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where he stood, and gives him "a why" for it—that the Lord loved his people Israel, meant to establish them, that he would build David a house (instead of David's building him one of stone), a house of living children, among
whom was to be found Him who was the root and offspring of David-the True Beloved One-in whom God would always be well pleased.
David is now in his right place. “ Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God ? and what is my house that Thou hast brought me hitherto ? And this was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord God; but Thou hast spoken also of Thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God? And what can David say more unto Thee? For Thou, Lord God, knowest Thy servant, For Thy word's sake, and according to Thine own heart, hast Thou done all these great things, to make Thy servant know them.”
And then he goes on musing and speaking of what the Lord is.
There is something in this sort of confession which is strangely sweet; which blessedly connects itself with the thought of glory—of grace and glory. Never shall we be more little in our own eyes than when we find ourselves in that glory which the Father has given to the Son and which he gives to His Bride.
It does seem that there is a solemn lesson to be learnt in David's history, the vast difference between floating, with many a rude buffet and struggle, in the current of God's power, over all circumstances of difficulty, to a point of desire--and the gaining the mastery over one's self. The David that overcame all was self betrayed afterwards. There is a difference, and it is a marked one, between the king's song of triumph — triumph through the Lord's power over all his adversaries (as found in the 22 chapter), and the humble confiding thanksgiving in the 23 chapter) of how he found grace could triumph over His own sin. Deep and awful was the sin which used the pinnacle of glory to which God had raised him, as the place in which to dishonour God. The king who should have ruled for God committing such sins as David, the man after God's own heart, did! Well may man tremble even to the end of his course.
Deep was the sorrow, sore the judgment which resulted. The sword was never to depart from the house and retributive justice avenged the dishonor put upon the Lord's name by the sin, after it was pardoned, by pouring into David's own heart, as a father, into the very midst of his family, the self-same evil. No humiliation, no confession could avail to remove the judgment in government, though the sin was forgiven and the soul of David was restored to communion with the Lord.
It may be well to call attention to the fact of the difference of God's dealing with the soul as to the question of remission of sins, and his dealing with the person as a member of the society on which his name is called. He saves us as being in ourselves chiefest of sinners—we should thereupon be holy-if we sin, and live in sin, our communion with Him is interrupted, and His Spirit is quenched and grieved. When sin is confessed, His Spirit will again act freely in blessing, though we may find the effect upon our own souls of sin and its habit; but intercourse with God is renewed. No sooner was David awakened to a sense of the deed he had done by Nathan's parable and application, and avowed (chap. xii. 13)
“ I have sinned against the Lord,” than the assurance is instantly given. "The Lord hath also put away thy sin, thou shalt not die.” But while this assurance was immediately given to David's confession,-he had to bear before man the chastening of the hand of the Lord. If the entire difference of these two things are not marked, there must be weakness: either the sin will be supposed not to be forgiven because the judgments are continued; or the judgments thought lightly of and overlooked, because the sin is known to be forgiven.
It may be true, in His dealings with His people, that God's ordinary way is as to those that walk with Him to pardon a transgression before He chastens for it; but if the governmental conduct of God is known, His walk with His people through the wilderness, then, the correction will be looked for, and such visitations as will mark before man that sin cannot be committed in impunity where God professes to be, or in those who profess to walk before Him. It is a solemn and a very serious thought for our souls in such a day as this is. But David had his protracted discipline after the sin was pardoned. See, for instance, the death of the child (chap. xii.); Amnon's sin and violence against Tamar, the sister of Absalom; and Absalom's treacherous murder of Amnon (chap. xiii.); Absalom's rebellion leading to David's flight (chap. xv.); Shimei's cursing, and Ahithophel's hostility (chap. xvi.); David's agony about Absalom; the consequences among his people (chap. xix); and all this in spite of the spirit of gentle submission and confession shown by David throughout. Doubtless there was not only the Lord's avenging of His own name in all this, but also a forming and fashioning of the soul and mind of David to the mind and will of God. The need of this in David and in the people is shewn in chap. xxiv.
The confessional supplication of Solomon at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings viii.) seems to identify itself in principle with the confession implied in the whole sanctuary. The blessing was one that supposed sin in the people and judgments resulting therefrom.
The confession (1 Kings, chap. x.4-9) of the Queen of Sheba before Solomon in his glory, as compared with the confession of Moses before his father (Ex.xviii.) is worthy of notice. At the beginning, in the very outset, of the dispensation which measured man, while it was full of types and shadows of better things to come-things which would proclaim God and Hisanswers to man's known need. Moses, the mediator, and Aaron, the highpriest, defer to this Midianite stranger in sacrifice; and then Moses is directed by him what to do—and longs to take this stranger with them for eyes to them in the wilderness: but when the dispensation had run out its exhibitions into such an item as that, and the kingly glory to come, all earth, as it were, bows before the monarch, and there is no heart left in the queen of Sheba, when she had seen the king of glory.
Alas, what is man! This same Solomon (blessed type of a greater that was to come) degrades himself, through his many wives, and sinks down to the sanction of idolatry.
“ His wives turned (1 Kings chap. xi. 4) away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites," etc. We have no record of his restoration similar to that of David; but his Book of Proverbs stands as his witness against his folly, and the Book of Ecclesiastes, as his avowal of the entire insufficiency of any display of God in providential circumstances to satisfy the heart of man. His wisdom, his blessedness, and his wealth, were not so good as the fashion of David as a man after God's own heart.
The tender mercy of the Lord in the midst of judgment, remembering mercy is ever sweet-blessed His remembrance of David, when rending the kingdom from out of the family of Solomon, and giving "one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there." How merciful was the Lord when in judging Jeroboam (chap. xiv.) He thought of the little child, “And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam." So again how affecting is the word, “For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash."
These instances may, for the present, suffice as illustrations of individual confession; they present, I think, most of the different aspects in which confession is seen in Scripture. To pass through all the cases which are recorded can easily be done by those that desire it. Those already cited will show the difference between confession of dispensational failure and confession of sin individually committed by oneself. There are other connections of the subject which may well be considered, at another time, if the Lord so will.
AMALEK TO BE DESTROYED.
Deut. xxv. 17, 18, 19. THE Apostle Peter closes his First Epistle with the following :-"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus after that ye
have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen,
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. xxxiv. 19). “ But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” (1 Cor. x. 13). There is something wonderfully endearing in the appellation of the God of all grace.
That which we daily need He as bountifully supplies. He fills all things; in Him we live and move, and have our being. So in His character as the God of all grace, He meets our every necessity; but not only so, He anticipates our wants: and further, under trials permitted in His sovereign wisdom to fall upon His saints, He con. siders every aggravation of them circumstantially and providentially; and whilst the heart is bowed down with the fetters of affliction and iron, yet, as the God of all grace, He sympathises with our sorrows, bears with our weakness under them, would find excuses for our halting in the difficulties of the way. His bowels yearn to His saints. His anger is kindled against their enemy. “ And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. xvi. 20). He who had the heart to find a Shepherd in Ezekiel xxxiv., had first His sym. pathies awakened by the need of His flock (ver. 21): * Therefore thus saith the Lord God, because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save my flock, and they shall be no more a prey." “ The gifts and calling of God are without repentance," and most blessed that it is so. He knew what His people were when He gave them over to