the First Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“A greater than Solomon is here.”
1 Kings 10:1-13
1 Kings 10:1
Far off as she was, the glory of Solomon reached her, and she was moved to visit him, not only out of curiosity to behold his splendour, but from religious motives, that she might know more concerning the name of the Lord. Alas, there are thousands who show no interest in Jesus, though he is near them, and his gospel is preached in their streets. Sad is it that Solomon should attract a stranger so far away, and Jesus should be neglected by those who are near.
1 Kings 10:3
When sinners come to Jesus he will solve all their difficult questions, and both reveal and remove all their secret disquietudes. He is ever ready to communicate of his wisdom to all who come unto him, and they shall never in any instance find that their difficulties surpass his skill.
1 Kings 10:4-9
In like manner, although the gospel report concerning King Jesus greatly extols him, yet the experience of the believer discovers in him a wealth of grace and goodness which no tongue could have expressed. Jesus must be personally realized by each one of us, or we shall never know him. O that many who now despise the Redeemer would see him for themselves, they would at once change their indifference into adoration.
1 Kings 10:10
Even so, when a heart truly knows King Jesus it brings tribute to him. Nothing is too good, too costly, too precious for Jesus. If we could lay the whole world at his feet, it would be “a present far too small.”
1 Kings 10:13
We may also confidently add that our Lord Jesus will be in no ones debt; for all that we can possibly give to him he will make a hundredfold return, yea, he will grant us whatsoever we ask, he will give us the desire of our heart.
The queen of Sheba came from far, with great difficulty, running great risks; and yet the mass of mankind are utterly careless about a greater than Solomon, and will scarcely cross the streets to see Jesus, who has power to bless them eternally.
Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed:
I know not, oh I know not
What joys await us there:
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare!
They stand, those halls of Sion,
Conjubilant with song,
And bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng:
The Prince is ever in them,
The daylight is serene;
The pastures of the blessèd
Are deck’d in glorious sheen.
Let us pray, the Lord is willing,
Ever waiting, prayer to hear;
Ready, his kind words fulfilling,
Loving hearts to help and cheer.
Let us pray! our God with blessing
Satisfies the praying soul;
Bends to hear the heart’s confessing,
Moulding it to his control.
Let us pray! our life is praying;
Prayer with time alone may cease:
Then in heaven, God’s will obeying,
Life is praise and perfect peace.
As apple trees among the trees
Of all the wood appear,
So my Beloved ‘mongst the sons
Is beautiful and dear.
I sat down under his shadow,
Sat down with great delight,
His fruit was sweet unto my taste
And pleasant to my sight.
He brought me to his banquet house,
His banners o’er me move;
Stay me with flagons, comfort me,
For I am sick of love.
He’s chiefest amongst ten thousand
The fairest of the fair,
His head like gold is glorious,
Like clouds his raven hair.
His body is like bright iv’ry
With sapphires overlaid,
His limbs are as marble -pillars
In golden sockets stayed.
His countenance as Lebanon,
His mouth as cedars moved,
Yea! he’s altogether lovely!
This, this is my Beloved!
This is my friend, if him ye find,
Where’er your footsteps rove,
Say, daughters of Jerusalem,
That I am sick of love.
Judah! lo thy royal Lion,
Reigns on earth a conquering King:
Come, ye ransom’d tribes of Zion,
Love’s abundant offerings bring;
There behold him,
And his ceaseless praises sing.
King of kings! let earth adore him,
High on his exalted throne;
Fall ye nations, fall before him,
And his righteous sceptre own:
All the glory
Be to him, and him alone!
“Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
1 Kings 11:1-5 , 1 Kings 11:9-13
We now come to the mournful part of Solomons life, in which the wise man played the fool exeedingly, and proved that the greatest of men, apart from the grace of God, may descend to the worst sins. Who would have thought that Solomon would have become licentious, and the son of David an idolator?
1 Kings 11:13
Dr. James Hamilton has beautifully described the circumstances of this part of Jewish history. “The people murmured. The monarch wheeled along with greater pomp than ever; but the popular prince had soured into the despot, and the crown sat defiant on his moody brow; and stiff were the obeisances, heartless the hosannas, which hailed him as he passed. The ways of Zion mourned; and whilst grass was sprouting in the temple courts, mysterious groves and impious shrines were rising everywhere: and whilst lust defiled the palace, Chemosh and Ashtoreth, and other Gentile abominations, defiled the Holy Land. And in the disastrous eclipse, beasts of the forest crept abroad. From his lurking-place in Egypt Hadad ventured out, and became a life-long torment to the God-forsaken monarch. And Rezon pounced on Damascus, and made Syria his own. And from the Pagan palaces of Thebes and Memphis harsh cries were heard ever and anon, Pharaoh and Jeroboam taking counsel together, screeching forth their threatenings, and hooting insults, at which Solomon could laugh no longer. For amidst all the gloom and misery a message comes from God: the kingdom is rent; and whilst Solomons successor will only have a fag-end and a fragment, by right Divine ten tribes are handed over to a rebel and a runaway. Luxury and sinful attachments made him an idolater, and idolatry made him yet more licentious; until, in a lazy enervation and languid day-dreaming of the Sybarite, he lost the perspicacity of the sage, and the prowess of the sovereign; and when he woke up from the tipsy swoon, and out of the kennel picked his tarnished diadem, he woke to find his faculties, once so clear and limpid, all perturbed, his strenuous reason paralyzed, and his healthful fancy poisoned. He woke to find the world grown hollow, and himself grown old. He woke to see the sun bedarkened in Israel’s sky, and a special gloom encompassing himself. Like one who falls asleep amidst the lights and music of the orchestra, and who awakes amidst empty benches and tattered programmes, like a man who falls asleep in a flower garden, and who opens his eyes on a bald and locust-blackened wilderness, the life, the loveliness, was vanished, and all the remaining spirit of the mighty Solomon yawned forth that verdict of the tired voluptuary: ’Vanity of vanities! vanity of vanities! all is vanity!’“