the Third Sunday of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee.”
1 Kings 12:26-33
1 Kings 12:27
He feared that while the tribes went up every year to the temple, the old love to one another would revive, and seeing the palace of the house of David in its magnificence, they might feel regret for having revolted from their ancient line of kings: Jeroboam therefore felt that the temple worship endangered his position. He was a man of a crafty mind, like Ahithophel, and had no fear of God before his eyes, and therefore he resolved to set up a new religion. God’s honour was nothing to him. Worldly policy and other base motives have often been the reasons for founding false systems of religion.
1 Kings 12:28
Men naturally love ease, and prefer a religion which involves little trouble and inconvenience, hence Jeroboam craftily appealed to this degrading propensity of human nature; but how disgraceful it was on the part of Israel that under such a pretext they should forsake the living God and bow before the image of a bullock. May we never leave the good old paths of truth for the sake of honour, position, gain, or ease. Let us cleave unto the Lord with purpose of heart.
1 Kings 12:29
At both ends of the land, so that none might have far to travel.
1 Kings 12:30 , 1 Kings 12:31
The true priests were faithful and hence he must needs set up others. This speaks well for the Levites. If all other men become idolators, God’s ministers must not.
1 Kings 12:33
He dared to take upon himself the priesthood, to change the ordained seasons for worship, to set up a rival altar, and to adore God under a symbolic form. All this was detestable in the sight of God. It is to be feared that in our day many are guilty of Jeroboam’s sin, for they invent rites and ceremonies of their own, and for sake the Lord, who is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. O for grace to be faithful to the Word of God in all points.
1 Kings 13:1-10
1 Kings 13:3
This was bravely spoken. The prophet feared not the wrath of the king or of the crowds around him. Messengers of God must not fear the faces of men.
1 Kings 13:4
He was greatly irritated to have the first and greatest ceremony of his new religion broken in upon by this zealous messenger of the Lord. “Seize him!” cries the king, yea he puts forth his own hand to execute the arrest.
1 Kings 13:6
The Lord can soon bring down the strongest heart. This proud potentate speedily fell from threatening to entreating. God who withered his hand could have paralyzed his whole body, but in wrath he remembered mercy.
1 Kings 13:6
God’s servants are easily entreated, and return good for evil.
1 Kings 13:7
Observe that Jeroboam never uttered a word by way of repentance or humiliation. He was hardened in his proud rebellion against God, and though he was ready to reward the prophet, he would not thank the Lord who sent him.
1 Kings 13:10
It was not meet that God’s servant should have any fellowship with revolted Israel, no, not even so much as eating a piece of bread or taking a sip of water with them. The true believer’s duty is to avoid all unnecessary fellowship with men of sin. “What concord hath Christ with Belial?”
Arm of the Lord! awake! awake!
Put on thy strength, the nations shake:
And let the world, adoring, see
Triumphs of mercy wrought by thee.
Say to the heathen, from thy throne,
“I am Jehovah, God alone!”
Thy voice their idols shall confound,
And cast their altars to the ground.
Faith must obey her Father’s will
As well as trust his grace;
A pardoning God is jealous still
For his own holiness.
Though from his wrath he sets us free,
He will be Lord within,
Nor will he let his servants be
Unchastened if they sin.
We bless the Lord of tender love
Who sees the feeblest spark of grace,
And sends his Spirit from above
To bless the babes that seek his face.
His quick approving eye discerns
Where “some good thing” for God is found;
On that good thing his eye he turns,
And there he makes his gifts abound.
Well may the Lord that good espy,
‘Tis he who works all good within;
Faith’s healing look, prayer’s childlike cry,
And love which weeps o’er pardon’d sin.
Lift up a banner in the field
For those that fear thy name;
Save thy beloved with thy shield,
And put our foes to shame.
Our faith shall gain a wide renown
By thine assisting hand;
‘Tis God that treads the mighty down
And makes the feeble stand.
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercies, and shall break
With blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
“The Lord thy God is a jealous God.”
1 Kings 13:1-30
1 Kings 13:30
This is a very solemn illustration of the great truth that the Lord our God is a jealous God. He will be obeyed by those whom he honours to become his servants. He has expressly said, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.” To trifle with his commands in the smallest degree may involve even the best of men in solemn chastisement. The old prophet at Bethel must have backslidden very far from God, or he would not have tempted the man of God so wickedly; the man of God ought not, however, to have believed him so readily, seeing that his declaration contradicted the express command of the Lord, which he had personally received. The Lord saw fit to slay him, but let us hope that as a righteous man he had hope in his death. Let us hope also that the death of the prophet from Judah became a warning to the old prophet at Bethel, and was the means of restoring him to his right state before God. It may have been one of those terrible things in righteousness whereby the Lord calls back his wanderers. Its lesson to us is to walk before God with holy jealousy and fear to offend.