The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,…
A real king incorporates in himself all that is best and mightiest in the people. The aims, and enterprises, and ambitions, and spirit of the nation should find a place in his breast. He is a mirror, in which the life of the empire is reflected. Whether he leads or whether he follows the bent of the nation's will (and, in part, he will do both), he becomes the visible exponent of the nation's life. All that is good in the empire, and all that is evil, blossoms in him. Hence this message.
I. SUPERIOR WISDOM LEADS TO SUCCESS IN COMMERCE. "With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches." So far, no sin was committed. It is God's will that the rocks of earth should disclose their treasures of silver and gold. It is God's will that the nations of the earth should interchange their products. The wisdom requisite for enterprise and commerce God himself gives. "Say not in thine heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth; but thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for he it is who giveth thee power to get wealth." Far-reaching sagacity, careful plan, prudent thrift, and bold adventure bring stores of wealth. "The hand of the diligent maketh rich."
II. COMMERCIAL SUCCESS LEADS TO STATE MAGNIFICENCE. More or less in every human breast there is a hunger for dignity, luxury, magnificent display. As soon as means are forthcoming this hunger will satiate itself. Nor is it merely a matter of personal satisfaction. It lends importance to the man; it lends importance to the state; it impresses other people - other nations - with a sense of superiority. It obtains homage and deference from men, and this is delicious. How otherwise can wealth be expended? The king cannot consume more food, unless it be to his injury. Expenditure on dress soon reaches its utmost limit. Therefore wealth can find outlets only on palatial buildings, pompous equipages, and martial defenses.
III. STATE MAGNIFICENCE BREEDS A SPIRIT OF VAIN ASSUMPTION. The tendency of all material possession is to foster a feeling of self-importance. The adulation of others strengthens this feeling. Every addition of influence or power contributes to this inward vanity. In proportion to a king's poverty of mind will he over-estimate his importance. He looks upon his granite ramparts and upon his vast armaments, and imagines himself unconquerable. All other monarchs flatter him. He is easily cajoled into the belief that he possesses a clear superiority among men - yea, positive supremacy. He conceives that be is cast in a mould unlike that of mortals - that he is deathless and divine. He demands honors which belong to God alone. Instead of making his perilous position secure by the ramparts of God's friendship, he makes God an enemy.
IV. PROFANE ASSUMPTION IS DESTINED TO A TERRIBLE REVERSE. "Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers." A castle built without foundation is sure, sooner or later, to fall. In proportion to the loftiness of the erection will, in such a case, be the greatness of the catastrophe. Instead of being secure and permanent as God, he will find himself vulnerable as a man, frail as a flower at noonday. The spears of those he had despised will pierce his flesh as they would the flesh of another man; and when another king - the king of terrors - riding furiously on his pale horse, shall confront him, his heart will be the victim of such remorse and shame as other mortals have never known. Better far not to be lifted up than to be lifted up and then cast down. The momentum of a body falling from a dizzy height is terrible: what is the momentum of a lost soul?
V. GOD'S WORD IS MIGHTIER THAN ALL HUMAN RESOURCES. "I have spoken it, saith the Lord God." In the largest sense it is true that we cannot go against the word of the Lord. God's word is the forthputting of his thought, purpose, will. It is omnipotent resolve interpreted into speech. "He spake, and it was done." A word becomes a world. A breath of God sweeps the earth like a tornado. A promise is a ladder by which we can climb to the skies; it is a ship that will bear us away safely to the eternal haven. One word of God is a feast that will nourish the life of our soul for ages. It is a refuge in which we may securely hide. Jehovah's word is a rampart, from behind which we may calmly defy ten thousand foes. It is a wall of fire that never has been broken through. That word is more worth than all bankers' coffers - than all Californian mines. It is a title-deed to immortality and to heaven. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,