By reading the story of Ahithophel and studying the scripture that goes with it I learned much about how my relationship with the Lord affects every part of my life: at work, within the church, and at home.
Because Ahithophel was not willing to forgive David and let God handle the judgement of the sin, he opened up the door for Satan to plant bitterness. Bitterness is what the writer of the book of Hebrews warns me against. I went back and looked up the verse to read:
"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; Hebrews 12:15
It is by the grace of God that I can do all things, so I am to always be on the lookout, watching my actions, my thoughts, my ways. Why? To prevent bitterness from coming into my life and taking the throne of my heart from the Lord.
It is from this verse I learned that it will not always be easy to spot bitterness in the beginning. It is a root and roots remain hidden under something else.
- It's something that may take time for me to spot unless I am constantly(diligently) looking for it. It's something that others may never see until it's in full flower. Sort of like the couple who are always so great together in public until one day you read of their divorce in the paper.
- If you compare it to a plant, as Paul did, bitterness grows best in dirt. The dirt of unforgiveness, lashing out at the person who has hurt you, whether it is directly to them, or spreading poison among others as Ahithophel did when he went to the camp of Absalom.
- It grows swiftly. Paul says "spring up" It doesn't take long for something to spring up. Weeds in a flower garden spring up over night, but the root for that weed was there before you saw the weed. It is the same with bitterness. By the time others see the effects of bitterness, you have been feeding it and thinking of it for awhile.
- It grows stronger as time goes by. The longer you refuse to forgive someone, the harder it will be to do. The hurt you feel, although a constant source of pain for you, will become calloused over as it grows, adding layer upon layer.
But if you look closer and think of it the way God sees it, and the way I came to understand it as I studied, you will soon see that it wasn't David's sin of adultery and murder,but Ahithophel's sin of unforgiveness that was the cause of his problem.
Am I reading too much into this? I don't think so and here is why. Ahithophel was not the only man who had been wronged and could have taken revenge. There was Eliam, Bathsheba's father. What was Eliams's reaction to what David had done? He chose to obey God and forgave the King. No big to do, no calling attention to himself, Eliam, Bathsheba's father simply chose to obey God's law of forgiveness. he chose to leave David in God's hands, to let God deal with it in his way and time. How do I know this? Eliam continued in the service of the King. He continued to be faithful and defend his King as a soldier. He did not join with the army of Absalom against David. Unlike Ahithophel, Eliam left no place for Satan to work in his life.