1. Betrayers are angelic.
They are too good to be true.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” – II Corinthians 11:14 (KJV)

The devil does not just present himself as an angel but as an angel of light. He looks glorious, shining, holy and attractive. What could be better than that? Ugly characters develop strategies that make them look like angels. Beware!

Betrayers are so nice that it is sometimes unbelievable that a person can be so nice and pleasant.

Watch out for people who are so nice, so polite, so attractive and so pleasant. Can it be that there is someone who always smiles, is never sad and is never upset about anything?

2. Betrayers have things in their background that are not consistent with their claims.

Delilah was a Philistine and the Philistines were known enemies of the Israelites. Yet, she seemed to have some extra love for Samson who was the Archenemy of the Philistines (Judges 16:15-16).

You must not take things for granted. Look carefully into people’s background and ask yourself why this person is going out of the way to relate with you.

3. Betrayers make you sign agreements that you will regret.

The Gibeonites pretended to be travellers who had come from afar. Through pretence they made Joshua sign an agreement that he would regret (Joshua 9:3-6, 15-16).

A little investigation and a little time would have exposed the Pretenders, the betrayers. Joshua would have been saved from a life-changing Covenant.

If you wait a bit and you investigate a bit you will be helped not to marry the wrong person.

It is not easy for pretenders to continue pretending for long periods. Sooner or later something comes up that shows who they really are. It took only 3 days for Joshua to discover that the Gibeonites had deceived him. It may take 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years for you to discover the truth about the people who are pretending to love you.

4. Betrayers give themselves away many times and you must believe the signs you see.

Delilah revealed who she was on many occasions before she destroyed him.

Samson found out that she was pretending but he did not take it seriously (Judges 16:6-10).

5. A betrayer is someone you cannot be at ease with.

You must not trust people whom you suspect to be pretenders. You must not relax in their presence. They will betray you.

You cannot afford to be at ease or to trust your life to them. Samson slept on her knees and that was the last enjoyable sleep he had on this earth (Judges 16:18-19).

It is important to know who to be at ease with.

6. Betrayers feign forgiveness.

Watch out for people who have been offended but seem to have completely ignored their offence and seemed to be even more pleasing and gracious than before the offence occurred. You must be sure that this person has genuinely forgiven you.

Jacobs sons pretended that they had forgiven the men who raped their sister. They turned around and amazingly offered their sister in marriage to the rapists. The rapists presumptuously assume that they were accepted and loved by the brothers of the girl they had raped (Genesis 34:13-26).

7. Betrayers have complete changes in attitude that seem unusual.

Jacob’s sons seem to have a sudden change in attitude towards the people who had raped their sister.

Watch out for this sudden and unexplained changes in people’s attitude. There may be a reason for these sudden cheerfulness and exuberance.

Always ask yourself why people are eager to do things for you. Could there be some other reason that makes them so excited and zealous?

8. Someone who has served you for a short time has the potential to betray you.

Every leader must surround himself with loyal people.

What God has decided to do with your life will only be accomplished with good inputs and Wise counsel from the people around you.

We need the anointing but we also need the inputs of loyal people from all Fields of discipline. We need both the power and the wisdom of God.

“Select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of Wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task” – (Acts 6:3)

Much of the failure in ministry comes about through the absence of good advice.

Hushai was the quintessential impostor who pretended to give good advice to Absalom. Absalom was completely taken in by the pretence of Hushai.

“Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom.” – II Samuel 17:14 (NASB)

Both the plans of Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:1-4) and that of Hushai (II Samuel 17:7-13) sounds good and few people would have been able to distinguish the good from the bad.

However one principle could have saved absalom; the principle of preferring a loyal person’s imput to the advice of someone of unproven loyalties. Absalom should have chosen to listen to the advice of someone he had known for a long time.

Ahithophel was a long-standing supporter of the conspiracy to overthrow King David. Absalom actually sent for Ahithophel when it was time to overthrow King David. He was the person Absalom should have listened to. Absalom would have been safer with anything that Ahithophel proposed because he had already proved that he was on his side (II Samuel 15:12).

The advice of Hushai was lengthier and more impressive. It involved more options and counter proposals in case anything went wrong. Ahithophel’s advice was brief and not as impressive as Hushai’s. Unfortunately many people listen to New and flashy counselors rather than depending on old faithful people whose loyalties have been proven over the years.

This is a fatal mistake and it is at this point that many Ministries and even businesses begin a Downward Spiral.

Listen to the old people who have demonstrated that they love you and believe in you.

9. A betrayer can be identified by his impractical suggestions.

Ahithophel’s plan hinged on targeting one person, King David (II Samuel 17:3) whiles Hushai’s plan targeted King David and all the multitude of mighty men that were with him (II Samuel 17:12).

The grandiose idea sounded more promising and more impressive as it will get rid of all the mighty men that were loyal to David.

Many people feel that strength comes from targeting large numbers.

Ahithophel explained that the success of the entire operation depended on taking on one man.

