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2 Samuel 20:9
There may be a healthy soul in a sickly body. But often within a sound body there is an unsound heart.
I. The Characteristics of a Healthy Disciple.
(1) A cheerful countenance.
(2) A good appetite. 'Hunger and thirst after righteousness.'
(3) Moral strength.
(4) Great powers of endurance.
(5) Buoyant spirits.
II. The Causes of Soul-sickness.
(1) Contagion. Evil company. But much depends on our previous state of health. We may be predisposed to certain diseases.
(2) Neglect. There are spiritual as well as physical laws which cannot be broken with impunity.
III. The Remedy.
(1) Go to the Good Physician.
(2) Avoid danger as much as possible.
(3) 'Exercise thyself unto godliness.' 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.' F. J. Austin, Seeds and Saplings, p. 67.
The Wise Woman of Abel
2 Samuel 20:16
Note some features of the chieftainess of Abel.
I. She was Reputed as Wise. If her name is unknown her character is not unknown. Her fame, in her own time, was intensive rather than extensive. Abel was but a tiny city, and though she was well known there yet it was but a contracted sphere. But the quality of reputation is far more than its quantity. She was a good woman. Read her story and it is apparent. She loved her city. She cared for her neighbours. She reverenced Jehovah. She had genial and gracious qualities adorning her character. She resented treason and evil-doing. She had a virile sense of justice.
II. This Wise Woman was Conscious of Having Good Counsel to Give. God had put a word in this woman's mind and soul, and she knew she had the needed word for the hour.
There is no counsel so inclusive, so always pertinent, so far-reaching, so universally apposite as the Gospel of Christ.
III. The Wise Woman of Abel Appreciated Noble History. This woman was wise, in this as in much else, that she was a student of history. She was conversant with the records of the past. She knew the times that had gone over Abel. She was familiar with the great historical utterances. 'They were wont to speak in old time, saying.' She knew the proverbs of the ancients. The hand of God in history should never be unrevealed to us.
IV. The Wise Woman Prized Proved Centres of Knowledge. She protested against Abel being destroyed by Joab, and this is one of the grounds of her protest: 'They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter'. Abel means 'meadows'. Let meadows that were a delight to generations gone be sacredly preserved by succeeding generations.
V. The Wise Woman of Abel was Conscious of Uprightness. She said, 'I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel'. She claims that there were many such in Abel. The epithets are plural in the original. 'I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful.'
She was possessed of peace. She had a quiet heart God's best gift to men and women. Righteousness effects peaceableness. It is the very bloom of character. The consciousness of such qualities is a precious possession.
VI. This Noble Woman Lived for Others. She described herself, whilst remonstrating with Joab, as 'a mother in Israel'.
VII. The Wise Woman Deprecated the Destruction of God's Inheritance. 'Why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?' she cries in sorrow and anger. Every city is God's inheritance. Christian believers are peculiarly the inheritance of the Lord.
VIII. This Wise Woman of Abel Used her Influence Well. Influence is one of the subtlest and most effective attributes of mankind. It may be an incalculable good or an ineffable evil. With Joab she used her influence most skilfully and beneficially.
This woman of Israel used her rare influence with the people of Abel in equally felicitous fashion. Further, she used her great influence for the suppression of evil. And finally, her influence effected the salvation of her city.
Dinsdale T. Young, The Crimson Book, p. 269.
Illustration. Bishop Hall, in his invaluable 'Contemplations,' forcefully applies the salvation of Abel. 'Spiritually the case is ours. Every man's breast is a city enclosed. Every sin is a traitor that lurks within those walls. God calls to us for Sheba's head; neither hath He any quarrel to our person but for our sin. If we love the head of our traitor above the life of our soul we shall justly perish in the vengeance. We cannot be more willing to part with our sin than our merciful God is to withdraw His judgments.'
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/