I. THE DEVOTED LOVE OF CHRIST'S FAITHFUL SERVANTS TO HIMSELF.
1. They show sincere and practical regard to his every wish. They do not need explicit commands in detail, still less accompanying threatenings. Enough if they can ascertain what he desires; and their love for him and converse with him enable them to know his wishes without definite verbal revelations or laws. A large portion of the life of many modern Christians, especially in the departments of Christian zeal and benevolence, is founded on no express command, but springs from love and sympathy - from that participation of the Spirit of Christ which produces intuitive discernment of his will, and that devoted attachment which prompts to the gratification of his every wish.
2. They are ready to encounter danger in his service. The work of Christ makes at times great demands on love, zeal, and courage. It cannot be done without hazard; but his true-hearted friends are prepared to endure the toil and brave the peril. Not a few in our own day may be described as "men that have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26). This spirit of Christian heroism is not confined to the more hardy races, but among' the softer tribes of Polynesia and India, the knowledge, of Christ has produced a similar courage. Converted natives offer themselves for service in the most dangerous fields of missionary enterprise; and when some fall at the hand of savages, or through attacks of deadly diseases, others eagerly press forward to take the vacant places. The language of St. Paul is still the language of faithful Christians, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself," etc.; "I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die... for the Name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13).
3. They are sometimes moved to extraordinary manifestations of their regard. Like the three heroes whose exploit is here recorded. Like Mary in her lavish anointing of her Lord (John 12:3). Warm love prompts to generous deeds and gifts. There is need of these in the service of Christ; and if ardent love to him were more common, they would be more frequent. Love should, however, submit to the guidance of wisdom, lest it become wasteful or injurious. Our Lord will accept mistaken offerings, but it is well that the offerings should themselves be such as he can approve. One safeguard against mistake is the remembrance that he desires no display of love which is fantastic or useless, no self-denial or daring which answers no proportionate end in the advancement of his kingdom and the promotion of the good either of our own souls or of our fellow men. There is abundant room for all possible generosity, self-denial, and bravery in the practical service of Christ and man; to expend these in fruitless ways is to expose our works to condemnation, however good and acceptable may be our motives. We are to serve God with our reason as well as our feelings.
II. THE REASONABLENESS AND RIGHTNESS OF SUCH LOVE. Because of:
1. His self-sacrificing love for them. "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2 Corinthians 5:14) is their sufficient answer to any who allege that they are "beside themselves" (2 Corinthians 5:13). His love requires and justifies the utmost consecration to him of heart and life.
2. His injunctions. He claims from all who follow him that they should love him more than their nearest relations more than their own life (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26), and that, in serving him, they should be fearless of death (Luke 12:4).
3. His example. Of love to the Father, and complete devotedness to his will and glory (John 14:31; John 4:34; Matthew 26:39, 42; John 12:27, 28).
4. The effects of such love. In purifying and ennobling the character of those who cherish it, and promoting through them the well being of mankind. It is love for all excellence, stimulates to its pursuit and greatly aids its attainment. It is the inspiration and support of the highest and most persistent benevolence; for he who is loved is the Incarnation of Divine holiness and love, and the great Friend and Benefactor of the human race, and the return he asks for his love to us is not a barren, sentimental devotion, but practical obedience (John 14:15, 21, 23), and especially a fruitful love to our brethren (John 15:12-14; 1 John 3:16-18), whom he teaches us to regard as being himself (Matthew 25:35-45). Love to Jesus Christ has been, and still is, the strongest motive-power in the world in favour of all godliness and goodness.
5. Its rewards. Love to Christ is not mercenary, and makes no stipulation for recompense. It is its own reward. Yet in the midst of a cold and unbelieving world it needs all supports. These are to be found in the assurance of the approval and affection of Christ himself, and of the Father (John 14:21, 23; John 16:27), and the prospect of sharing the glory and joy of Christ forever (John 17:24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 19:29; James 1:12; James 2:5). On the other hand, to be destitute of love to Christ is to be lost (1 Corinthians 16:22). - G.W.
The Rock of Israel spake to me.
I. THE ROCK HAS A VOICE; the Rock of Israel had been speaking to him ever since he had been in the kingly seat of power. David's wild and outlaw life had made him know what was the value of a stronghold, a shelter, a refuge. Rocks had been in his experience his best friends for many a year. Rocks were unchanging in their affection for him; they were immovable in their stability; they were impregnable for defence; often he had found rest under the "shadow of a great rock in a weary land." What had this Rock of Israel said to him during this wonderful career?
1. For one thing, it had told him, as a counsel of superior wisdom, that he ought to reign righteously all his life: "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."
2. For another thing, the Rock had spoken the terms and the conditions of a fine promise. A just ruler would be prospered in proportion to the purity and piety of his administration: "And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain."
3. And for the best thing of all, the Rock had assured him graciously of a permanent continuance of the Divine favour: "Although my house be not so with God, yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."
II. MODERN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. What are the conditions of implicit trust in the Lord of our salvation, such trust ah will insure peace and comfort?
1. The main condition of resting in the Lord is found in looking outside of one's self. There is a habit of morbid self-examination which needs to be shunned. The more conscientious any believer is, the more apt he is to press unnecessary scrutiny of introspection.
