For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

Have you ever experienced the betrayal of a friend? Did you understand the reasoning behind that betrayal? I believe it hurts the most when one is betrayed by a trusted friend. In instances such as this, one must learn to trust God. Consider the thoughts recorded in Psalm chapter forty-one from which we should learn much.

Most people recognize enemies; those who speak evil against them, often without cause. “5. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? 6. And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. 7. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt” (Psalm 41:5-7). Matters are even worse when those “enemies” gather other people to join with them in “whispering” against a specific individual. It hurts all the more when they gather against you.

However, there is something even worse. “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). It always hurts the most when it is a close friend, one that you trusted, comes against you. Understanding that this is a Psalm of David, one cannot help but if he had his friend Ahithophel in mind as he wrote it. Ahithophel had been David’s friend, one of the trusted men in his kingdom in whom he relied upon when it came to dealing with his enemies. This man was one whom David had most likely eaten with often. Yet we find Ahithophel chose to side with David’s son, Absalom, when Absalom tried to steal the kingdom from his father (see 2 Samuel 15:12, 31). So how did David handle this situation? “10. But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them. 11. By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me” (Psalm 41:10-11). David prayed. David understood the importance of not stooping to their level by trying to get even. More than that, David trusted God knew what Ahithophel had done, and that God would deal with Ahithophel in His own timing. Remember another thing David wrote; something that he had learned long before. “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11). Remember that Ahithophel betrayed David in order to help bring Absalom to the throne.

These are interesting verses to learn, and even more interesting is the example we find in the New Testament. When Jesus was spending His last evening with his twelve disciples, He made an interesting statement. “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). Jesus had just washed their feet and was teaching them. He quoted David from Psalm 41:9 as He taught them. Jesus knew the entire time that Judas would be the one to betray Him. Yet knowing this, Jesus loved Judas and taught him just as He did the other disciples. Shortly before this, Jesus had told them the following: “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to washhisfeet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all” (John 13:13). Jesus had often disclosed to His disciples that He would be “delivered into the hands of men” (see Mark 9:31 and Luke 9:44). Because Jesus knew Judas’ heart, He knew Judas was a traitor. He was now revealing that one of them was going to lift up his heel against Jesus – if only they had had ears to hear what Jesus was teaching them. Remember that Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Consider: Ahithophel was close to David, yet he betrayed David. Ahithophel chose to help a new man become the ruler.

Also consider: Judas was close to Jesus (one of his closest followers, closer than Jesus’ family, and was one who was involved in some of Jesus’ most intimate teachings and conversations). Yet Judas chose to betray Jesus. Judas chose money over Jesus – the only One who could give him everything.

Ahithophel went out and hanged himself when his counsel was overruled. “And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father” (2 Samuel 17:23). Instead of repenting, he ended his life.

Judas went out and hanged himself after he betrayed Jesus. “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). Instead of repenting, he ended his life.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Because of God’s grace and mercy, anyone can be forgiven if true repentance is offered. However, sorrow of the world worketh death.

Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend?

Have you ever chosen things of this world and betrayed Jesus?

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