April 26: Bitter and Betrayed
Joshua 16:1–17:18; 2 Corinthians 11:24–33; Psalm 55
The betrayal of a loved one can shake our world. It can make us feel vulnerable and used, and if we’re not careful, it can cause us to be bitter and suspicious toward others. The psalmist in Psalm 55 experiences such a betrayal from a friend who feared God: “We would take sweet counsel together in the house of God” (Psa 55:14).
The psalmist agonizes over how he was deceived: “The buttery words of his mouth were smooth, but there was battle in his heart. His words were smoother than oil, but they were drawn swords” (Psa 55:21). How does someone move beyond a violation of trust? Instead of growing bitter, the psalmist puts his trust in Yahweh: “Cast your burden on Yahweh, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved” (Psa 55:22).
Similarly, in 2 Corinthians, Paul tells the church in Corinth about his sufferings. Among Paul’s lashings, stonings, shipwrecks (three of them), and robbings, he also lists “dangers because of false brothers” (2 Cor 11:26). He suffered anxiety because of the churches (2 Cor 11:28).
Paul adds to this list by discussing a force of oppression over him. He states that he prayed for his “thorn” to be taken from him (2 Cor 12:8). However, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, because the power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). This reshapes Paul’s perspective on suffering: “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in calamities, in persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). By submitting to Christ, Paul relied less on himself and more heavily on God. As a result, God’s grace and power was manifested within him.
Betrayal causes bitterness that can poison our hearts. But, like Paul, we should use trials as an opportunity to submit more fully to God, and to show others His work in us.
How are you holding onto bitterness? What would God have you do instead?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And the lot fell to the children of Joseph from Jordan by Jericho unto the the water of Jericho Eastward, and to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho by the mount Bethel. And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and runneth along unto the borders of Archi Ataroth. And goeth down Westward to the coast of Japhlet, unto the coast of Beth Horon the neither: and to Gezer, and the ends thereof are at the Sea. So the children of Joseph: Manasseh and Ephraim took their inheritance. Also the borders of the children of Ephraim according to their families, even the border of their inheritance on the East side where Ataroth Addar, unto Beth Horon the upper. And this border goeth out to the Sea unto Michmethath on the North side, and this border returneth Eastward unto Taanath Shiloh, and passeth it on the East side unto Janohah, And goeth down from Janohah unto Ataroth, and Naarah, and cometh to Jericho, and goeth out at Jordan. And this border from Taapuah Westward unto the river Kanah, and the ends thereof are at the Sea: this is the inheritance of the children of Manasseh: all the cities with their villages. And they cast not out the Canaanite that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanite that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanite dwelt among the Ephraimites unto this day, and served under tribute. This was also the lot of the tribe of Manasseh: for he was the firstborn of Joseph, to wit, of Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, and the father of Gilead: now because he was a man of war, he had Gilead and Bashan. Also also of the rest of the sons of Manasseh by their families, even of the sons of Abiezer, and of the sons of Helek, and of the sons of Asriesl, and of the sons of Shechem, and of the sons of Hepher, and of the sons of Shemida: these were the males of Manasseh, the son of Joseph according to their families. But Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughter, Malilah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah: Which came before Eleazar the Priest, and before Joshua of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren: therefore according to the commandment of the Lord, he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father. And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is on the other side of Jordan, Because the daughters of Manasseh were from Asher to Michmethah that lieth before Shechem, and this border goeth on the right hand, even to the inhabitants of En Tappuah. The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah beside the border of Manasseh belongeth to the sons of Ephraim. Also this border goeth down unto the river Kanah Southward to teh river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: and the border of Manasseh is on the North side of the river, and the ends of it are at the Sea, The South pertaineth to Ephraim, and the North to Manasseh, and the sea to his border: and they met together in Asher Northward, and in Issachar Eastward. And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher, Beth Shean, and her towns, and Ibleam, and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor with the towns thereof, and the inhabitants of En Dor with the towns thereof, and the inhabitants of En Dor wiht the towns thereof, and the inhabitants of Taanach with her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo with the towns of the same, even three countries. Yet the children of Manasseh could not destroy those cities, but the Canaanites under tribute, but cast them not out wholly. Then the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot, and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto? Joshua then answerd them, If thou be much people, get thee up to the woods, and cut tree: for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites, and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. Then the children of Joseph said, The mountain will not be enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the low country have chariots of iron, as well they in Beth Shean, and in the towns of the same, as they in the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spoke unto the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power, and shalt not have one lot. Joshua 16:1–17:18
- Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. I was thrice beaten with rods: I was once stoned: I suffered thrice shipwreck: night and day have I been in the deep sea. In journeying I was often, in peril of waters, in peril of robbers, in perils of mine own nation, in perils among the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and in nakedness. Beside the things which are ourward, I am cumbered daily, and have the care of all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs rejoice, i will rejoice of mine infirmities. The God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor of the people under King Aretas, laid watch in the city of the Damascus, and would have caught me. But at a window was I let down in a basket through the wall and escaped his hands. 2 Corinthians 11:24–33
- Here my prayer, O God, and hide not thyself from my supplication. Hearken unto me, and answer me: I mourn in my prayer, and make a noise, For the voice of the enemy, and for the vexation of the wicked, because they have brought iniquity upon me, and furiously hate me. Mine heart trembleth within me, and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fear and trembling are come upon me, and an horrible fear hath covered me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove: then would I fly away and rest. Behold I would take my flight far off, and lodge in the wilderness. Selah. He would make haste for my deliverance from the stormy wind and tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen cruelty and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof, both iniquity and mischief are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. Surely mine enemy did not defame me, for I could have borne it: neither did mine adversary exalt himself against me: for I would have hid me from him. But it was thou, O man, even my companion, my guide, and my familiar: Which delighted in consulting together, and went into the house of God as companions. Let death seize upon them: let the go down quick into the grave: for wickedness is in their dwellings even in the midst of them. But I will call unto God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning, and at noon will I pray and make a noise, and he will hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for many were with me. God shall hear and afflict them, even he that reigneth of old, Selah: because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He laid his hand upon such as be at peace with him, and he brake his covenant. The words of his mouth were softer than bones, yet war was in his heart: his words were more gentle than oil, yet they were swords. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall nourish thee: he will not suffer the righteous to fall forever. And thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of corruption: the bloody, and deceitful men shall not live half their days: but I will trust in thee. Psalm 55