The Valley of Betrayal (Dave Coats)

by Paul Tautges | January 30, 2014 2:02 am

[Today’s post was submitted by one of our occasional guest bloggers, Dave Coats. Dave is a pastor, certified biblical counselor (ACBC), college professor, and author of Building a Pure Life[1].]

We all go through trials of various kinds. We may face trials that involve the physical body. Those trials may include medical personnel and their inability to diagnose the source of a problem. We don’t slam them as doctors and nurses in those situations (or at least we should not). They are not all-knowing. But medical uncertainty is a test of life that we must negotiate. Other trials are a result of living in a fallen world. We have things that break down. We have people that fail to follow through. Some people just won’t care how their interaction affects us. Other people may do things deliberately to hurt us. Some hurt and pain in this world is less directed at us than it is at people in general. Some people just want others to feel a similar pain to theirs.

But I think the kind of trial that is perhaps the most intense and painful is attached to, or comes from, people who are close to us. The trials flowing out of personal relationships with family, close friends in the church body, or someone at work whom we trusted, tend to be the most devastating. We invest in these people. We share with them. We open ourselves up to their input. We involve ourselves in their interests. We spend time and treasure on their future or our combined future in various endeavors. I have counseled my own children and their spouses as much in this arena of hurt coming from other close relationships, as anything else, as they have gone into ministry. The hurt can run very deep.

So when I began the study of David’s life with our church, I anticipated that God would show me things about these kinds of trials. But I did not realize that the lessons and biblical patterns would be so revealing of my own heart idolatries as I processed the story of David within the greater story of the Bible. Last fall we worked our way up to the David/Bathsheba event and then stopped for Thanksgiving to New Year’s. This past Sunday we reconvened our weekly look at David’s life. I took a step back in order to get an overview of the David and Absalom story and came out with some challenging thoughts regarding this mega-trial for David. He truly faced a deep trial that rocked not only his world, but those around him in the palace and the kingdom. It was in seeing how David processed these events that I saw some things that may help us with our own pain and hurt when God allows us, too, to go through the valley of betrayal.

Notice with me how a parallel exists between Absalom and Judas Iscariot, along with David and Christ. It was in seeing this parallel that I began to ask myself how David’s events should point me to the gospel and to Christ at its pinnacle. Furthermore, how should the parallels in the two stories and the pointing to Christ help me to process my own pain and hurt in people-sourced trials?

But now I want to show you how we can see Christ in David as we pick up the story in 2 Samuel 15.

Thought #1: God’s will is most important in this situation.

Thought #2: God’s Word will be accomplished in the lives of men.

Thought #3: God’s ways can be seen in our lives as we point people to Him.

I close with David’s words in Psalm 3. They are possibly David’s words in prayer to God on the run from Absalom.  “You O LORD are my shield and glory and the One who lifts up my head. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon your people.” Selah.

  1. Building a Pure Life:

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