2. The next condition of spiritual repose is found in the avoiding of unwise counsellors. Once a Christian friend wrote a letter to me, saying that she had just, after a long struggle, come to something like peace in believing, when along came a "so-called evangelist to torment her before her time," telling her that "all we have to do is to accept salvation as we would accept a book from Christ's hand." She could not do this so easily, and hence she was informed again that her faith had no foundation upon which to be "secure." It would break up two-thirds of the business firms in the United States if an evangelist were to keep going round among the counting-rooms, telling people that they were in jeopardy every hour unless they could come to absolute confidence in their senior partners; and then they must be sure, still, that they have the-right kind of confidence in them; and then they must be modest, and become surest of all that they are not becoming over-sure of anything this side of heaven. Human beings cannot get on with this; they cannot live so with God or with man. We must cultivate some measure of unquestioning trust. We must learn to trust our trust, and not keep rooting it up. No plant grows which is continually being rooted up.
3. Another condition of rest in God is found in drawing a clear distinction between historic faith and saving faith. What secures to us a perfect salvation is spiritual trust in the Saviour, and this is the gift of the Holy Ghost. And whoever says that we receive Divine grace as we would receive a book from a man's hand, is simply mistaken in ignorance, or is misunderstood in his statement. Mechanical acts are frightfully poor illustrations of deep religious exercises. Some sort of fervour, some degree of emotion, is needed in order to appreciate Divine grace and receive it fitly. Tameness and lukewarmness are simply insipid. It is a heart-trust that God asks for, not a mere head-trust. A maiden may be told by her enthusiastic lover that it is as easy to trust him for ever with her life as it is to take a flower he offers; she knows better. It is easy to receive facts, perhaps, but not so easy to understand experiences which lie deeper than any mere outward acts. Historic faith is not necessarily saving faith.
4. Yet again: we are to cultivate confidence in the slowly reached answers to our prayers for Divine grace.
5. Yet again: we must distinguish between emotions, and religious states. The one may vary, the other is fixed Faith is a very different thing from the result of faith; and confidence of faith is even a different thing from faith itself; and yet the safety of a soul depends on faith, and nothing else. We are justified by faith — not by joy or peace or love or hope or zeal. These last are the results of faith, generally, and will depend largely upon temperament and education.
6. Finally, this unbroken courage is a condition of rest. We must not think everything is lost when we happen to have become beclouded. That faith is the best which has been tried and tested. In my study lies a little flower. It came to me long ago, by the hand of one who plucked it upon the highest ridge ever reached in the Rocky Mountains. It is of a rich purple colour, light and graceful in form, and retains yet, I imagine, a faint and delicate perfume. The lesson which it teaches me is one of endurance and patience. Away up there, where the snow lies late and the storms come early, it has held its own. The bleak solitudes had no charm for it; nay, I think that this flower was created to give a charm to a solitude which would have been the bleaker without it. To me it is the symbol of trust — absolute and implicit trust in God. It is a living thing that knows how to keep its warmth in despite of ice, and its beauty in despite of desolation all around it.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
He that ruleth over men must be just.
PeopleAbialbon, Abiel, Abiezer, Abishai, Adino, Agee, Ahasbai, Ahiam, Ahithophel, Anathoth, Ariel, Asahel, Azmaveth, Baanah, Bani, Benaiah, Benjamin, Benjaminites, David, Dodai, Dodo, Eleazar, Elhanan, Eliahba, Eliam, Elika, Eliphelet, Gareb, Heldai, Heleb, Helez, Hezrai, Hezro, Hiddai, Igal, Ikkesh, Ira, Ithai, Ittai, Jacob, Jashen, Jehoiada, Jesse, Joab, Jonathan, Maharai, Mebunnai, Naharai, Nahari, Nathan, Paarai, Ribai, Shammah, Sharar, Sibbecai, Uriah, Zalmon, Zelek, Zeruiah
PlacesAdullam, Anathoth, Bahurim, Beeroth, Bethlehem, Carmel, Gaash, Gath, Gibeah, Gilo, Harod, Jerusalem, Kabzeel, Lehi, Maacah, Moab, Netophah, Pirathon, Tekoa, Valley of Rephaim, Zobah
TopicsBenaiah, Benai'ah, Brooks, Gaash, Ga'ash, Hiddai, Hid'dai, Nahale-gaash, Pira'thon, Pirathonite, Ravines, Valleys
Outline1. David, in his last words, professes his faith in God's promises
6. The different state of the wicked
8. A catalogue of David's mighty men
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 23:8-39
LibraryThe Dying King's Last vision and Psalm
'Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2. The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue. 3. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A Libation to Jehovah
The Royal Jubilee
David's Dying Song
Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
The Christian's Book
Thoughts Upon the Appearance of Christ the Sun of Righteousness, or the Beatifick vision.
The Truth of God
Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prophets and Apostles.
The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
The Deity of the Holy Spirit.
How is Christ, as the Life, to be Applied by a Soul that Misseth God's Favour and Countenance.
Thoughts Upon the Mystery of the Trinity.
The Covenant of Grace
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