I. MAN WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. This is His essential characteristic. The more He reflects this image, the more truly manly He is. The religion of the Bible restores His manhood.
II. THERE IS NO FACULTY IN MAN WHICH DOES NOT FIND ITS COMPLEMENT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN GOD. His reason finds in God alone the truth which it seeks. His heart only finds an object adequate to its power of loving in the God who is Love. His conscience has for its ideal and its law the Divine holiness. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). His will derives its power alone from God.
1. The Son of God was the Son of man, and realized the true idea of humanity in His holy life.
2. The religion of God honours and exalts man, even as falsehood and error degrade and debase him.
3. The Divine morality is in profound harmony with true human morality, that law which is written in the natural conscience. The petty religiousness which says, "Touch not, taste not, handle not" (Colossians 2:21), and creates all sorts of artificial duties, is not in accordance with true piety, the one great commandment of which - love to God and man - approves itself at once to the gospel and to the conscience.
4. Be a man means, finally, Do thy duty like a man. Be one of the violent who take the kingdom by force. Let us be careful not to effeminate our Christianity by a soft sentimentalism. Let us learn from the Son of God to be truly men "after God's own heart." - E. DE P.
Joab had turned after Adonijah.2 Samuel 3:39). Joab could not have been uninfluenced by this fact; it is difficult for an inferior to retain respect for a superior who he knows fears him, or whom he regards as in any essential particular a weaker man than himself. Moreover, he was in the secret of his master's great crime — guilty, indeed, as an accessory, but not so guilty as the principal, and so with another consciousness of superiority which worked against his devotion. And monarchy was new in Israel. The king reigned more by virtue of his personal power than of an established habit of obedience on the part of his people. There were the incessant intrigues against the throne that to this day mark all Oriental governments. A score of times Joab must have been solicited to join the fortunes of this or that pretender, to accept anything that he chose to ask, to escape the growing ill-will of his sovereign and avenge the repeated slights that he had suffered. Against all solicitations he had stood firm year after year. But now David is near his end — in fact, is almost comatose. It is known that he has promised the succession to a younger son, Solomon. The legitimist party, who favour the oldest son, Adonijah, determine not to wait for the king's death, but to at once seize the throne. It is particulariy odious treason against a dying and presumably helpless man. And it is especially pitiful to find the aged Joab engaged in it. A few years before he had resisted the pretensions of the fascinating and popular Absalom, and at the risk of his own life had put him to death, as he deserved. But meanwhile his moral fibre has deteriorated. He lacks the robust virtue of other years. Even the thought of his dying sovereign and of the great things that they had passed through together cannot hold him to loyalty. So he "turns after Adonijah, though he had not turned after Absalom." The theory is commonly held that old men and women are safe from temptation. We talk about character being formed, settled, fixed. We speak of unassailable virtue. We devote all our skill and energy to safeguarding the young, which is right; but we neglect to throw any protection about the middle-aged, which is wrong. We treat ourselves in the same fashion, assuming that, say, after middle life we are in small peril of going astray. We accordingly subject our virtues to strain to which we would not have thought of exposing them twenty or thirty years earlier. Hence every community is frequently shocked by acts of amazing folly, vice, and even crime on the part of those who were supposed to have outlived all temptation in such directions. Hence we have the proverb, "Count no man happy until he is dead" — until he has passed beyond the possibility of throwing away by one stupendous blunder or sin the accumulated good reputation of three or four score years. We say of such a man, "He was old enough to know better," which is in effect a confession that knowing better by no means carries with it the strength to do better. Hamlet regards it as the gravamen of his mother's offence in her criminal marriage with the king, that she had passed the age when she could plead the excuse of impetuous passions. History, literature, our own observation unite to demonstrate that, while youth is imperilled by temptation, age is not safe, and to give some countenance to the rather harsh maxim that "there is no fool like an old fool." The fact is, that the danger that lurks in temptation is not a matter of age at all. Personality is of course the main thing. We are tempted accordingly to our heredity, our appetites, our constitutional or acquired weaknesses, our individual proclivities toward this or that sin. These vary at different periods of life. Hence some temptations are strongest in youth, others in maturity, others in old age. There is a sense, too, in which youth is weaker to resist than maturity or age. The moral fibre, like the physical, is not yet toughened. Physicians tell us that the period of greatest peril to life, after infancy, is from eighteen to twenty-five or thirty years. All vital organs have developed rapidly; one looks most