The ‘Reward’ for Betrayal

The English dictionary definition of betrayal is the breaking of an agreement or doing something to hurt a relationship.

  1. To help the enemy of (one’s country, cause, etc.); be a traitor to.
  2. To deliver or expose to an enemy traitorously.
  3. To break faith with; fail to meet the hopes of: he betrayed my trust in him.
  4. To lead astray; deceive: as to seduce and then desert.
  5. To reveal unknowingly or against one’s wishes: his face betrays his fear.
  6. To reveal or show signs of; indicate: the house betrays its age.
  7. To disclose (secret information, confidential plans, etc.)

Our Main Text Is: Micah 7:1-10.

“Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. 2 The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net. 3 That they may successfully do evil with both hands—The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. 4 The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity. 5 Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; Guard the doors of your mouth From her who lies in your bosom. 6 For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. 7 Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. 8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. 10 Then she who is my enemy will see, And shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her; Now she will be trampled down Like mud in the streets.”

This message is actually aimed at discovering what the reward of betrayal is, but we will along the line examine certain facts that are embedded in the process of betrayal as we profile the lives of two people in the Bible who happen to be father and son.

To start with, three levels of betrayal occur in and around any nation and any given society. These are family betrayal (as in the case of Joseph and Samson), church betrayal and national betrayal. Also, this message is designed to serve dual purposes; to encourage those who have at one time or the other suffered betrayal or who are going through betrayal presently and to warn those who specialize in betraying others as well as those who allow themselves to be used for betrayal. One thing is certain about betrayal in any individual or societal life; it does not go unnoticed by God.

In this message we will examine the life of David, a man full of imperfections and yet full of a lot of love for his God and also the life of his Son, Jesus Christ called the son of David who suffered tremendous betrayal from those who are closest to them. From profiling their lives, we will gather some truths from the Scriptures on how to handle betrayal and especially those who betray us.

God will allow adversity to come your way just to show you your environment as it is in the story of David's betrayal as contained in 2 Samuel 15:1-18.

“After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4 Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7 Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD. 8 For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the LORD indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.’ ” 9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!’ ” 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. 12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number. 13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.” 16 Then the king went out with all his household after him. But the king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house. 17 And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts. 18 Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.”

Despite David's moral weaknesses, the six hundred men who had followed him from Gath stayed with him still. While this loyalty was going on in David's camp, Ahithophel, David's chief counsel was plotting against the king in the camp of his enemy. What infuriated Ahithophel was that he took a personal offence over David's blunder of the act of immorality and murder against his granddaughter and never forgave him – see 2 Samuel 11:3, 23:34 and 15:12.

One truth about Ahithophel's act is that when you take personal offences, you will become vengeful in your spirit and you will commit greater blunders than the one you are trying to judge because two wrongs can never make a right. It is better to confront the person as Nathan did and to find repentance together rather than take laws into your hands, it will eventually boomerang because men of God know how to settle with God in secret and the truth is that the rod that God uses to chastise His children, He always throws it away.

By merely looking at 2 Samuel 16:21-22, you will quickly conclude that the counsel of Ahithophel was right on line and he was fulfilling God's purpose earlier prophesied by Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:7-13, but why must it be executed by a man closest to the king.

“Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ ” 13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”

God did not turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness because He could not take that gift of accuracy of prophecy from him; He only orchestrated a counter counsel through Hushai, the Archite so that the counsel of Ahithophel could be rejected – 2 Samuel 17:1-14.

“Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. 2 I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king. 3 Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace.” 4 And the saying pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel. 5 Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too.” 6 And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, “Ahithophel has spoken in this manner. Shall we do as he says? If not, speak up.” 7 So Hushai said to Absalom: “The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. 8 For,” said Hushai, “you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people. 9 Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we will come upon him in some place where he may be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city; and we will pull it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there.” 14 So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom.”

Apart from the counter counsel given by Hushan, God also used him together with a woman in Bahurim to frustrate Absalom and Ahithophel's plans – 2 Samuel 17:15-21.

“Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Thus and so Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so I have advised. 16 Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘Do not spend this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily cross over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.’ ” 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David. 18 Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom. But both of them went away quickly and came to a man’s house in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down into it. 19 Then the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground grain on it; and the thing was not known. 20 And when Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” So the woman said to them, “They have gone over the water brook.” And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21 Now it came to pass, after they had departed, that they came up out of the well and went and told King David, and said to David, “Arise and cross over the water quickly. For thus has Ahithophel advised against you.””

However, it was the seed David sowed earlier in Bahurim, that produced the harvest that saved his life later – 2 Samuel 16:5-13.

“Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. 6 And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7 Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! 8 The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” 9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ” 11 And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” 13 And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.”

If David had ordered the killing of Shimei at Bahurim, that place would never become a place of protection for the spies that will bring a word for his safety; what you sow is what you reap. When Ahithophel discovered that his counsel was not followed, he knew David will prevail and he will not be able to face the king or bear the shame, he, therefore, did the inevitable, he hung himself – see 2 Samuel 17:23.

There is a second detail about David apart from Bahurim, outside his repentance that is very powerful. David knew how to pray during his time of betrayal that God could not deny that He had to answer. You have to know how to pray that prayer, understand the techniques and the principles of that prayer in the face of betrayal and hand over the rest to God – Psalm 55:1-23 (blood thirsty men shall not live half of their days, but I will trust in you).

“Give ear to my prayer, O God, And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. 2 Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily, 3 Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the oppression of the wicked; For they bring down trouble upon me, And in wrath they hate me. 4 My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. 6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah 8 I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.” 9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they go around it on its walls; Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it. 11 Destruction is in its midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets. 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. 15 Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them. 16 As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. 18 He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me. 19 God will hear, and afflict them, Even He who abides from of old. Selah Because they do not change, Therefore they do not fear God. 20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has broken his covenant. 21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. 23 But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; But I will trust in You.”

Jesus Christ also in His trial of betrayal crossed the brook Kidron before Judas caught up with Him and did not fight back like His father, David because to cross over your "brook Kidron" means, for anyone to attack you translates into shooting himself in the leg. The account of Jesus Christ betrayal by His treasurer is found in Mark 14:32-42.

“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.””

What caused the anguish and travail for Jesus Christ was not that He would go to the Cross; that was part of the bargain right from the Garden of Eden; but the pain of betrayal by one of the closest person in the world to him – see Mark 14:41, Luke 22:14-22 and John 19:10-11. Likewise, the disciples could not pray from heaviness of eyes due to sorrow and anguish of heart – see Luke 22:39-45. Although, if Judas Iscariot had not betrayed Him, it would still have happened; but it did not have to be Judas Iscariot. The covetousness and greed in his heart will not allow him to desist from the evil he had purposed to do, he wanted to run with the hares and hunt with the dares. In the end, Judas hanged himself like Ahithophel – see Matthew 27:3-9. The reward of betrayal is suicide by hanging. Once again, what Judas did was a fulfillment of prophecy just as the counsel that Ahithophel gave to Absalom fulfilled prophecy spoken by Nathan.

In the final analysis, there are five things that are common both in the life of David and of Jesus Christ that should become abiding principles of your life in the face of betrayal.

  1. Those who betrayed them fulfilled prophecies concerning them. Do not worry when people betray you, they can only help you fulfill destiny.
  2. In the face of betrayal, both prayed out of their anguish and sorrow committing everything to God's able Hands. So when you are faced with betrayal, do not rush to court, rush to God, let Him know how you feel and release everything into His hands.
  3. Because both of them knew how to trust God and they knew how to release things in the Hands of God, neither of them fought back. The Bible declares that if the princes of this world had known they would not have crucified the King of Glory, because they killed One, many sons are being brought into glory and that was the blunder of satan and that of those who betray others. The battle is of the Lord's.
  4. They both crossed the brook Kidron – see 2 Samuel 15:23 and John 18:1-2. According to 2 Chronicles 29, king Hezekiah and the people with him cleaned the house of the Lord, gathered all the filthiness and threw them in the brook Kidron and so the significance of crossing the brook is that everything you have done against God was dropped and you become a free man on the other side of the brook and no one will be able to trouble you henceforth because you bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cross your own brook Kidron by running to God, call Jesus into your life and asked for His help.

Those who betrayed them hung themselves.