Mornings With God

Solomon replied, “You demonstrated great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served you faithfully, properly, and sincerely. You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne.

[1 Kgs 3:6 NET]

Solomon felt an obligation to be worthy because of the blessing God had shown to his father. We often talk of the responsibility of parents for their children, but we should think also of the responsibility of children for their parents.

Before David died he gave Solomon some advice: “Be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man, … that the Lord may establish His word which He spake concerning me.” The fulfillment of God’s promises to David would depend upon Solomon’s faithfulness. What David had done was but the beginning; it was Solomon’s mission to take up and continue his work.

An honoured parentage is a good heritage. It puts one under tremendous responsibility, too, for its blessings are a sacred trust, which must be kept unsullied, and accounted for. To be unfaithful in such circumstances is not only to leave our work undone, but to mar, possibly destroy, the good work of others, which had been put into our hands to finish.

Mornings With God

Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” The person would answer, “I, your servant, am from one of the tribes of Israel.” Absalom would then say to him, “Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate. But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you.”

[2 Sam 15:2-3 NET]

Absalom perverted good things to base and ignoble uses. For example, early rising is a good thing, when one rises to begin a day of beautiful living. Absalom rose early to ply his arts of treachery.

Sympathy is a good thing. One can do no Christlier work than to go among those who are overwrought, speaking cheering, strengthening words. To take by the hand one who has fallen in some misfortune, and be a brother to him, helping him to rise; is a noble thing to do.

But Absalom only pretended to be the people’s friend that he might get their confidence and then use them in his wicked plot to seize his father’s throne. He lost no opportunity, when any one was dissatisfied, to pity him, and hint how different it would be if only he were king.

There is no baser treachery than this, and we all need to be on our guard continually, lest, by half–conscious disparagement, we destroy the influence of others and do them irreparable injury.

Mornings With God

The men of Judah came and there they anointed David as king over the people of Judah. David was told, “The people of Jabesh Gilead are the ones who buried Saul.”

[2 Sam 2:4 NET]

David had been a long time in preparation for his place.

When only a boy he was anointed, but he was not fit then to be a king. He was taken to Saul’s court, where he learned much about the ways of kings. The envy of Saul seemed a bitter thing to break into such a happy career as David’s. But this too had its place in his training. It taught him patience and self–control. It forced him out among the people, away from luxury and refinement, into caves and mountains, where he learned how the common people lived, and was taught sympathy with men in their hardships and trials.

He was a better king afterward, because of his long years of persecution and exile. In these and in other ways was David made ready for his duties as king.

We must not think it strange if we are called to endure trials, temptations, hardships, and suffering in our earlier years, for it is in this way that God would train us for noble character and for larger usefulness.

Mornings With God

Now as Peter was traveling around from place to place, he also came down to the saints who lived in Lydda.

[Acts 9:32 NET]

It is a great thing to be an encourager of others.

Peter went about helping the new believers. There are always young Christians without experience who need just such aid. A brave word from one who is older gives them courage to go on. Peter “found” Aeneas.

That means that he heard of his pitiful condition and sought him out. We should not wait till people ask for comfort and help. Peter kept himself in the background and said to the man, “Jesus Christ healeth thee.” If we were to do all our Christian work in this way it would have far more power.

Dorcas had won a place in people’s hearts by her kindness. She was “full of good works and alms–deeds which she did,” She did not merely mean to do them – she “did” them.

In restoring her, Peter first bade her arise, and then gave her his hand to help her rise. This is important in all our helping of others. We must give our hand as well as speak the word of power.

Mornings With God

But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.”

[Acts 9:6 NET]

The story of Paul’s conversion is wonderful. He was the fiercest of the persecutors.

When he set out for Damascus he was “breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples.” Yet the picture of Stephen’s murder never faded from his vision, and at last did much to bring him to Christ’s feet.

“Saint, did I say? With your remembered faces,

Dear men and women, whom I sought and slew.

Ah! When we mingle in the heavenly places,

How will I weep to Stephen and to you!

“Oh for the strain that rang to our reviling

Still, when the bruised limbs sank upon the sod!

Oh for the eyes that looked their last in smiling,

Last on this world here, but their first on God!”

It is earnestness like Paul’s that the Church needs today.

Mornings With God

and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need.

[Acts 4:35 NET]

The law of Christian love is the law of Christian life. He who loves Christ will love his brother also. This law of love ruled in the first Christian society.

“The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul.” They were bound together as members of one family. This was not merely in sentiment, but it took a very practical form, for “not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.”

This does not mean that all property rights were surrendered, but that if one had need the other had plenty shared what he had with him. Any case of distress of which we become aware makes its appeal to us and we must consider it. A little child was overheard saying in her evening prayer: “Lord, I saw a poor little girl today. Her feet were almost on the ground. She looked cold and hungry. But, Lord, it isn’t any of my business – is it?”

But it is our business when we find any one suffering or in distress. We are to bear each other’s burdens.

Mornings With God

for it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

[Acts 4:20 NET]

One of the Beatitudes is, “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you.” The first Christians very soon had opportunity to receive this blessing. Their behaviour in persecution has its lessons for us. One is that we should give to Christ the honor of all that we do.

Another lesson is, that we should always take our commands from Christ and from no other. The apostles were bidden to speak no more in Christ’s name. Their answer was heroic: “We cannot but speak.”

We may find it hard sometimes to obey Christ – it is easier to keep silent than to speak for Him. But we have no choice if we would remain loyal to Him.

We have also here a lesson in prayer. The apostles did not pray to be delivered from suffering. They prayed that they might have power to speak the word with boldness. We should not pray to be kept from suffering, but that we may be brave and loyal in His service.