robust; he will quickly take high physical training in any direction, and, if he endures it, gain marvellous power. But at the same time, he lacks high efficiency to resist or throw off disease. Add to this such imprudence as must accompany the unthinking conviction that nothing can harm him — that he may eat and sleep and exercise as irregularly as he pleases — and it is not marvellous that so many young men die .in their years of greatest promise and apparently highest vitality. They are carried off by disease before they have learned their own powers of endurance, or, knowing them, gained the moral courage to live well within them. It is not an irrational solicitude, therefore, that parents feel for the health of their sons and daughters even after they are old enough to be supposed to wisely care for themselves. Here the moral and spiritual nature affords a close analogy to the physical. Time brings to the soul certain qualifications to resist temptation that nothing else can bring, such as an intelligent fear of doing wrong and an accurate conception of its pernicious consequences. Especially it brings the habit of resisting the wrong and doing the right. And it is to that settled habit more than to anything else, except the immediate grace of God, that we all owe our moral safety. But, whatever the age, the real peril of temptation lies in its being long continued. It was not because Joab was old that he turned after Adonijah, while a few years before he had not turned after Absalom, but because at that time the temptation of disloyalty to his king had not been long enough at work to undermine his powers of resistance. When, however, Adonijah raised the standard of revolt and invited Joab to join him, the soliciting voice had spoken so many times, and each time more alluringly, that his ability to say no had been exhausted. He threw away reputation, honour, life itself, not because he was a weak old man — for he was not that — but because he had exposed himself through a series of years to the temptation that he had always hitherto been able to master, but that now at last mastered him. The fact is — and herein lies the reason for the young standing so grandly as they do — that few are swept away by the first attack of temptation. The fortress of our instinctive love of the right and our careful early training is not usually carded by assault, but by sapping and mining. The bravest army ever marshalled cannot for ever stand such dogged attacks from an enemy with resources sufficient to keep them up indefinitely. Nor can the strongest human nature stand such attacks of temptation. No matter how confident you and I are of the quality of our moral fibre, we will act unwisely in subjecting it to too prolonged a strain. Indeed, this law holds throughout all nature. We speak, for instance, of the life of a steel rail, meaning the period during which it can do its work. The incessant hammering on it of locomotive and car wheels finally changes the relation of its molecules until their coherence is so weakened that the strength of the metal is gone. Suddenly there is an unaccountable railway accident. It means only that rail or bridge or locomotive had been strained, not too hard, but too long. They stood through Absalom's day, but could not stand through Adonijah's. Bacteriologists say that the germs of many or most diseases exist in our bodies while we are in good health; but we are able to resist them. There comes a time, however, when such resistance is weakened by that clogging of the system that we call a cold, and we have pneumonia; or when our foes are reinforced by impure water, and we nave typhoid fever, we can withstand for a long time — a marvellously long time — the poison of a foul atmosphere, but the most robust constitution will finally succumb to it. We are horrified by stories of plagues and pestilences, as the yellow fever, cholera, the black death. They sweep over a country with awful devastation. But they pass by, and, after all, do not kill one where bad ventilation and unsanitary drainage, with their endless persistence, kill tern The mighty storms that sweep the Matterhorn throw down with awful crash only the rocks that the constantly trickling and freezing rills of water have through years or centuries insensibly crowded to the edge of the cliff. We may be too proud to believe that we who have withstood so long can ever yield, but this is the very "pride that goeth before destruction." "I do not allow myself to look at a bad picture," said Sir Peter Lely, the artist, "for if I do my brush is certain to take a hint from it." The only safe way to treat a temptation that has begun to meet us frequently is the way of this wise book: "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass on." And even this counsel, good as we at once recognise it to be, we will not heed unless we seek Divine .grace. And that is ready: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it." Trust Him and you shall not turn after either Absalom or Adonijah.
(T. S. Hamlin, D. D.)
Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord
I. SUCH A RUNNING AT THE LAST TO THE TABERNACLE IS ENTIRELY DEFICIENT IN THE PROPER MOTIVE OF OBEDIENCE. The distinguishing motive of an acceptable return to God, is a love for His character, and a desire for His service. This must always be the principle which guides a sinner in a true return of his soul to God. A godly sorrow for sin respects the honour of God which is involved in transgression. It sees the love sir Jesus, and the hatefulness of the sin which has repaid it; and turns back with mourning, for that which has crucified the Lord of Glory.
