In 1632, at the Battle of Lutzen during the 30 year’s war, King Gustavus Adolphus was shot in the back while leading his cavalry in a charge against the Catholic armies of the Holy Roman Empire. Who actually killed him remains an unanswered question. However, many historical authorities insist that Gustavus must have been killed by one of his own men, if not accidentally them, intentionally by a traitor. Were they manipulated into doing it? Was there a threat of physical assault? Or was it just plain betrayal?
Today it is true that we have enemies all over the place and it is not unusual for us to be either unaware of them, aware but being patient, or betrayed. Yet it remains, Sometimes we are manipulated. Sometimes we are verbally assaulted and Sometimes we get shot in the back. Many times we find that our enemies come out in droves especially to kick us when we are down. When we are truly suffering. And when we are struggling, again, we are manipulated, assaulted, or betrayed.
If this is the case… What do we need to see before we recognize that an enemy is before us? Do we know how to recognize an enemy? But it still remains… We have enemies. And again, we may not be aware of it. Aware but patient, or betrayed. Jesus knows a thing or two about this.
In our passage, today, we find in a precarious and suffering situation; the king of Israel, David. Because of Absalom's rebellion, David was forced to flee the kingdom and he headed toward the mount of Olives. When he was a little past the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth was waiting for him with supplies. "What are these for?", asked David. The supplies were well thought of and well thought out... it would be perfect for their plight. David however responded suspiciously, why in the world would one from the house of Saul want to help me? And... Where is he? Ziba the manipulator was his servant. Why was Mephibosheth not here to accompany his gift? He stayed in Jerusalem, because he thinks the kingdom will come back to the house of Saul. After all I’ve done for him... well everything that is Mephibosheth's is now yours. And of course Ziba (the Manipulator) was thankful for getting it all. And what was Mephibosheth the cripple really gonna do about it?
Then David approached Ba hu rim and another person from the house of Saul appeared. Shimei (the curser) cursed them, verbally and physically assaulted them... he told them that David is only getting what he deserves for stealing the throne from Saul. God is punishing him. One of David's men wanted to kill him, but David stopped them.
In comes two of David's trusted men, Ahithophel and Hushai(the betrayers), who just betrayed David to be in league with Absalom. Even Absalom was surprised that they betrayed David. We are loyal to the Lord's man... and now that is you Absalom. What should I do now? Ahithophel the betrayer, one of David's trusted men, told Absalom to go and sleep with all of the wives and concubines of David's. Then the people will see that you and your father will never be reconciled and they will support you even more. They set up a tent on the roof of the palace so that everyone could see and he had his way with them. And the author sarcastically tells of the wisdom of Ahithophel the betrayer was as if it were the very voice of God... but remember, it probably was.
2 Samuel 16:
Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
1. Ziba the Manipulator
2. Shimei the Curser
3. Ahithophel and Hushai the Betrayers
4. Christ our Sympathizer
Today as we go through this text, I will first discuss the enemy of manipulation. Second, we will look at the enemy of cursing and assaults. Third, we will feel the hurt from the enemy of betrayal. And Finally, we will look at how all this that David experienced was a picture of what our Lord experienced and how he turned manipulation into faith, cursing into blessing, and betrayal into betrothal.
Thesis: Though sin and the pattern of this world may cause us to become discouraged by the assaults of our enemies, we can rejoice today because Christ has overcome the world and in the presence of our enemies he prepares a place for us.
I. Ziba the Manipulator
- Manipulation: a deceptive means to get our own way."
A. It has been said that..."Manipulation is the art of reworking something. It is a skillful operation ... an artistic ability applied toward changing objects. It is also a deceptive means to get our own way." Did Ziba get his way... deceptively? How could he be? He was there for David giving him food to sustain them as they flee to safety. He did something good for David right? Well it would be if the motive was right. Remember I said a couple weeks ago that the difference between leadership and manipulation is motive.
B. Let’s look a bit more careful. David became suspicious. Where is Mephibosheth? Why? Ziba was just a servant... all that he was giving to David belonged to Mephibosheth. Why was he not there to present the gifts? David was in haste, in confusion, in desperation and Ziba used the opportunity to not be generous, but to be greedy.
C. He threw Mephibosheth under the bus. He said he wanted to stay in Jerusalem because he believed that the kingdom was coming back to his family... the house of Saul? He is betraying you king David. But how will this happen under a son of David? Has Mephibosheth lost his mind. What are we to make of this ?
Dr. Davis writes, It’s simple: Ziba lied through his teeth. It was a bit risky, but in the present hyper-situation he knew David had no opportunity to check his story. And Ziba was obviously pro-David; the loaded donkeys were tangible evidence of that. And in the pressure of the moment David made an impulsive decision.
D. Well ok then. If that is the way he is gonna be after all I have done for him. I am giving everything I gave to Mephibosheth to you. "Oh thank you my king," Ziba responded. Considering this, was David manipulated? Yes. Ziba was not out to help David, but to line his own pockets. Motive right!!! Another instance of one taking advantage of one casting about in a moment of stress.