When David fought back at Absalom, this principle was taken into account and David was not allowed to go into battle. They told him, “If they even kill half of us, it will not matter, but if you die, that will be the end of all of us”, (II Samuel 18:2-3).

Absalom followed the bad advice of Hushai to go out himself whilst David followed the good advice and stayed back. This became a war between the wise and the foolish.

Just as Ahithophel predicted, the war ended when one man was killed. Absalom was the one man, whose death, ended the war! As soon as Absalom was dead, the conflict was over (II Samuel 18:15-16).

The devil seems to know the wisdom of Ahithophel better than most Christians. That is why he attacks believers one at a time. He is not so worried about the church you belong to. He will take you on when you are alone.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” – I Peter 5:8

Lions hunt down their prey one at a time. You will never see a lion targeting 17 antelopes at the same time.

10. A betrayer can be identified by his love for procrastination and delays.

A crucial aspect of Ahithophel’s plan was to attack David without delay.

King David was a strong fighter but he was not immortal or invisible. Given the right conditions , he could be defeated. Ahithophel knew exactly when and how David could be defeated and he said so.

“Ahithophel said to Absalom, please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David TONIGHT” – II Samuel 17:1 (NASB)

Ahithophel knew that conditions were favourable only for that night. David was weary and exhausted and Ahithophel wanted the attack to come on during David’s lowest moment.

“I will come upon WHILE HE IS WEARY AND EXHAUSTED and terrify him…” II Samuel 17:2

Hushai also knew that David was weary and exhausted and he wanted to buy some time for David. That is why he asked him to wait until thousands and thousands of troops could gather. Can you imagine how long it will take to assemble all these troops?

There is a time to every purpose. If you miss the timing, you are not likely to succeed.

Ahithophel’s advice was more genuine than Hushai’s because he wanted the vision to be accomplished now.

“Now” is the time for most great visions!

11. A betrayer hesitates to implement his own ideas.

Follow the advice of someone who is prepared to implement what he is suggesting.

There are people who give advice but will not help carry it out. Infact they have no idea about how to carry out their own instructions.

Ahithophel offered to carry out the suggestion himself (II Samuel 17:1-4).

Hushai on the other hand never offered to help Absalom carry out the plan. He rather advised Absalom to endanger himself by going out into battle himself (II Samuel 17:11)

Unfortunately, Absalom could not see that he was being sent to his own death.

Many people have school certificates but cannot translate what they learnt in school into reality.

Learn to distinguish between people who talk a lot with high-sounding ideas and people who bring practical solutions.

Surround yourself with people who solve problems and make things happen practically.

12. A betrayer can be known by the unrest and panic he generates.

Hushai was a wise man and he knew he had to frighten Absalom and his followers from the path of success. His advice ignited much fear.

Hushai reminded Absalom and the other rebellious elders that David was a very experienced soldier; a winner of many battles. He reminded Absalom of the kind of person his father was. He described David as a bear. A female bear robbed of her Cubs. That is not an animal anyone would like to meet! (II Samuel 17:8 NASB)

He also reminded them of the kind of mighty men that were with David (II Samuel 23). After listening to an unsettling account of these mighty men, Absalom was frightened.

This same thing happened to the children of Israel when they first attempted to enter the Promised Land. They heard of the Giants and were frightened. They backed off from their God-given heritage because of the frightening details they heard. You will never do well so long as you listen to the advice that inspires fear.

Jesus said to Jairus, “Fear not, only believe.” Jesus always comes with “Fear not.” It is the devil who inspires fear.

Ahithophel’s advice was a “can-do” advice! It was positive! It was practical! It was possibility thinking. It was advice that could be followed immediately. Most things that can be done can be done now!

Advice that can be implemented immediately is usually a good advice.

13. A betrayer is known by his lack of depth of thought, strength and timing.

Real strength comes from the Lord. Betrayers and pretenders do not have real deep commitment. A minister of the Gospel who is not genuine does not wait on the Lord to acquire real strength.

There are battles every strong leader will loose just because he is exhausted. That is why God wants us to have retreats and camps to strengthen ourselves. Your ministry will be transformed when you have camps.

Hushai knew that David would camp and become strong enough to fight Absalom so he misled Absalom into allowing David the privilege of having a camp to strengthen himself. David had a camp at Mahanaim and the camp director was Barzillai, the Gileadite (II Samuel 17:26-29).

“Now Barzillai was very old, being eighty years old; and he had sustained the king while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man” – II Samuel 19:32

David later rewarded Barzillai was his help in refreshing them.

Don’t try fighting David after he has rested and eaten. It was a fatal mistake to take on David’s mighty men after they had eaten. It was simply the wrong time. Absalom should have fought them when they were tired and hungry.

Can you imagine the strength that Adino the Eznite, (a killer of 800 people) would have after eating a whole sheep? What about Abishai, (the killer of Goliath’s brother) after eating a whole goat?

Success or failure depends greatly on timing.

Absalom failed because he allowed his enemy to develop the strength that he needed.


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