Betrayal: Every Leader’s Experience

Friday is for Heart Songs

Betrayal. It is such a brutal sounding word–a perfect fit for the raw power of its deception and perversity. 

Doeg the Edomite.

The residents of the walled city of Keilah.
The Ziphites. 

One after another betrays David, the anointed and future King of Israel.  Even David’s own older brothers, who know that he is the anointed of God, follow after Saul (cf. 1 Samuel 17).  

This is David, the only man in all of Scripture called a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), by most measures, a great leader, a man useful to God in his generation and his common experience in his early years, and even in his later years, was betrayal—think of his sons, Amnon and Absalom (2 Samuel 13-15),  his advisor Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15-16), his subjects, think of Ziba and Shimei (2 Samuel 16). And to be honest, let’s not forget David’s own ugly incident in betraying God, the nation, and Uriah in the Bathsheba episode.

As any wife who has been betrayed by a husband or husband by a wife, or child by a parent can attest, each betrayal is horrific. A toll is exacted on the soul when a friend betrays a friend. Recovery is not easy. It is usually long and painful. [Sometime, watch the 1977 movie The Goodbye Girl starring Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss. Marsha Mason’s speech is a classic on the effects of betrayal on relationships.]

But read Psalm 55 when you suffer the betrayals of life and let its healing balm wash over you. As you read it you will have the sense that you are in the hands of one who has suffered and who can identify with you. It is a psalm that could not have been written by a man who had not experienced the pain and heartache of betrayal. David writes with passion. He writes with brutal honest. And he writes with a faith made resilient by a deep meditation on the greatness of God and his promises.

And then remember that your Lord was betrayed as a part of the process that purchased your salvation. Nothing, not even the betrayal by  one of his own disciples kept the Savior from the cross. Remember that and rejoice even through the pain, the next time you are betrayed. A servant is not greater then his master. He was betrayed. We too will be betrayed. And Jesus can overcome it all and use it all for his glory.

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