Abounding Agape 2
In our article last week we saw how undeveloped agape can lead to satanic deception and misdirection of our phileo and eros.
This week we will look at more examples:
It is instructive to contrast how the Lord Jesus, through developed agape, stayed in the will of God when Satan, through his emotions and feelings at Gethsemane, tried to make him not go to the cross, with how Peter yielded to Satan though undeveloped agape as we saw last week:
Matthew 26:36-44(NIV): Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Luke 22:43(NIV): Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Observe that Jesus’ agape was strengthened through prayer at this critical point. We need to copy his example and learn to pray for wisdom and strength both in the understanding and in the spirit during times of temptation and trials (James 1.2-5) so we will walk in love: in the will of God and not be deceived or misdirected by Satan through our minds, emotions and feelings.
So it is vital the agape in us increases and abounds, so we do not fall prey to Satan misdirecting our phileo and eros, so getting us out of the will of God and the fullness of our destiny, like he did with David by his adultery and murder and Ahithophel by his bitterness and rebellion.
David’s eros was misdirected by Satan to commit adultery with Bathsheba and later kill her husband. Now God forgave David after he repented, but this sin cost him four sons and the privilege of building the temple:
2 Samuel 12:5-10, 13-14(NIV): David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”
1Chronicles 28:2-3(NIV): King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. 3 But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.‘
Ahithophel was one of David’s best friends (Psalms 55.12-14) and his counsellor (1 Chronicles 27.33). However Bathsheba was Ahithopel’s granddaughter (2 Samuel 11.3; 23.34) so when David committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Ahithophel understandably was deeply hurt.
God forgave David, though he chastened him severely by allowing him to lose 4 sons: the baby, Ammon and later Absalom and Adonijah.
Ahithophel was not satisfied with God’s chastening of David: the death of the baby, Ammon and Absalom’s rebellion. He believed David should die for his sin. So the bitterness in his heart caused him to join Absalom’s rebellion, thinking that this was God’s way of killing David and counseled Absalom in this manner (2 Samuel 17.1-6).
However, God’s judgement on David had been tempered with mercy because of David’s heart (Acts 13.22) and genuine repentance (Psalms 51). So Ahithophel’s emotional bitterness towards David was misdirected by Satan to cause him to want to kill David himself using Absalom’s rebellion as an excuse.
God in his wisdom, through David’s prayer (2 Samuel 15.31), turns the counsel of Ahithophel and he commits suicide (2 Samuel 17.23): His undeveloped agape (though from the outside in the Old Testament) caused Satan to mis-direct his emotions and sent him to a premature death.
In contrast when David had the opportunity to kill Saul (2 Samuel 26.7-25), the love of God developed in his heart (1 Samuel 24.5, 6-22) would not allow him to do it. God later brings judgement on Saul; through the Philistines (1 Samuel 31.2-5) and makes David king (1 Chronicles 12.23) fulfilling a significant part of his destiny.
The lessons here are clear if we develop agape and maintain it by the blood (Hebrew 13.20-21), the Word (1 John 2.5) and the Spirit (Jude 1.20-21), we will fulfill the fulness of our destiny. If we neglect agape’s development by prayerlessness and neglect of the Word (Deuteronomy. 17.17-20), like David obviously did for a short while, it can cost us some part of, like it did David, or our entire destiny like it did Ahithophel.