II. SUCH AN APPARENT RETURN TO GOD IN OUR LAST HOURS IS INEFFECTIVE, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS NO TIME TO ACCOMPLISH THE IMPORTANT WORK. I do not speak now of the man who has never heard the blessed tidings of a Saviour, until this late hour; but of the man whose life has been passed amidst the full privileges of the Gospel, and who has no new message to be delivered to him in the hour of his death. Such a one has professed that he had no time to perfect this return to God in his life and health, though he acknowledged it to be necessary; and he will, in fact, have no time to do it in the hours of sickness, and age, and death. It is vain to say that God may then pluck him in a moment as a brand from the burning. So He might have done at any previous time of his life. But He did not do it then; and there is not the slightest ground for hope that He will, do it now.
III. THIS PROJECTED REPENTANCE IS INEFFECTIVE FOR GOOD, BECAUSE IT IS ITSELF AN ACT OF REBELLION AGAINST GOD. He has, in abundant mercy, opened a way for sinful men to return to Him in peace. He gives them all the opportunities, all the means, and all the assistance, which they need in order to perfect this return to His favour, and then solemnly warns them that it must be done in a limited and appointed time. But what does the man do, who still looks for a more convenient season for his reconciliation unto God, but directly contradict and falsify these positive assertions of the God of Truth? And of what more positive act of rebellion against God can man be guilty, than is involved in this determination which says, man and his Creator. And what would be the effect of God's acceptance of this wilfully postponed submission to Himself, but giving countenance to rebellion against Himself, and showing a fickleness of government, the supposition of which is impossible?
IV. SUCH A PROPOSED RETURN IS INEFFECTIVE, BECAUSE ITS ALLOWED SUCCESS WOULD OVERTURN ALL THE PURPOSES OF GOD IN REGARD TO MEN, FOR WHICH THE GOSPEL HAS PROVIDED. Its acceptance by Him would altogether annihilate the design and operation of the Gospel The great purpose of God, in the gift of His Son, is the restoration of man frown sin to obedience; the cleansing of him from guilt and condemnation, that he may serve God in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of his life. The proper and designed operation of the Gospel is to annihilate the actual rebellion of the world; to reduce its living inhabitants into subjection to their Creator, and thus to restore His dominion here, in perfect and eternal peace. How foolish and false is that hope which can only stand upon the annihilation of the very purposes and power upon which itself depends! Nay, which can be indulged in fact and form only, because some others at least, are supposed to be guided by better principles to a safer course! The very expectation, therefore, which plans such a return to God, shuts up against itself the avenue of mercy, destroys the design and usefulness of the Gospel, and, like the scorpion in his circle of fire, puts an end to itself.
(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
PeopleAbiathar, Abishag, Abner, Absalom, Achish, Adonijah, Amasa, Anathoth, Barzillai, Bathsheba, Benaiah, David, Eli, Gera, Haggith, Jehoiada, Jether, Joab, Maacah, Maachah, Ner, Shimei, Solomon, Zadok, Zeruiah
PlacesAnathoth, Bahurim, Gath, Hebron, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Kidron, Mahanaim, Shiloh
TopicsAltar, Attack, Behold, Benaiah, Benai'ah, Beside, Declared, Fall, Fled, Flight, Jehoiada, Jehoi'ada, Joab, Jo'ab, Ordered, Saying, Solomon, Strike, Tabernacle, Tent
Outline1. David, having given a charge to Solomon
3. of Reverence
5. of Joab
7. of Barzillai
8. of Shimei
10. Solomon succeeds
12. Adonijah, moving Bathsheba to ask unto Solomon for Abishag,
13. is put to death
26. Abiathar, having his life given him, is deprived of the priesthood
28. Joab fleeing to the horns of the altar, is there slain
35. Benaiah is put in Joab's room, and Zadfok in Abiathar's
36. Shimei, confined to Jerusalem, by occasion of going to Gath, is put to death.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 2:29
LibraryThe Horns of the Altar
WE MUST tell you the story. Solomon was to be the king after David, but his elder brother, Adonijah, was preferred by Joab, the captain of the host, and by Abiathar, the priest; and, therefore, they got together, and tried to steal a march upon dying David, and set up Adonijah. They utterly failed in this; and when Solomn came to the throne Adonijah was afraid for his life, and fled to the horns of the altar at the tabernacle for shelter. Solomn permitted him to find sanctuary there, and forgave …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 31: 1885
"He Ascended into Heaven:" Believe. "He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father...
Whether Curiosity Can be About Intellective Knowledge?
Whether the Angels have Bodies Naturally United to Them?
Whether the Natural Law Can be Changed?
The Whole Heart
"The King Kissed Barzillai. " 2 Sam. xix. 39
What Manner of Man Ought not to Come to Rule.
Authorship of the Pentateuch.
Fifth Sunday after Trinity Exhortation to the Fruits of Faith.
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