WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 12, 2020
TOPIC: HOUSEHOLD ENEMIES
BY T. O. BANSO
“A man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:36 New King James Version).
In all ages, human beings have had to contend with the problem of household enemies. By household enemies, I am not talking only about biological family members who work against one’s interests. I use the term to refer to people close or closest to one, who use the advantage of their relationship with one to fight one or despite their relationship with one fight against one.
Such people can work alone and fight one for a reason or some reasons often selfish. They can fight against one spiritually or physically, or both. They can also recruit others close to one or outsiders to join them in their fight to achieve a common goal or obtain some benefits. In some cases, they may join the army of one’s enemies and give them the information they have about one, which would help their common cause. There is a truth in the belief that some operations cannot succeed unless there is an insider who divulges some secrets or shares some intelligence.
Many people have been victims of household enemies. The cause of their problem is not from strangers. If outsiders are involved, they must have internal collaborators. In crime investigation, it is a common finding that the criminals arrested were given information by an insider or one of them is an insider who betrayed trust.
Quoting Micah 7:6, Jesus told His disciples, “A man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:36 New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders it thus, “Your enemies will be right in your own household!” Not a few have stories to tell of betrayal and wickedness by those very close to them in business, ministry, politics, or other spheres of life. History is full of cases of conspiracy that led to bloodbath or political upheavals in old empires or kingdoms and in contemporary times.
There are always people like Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus. Thus, one needs to be careful of trusting them, even if one does not have a soothsayer to tell one to “Beware Ides of March” as Caesar was warned but he ignored it. Cassius and Brutus were two of the leaders of the conspirators that assassinated him. They were not strangers to Caesar.
Joseph knew the meaning of household enemies. Outsiders didn’t try to kill him or sell him. The perpetrators of the evil against him were his brothers (Genesis 37:13-28). The archers bitterly grieved him, shot at him, and hated him (Genesis 49:23). It was God that saved Joseph and ensured that his dreams came to pass. He will save you, too, and you’ll fulfil your destiny in Jesus’ name.
A man’s enemies will be right in his own household, his circle of relationships. Jesus told His disciples, “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16 New King James Version).
Passing judgment on Edom, the LORD said, among other things, “All your allies will turn against you. They will help to chase you from your land. They will promise you peace, while plotting your destruction. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and you won’t even know about it” (Obadiah 7 New Living Translation).
The ministry of Jeremiah made him unpopular with his people because of the message of judgment he was giving them from the LORD. He was mocked and reproached. Jeremiah said, “For I heard many mocking: ‘Fear on every side!’ ‘Report,’ they say, ‘and we will report it!’ All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, ‘Perhaps he can be induced; then we will prevail against him, and we will take our revenge on him” (Jeremiah 20:10 New King James Version). Jeremiah’s enemies were not strangers; they were his acquaintances, his associates, or friends.
Earlier in Jeremiah 12:6, the LORD had told Jeremiah, “Even your own brothers, members of your own family, have turned on you. They have plotted, raising a cry against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak” (New Living Translation).
David was a victim of household enemies. Saul was seeking to kill him but couldn’t because the LORD didn’t deliver him into his hand. In 1 Samuel 23, when David was in the Wilderness of Ziph, the Ziphites went to tell Saul about his location. Saul didn’t come to them and force them for information about David; they went to him voluntarily, and invited Saul, with a promise to hand over David to him.
1 Samuel 23:19 -20 says, “But now the men of Ziph went to Saul in Gibeah and betrayed David to him. ‘We know where David is hiding,’ they said. ‘He is in the strongholds of Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, which is in the southern part of Jeshimon. Come down whenever you’re ready, O king, and we will catch him and hand him over to you!’” (New Living Translation). This was unsolicited information. Obviously, they didn’t act as David’s friends, but as his enemies.
Although Saul was the king, David might not have expected that the Ziphites would give him away. The Ziphites could be regarded as part of his household. Ziph is described as a city in the Maon district of Judah or a city in the mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:55). Therefore, the Ziphites belonged to the tribe of Judah, the same tribe as David. Saul was a Benjamite, not from the tribe of Judah. So the Ziphites betrayed one of theirs. They could be called household enemies.
