God has a super-weapon to deal with that kind of betrayal.
1 Chronicles 26 & 27
Heaping Coals of Fire When Betrayed
1 Chronicles 26 & 27:
Betrayed by Someone Close
Chapter 27 ends with the list of David’s closest advisers. It says in verse 33, “Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion.” These two men were probably David’s two closest friends, people he trusted and confided in. But sadly, one of them would later betray him. David wrote about it in Psalm 55. Verses 12-14 recall the anguish he felt:
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
Our spiritual ancestors experienced the same struggles and disappointments we do. Perhaps you have experienced some betrayal by a friend or even a spouse. Maybe you’re undergoing some other kind of hurt or rejection. If so, go to the psalms and find comfort from God’s Word, knowing that others have gone through similar things and come out the other side.
While God through His Word can bring us great comfort, His work in us doesn’t stop there. He wants to grow and change us through our trials, even when we are deeply hurt. In the process, He may use us to bring either restoration to the relationship or conviction to the offender.
First we need to pray and give the hurt to God. Then we should examine ourselves and ask God to show us where we might have contributed to what happened. That doesn’t mean we are responsible for someone else’s sin, but we are responsible for our own actions or reactions.
Perhaps we see that we were a small portion of the problem. If so, we should take 100% of the responsibility for our 5% or 10%. That might mean going to our offender and asking forgiveness without blame-shifting or minimizing what we did.
Our tendency, even when we’re willing to go to them, is to say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper when you hurt me so badly.” In other words, I’m sorry I did it, but it’s really your fault! Instead, we should simply say, “I’m sorry I lost my temper. Will you forgive me?”
Next is the hard part! We are not to expect anything in return. They may confess their wrongdoing or they may not! Either way, we are only responsible for ourselves.
I can hear the cries now, “So he or she just gets a pass on what they did?!”
No, at this point, God wants us to pull out the heavy duty weapons. Does that mean, “Don’t get mad, get even?” or “Now can I tell him everything he did to hurt me?”
No, Romans 12.17-21 tells us that we are not to take our own revenge (gossip, the silent treatment, attacks, etc.). Instead, we are to leave room for the wrath of God. If there is justice to be meted out, we are to leave it in His hands.
Our weapons are found in verses 20-21:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
God calls us to “do good” even to someone who has acted like our enemy. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will have an ongoing relationship with them, especially, if something illegal like abuse has taken place. Neither does it mean, that we don’t report a crime or allow them to suffer certain consequences for their actions. But, even in those cases, we are to do what’s required with a forgiving heart and a desire for them to get right with God.
The good we do might be praying for them. It might be treating them kindly when we have contact with them, as it is in cases of divorce, especially when children are involved. But there may be other ways God wants us to do good and we should prayerfully seek His direction.
Maybe you read verse 20 and you’re still wondering about those “coals of fire” you’ll be heaping on his head! The coals of fire are the conviction God applies as we respond in Christ like ways.
Notice that verse 21 is a command, “Do not be overcome by evil …” We are not to let evil overcome us, but are to overcome it with good! Our feeble attempts at revenge are pea shooters in comparison to the greatest weapon there is … the love of God! It can soften the hardest heart, but it’s greatest work is often done in the heart and life of the one willing to use it!
Today’s Other Readings:
When God Seems Absent
“… delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand.”
Sometimes God temporarily withholds His power and allows His glory to be obscured, but He is always working behind the scenes to fulfill His plans and purposes for His ultimate glory.
Drawing from the Well of Wise People
Verse 5, “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”
God desires for us to walk in wisdom. Much can be gained from what we have been doing this year, reading the Scriptures carefully and thoughtfully with the help of the Holy Spirit.
God also gives us wisdom through gifted Holy Spirit controlled people. We should all spend time listening to good Bible teaching and talking to and asking questions of wise men and women.
But there is another way for us to gain valuable wisdom and insight from wise men and women: reading their books and blogs! It saddens me to hear people say, “I’m just not a reader.” We all NEED to be readers to some degree or another because God saw fit to record His Word in written form.
He has also gifted great men and women of the past and still today, to write books that allow us to sit at their feet and glean a deeper understanding of the Scriptures and the outworking of God’s power, love, and wisdom in their lives.
There are books that can deepen our personal quiet time like:
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
There are books on prayer like:
The Heart of a Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You by Elizabeth George
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
The Power of a Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian
The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian
The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life by Charles Spurgeon. I’m re-reading this one right now and being immensely blessed!
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett
The Majesty of Prayer: Encounters with God’s Amazing Grace by John MacArthur
I’m currently spending time in The Valley of Vision and being immensely blessed by it.
Books that can deepen our understanding of our fallen nature and the grace of God like:
Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone by Elyse Fitzpatrick
The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney
There are great biographies and autobiographies that can impact your life in astounding ways:
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxis. This book has greatly impacted my life over the last couple of years.
Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose. I still use it as an example when I talk to people about enduring hardship.
I’ll be sharing some other books in the days to come, but I’m also blessed by the abundance of good, biblically sound blog posts and eBooks being written by women and men today. But, it is important with blogs and books to be discerning. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it biblical. Make sure what you’re reading lines up with your Bible! That’s another reason to be reading God’s Word in a purposeful way.
That All Might Be Saved
God made it clear in this passage that He desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2.4). In fact, that has always been the heart of God. Even in the Old Testament, God’s salvation was not exclusive to the nation of Israel. Throughout we see, gentiles who came to know the One True God, such as Ruth, Rehab and many others.
He desire is always to use His children to reflect His glory and draw others to Him. One illustration that comes to my mind is the story of Naaman (2 Kings 5.1-19), who met the prophet of God, was healed and saved, because of the life and testimony of a little Jewish servant girl.
Are you like that unnamed servant girl? Does your light shine out to a lost and dying world?
How do you respond when friends betray you? Do you take it to the Lord and seek His grace or do you become sinfully angry and bitter? Is there someone you need to forgive, something you need to get right between you and the Lord?
Do you spend time around wise people? Do you read good books, listen to good Bible teaching, and study His Word with other believers? Consider choosing one book and begin reading it, thoroughly and thoughtfully.