“The king hath commanded me a business,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The king hath commanded me a business.” – 1 Samuel 21:2

Readings

1 Samuel 21:1-9 · Luke 19:12-27 · Psalm 143

Sermon

Every man and every woman is a merchant. This fact the Scriptures use to inform us of the true nature of our life here. There is the parable of the talents and the command to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

If in our external life our business continues to show losses, failure will inevitably result. The business of life is both natural and spiritual. We have spiritual possessions as well as natural. All our gains and losses, all our spiritual as well as our natural possessions are made by an exchange.

We need capital to commence business, and we recall that in the parable of the talents in Matthew it is written, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” In these terms are laid down the conditions on which spiritual prosperity depends. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man traveling into a far country, who called his servants and delivered unto them his goods.

Two important truths are taught in both parables of the talents: first, that all things we possess, by the use of which we may attain eternal happiness, are a free gift to us from the Lord alone, and that if we make proper use of them, they are finally given to us as our own and are never taken from us; and second, that while we live in this world, we are left so much to ourselves that according to all appearance we are our own masters, independent of Him from whom all that we have is derived.

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2

Readings

Isaiah 39 · Matthew 7:1-20 · Psalm 62

Sermon

Hezekiah had recently been healed miraculously of a fatal illness. Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, sent a delegation of distinguished Babylonians to congratulate him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We usually have more than one reason for every act, and we do not always give the main one.

The truth was that Merodach Baladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, very much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah. And this embassy was practically a band of spies instructed to inspect the country and its treasures, so that if Babylon should ever desire to invade Judah, the undertaking could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage is not new; it goes back into the dim past. Claiming to be solicitous for Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came really to inspect the arsenals and the golden and silver treasures which they hoped one day to rifle.

Hezekiah was taken in by their flatteries and showed them his treasures, which had been gathered laboriously through many generations – even the sacred vessels of the temple fashioned of the purest gold.

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“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” – Isaiah 39:2

Readings

Isaiah 39 · Mark 7:1-23 · Psalm 62

Sermon

King Hezekiah had just recovered from an illness that had brought him near to the gates of death. Merodachbaladan, king of Babylon, sent a delegation with a letter and presents, congratulating him on his recovery. At least this was the reason set forth by Babylon. We know that we usually have more than one reason for every act, and that we do not always give the main one.

The truth was that Merodachbaladan cared little for Hezekiah’s recovery. He was, however, much interested in the resources of the kingdom of Judah, and the embassy sent to Hezekiah was really a band of spies sent to inspect the country and its treasures and its weaknesses, so that when Babylon should desire to invade Judah, it could be accomplished more intelligently. Espionage did not originate in Russia; it is a world feature both civil and spiritual.

Claiming to be solicitous concerning Hezekiah’s health, this Babylonian delegation came for the purpose of inspecting the arsenals and also the golden and silver treasures they hoped sometime to possess. In the story it is said that Hezekiah was “glad of them.” He was flattered by their apparent concern, and showed them all his treasures, even those of the Temple itself.

Then Isaiah the prophet appeared to Hezekiah and asked who these visitors were and what they wanted. And when Hezekiah told him, the prophet replied that the word of the Lord was that at some future day Babylon would prove to be a powerful enemy and would plunder the kingdom of Judah and the Temple.

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