So he swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man, and they sent word to the king: "Return, you and all your servants."
I. THE ACTUAL AND ABIDING CLAIMS OF CHRIST TO BE ACCEPTED AND OBEYED AS KING.
1. His nature. Divine and human; including all qualifications for rule.
2. His Divine appointment. Signified in manifold ways.
3. The deliverance he has wrought. It is here said of David, "The king saved us," etc. Our Lord has saved us in a more marvellous way, from enemies more to be dreaded than the heathen that harassed Israel. He has conquered, in personal conflict and through suffering unto death, Satan, the world, sin, and death. He has thus "saved us out of the hand of our enemies," including those that, like the Philistines in relation to Israel, are nearest to us and most ready and able to harass us - our own special besetting sins. True, the deliverance is not yet completely accomplished in actual experience; but it is assured, and as really ours, if we are Christ's, as if we were already perfectly freed from all evil
II. THE INSENSIBILITY TO THESE CLAIMS WHICH COMMONLY PREVAILS. Looking at the lives of most men, even where Christ is made known, it is painfully manifest that they have no due sense of his rights and their duty to him; for they do not submit their minds, hearts, and lives to his government.
1. Causes of such insensibility.
(1) A depraved nature, whose spiritual sensibilities are further suppressed and benumbed by the practice of sin.
(2) Absorption in worldly pursuits. Leaving no opportunity for higher matters to attract attention, no time to think of them.
(3) Unconcern as to the enemies from whom Christ delivers. No conviction of sin; no sense of the evil of it; no desire for rescue from its guilt or power. The Deliverer, therefore, excites no real interest.
(4) Familiarity with the truth. The habit of hearing, or reading, or even repeating it, without accepting it; or of assenting to it without really believing it; or of accepting (in a sense) the atonement, and relying on Jesus for pardon, without receiving him as King. The process also of indulging feeling and sentiment about Christ, without rendering obedience; and of resisting the feelings which prompt to obedience, thus resisting and grieving the Holy Spirit. In this way the gospel becomes a means of hardening the heart against itself.
(5) The attractions of some pretender to the throne. As Absalom "stole the hearts of the men of Israel" (2 Samuel 15:6) by his youth, beauty, activity, assiduous attentions, insinuating address, and hints as to the defects of his father's government, and the improvements which he would make if he were in power; so the hearts of many are withdrawn from the Lord Jesus by the attractions of some newly revived system of error in philosophy or religion, or anti-religion, of which the novelty (to them) is charming, and the representations of human nature more flattering, and the demands less exacting. The old king comes to be regarded and treated as worn out, quite unsuited to the needs of an enlightened and scientific age; and the young pretenders are welcomed, one by one class, and another by another, with shouts of joy and paeans of anticipated victory.
2. Effects of such insensibility.
(1) Negatively, in the prevention of faith and love, loyal obedience and active service.
(2) Positively, by leading to disaffection and active rebellion; as in the case of Israel and David.
III. THE HAPPY AWAKENING WHICH IS OFTEN EXPERIENCED. As in the case of the Israelites in respect to David. This may be produced:
1. By calamity. As the Israelites were awakened by defeat and disaster. Troubles stir the conscience, lead the soul to look around for support, throw an unusual light on objects, reveal the vanity of cherished dependencies, prepare for due appreciation of those which are solid and satisfying; and so lead to a right appreciation of Christ.
2. By impressive presentation of forgotten facts. As by the tribes of Israel to each other, reminding of their obligations to David, and the ill requital he had received from them. It may be a sermon heard with unaccustomed interest, or some part of the Holy Book read with a new perception of the significance and importance of its teaching, or the appeals, of a friend, or the statements of a tract, or words of parents or teachers long ago, recurring with new power to the mind; whatever it be that stirs the heart to consideration and renders it sensible of the rights and worth of Christ, blessed are the means, blessed the moment when such effects are produced.
3. Always by the enlightening and convincing Spirit. Whose work it is to reveal and glorify the Son of God (John 16:14).
IV. THE CHANGE PRODUCED BY THIS AWAKENING. Similar to that in the text.
1. In conduct.
(1) Return to allegiance, loyalty, and service to the rightful Sovereign. Incitement of others to return.
2. In position. The returning rebels are accepted, and restored to the privileges of faithful subjects. Not because the heavenly King is, like David, dependent on his subjects, needing them as much as they him, but of pure grace. However long they may have been insensible and rebellious, on coming to a sense of their duty, and seeking forgiveness, they are pardoned and restored to favour. Lastly, the awakening may come too late, producing terror and remorse, but not repentance, and importunate prayers which are unavailing (see Luke 13:24-28). - G.W.
Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?I. MANY HAVE LOST THE COMFORTABLE PRESENCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Some have long dwelt in the cold shade of suspended fellowship, and must be anxiously pining after its restoration. Now to such as these, who see no longer the bright and morning star, we say, "Why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?" If your soul has been nipped with the frosts of a long and dreary winter, if the Sun of Righteousness do but cross the line and manifest his meridian splendour, your summer will return at once. Let the king come, and all his court will follow — all the graces display themselves where the Lord of grace is revealed. Always beware of any instruction or direction which would withdraw you from the cross as the sole and simple ground of your comfort. While your bark is tossed about at sea, it is very likely that she wants a new copper bottom, or the deck requires holy-stoning, or the rigging is out of repair, or the sails want overhauling, or fifty other things may be necessary; but if the wind is blowing great guns, and the vessel is drifting towards those white-crested breakers, the first business of the mariner is to make for the haven at once, to avoid the hurricane. When he is all snug in port, he can attend to hull and rigging: and all the odds and ends besides. So with you, child of God, one thing you must do, and I beseech you do it. Do not be looking. to this, or to that, or to the other out of a thousand things that may be amiss, but steer straight for the cross of Christ, which is the haven for distressed spirits. "Why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?"
1. Perhaps, you reply, "We speak not a word of this because we are afraid that the king may have forgotten us." Oh, cruel thought concerning so kind a friend! Hear ye his own words, "I am God; I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
2. But you say, "How shall I return to him? I feel ashamed to come to him yet again." Recollect that, bad as you are, you are not now worse than when you first came to him. "Why speak ye not a word of bringing the King back?"
3. I hope the answer to that question is not that you have forgotten Him. Forgotten the man of Gethsemane, crimsoned with his own blood for you? Forgotten Him whose hands were pierced for you, who bore the crown of thorns, and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost for you? Forgotten that faithful lover who ever since he ascended above the stars has never ceased to intercede for you, and such as you? Oh, shame indeed!
II. MANY PROFESSORS DO VERY LITTLE TO BRING CHRIST BACK TO HIS KINGDOM IN THE WORLD.
III. A LARGE CLASS ARE REBELLIOUS SUBJECTS OF THIS KING. "The ox knoweth its owner, and the ass its master's crib," but you do not know, and you have lived all these years without considering. Is it not unjust? Does not conscience tell you that you do wrong to rebel against the God that made you? Christ is your lawful King, and you are a rebel against Him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. WHY DID HE NOT IMMEDIATELY GO BACK?
1. Restoration of the king's presence must be sought by rebel subjects.
2. Because he would be king of their hearts, not of the land and city merely. So Christ's sovereignty now must be voluntary. One day it will be obligatory, as was Solomon's. (Philippians 2:10; Revelation 2:27.) Christ will only rule over willing hearts in His kingdom of grace. Many Christians have their own way. Christ does not coerce; but they are slaves to self instead of being Christ's freedmen. Observe the nature of Christ's kingdom in the heart. (Romans 14:17; 1 John 3:9, with Galatians 3:16; Galatians 4:19; Colossians 1:27 (Matthew 2:3 — born king); 1 Corinthians 15:45-50, 24.) Christ waits to be invited as David did. He will not reign at Mahanaim, only at Jerusalem; but He sends messages. David's message to rebellious Judah is really a pardon, and as such moved the hearts of the people. (Ver. 14.)
II. PARDON OF SHIMEI. Abishai was legally right (Exodus 22:28; 1 Samuel 26:9), but was reminding David of that incident in his past life, and thus helping him to remain true to his own generous instincts. (1 Samuel 24:5.) The grand answer. I am King, because I can be a Saviour. (1 Samuel 11:12, 13.) Christ might have been King in right of His election (Psalm 2:6-8), and will be some day; but He willed to reign by right of His cross. (Psalm 72:1, 2, 14.)
III. MEPHIBOSHETH, TYPE OF THE TRUE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDE-CHAMBER. (Mark 2:19, 20; John 16:20-22.)
IV. BARZILLAI, TYPE OF THE TRULY WEANED SOUL, content to do without temporal blessings and sensible comforts; satisfied with the certainty of the king's favour. Fruitful also, leaving those whom he has led to Christ to carry on his service. Chimham apparently received David's own inheritance. (Jeremiah 41:17; John 17:24; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 22:16; Revelation 2:28.
(R. E. Faulkner.)
PeopleAbiathar, Abishai, Absalom, Amasa, Barzillai, Benjamin, Benjamites, Chimham, David, Gera, Israelites, Joab, Joseph, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zadok, Zeruiah, Ziba
PlacesBahurim, Gilgal, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Mahanaim, Rogelim
TopicsBowed, Heart, Hearts, Inclineth, Judah, Moved, Return, Saying, Servants, Swayed, Though, Thus, Turn
Outline1. Joab causes the king to cease his mourning
9. The Israelites are earnest to bring the king back
11. David sends to the priest to incite them of Judah
18. Shimei is pardoned
24. Mephibosheth excused
32. Barzillai dismissed, and Chimham his son taken into the king's family
41. The Israelites expostulate with Judah for bringing home the king without them
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 19:12-13
LibraryNational Sorrows and National Lessons
On the illness or the Prince of Wales. Chapel Royal, St James's, December 17th, 1871. 2 Sam. xix. 14. "He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man." No circumstances can be more different, thank God, than those under which the heart of the men of Judah was bowed when their king commander appealed to them, and those which have, in the last few days, bowed the heart of this nation as the heart of one man. But the feeling called out in each case was the same--Loyalty, …
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons
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