“Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.” 2 Samuel 15:5-6 (NIV – emphasis added)
He sat down to pen one more Psalm to the God of His Salvation. His Redeemer. His defender. As he wrote the words, the thought must not have left him: “I am paying for my sins.”
Dethroned and betrayed by those he trusted, even his own blood, David found himself depressed and alone. Absalom had taken his place as ruler of Judah and the people who once welcomed and revered David as their king, now fell for his son’s lies and schemes.
Chapters 15, 16 and 17 of 2 Samuel weave a web of unthinkable betrayal, lies and deceit, rendering a father heartbroken, a king without a kingdom, and a nation confused and divided.
All because a man, blinded by the devil and by relentless power thirst, schemed and played God’s people.
Right in the center of God’s house.
One bad apple.
The devil in the pew.
Or, as in David’s case, in the family.
I have been a Christian for over 20 years, and I am still amazed of how often the devil uses people in the church to cause division, tear up ministries, friendships, and get God’s people unfocused from His purpose for our lives.
They may not be as intentional in destroying a person’s life as Absalom was, but they are nevertheless used to cause strife and division, confusion and pain. And unless our spiritual antennas are in perfect sync with the Father, they can easily sway us into a place of spiritual deafness, if we choose to join their bandwagon.
Because the Father never blesses dissension.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)
All seven things that are detestable to God have to do with pride, envy and the consequences of those two elements in a person’s life:
Gossip that often hides a heart full of self-righteousness…
Smiles that conceal the true intent of the heart…
Veiled good intentions that are filled with hurtful intents.
These words were Solomon’s instructions to his son on how he should guard his heart, as well as admonition regarding people he would encounter in life.
People we ALL encounter in life.
And you know them. Oh, yes, you do.
They could be part of your family, or even someone you call friend. It’s not that hard to spot them.
We just sometimes choose to turn a blind eye.
They see bad in every situation… and look for the flaw in everything…
They are always ready to criticize and judge… and they flatter without realizing that you know what they say behind your back…
They are professors, doctors of Scripture even! They are successful business people, homemakers, and officers.
They all profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
But their actions and words don’t reflect His light.
As a matter of fact, the devil is using them to tear up God’s church. And we sit down, allow it, and even help them!
Worse yet – because their hearts are often blinded to the real reason behind their actions, they don’t even realize the damage they cause to the church. They are the reason many leave its doors, never to turn back.
And yet, they go on merrily singing their hallelujahs and quoting Scripture.
The devil in the pew.
May God help us to be able to swiftly spot them. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us the true intent of their hearts. May He give us the strength and wisdom to rise up and not join the throng that sheepishly follows their ways.
May He help us not do the very things He hates, thus dethroning Jesus, the Peacemaker, from our hearts.
And, finally, may He have mercy on them, opening their eyes to see the true intent of their hearts, and the path of destruction they leave behind.
One cannot help the evil thoughts that come, but it is the thoughts we cultivate that make the difference between good or evil. We don’t have to open the door to the devil and say, “Make yourself at home.” Rev. Vance HavneThe Devil in the Pew... Lord, help us spot them & turn away from their schemes. Click To Tweet
Digging deeper & Praying for deliverance and protection:
Read and meditate on the Psalms David wrote during his trial concerning his son’s betrayal: