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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Kings 20



Verse 11

1 Kings 20:11

These are the words of Ahab, and, so far as we know, the only wise thing he ever spoke. The saying was probably not his own, but a proverb common in his time. As a warning to Benhadad the words proved true, but Ahab's own conduct in going up to Ramoth-gilead, where he perished, showed a strange forgetfulness of his own saying.

I. We have all a battle to fight, we all know what is meant by the "battle of life," but that of the Christian is inward and spiritual, a battle within a battle. Conversion to Christ means at once peace and warfare. Our peace with God means war with the world, the devil, and the flesh.

II. We have all a "harness" to put on. As the enemies we fight are spiritual, so must be our armour. The armour is Divinely provided and Divinely adapted to its purpose, and nothing can be a substitute for it. The Divine armour must be put on. We must take hold and keep hold of it, otherwise it is of no avail.

III. We have all a lesson of humility and patience to learn in connection with this warfare. Young converts are apt to think they have gained the victory when they are only commencing the conflict. We must learn to depend less and less on ourselves, and more and more on Christ. Our strength and victory must be in Him.

D. McEwan, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 120.

I. This text, with its historic connections, may well admonish us generally as to the justice and rectitude of our plans. It may give us with effect this plain teaching, that we ought to undertake nothing on our own responsibility which we cannot justify and defend. Rectitude should lie at the basis of all our express undertakings.

II. Supposing a work to be right in itself, it ought to be undertaken in a spirit of modesty, self-distrust, and fear. We are dependent creatures; and when we are beginning what will require from us a great amount of strength, it is meet that we should look towards the fountain-head of all strength.

III. It is not possible for any one to come to this modest, self-distrustful, resigned, and yet resolute state of mind about temporal things, about worldly chances and fortunes and family cares, who does not look at all beyond these things and above them to a higher world of. duty and faith. Unless we have regard to the higher things, we cannot walk steadily among the lower.

A. Raleigh, From Dawn to Perfect Day, p. 98.

References: 1 Kings 20:11.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii.,p. 82; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx., No. 1193; D. J. Vaughan, The Days of the Son of Man, p. 348. 1 Kings 20:14.—J. Thain Davidson, Talks with Young Men, p. 103. 1 Kings 20:28.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1311; Parker, vol. viii., p. 46. 1 Kings 20:39, 1 Kings 20:40.—E. M. Goulburn, Sermons in the Parish Church of Holywell, p. 333.

Verse 40

1 Kings 20:40

Both the soldier and King Ahab had neglected their chief duty in their devotion to a multitude of minor duties and aims; and for this neglect the king sentences the wounded soldier to lose his life, and the supposed soldier, stripping off his disguise and reappearing as a prophet, pronounces the same sentence on the victorious king.

I. Here lies our lesson. We are often diverted from the chief duties, the main task, of life by what our Lord calls "the lusts of other things entering in." These lusts and cravings are not necessarily evil in themselves; they may only have become evil by being put in the wrong place; indulged at the wrong time. To be busy is not wrong, but to be so busy here and there, about this and that, as to neglect our chief duty is fatally wrong. For even God cannot treat you as though you had done your chief duty if you have not done it; even God, merciful as He is, cannot give you the blessedness of having reached your chief end if you have not reached it.

II. What, we may ask, is our chief end and duty? The familiar answer of the Catechism is as good as any. Our chief end is to "glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever." To glorify God is to share and reflect His goodness. Our chief duty is nothing short of this: to become good, after the pattern and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

S. Cox, The Bird's Nest, and Other Sermons for Children, p. 222.

References: 1 Kings 20:40.—J. Angell James, Penny Pulpit, No. 1938; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1296, and My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 84. 1 Kings 21:1-19.—Parker, Fountain, March 8th, 1877. 1 Kings 21:2.—G. T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 156.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 20:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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