Abide with the King
James Smith, 1860
"Then David said to Ittai the Gittite: Why are you also going with us? Return and abide with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place." 2 Samuel 15:19
Family trials are often severe, and favoritism in the family is almost sure to be punished. Joseph was Jacob's favorite, and you know how the old man smarted for it. Absalom was David's favorite, and you know how he was punished for his folly. Our severest trials often spring from our nearest relatives, and at such times it is no unusual thing, for comparative strangers to prove our friends. It was so with David when Absalom rebelled, Ittai the Gittite clung to him. David did not wish to see a comparative stranger involved in his troubles, and as Absalom was proclaimed king, and himself was an outcast, he said unto him, "Why are you also going with us? Return and abide with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place."
I want to apply a part of David's advice to the Lord's people, in reference to another King, even Jesus. "Abide with the king."
Jesus is king by divine right, he only governs what he created, and lawfully claims. He is king by the choice of all his subjects, for as the effect of the teaching of the Holy Spirit, each of his people choose him to reign over them, and to reign within them. He reigns over, and rules the world, by his providence. He reigns in his beloved church, by his word and his Spirit.
He is a model king. More than a Solomon for wisdom, for his wisdom is perfect, his understanding is infinite. He is more than a David for victories, for he will destroy every foe, and subdue all things unto himself. He is more than a Hezekiah, for reformations, for he will reform until all is new made, or remodeled into a perfect form. He is more than a Josiah, for the love of his subjects — for every true subject of this King would rather lay down his life for him, than rebel against him.
Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords, and the language of his subjects is, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king shall appoint!" Happy are the subjects of such a Sovereign, and happy will be the king when surrounded by all his holy and loyal subjects.
"Abide with the king." Where is he?
He is on the throne of grace, to receive your petitions.
He is in his palace, the church, to accept your addresses.
He is in his word, where he opens his mind.
He is in the camp, where he encourages his army.
He is in the field, where he cheers on his laborers.
He is always accessible.
His heart is always full of love.
He is pleased to see his subjects approach him, and treats them with the greatest freedom and familiarity.
What should we do? Abide with him. There is much to encourage us to do so, especially four things:
1. Abide with him, and he will protect you. His language to you is like the language of David to Abiather, "Abide with me, fear not; with me you shall be safe." As he said to his disciples, "Because I live, you shall live also."
2. Abide with him, and he will employ you. He has work for all his subjects to do. He gives work to all, smiles upon them while they do it, and will reward them for it when it is done.
3. Abide with the king, and he will indulge you. He will favor you with indisputable proofs of his love. He will bring you into sweet and hallowed communion with himself. He will fill you with joy and peace in believing. "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."
4. Abide with the king, and he will put special honor upon you. He will . . .
crown you with loving-kindness;
clothe you in his righteousness;
adorn you with his graces;
appoint unto you a kingdom;
give you palms of victory, and harps of gold.
Abide then with the king — do not mix with the rebels — do not neglect court duties — do not indulge in selfish pleasures — but always, and in everything, seek his glory.
Do you know the king?
Has he revealed himself to you?
Have you acknowledged him as your Sovereign?
Are your interests identified with his?
Paul could say, "I know whom I have believed" — and yet he cried out, "That I may know him." If we know the King at all — we want to know him more.
Are you a courtier in the palace of the King? This is an enviable situation:
to be always in the king's presence,
to see his face,
to hear his voice,
to obey his commands, and
to enjoy his blessed society!
This honor have all his saints.
Have you a place at the table of the King? Every loyal subject of the King of Zion should have a place at his table. Nor should our place be left empty — but whenever the King sits down with his family, we should, if possible, be there.
Have you been tempted to leave the King? This is no uncommon case — but it is a temptation to be promptly resisted, and not to be yielded to for one moment. Leave the King! Turn rebel and traitor! Impossible! When I think . . .
of what Jesus is,
of what Jesus has,
of what Jesus has done for me, and
of what Jesus has promised to me —
how can I, for one moment, listen to such a base proposal as to leave him?
Will you heed the word, "Abide with the King?" If so,
get nearer to him,
become more familiar with him,
ask more blessings of him, and
receive more grace from him.
Will you in life and death cleave to the King? He will never forsake you, nor give you the least occasion to forsake, or leave him. You will need him all through life — but you will need him most in death. He will honor you both in life and death, if you cleave unto him; and after death he will give you a crown of life, a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory! This will be your portion, your happy, glorious portion, and that forever!