1 Kings 20:40
And as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said to him, So shall your judgment be…
Ahab had a chance of doing God's will; he neglected to use it, and judgment descended upon him.
I. WE HAVE EACH AND ALL SOMETHING TO DO FOR GOD'S GLORY.
1. In the case before us Ahab should have destroyed Ben-hadad. We ought to outlive all evil — to overthrow all that opposes the spread of truth and righteousness.
2. God's glory would have been manifest in the destruction of the Syrian king. That glory is revealed in a yet greater degree when souls are saved, and in this we may be instrumental.
3. What, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Even so, it devolves upon you to do all you can to save those who are unsaved. This work for God's glory, can only be performed by adaptability in teaching — the exercise of a loving spirit — earnest prayer — a humble dependence on the Divine power.
II. WE TOO OFTEN NEGLECT TO EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED. The prophet, in his parable, said, that while he was busy here and there, his prisoner had escaped; that was the excuse he made. Christian people often make excuses for not doing their duty, here is one.
1. I am too timid. I can't speak to my children, to my servants, to strangers about their souls, and their duty to the Great Creator. Why can't you? You can talk to them about their bodies and temporal things. Why not about Divine?
2. It is not my business. Whose then? Ministers are paid to do this work, and they ought not to trouble us. So, then, if you knew a man had poisoned himself, you would not try to save him (although you knew well enough what to do), all you would say would be "Go to the doctor."
3. I am too much engaged. And, perhaps, there never was an age in which men are so busy as they are to-day. "Express speed" is far too slow. Men must beat the lightning, or at least equal it. They are "too busy" to give a little time to the consideration of the best means for spiritual work; too busy to engage in that work themselves; and what does it all mean?
III. OPPORTUNITIES ONCE LOST NEVER RETURN. "Opportunity for doing good is like a favouring breeze springing up around a sailing vessel. If the sails be all set, the ship is wafted onward to its port; but if the sailors are not there, the breeze may die away; and when they would go they cannot, and their vessel stands as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean." Think for a moment of the opportunities each has neglected; let the thought stimulate you to improve the present.
IV. ALL SUCH NEGLECTED OPPORTUNITIES WILL HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR.
(A. F. Barfield.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.