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whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven." (Heb. xii. 25-27.)
When we think of the many awful and terrible ways in which God, who is provoked every day, might speak to sinners, we ought indeed to be grateful for the still, small voice with which He yet addresses man. To hear God speak, we go not where the earthquake roars beneath our feet, threatening to swallow up all around us,— we go not where the mighty tempest rages, or the vivid flash of lightnings succeed the roaring peals of thunder, though in these ways God lets His voice be heard sometimes, but we go into our closets, and take up our Bibles, and read and pray, and in the still, small voice of a verse of Scripture, God speaks to us. God calls on us to hear Him speak. "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, and my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." (Deut. xxxii. 1, 2.)
Oh! let us avail ourselves of this gracious opportunity of hearing this gentle voice,
and let us open our hearts as well as our ears to this gentle striving of God's Word and God's Spirit. The terrible sound of God's angry voice will one day break upon the world, and rouse all the ungodly and impenitent to judgment. But if we have learned to know and love the Good Shepherd's voice now, that same voice will be the welcome sound to greet our ears in the last day, calling us not to angry judgment, but to inherit everlasting glory.
O GOD; who didst deal very mercifully with Thy servant Elijah, speaking gently to him, hearing his prayer, and delivering him from his enemies. I pray Thee to hear me and to help me. Lord, speak unto me in the still, small voice of Thy Holy Word. Enlighten my understanding, that I may understand the Scriptures. Teach me to do Thy will, as well as to know it. And so to live to Thy glory that I may be always ready to die, whenever it shall please Thee to call me, Through Jesus Christ. AMEN.
AHAB AND BEN-HADAD.
"And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
"And the kings of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
"And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, (as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions,) that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array; and they set themselves in array against the city.
"And, behold there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude ? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.”—1 KINGS XX. 10—13.
NOT a few sieges and battles are related in the history of the Israelites. The reason is that we may see how God was concerned in them. For no others than those with which the God of Israel had much to do, find a record in Scripture.
This is not the only siege of Samaria which took place while occupied by the kings of Israel. This one is related because
of the chief characters connected with it, Ahab, king of Israel, and Ben-hadad, the king who sought to besiege it. And this is one of those battles in which the words of Solomon are verified, "the battle is not to the strong." Ben-hadad was very strong in numbers. Ahab, very weak. Yet the victory was to the latter.
The several points of instruction from this history will come out as we consider the whole account. There is first the vain boastings of the ungodly, who presume in their own strength, or wisdom, and so vainly fight against God.
So confident did Ben-hadad, king of Syria, feel, that he could easily defeat the king of Israel, that in order to call him out to battle and provoke him to anger, he sent a message to say to the king of Israel, "Thy silver and thy gold is mine: thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest are mine."
Ahab seems either from cowardice, (and most wicked men are cowards,) or else from what he thought prudence, to submit to this. He said, "My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have." Then when Ben-hadad saw this tame submission on Ahab's part, he sent again a
more impudent message, to say, "Yet I will send servants unto thee, to-morrow about this time, and they shall search thy house, and the houses of thy servants, and it shall be whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put in their hands and shall take away." Of course this was too much to be borne, it was evident as Ahab said, "this man seeketh mischief." As is always the case, further submission to unreasonable and unrighteous demands would only have led to still further demands. He sent Ben-hadad word, "this thing I may not do."
Ahab's next reply to the king of Syria's insulting message was this wise one, “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off."
Whether this speech was the result of Ahab's faith in the help he was going to receive from the Lord, we are not told. It may have been so. For though a bad man, · he was a very great mixture of character, and at times he seemed to have some kindlings of penitence in his heart, and some faith towards God.
We must also observe that the help which God gave in this case, and in many others, was not for the sake of the individual helped, but for His own name's sake, because of His