What was Saul’s reaction to the unsolicited information from the Ziphites? “‘The LORD bless you,’ Saul said. ‘At last someone is concerned about me! Go and check again to be sure of where he is staying and who has seen him there, for I know that he is very crafty. Discover his hiding places, and come back with a more definite report. Then I’ll go with you. And if he is in the area at all, I’ll track him down, even if I have to search every hiding place in Judah!’” (1 Samuel 23: 21-23 New Living Translation).
The Ziphites returned home ahead of Saul but David had moved to the Wilderness of Maon in the Arabah Valley south of Jeshimon. When David heard that Saul and his men were searching for him, he went farther into the wilderness to the great rock.
Just as Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them, there was divine intervention. “But a messenger came to Saul, saying, ‘Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!’ Therefore, Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape. Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi” (verses 27-29 New King James Version). Your enemies shall receive an urgent message and call off their mission against you in Jesus’ name.
In 1 Samuel 26, the Ziphites again betrayed David to Saul, by disclosing his location. They went to Saul; he didn’t come to them to ask for the location of David after the former mission was discontinued abruptly. “Now some messengers from Ziph came back to Saul at Gibeah to tell him, ‘David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which overlooks Jeshimon.’ So Saul took three thousand of his best troops and went to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul camped along the road beside the hill of Hakilah, near Jeshimon, where David was hiding. But David knew of Saul’s arrival, so he sent out spies to watch his movements” (1 Samuel 26:1-4 New Living translation).
David had the opportunity of killing Saul on this occasion but he spared him because he was the LORD’s anointed. The hunter would have been killed by the hunted!
We don’t know why the Ziphites had to betray David to Saul. Were they trying to get a reward or avoid a repeat of what happened to the city of Nob in 1 Samuel 22 when Saul, through Doeg the Edomite, slaughtered eighty-five priests at Nob, all still wearing their priestly tunics, and the priests’ families — men and women, children and babies, and all the cattle, donkeys, and sheep? The allegation was that Abimelech the priest gave David food and a sword, enquired of God for him, and encouraged him to revolt against him and to come and attack him (Verses 11-19).
Although Abimelech gave David the holy bread in the absence of the regular bread and gave him the sword of Goliath (1 Samuel 21), he knew nothing about the strained relationship between Saul and David. He was not part of any rebellion against Saul.
Yet, Doeg, who witnessed what transpired between Abimelech and David, reported the incident to Saul at a time he alleged that people from his tribe, Benjamin, were conspiring with David against him by not telling him that his son, Jonathan, was encouraging David to try and kill him. It’s not clear if the Ziphites betrayed David for reward or to save their heads?
In Psalm 54, which David wrote when the Ziphites went to disclose his location to Saul, he described these people of the tribe of Judah as strangers and expressed his trust in God as his helper. “For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth” (Psalm 54:3-5 New King James Version). The LORD will deliver you from every relation, friend, or associates behaving treacherously as strangers toward you.
It wasn’t a stranger who deposed David as king. It was his son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:7-14). When Shimei, a Benjamite, cursed him as he fled Jerusalem after Absalom’s revolt, David told Abishai and the other officers, “My own son is trying to kill me. Shouldn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it” (2 Samuel 16:11 New Living Translation). But the LORD fought for David. The revolt was quelled and he was restored to the throne.
A man’s enemies will be those of his own household. “He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me’”(Matthew 26:23 New King James Version). That shows a close relationship. Jesus was betrayed not by outsiders but by someone very close to Him. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, the treasurer of His ministry (John 13:29), went to the chief priests to ask them what they would give him if he delivered Jesus to them.
They gave him thirty pieces of silver and began to look for the opportunity to betray Him (Matthew 26:14-16). Jesus called Judas a friend (verse 50). But with a friend like Judas, one doesn’t need an enemy. He eventually betrayed Him but committed suicide thereafter (Matthew 27:5).
Writing on the betrayal of a close friend, David said, “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng” (Psalm 55:12-14 New King James Version).
A man’s enemies will be those of his own household. Fear not. Have faith in God. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version). Call upon the LORD; He will deliver you (Psalm 116:4). He will fight for you. He will frustrate all the enemies’ devices against you; they shall not prosper (Job 5:12). The LORD who delivered Joseph, David, Jeremiah, and Jesus from household enemies will deliver you. He won’t deliver you to the will of your enemies (Psalm 27:12).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, deliver me from every household enemy. Let me not fall into their hands. Frustrate all their devices; don’t let them prosper. I shall not be a betrayer; I shall not be involved in treachery I shall betray the trust of anyone in Jesus’ name.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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