E. In robert leckie's the wars of America. There is an account of the horrible winter during the battle of valley forge. The soldiers kept themselves awake all night moving because they were afraid to fall asleep and freeze to death. Some of the soldier’s legs were so frost bitten that they turned black and they were sent to get them amputated. Why all the suffering? Was it because it was a terrible winter. Leckie says that it was a mild one. The reason why many suffered and died was because the farmers wanted to sell to the British who was gonna pay cash and many men were half naked in the winter because stores refused to sell to anyone for less than 1000 percent profit.
F. This is why when hurricanes and earthquakes comes a case of bottled water is sold for $50. Why when a man proposes marriage to a girl and she says no; other men will look to buy the nice ring off him cheap. Many of our enemies will use our unfortunate situations as opportunities for more gain. Many like Ziba the manipulator. Using crisis to line the pockets.
G. Sure, we are not going to know that we are being manipulated every-time it happens. I wish we could. What we do know, is that it happens, but we are not to be paranoid. But be ready... wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Jesus warned us that there will be those who are going to come to deceive us. We have got to be ready. Are you prepared? Are you ready to stand? Its one thing to get manipulated out of Bronco tickets, but manipulated out of you own soul?
H. The World is manipulating and deceiving in so many ways and I am afraid that we don't know it is happening. So many things we are tied to and attracted to... all of which is going to destroy our lives, but we think its ok. We have things trying to pull us away from God right now... our Ziba's people, things, opportunities, promising you the whole world of happiness, but in the end we lose our own soul? What good is that?
I. It is an enemy that we don't think is a manipulating enemy...Like Ziba the manipulator, it appears to be an angel of light. Giving us gifts.
These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2 Cornithians 11:13-14
These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
J. If we are to survive the onslaught of this enemy, we must mature in the faith. We must hold on to the truth. We must learn it to hold on to it. We need the Christ exalting preaching of the word, the rich Christ centered teaching of the word, baptism, the Lord's Supper, fellowship and Gospel Shaped community. That what we offer today. If not... it will be easier for us to be deceived by the manipulators.
K. But that's not all. We have another enemy that’s a bit more in our face, but we have to be patient with them. Here comes the Curser.
II. Shimei the Curser
- Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
A. Here David is trying to flee and here comes a relative of Saul who curses him, verbally assaults and insults him, judges him, verbally bullying, and probably using profanity as well... and to top it off, he is throwing rocks at him. David is pretty certain that he is one of his enemies. I think…
B. I think many of us has had this happen to us. Hopefully we were not the ones doing it. Just in case, a quick public service announcement... it you cussed and cursed, verbally assaulted with profanity, insulted and threw a rock at him or her. You need to go apologize. Ok back to the story.
B. The trash talking got so bad that one of David's men actually asked David if it would be Ok to cut his head off. Really? It would be like one of the deacons saying ... hey Shane...
C. Funny, Dr. Davis writes, "Abishai proposes this because he has observed that people without heads do not curse."
E. No, David would not have any of that. He saw that God was behind all of this and he did not want to murder someone doing the will of God.
F. And David says something here that's interesting...
2 Samuel 16:12
And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”
He said it because he believed it is in the Lord's character to reverse the curse. He would not say it, if he did not believe that the Lord is that way. Therefore, he did not do anything and was patient with his enemy. It is not about what he believed about his enemy, it was because of what he believed about God. Do we believe that all the hurt and curses we receive can be reversed?
G. Do we believe that what the world meant for evil God can turn it for good? Even if we deserve the cursing by the curser, can He do it? Sometimes we can get so wrapped up with who they are, what they said, what they did (he physically assaulted David as well), we get so caught up with our enemies and forget about our Lord, who He is, what He said and what He did.
H. When we are face with enemy number 2 the curser, we need to be more concerned not with his or her face and how you want to punch it, but the face of God whose radiance could kill us, but He had mercy upon us giving us Christ so that we could see Him face to face. The Gospel.
I. We remember that we were also enemies of God doing what it is in our nature to do and that is sin and sin alot. But he had compassion upon us. And because of what Christ has done, he now calls us friend. So friends of God, we must now love our enemies as commanded by our Lord as we live in Christ. Love even the curser and even harder to love... enemy number 3. The betrayer.
III. Ahithophel and Hushai the Betrayers
- It’s hard to top the awful feelings that come because of betrayal.
A. Here we have two of David's most trusted advisors, counselors, and friends. What happened? For the sake of the well-being of Hushai and Ahithophel...betrayal.
B. William Tyndale, first translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English, making a Bible for the common people. In 1535 he was betrayed by a friend, taken prisoner to the castle of Vilford, and continued to work on his translation. He was unable to finish his work because he was sentenced to die a heretic's death: Strangulation and burning at the stake. On October 6, 1536 he cried out his last words.
C. This is such a huge and hurtful thing to have done to a person that even Absalom was surprised that they was betraying David.
“Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?”
2 Samuel 16:
D. Watch this… Of course, he spun it to put it on the Lord. It's the Lord's will. This is a really hard one for me in the ministry... how many times I was betrayed and it was put on the Lord. I gotta be obedient to the Lord. I'm supposed to obey God not you. I suffered many a broken heart. Maybe we all feel it.
