When something is taken away or we’ve lost someone, we have to be careful to not let our grief turn into bitterness. We have to remember that God is in control of what happened and let him have his way.

Hebrews 12:14-15 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Bitterness: unforgiveness, resentment; something hard to accept because what was taken; feeling caused by grief or regret.

We have to be willing to let things go when we lose a loved one, job, or part of life like marriage. Simon was saved and baptized. He didn’t see his bitterness until Peter told him. Simon needed to repent of his carnal nature and pride.

Acts 8:9-23 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime…used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed…saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles…heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who…prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost…Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought…gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right…Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if…thought of thine heart may be forgiven…I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and…bond of iniquity.

Some blessed themselves when they had a root of gall or bitterness. Wanting their way instead of God’s caused bitterness.

Deuteronomy 29:18-20 Lest there should be among you…whose heart turneth away…from the Lord…serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And…heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart…anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses…lie upon him…blot out his name from under heaven.

Bitterness replays what has happened over and over like “they did this to me” or “this was taken from me.” Paul had bad things happen to him that weren’t fair. He didn’t focus on them or keep recalling them. We have to forget things that are said against us and things we feel we’ve lost. The enemy wants us to remember and keep bringing them up. If we keep telling about something that happened, others won’t be attracted to our testimony or to be saved.

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God…

We all have mind battles. We’re responsible to cast down imaginations and things that exalt themselves against God. If we keep thinking about things, we’re exalting them instead of casting them down and they’ll get blown out of proportion. Jesus didn’t try to correct people who said bad things about him. He let things go and said “Father, forgive them…”

David had 8 wives, 18 sons, and 1 daughter. When he saw Bathsheba from his roof top he had 3 wives. David didn’t go to battle so wasn’t where God wanted him when he saw her. If we aren’t where God wants us, we’re open to temptation. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam the son of Ahithophel, David’s counselor (II Samuel 23:34).

II Samuel 11:1-5 And…at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants…David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David…walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and… saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her…and he lay with her…And the woman conceived, and sent and told David…I am with child.

Nathan told David the child would die and God would raise up evil against him in his own family because of what he did.

II Samuel 12:7-14 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord…I anointed thee king…delivered thee out of the hand of Saul…gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives…if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil… killed Uriah the Hittite…Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah…I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house…take thy wives before thine eyes …unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel…David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said…The Lord also hath put away thy sin…because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child…shall surely die.

David’s first son was Amnon. Absalom was his third son and his sister was Tamar, David’s only daughter.

II Samuel 13:1-7…Absalom the son of David had a fair sister…Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar…Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab…he said…Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day?…Amnon said…I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister. And Jonadab said… Lay…on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh…say unto him…let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat…at her hand. So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick…said unto the king…let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes…David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

Amnon forced Tamar to lay with him and then hated her. He didn’t love her or he’d not have hurt her. It was lust. Tamar asked that he marry her but he refused. Absalom saw Tamar was desolate and hopeless. David didn’t do anything about Amnon so Absalom got bitter and plotted 2 years to kill Amnon. David’s sin started bitterness in his family. A parent that gets bitter at the other will say unkind, critical things to the one they’re bitter about. Bitterness will affect their children.

II Samuel 13:11-15 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said…Come lie with me, my sister. And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel…And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go?…speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee. Howbeit he would not hearken…forced her, and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly…said unto her, Arise, be gone.

Ahithophel was David’s counsel. He became Absalom’s counselor 9 years after David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Ahithophel’s granddaughter. He hid his bitterness but it came out when he conspired against David. Bitterness can be hidden for a long time but it will come out if it isn’t repented of and the situation forgiven.

II Samuel 15:10-12 But Absalom sent spies throughout all…Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet …say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men…in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel…And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.

Ahithophel was highly respected but got bitter in his heart against David. He gave wicked counsel and worked to kill David.

II Samuel 16:20-23 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel…Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines…then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong. So…Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines …And the counsel of Ahithophel…was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God…both with David and with Absalom.

II Samuel 17:1-8 Moreover Ahithophel said…Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will…pursue after David …while he is weary…I will smite the king only…bring back all the people unto thee…And the saying pleased Absalom…Call now Hushai…hear likewise what he saith…Hushai said…The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time …thy father and his men…as a bear robbed of her whelps…thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.

Ahithophel killed himself. Bitterness will always kill you if you keep it. If a root of bitterness is in the heart, it will come up. Sin always has results. David was forgiven but there was an effect down through time. We have to ask God to give us grace so we forgive in hard situations. We’re not our own and we need to glorify God in our body and spirit.

II Samuel 17:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed…gat him home…hanged himself, and died…

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)