A Life That Sings: Michal ~ Lessons in Bitterness, Part 2

Bitterness is a sour pill to swallow, yet we swallow it.  Wounds cut deep and our hearts bleed, and we are left for dead.  Few care or know the pain we suffer, bitterness comes and supplants the heart.  There are only two choices: draw near to God or be bitter.  The latter leads to isolation, the first to restoration.

The situation would have fared better for Michal had she drawn near to God, instead of opening the door of her heart to anger or bitterness.  How then are we able to release bitterness and the like?  When we draw near to God during times of hurt, He enables us to turn that hurt over to Him.  He enables, but we must choose.  While drawing near to God and staying in His presence, He reveals more of Himself and the more we reflect Him.  God is calling us to draw near to Him, when we do, we receive wisdom ~ our mourning exchanged for joy.  In God’s presence, our ways become stable.  He rescues us from the miry clay and sets our feet upon a rock.

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40: 1-3 NASB

Bitterness is rooting itself into the heart of Michal.  She finds herself in an unnerving situation; torn between her husband and her father.  She loves her husband and Saul is trying to kill David, and accuses her of betrayal.  Michal allows the disappointments and the deep wound inflicted by her father to harden her heart.  If she would just stop and let the Lord take over her heart as David did, she would see her way clear through God.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

When we draw near to the presence of God, the spirit of fear cannot remain where God dwells, just as the evil spirit fled from Saul when David strummed his harp.

Michal receives another blow: David is gone for quite some time, Saul is hunting for him.  Saul finally relents of killing David, David meets Abigail.  Read 1 Samuel: 25 for the story, but soon after David returns to the palace ~ he brings Abigail home as his new bride.

Abigail is a woman with reason to be bitter.  The Bible says her husband Nabal is harsh and a mean man.  That is reason to be bitter.  Abigail, the Bible says, is wise and beautiful, and intervenes on behalf of her household.  She brings David a banquet to stay David’s hand, as he declared his anger and purposed to annihilate Nabal’s house.  Abigail saved her husband and his house.

Abigail is an example for us in the Word on how a wise woman conducts her life.  She does not let bitterness or her circumstances dictate how she lives and how she responds to trials and situations.  The Word describes what kind of man Nabal is, so no doubt he did not treat Abigail very well.  She could have allowed him to turn her heart bitter, but she did not.  He acted selfishly and that affected the entire household; she chose to act wisely.

Nabal dies and David takes Abigail for his wife.  The Word then goes on to say David also took Ahinoam for his wife.  David now has three wives.  This no doubt was an even bigger blow to Michal.  She loved David and saved him from the hand of her father ~ is this her reward?  David marrying another?  This would be hard for any woman and I am sure Michal felt very alone.

Michal has been worrying about David and fears for his life.  She has no idea if Saul has killed David and prays for his safety.  She must be wondering if she will ever be united with her husband again.  Will he come back for her?  She watches day after day.  She dreams of him at night.  She misses him desperately and hopes he is going to climb through that window any moment now and rescue her.  She needs to be rescued.  She feels hopeless and alone.

Michal finally receives word of her husband, but the word pierces her heart, he has two new wives.  The knife strikes another cut deep into her heart; bitterness now has a comfortable home.

Just when you thought Michal could not withstand another blow, another arrow comes to pierce her heart.  Chapter 25 ends with Saul giving Michal away to another man.  Michal has reason to be bitter.  She suffers heartache after heartache; disappointment after disappointment.  If any of us where faced with these kinds of hurts, no one would blame us for being hard and for growing bitter with life.

God does not want us to live in bitterness.  We can choose to be bitter, or we can choose to be better.  The trouble we face when we grow bitter is that our hearts become hardened toward God, and then we cannot hear Him or receive the blessings He is trying to put in our hand.  Our hands are closed in a fist grasped around our anger and hurt, and are not open to receive of the Lord.

When we let go of bitterness and let go of the hurts and heartaches we have suffered the Bible says we are wise.  We are wise because we have let go of the hurts and rested on the Rock of Escape. (1Samuel 23:28)  He is our deliverance and when we have run from the issues life throws our way, run from our enemy and until we can’t run anymore, and it looks as though the enemy is finally going to overtake us, the Rock of Escape is our deliverance.  He is there mightily for us to be a shield and to confound our enemies.  When we call on Him, He answers us out of His Holy Hill (Psalm 3:4).

“Wisdom is always founding this dynamic of exchange.  It is almost the equivalent to breathing in the Spirit.  Wise women know what to hold fast to and what to release, while foolish women hold on fast to what will kill them and release what would bring them life.  Wise women hold on to the promises of God and let go of the things that poison or frustrate life.  They let go of bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, pain, fear, jealousy, hatred, turmoil, and the past.  Foolish women just don’t get this.  They hold on to these things, trying to make someone pay the debts they feel owed.  While they cling to the past, they release the very things they should hold: God’s promises, His faithfulness, His character, His love, His forgiving power, and His plans for their future.  Wise women lay hold of God’s promises and let go of life’s disappointments.  Foolish women hold on to the disappointments as they fight to prove themselves right. Wise women understand you will never win with bitterness and offense as companions.  The wise understand you can prove yourself right and ultimately be wrong.  After all do you want to fight or do you want to win?  The wise know how to win without a battle.”[1]

Michal did not know how to let go of the bitterness and pain;  it is easy to let the bitterness take hold.  We feel like we are owed for all the pain we have endured.  When we don’t receive the award we believe we deserve for enduring so much it is yet another disappointment.  We will always be disappointed when we put our trust in anything other than the Lord.  Jesus has to be the one we call on, and the one in which we hope.  No one can deliver us but Him.  We have to have a heart for Him.

Unfortunately, for Michal, she did not understand this principle.  David arrives back on the scene with two new wives and finds Michal has been given away to another man.  David goes after her and demands her back.  She is tossed between two men; she feels rejected, not loved.  She must have felt used, growing more bitter.

At this point I believe she has grown so cold and numb from all the hurt and pain she has suffered; many of us would.  But she has allowed that bitterness to rule her heart.  I am not suggesting Michal didn’t have reason to feel this way. I am not diminishing her pain, but we have to make the decision to let it go, trusting on Jehovah Nissi our Banner to fight on our behalf.

David does come to rescue her, but for Michal, it is too late.  She feels unworthy and rejected.  The Lord allows trials like these to happen to provoke us to draw near to Him.  He wants us to know Him more.  He wants us to seek Him.  Read the Psalms and you will understand David, who had reason to be bitter, drew near to God consistently.  The presence of the Lord strengthened him and guided him.  David knew he could depend on God for anything.

[1] Lisa Bevere, Fight Like a Girl: The Power of Being a Woman. New York: Warner Faith, 2006.

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