Monday, July 10, 2023
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Lagos, Nigeria

oses approved taking revenge. It is written in Lev. 24.

17 "Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. 19 If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21 Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22 You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God."

However, the same Moses wrote in Deut.32:35 that the Lord Himself would take revenge.

"I will take revenge; I will pay them back.

In due time their feet will slip.

Their day of disaster will arrive,

and their destiny will overtake them"

Jesus came and took side with what was written in Deut. as we read in St. Matthew 5.

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Apostle Paul is also of the same mind and quoted it in the defense of leaving revenge to God in his book to the Romans in chapter 12.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can, to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;

I will pay them back,"[g]

says the LORD.

20 Instead,

"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap

burning coals of shame on their heads."[h]

21 Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Today I am preaching on "Revenge" and why the all knowing God counselled against it though we hear people say that revenge is sweet and we rejoice when calamity befalls someone who has hurt us.

Let us pray


The word of God in Apostle Paul's letter to the Church in Rome 12 says " 17 Never pay back evil with more evil----

19 Never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;

I will pay them back,"[g]

says the LORD------ In doing this, you will heap

burning coals of shame on their heads. (Romans 12: 17:21)

I do not mince words and I never stop to warn that obedience to God is for our good while disobedience leaves us in disaster.

King David once had a confidant, close assistant and most trusted adviser. His name is Ahithophel. Ahithophel was much closer to king David than even his Chief of Defense, Joab (1 Chr. 27:34).

King David has a son by the name Absalom. He was the third born. He had two elderly brothers by the name Amnon and Kileab, all of different mothers (2Sam.3: 2-5).

Absalom, despite he was not the first born nor the second, was over ambitious and staged a coup, overthrew his father and enthroned himself as king. So, the king, David fled the palace with his household, trusted troops, friends, and loyalists but Ahithophel was missing. Ahithophel had joined Absalom in the rebellion.

Absalom sent for Ahithophel (2Sam. 15: 12). Did Absalom not know how close Ahithophel is to his father? He ought to know and certainly he knew. Could Absalom had smelt some rats, could he had smelt some bad blood, which David the king himself was unobservant? Let's carry on.

King David fled for his life but left some ten concubines behind to keep the palace in order, to retain his presence (2Sam. 15: 16).

Ahithophel in the rebel camp, promptly advised Absalom to sleep with the concubines in the open, in the glare of everyone to demonstrate his takeover of the throne. Ahithophel said;

"Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support for you"

22 So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father's concubines.

23 Absalom followed Ahithophel's advice, just as David had done. For every word, which Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God (2 Sam 16: 21-23).

David wept as he fled, his head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him also covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. 31 Then someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom and David prayed, "O LORD, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!" (2Sam: 15: 30-31).

In the flight David met Hushai. David being a tactful soldier asked Hushai to go and join the camp of the rebels.

34 "Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, 'I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father's adviser in the past.' Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel's advice. 35 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king's palace, 36 and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on."

37 So David's friend, Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.

Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, "Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. 2 I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man's life that you seek.[a] Then you will be at peace with all the people." 4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel (2Sam.17: 1-4).

Unimaginable, what a plan from a most trusted counsellor!! May God protect you, who is hearing me from enemies within.

However, Absalom, sought for a second opinion and Hushai, who the tactical Soldier, David had planted in the palace gave a counter advise and Absalom and all the leaders of Israel upheld the counsel of Hushai, though Ahithophel's counsel was the better one to crumb David and his force.

It is recorded that "For the Lord had arranged to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel"(2Sam. 17:14). You can read the full story in 2 Sam 17.

With this public disgrace, Ahithophel returned to his hometown, set his affairs in order and hanged himself.

I pray that God will turn the plans of those looking for your hurt into foolishness.

The question: Why will Ahithophel be so desperate, excited, eager and planned to kill a king, who so much trusted him, who every word he spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God? (2 Sam 16: 21-23).

To speculate the reason, let us go to the story recorded in 2 Sam 11. The king, David was supposed to be at the war front but he was not. He stayed behind in Jerusalem. He woke up from a c-ester and walked on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, "She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite." 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. ----- 5 and it resulted into pregnancy (vs5)

The king recalled her husband, Uriah from the war front in order to have him sleep with his wife so that Uriah can claim the pregnancy but Uriah refused to go home. The king then instructed that Uriah be put where the battle was fiercest and he was killed.

What was Ahithophel's business in this?

We just read that Bathsheba is the daughter of Eliam (2Sam. 11:3). Further detail is found in 2Sam 23: 30. Eliam is the son of Ahithophel. So, Bathsheba is a granddaughter of Ahithophel and David had murdered the husband of his granddaughter and Ahithophel might have been nursing a grudge all this while and when the opportunity came to revenge, he felt he shouldn't let it go. But in the process, he was humiliated and disgraced and ended his life by himself. The counsel of the Lord can never be ignored.

David wrote in Psalm 19:

The instructions of the LORD are perfect,

reviving the soul.

The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.

8 The commandments of the LORD are right,

bringing joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are clear,

giving insight for the living.

Compare the action of Ahithophel with David's who king Saul made many attempts to murder but when David had the opportunities to kill Saul, he did not do (1Sam. 24:11).

Are you nursing a grudge against someone, I hope you will take the counsel of the Lord and learn from the experience of Ahithophel and allow God to take up the fight for you so that you do not end up the way of Ahithophel.

No doubt, Ahithophel was hurt. He was injured. He ought to be annoyed like any human being but whatever revenge we want to take on our own cannot be compared with the judgement, which God will mete to anyone who hurts us.

God said "I will take revenge;

I will pay them back,"[g]

By not taking revenge, you will heap

burning coals of shame on their heads. (Romans 12: 17:21).