E. But not only did their loyalties turn, but they advised Absalom to do a horrible thing against David. Not only did they not take David's side and support him, they used their relationship with him to advise Absalom to do the unthinkable. To fornicate with all of David's wives in public so that everyone could see! Whaaaaaat? Get all the news cameras and reporters to let the world know? NOOO!
F. But it was a brilliant plan… By doing this, it would strengthen the supporters of Absalom. It would show that there is no possibility of reconciliation with his father. He left no doubt with his supporters. I am going down with the ship if it goes down. There is now no turning back it is now Israel or bust! Are you with me!
G. Maybe Dr. Davis says it better, "By actually having sexual relations with David’s concubines Absalom told all Israel he was burning his bridges behind him; there was no turning back; he meant business; he had no intent or hope of reconciliation with David. Such decisiveness would galvanize Absalom’s supporters."
H. Yes, not only was David betrayed in lack of support, but being active participants in actual offenses. Not only did your friends not have your back on social media, they helped in posting the picture. We all know and have probably experienced something like this hopefully not this... in our lives over the years. Friends, Family, co-workers, you name it. Not just lack of support, but actual participants in the offense.
I. This is an enemy that we all struggle with. Like I said, even I really do. These are the kinds of enemies we never want to face, we never want to see um, never want to fight them and never want to be around them. We do not like betrayers. We do not like Manipulators. And we do not like Cursers. And Christ knows this.
IV. Christ the Sympathizer
- Christ knows what it is like to be manipulated, cursed, and betrayed.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
A. Like David, Christ knows what it is like to be manipulated. The Pharisees and Sadducees tried to manipulate him with the people and with the traps that they like to set for Him. A woman who marries 7 men and when they all dies whose wife will she be. Even his own disciples at times tried to do it as well.
B. Like David. Of course He knows what it was like to be cursed, judged and mocked. Even brutally physically assaulted by his enemies. He was spit on, cursed, and mocked on the cross. They ridiculed him. What is more, we will never know what it was like to have it done by your creation. It was bad enough that it happened to the king of Israel, but to the king of kings? The Son of God.
C. Like David he was betrayed by one of His boys. David had Hushai. Jesus had Judas. Remember.
D. But Thankfully… our Lord did not stop there. He did not abandon us. Like he probably could have and maybe should have. He would reverse the curse. What’s this... All of this was part of the plan? It was all in the hands of the Lord. Yes. Gloriously.
E. And at the end of the chapter the author may be alluding to all of this being the judgement that the Lord pronounced upon David after his sin with Bathsheba through Ahithophel.
2 Samuel 12:
“This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
You see the Word of God it true even when we don’t like it. It will last forever.
F. So, David was onto it, when Shimei was cursing him. He said it was the Lord leading him. It was the word of the Lord. He does fulfill his promise. He made his judgement and it will come. Just like he has made his judgement upon us, that day will come. Let me say it again, it will come. For David, the manipulation, the cursing, and the betrayal was judgement for his sin against Uriah with his wife Bathsheba.
G. Did you know that it was all a part of the plan of God for Christ to be manipulated, cursed, and betrayed as judgement for our sin?
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
“Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David.
H. But all of this needed to happen. It was, like David judgement for his sin, but here it is judgement for our sins.
I. Yes, it is easy to look at our enemies around us. And yes they are there. But do we ever look at ourselves... could we be someone's enemy? Do we manipulate? Do we curse and assault another? Do we betray? What is more, do we try to manipulate, curse, and betray our Lord Jesus? If we are honest, we see that in many ways we do this to Christ, especially when we are disobedient.
J. No Shane... maybe to other people, but not to Christ. If you do it to other people of the Lord, you are doing it to Christ. Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me. Paul knows this first hand. It is easy to look at these men and judge, but it is different when we must look at ourselves. Sin is real and that is why God called us his enemy.
K. Christ was manipulated, cursed, and betrayed as judgement. But not his... ours so that we could receive the mercy and grace of the Lord. And because he was manipulated, cursed, and betrayed... And nailed to the cross... He did reverse the curse. Oh yes... when we sin we receive a curse and we had a huge enemy before us. The wrath of God. You think our enemies are tough... think that wrath of God. Man did we ever need this curse reversed. And praise the Lord it was.
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
L. Family this is the Gospel of Jesus. We do not need to despair anymore. The curse of sin is broken and we have perfect liberty. He turned manipulation into faith. He turned betrayal into betrothal, and he did reverse the curse. No longer are we slaves to lies, no longer are captive by the brokenness of betrayal, and no longer are we under the curse of condemnation... where the Spirit of the Lord is... there is liberty. Yes... freedom.
Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case.
M. Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures... The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full... therefore there is now no condemnation...
F. If you are hearing this for the first time and you are full of faith and trust in Christ... the word says that all who call upon the name of the Lord... if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you...
G. We have life and life more abundantly. And we find it in Christ and in Christ alone. Faith instead of manipulation. Blessings instead of cursing. No betrayal, but betrothal... we are now the bride of Christ.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.