Looking in the Face
2 Kings 14:8
Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come…

Let us look one another in the face." Such was the message of a king to a king. The whole transaction was hypocritical, and we cannot read of it without loathing. Separate the words from the original surroundings, however, and they contain most excellent advice. We may give them a practical and seasonable turn.

I. LOOK GOD IN THE FACE. Behold Him as He is. It is, alas, so easy to get wrong conceptions of the Most High, and much enmity to Him has its beginning thus. "They hated me without a cause." If men knew God better, they would dread Him less and trust Him more. "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord." Concerning what? why, the very point of which we have been speaking: false notions of the Lord. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." You fancy Me to be harsh and hard: get rid of that thought; I delight in mercy. To look God in the face is no difficult matter now that Christ has come. He is "the image of the invisible God." See the one, and you see the other. The tenderness which said to a desolate widow in Nain, "Don't cry; I will raise your son"; the power which subdued the crested waves and-hushed the roaring winds by a single word; the holiness which took no taint from contact with publicans and sinners — reveal the attributes of Jehovah. Agnosticism erect again the ancient Athenian altar, and writes on it, "to the Unknown God."; but Paul still cries, "Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you."

II. LOOK YOURSELF IN THE FACE. "If any be a hearer of the word, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass." by the light of Scripture we may see our own characters; and this self-scrutiny is eminently important. Socrates said: "We should not live a life which is not subject to examination." for lack of this, some are astoundingly ignorant of their true condition. What they say to others might well be spoken of and by themselves, "I have not the pleasure of knowing you." Nathan proved this in respect of David, and the very church which thought that it had need of nothing was pronounced by Christ "poor and miserable, and blind, and naked." As it is in the literary, so it is in the moral world: authors are often bad judges of their own productions. John Foster wished that he could write like Johnson or Young, hut the fact is that he wrote better than either. Sir Walter Scott published the "Waverley Novels anonymously, lest they should injure his fame as a poet; but posterity thinks more of his stories than his verses. Something like this holds good of us: we may be ludicrously mistaken regarding ourselves. To avoid such blunders, let us use "the balances of the sanctuary." We should employ the scales and weights which God has provided. Paul told the Corinthians that they were "not wise," because they measured themselves by themselves, and compared themselves with themselves.

III. LOOK MAN IN THE FACE. A needless counsel, some may complain. Don't we do it? Nothing is so common as the wish to see people's faces. We all believe in the vis-a-vis position. The pen is not enough; we want the countenance also. If you hear of a great writer or preacher, you at once want to see him. When we visit friends we call it "going to see them" Nevertheless there is need of the advice: see men. We are much too isolated. English folk are what Matthew Arnold calls insular. If the various classes of society had more intercourse with each other, it would be better for us all round. Were the cultured and intellectual to mingle with Philistines rather oftener, the latter would get a little of their refinement. Communion between the rich and the poor would hardly fail in producing sympathy on the part of the one. and confidence on the part of the other. Christians might learn a lesson here. They keep too much apart. Only lately it was asked at a metropolitan meeting of our denomination — Where now is the continuing in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship of which we read in the early Church? One other thought. How many misunderstandings in social life might be prevented or removed, if we looked each other in the face! You think that a friend is cooler in his manner than of yore, or he has done something which you interpret as hostile to you. Don't brood over it. If you do, your suspicions and imagination will blow the spark into a flame which will consume your comfort. Visit him. Be candid. "Have it out," as we say, and the probability is that a few minutes' plain dealing on both sides will put the whole business right.

(T. R. Stevenson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.

WEB: Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, "Come, let us look one another in the face."

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