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April 16 Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 11-12
“The cause was from the Lord.”
I Kings 12:15
What a light this one statement throws upon the things we have read today! — “The cause was from the Lord.” Solomon was a truly great man. After reading 1st Kings 11, we must not forget what God the Holy Spirit told us of this man’s God-given wisdom. Let us not forget his building of the temple at Jerusalem and his exemplary prayer at its dedication. Let us not forget the wonderful revelation of the most intimate spiritual things given to us in the Song of Solomon, the wisdom of his gospel doctrine in Proverbs, or the majesty of his instructions as the preacher in Ecclesiastes.
Yet, here he is, brought down in his old age by the gratification of his most base lust into something even more base — idolatry. What a sad display of human depravity closed this great man’s life. Still, even in this, we who know God know that he makes even the wrath of man to praise him and works “all things together for good” to his elect (Psalm 76:10; Romans 8:28). — “For the cause was from the Lord.”
The cause is this: — “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall!” By nature, all men are the same. All are equally prone to evil. But for the blessed influences of God’s preventing and restraining grace, we would all do the very things we are shocked to read of Solomon doing. May God the Holy Spirit, by a deep sense and conviction of this fact, ever cause us to cling to Christ and keep us from such presumptuous sin!
As all have sinned and come short of thy glory; so nothing but the precious blood of Christ and his perfect righteousness can be our refuge and our salvation. It is Christ and Christ alone who has made reconciliation for iniquity and brought in an everlasting righteousness by his finished work of redemption. It is only by the merit of his blood and the riches of his grace that we are accepted of God in him, and only by the sweet, effectual, irresistible influence of his Spirit that we are kept from any evil deed.
When we are told that King Rehoboam hearkened to the counsel of fools and despised the wise counsel of wise men, a thing obviously incredible, we are told, “the cause was from the Lord.” By Rehoboam’s folly, our all-wise God was bringing about the sacred purposes of his holy will.
What a great blessing it is to see God’s hand in all things. Let us ever remember that “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased!” Spirit of God, write these words upon our hearts. Remind us of this fact when public troubles arise, when war breaks out, when pestilence comes; and graciously remind us that our God rules in heaven, earth, and hell when personal woes fall upon us.
When the gracious, wise, and good providential appointments of our God cause us pain, God of all grace, make this our soul’s comfort, — “The cause is from the Lord!” Thus “the man after God’s own heart” was cursed by Shimei, while he was fleeing from his own son! Yet, David found solace and strength here. — “The cause was from the Lord.” He said, “Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.”
May God teach us, day by day, to trust him in all circumstances. He has said, “I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”