been David's counselor.
B. In 16:24 it tells us that the counsel of Ahithophel which he counseled 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.
1. For Absalom to send for him, to aid in the rebellion against David, it must have been that Absalom knew the bitterness that Ahithophel had developed in his heart for David.
2. It is thought by many scholars that Psalm 55
was composed by David when he heard of the defection and counsel that Ahithophel has given to Absalom.
a. They cast iniquity upon me, in their wrath they hate me.
b. My heart is pained, I am gripped by the fear of death.
c. It was not an enemy that reproached me; I could have accepted that. Neither was it he that hated me that magnified himself against me, I would have hid myself from him: but it was you, my friend, my equal, my guide. We had sweet fellowship as we would walk to the house of God together.
II. THE COUNSEL OF AHITHOPHEL TO ABSALOM SHOWS A DEEP SEATED BITTERNESS AND HATRED TOWARD DAVID.
A. The first counsel was intended to shame David before the eyes of the nation. Go into your father's concubines in the sight of all the people and they will know that your father abhors you.
1. David had a secret affair that few knew about, disgrace him publicly. Go to his wives openly.
2. We read that they put a tent on the top of the palace and Absalom went into his father's concubines in the sight of all of Israel.
3. In this the prophecy of Nathan to David was fulfilled.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of your own house, and I will take thy wives before your eyes, and give [them] unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
B. Next Ahithophel counseled Absalom give to him 12,000 men to immediately pursue after David, and he will come to him at night while he is weary and weak, and will so terrify him that all those who are with him will flee, and I will kill only David. Then all the people will return to you in peace.
C. Here is this once close friend of David, wanting to be the one to personally kill him.
D. Bitterness can and often does lead to murder.
E. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said that you shall not murder, and whoever murders is in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever hates his brother is in danger of the judgment, and whoever shall say to his brother you are worthless, is in danger of the council, and whoever says you fool is in danger of hell fire."
F. In the proverbs we read:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.
G. Jesus said: The things which come forth from your mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies and these are [the things] which defile a man.
H. God is looking upon our heart, and He sees the anger, hatred, bitterness that is there.
I. There is a very close relationship between our emotions and our physical well being.
1. The glands in our bodies are like chemical factories, they are producing chemicals, hormones many good, some harmful to our physical well being.
2. In proverbs we read that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
3. Laughing while eating helps promote good digestion.
4. Anger, bitterness, produce harmful, destructive chemicals.
J. Paul lumps bitterness with wrath, anger, and malice.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
1. Bitterness is the root, but from that root comes:
a. Wrath and anger.
b. Evil speaking, malice.
c. We are exhorted by Paul to put these things away from us.
K. In Hebrews we are told to watch carefully that we do not miss the grace of God by allowing a root of bitterness to spring up.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;
1. It will trouble you.
2. Many can become defiled as the result.
III. WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE WOULD CAUSE A MAN WHO HAD ONCE BEEN SUCH A CLOSE FRIEND OF DAVID TO BECOME SO BITTER AGAINST HIM?
A. It goes back to the sin of David with Bathsheba.
B. It turns out, if we search the scriptures, that Bathsheba was the grand- daughter of Ahithophel.
2. In 2 Samuel 11:3
we read that Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam.
3. Being a close confidant of David and the grandfather of Bathsheba he would have known the inside story.
4. He was angry with David for compromising his granddaughter, this bitterness had been brewing in his heart for years, so that now when the opportunity has come he wants to disgrace David and kill him.
5. Ultimately what you have buried in your heart is going to surface.
C. How often am I to forgive my brother an offence against me? seven times?
1. Sometimes in thinking that we are so righteous, we can be guilty of violating one of the greatest commandments of all.
2. It matters not how much I might profess to love the Lord, if I hate my brother, all of my professions of love for God are meaningless.
3. Here is what the word of God says about hating your brother.
He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, he knows not where he is going, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.
Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
4. What do we learn from these verses?
a. Hatred is deceptive. You think that you are in the light but you are actually in darkness.
b. Hatred is blinding.
c. Hatred is equivalent to murder.
d. You cannot truly love God and hate your brother.
5. Sometimes in reading these verses we assuage our conscience by saying, that we really love them. But again John writes. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
6. Jesus spoke of how people circumvented the law that said you were not to curse your parents, by prefacing their remarks to them by saying, "This is for your own good."
7. The problem is that your bitterness and hatred not only effect you in a negative way, but we are told that many are defiled. It spreads from you until many become affected.