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1 Kings 22:41-53 -

Two Life Stories.

I. JEHOSHAPHAT 'S.

1 . He prolonged the good influence of his father ' s reign . Judah's thought was still kept under the light of truth, and its life more fully led into the ways of God: he completed his father's reforms ( 1 Kings 22:46 ). The continuance of God s work anywhere is as important as the origination of it.

2 . He was consistent . "He turned not aside from it." He did not merely begin well; over his whole reign there rested the Divine approval; he did "that which was right in the eyes of the Lord." The life which is ever sinning, repenting, forgetting, achieves nothing. It is like a plant uprooted and planted again, to be again uprooted, etc; and which, even should its life be preserved, will never bear fruit. It is like "a backsliding heifer," and with such a life the great Husbandman's work cannot be carried on.

3 . There was failure as well as success in his career . "Nevertheless the high places were not taken away." tie had endeavoured to remove them ( 2 Chronicles 17:6 ). But "the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places." The mightiest efforts in the great warfare with darkness leave something for other hands to do, and must till He come who alone can perfect all things.

4 . He sought to be at peace with his brethren ( 1 Kings 22:44 ). He went further in this, indeed, than he ought to have done ( 2 Chronicles 19:2 ), but the desire for peace was laudable.

5 . He humbled himself under God ' s rebuke (compare 1 Kings 22:48 , 1 Kings 22:49 with 2 Chronicles 20:35-37 ). At first he had been beguiled into.fellowship with the idolatrous king of Israel without reflecting upon the danger which lay in it for himself and his people. But when God had manifested His displeasure, nothing could make him renew the confederacy. The judgment might mistake, but the heart was loyal to God.

II. AHAZIAH 'S.

1 . A sinful life . "He did evil in the sight of the Lord." With such a life there was no possibility of blessing for his people. The roots of his usefulness were destroyed. To do, we must first of all become. Our work cannot rise above the level of our life.

2 . A disastrous policy ( 1 Kings 22:52 , 1 Kings 22:53 ). He continued the work of Israel's destruction. The departure made by Jeroboam and perfected by Ahab and Jezebel, he accepted in its full rejection of Jehovah. He did not go beyond them, he simply did "according to all that his father had done," but in doing this his sin was of the deepest dye. His father had been judged, but God was still braved, and Israel was led still nearer to destruction. We may only continue what others have begun; but if we pay no heed to the proofs of God's anger, and take no thought of the inevitable results of the policy we pursue, our persistence may be one of the deepest crimes against God and man.—U.

HOMILIES BY A. ROWLAND

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