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Adam Silver discusses how the changes to the NBA draft lottery will influence teams losing for a chance at a better pick. When people ask why I adore the lottery, my first thought is the basketball with the top cut out. The lottery is this ultra-serious thing that can alter the course of entire franchises, with elaborate rules, observing accountants and sequestered attendees who must hand over their phones and Apple watches.
It is also a human man plucking a ping-pong ball from a tube, and handing that ball to another human man who recites the number adorned on the ball. Repeat that four times, and you have a distinct four-number combination. That combination belongs to one of the 14 teams in the room. That team wins the lottery. Repeat the same procedure at least two more times to designate teams picking No. If the machine in which the balls bounce breaks down, the NBA has a contingency: A league official closes that hole, shakes the basketball, opens it up, and picks out the balls.
The league has not had to use said contingency. If it ever does, and I am there, I might retire on the spot. High numbers put more teams in play. In general, the teams with the best lottery odds -- Phoenix and Memphis -- have most of the four-number combinations with 1s and 2s.
In that moment before the drawing of the fourth ball, a bunch of teams held combinations featuring 6, 9, and 12 -- including Orlando, Cleveland via Brooklyn , and Sacramento. I don't say this facetiously: The tension in those 10 seconds was very, very real.
Out popped a "1," and the Suns had their first No. The next two four-number combinations also belonged to Phoenix; the league scrapped those and drew again. He has worked for the Suns since but never before been tapped for the lottery backroom. Pitman has won prize money in the name of Phoenix Suns Charities several years in a row in a closest-to-the-pin contest held as part of the Phoenix Open.
Penny Sarver, wife of Robert Sarver, the Suns owner, considers this golf success proof that Pitman is lucky, he said. He got the job. Pitman brought two good-luck charms: I gently asked if I should inquire as to why they were lucky. How much might the Kings pay to move up one spot? The Kings are reportedly fine picking whoever is there, but that didn't stop the jokes. Had that coin flip gone the other way, Chicago owns the four-number combination in question and is picking No.
Atlanta similarly won Tuesday night by losing a coin flip with Dallas, which fell to No. Brock Aller, the Cavs' senior director of strategy, reminisced about how a similar coin flip "win" cost Cleveland a chance to draft Anthony Davis in Jason Hillman, the Cavs' chief of staff, traveled to New York in to observe that tiebreaker.
Six years later, the Cavs' front-office staff still gives Hillman grief, Aller said: Cohen is perhaps the most decorated all-time lottery drawing room participant. Aller told me afterward he felt no pressure filling the shoes of a legend who might also be a warlock. I don't believe him. When Ressler nominated her, Gertz thought she might actually be the one picking out the ping-pong balls, she said. She hosts Bingo games at fundraisers for a nonprofit she and Ressler cofounded , so overseeing the lottery drawing would have been a natural transition, she said.
You wait for people to have their hearts broken on live television. She leaned back, triumphant, and mouthed, "Oh, yeah. One person yelled, "This is the best part of being in this room! Ressler approaching Rich Gotham, Celtics president, and joking he would have given up and sold the Hawks on the spot had the Celtics snared the No.
The Celtics had just a 2. He was not joking. Gertz does not mind if you ask her about her iconic "spare a square" role on "Seinfeld. Gertz is a good sport. He refused to wear it. He kept it in a gray bag. Or did the game gods reward them?
Boston would have received the Lakers' pick this June only had it fallen anywhere from No. The Lakers pick entered the lottery at No. Otherwise, the Celtics receive the Kings pick next season -- unless that pick lands at No. Boston probably valued the certainty of a top-five pick this season.
Philly probably valued the possibility of snaring a much higher than No. I guess they both lost? The Kings will add a good player, raising the slight possibility that they might not be the preferred from Boston's perspective level of horrible. Just what the league needed -- more help for Western Conference teams! Auerbach was then living in Washington, D.
The Celtics mailed him an envelope with a return address, and instructed him to light the cigar, take a couple puffs, put it out, and mail it back. Wallace stuck it in his suit pocket. Wallace took one even though, as he put it, "I don't qualify as a mother. Wallace was happy, anyway. After all, the Grizzlies could have fallen to No. You just cannot kill the hope within Chris Wallace.
Among the topics that generated the most debate: LeBron denouncing the idea stalled its momentum, but the win-or-go-home game between Denver and Minnesota reinvigorated it. I got annoyed noticing even the black briefcase in which the lottery balls are carried into the drawing room has branding -- State Farm -- emblazoned on it.
Leftwich worked at the league for more than 20 years, and for most of that time, she was in charge of writing out the selected four-number combinations -- and the teams to which they were attached -- on a giant white sheet of paper atop an easel. Remarkably, that role still exists. Leftwich during her time lobbied for the league to digitize it. Steve Mills, the current Knicks president, worked for the league in the s and s, and said Tuesday that he set up the room where the so-called "frozen envelope" drawing happened granting the Knicks the right to draft Patrick Ewing.
A half-decade later, the league switched from envelopes to ping-pong balls. Mills and Joel Litvin, the NBA's former president of league operations, were in charge of testing out the new balls, they both recalled. They started by numbering them. Some teams complained that balls with double-digit numbers would weigh more, perhaps impacting the odds somehow.
Mills and Litvin switched to team logos. Teams objected that a logo-based system might bring the same issue. Never let a team executive tell you fans are nuttier about conspiracy theories than they are. That team gets five of the 1, possible four-number combinations. You barely notice them on the giant list of combos.
Micah Day, the NBA's director of event management, making his debut as timekeeper. He even got to choose the color of his stopwatch, from among red, black, blue, and purple. He practiced a lot.
Should he raise his hand after 10 seconds has elapsed, or a beat before, so that his hand would be up precisely at that second mark? You better believe Day practiced that spin. It turns out, you can pirouette on your heel, or on your toes.
Day worked on both. In the end, he doesn't even remember which one he used. To help make this website better, to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept cookies and other technologies? Ball to keep starting after Rondo return Los Angeles Lakers. Cousins ejected after getting technical on bench Golden State Warriors. Pacers' Evans out 1 game, was late for practice Indiana Pacers.
Hawks owner learns, was 'schmuck in the room' Atlanta Hawks. New lottery format will discourage tanking 1:
Or did the game gods reward them? Boston would have received the Lakers' pick this June only had it fallen anywhere from No. The Lakers pick entered the lottery at No. Otherwise, the Celtics receive the Kings pick next season -- unless that pick lands at No. Boston probably valued the certainty of a top-five pick this season. Philly probably valued the possibility of snaring a much higher than No. I guess they both lost?
The Kings will add a good player, raising the slight possibility that they might not be the preferred from Boston's perspective level of horrible. Just what the league needed -- more help for Western Conference teams!
Auerbach was then living in Washington, D. The Celtics mailed him an envelope with a return address, and instructed him to light the cigar, take a couple puffs, put it out, and mail it back. Wallace stuck it in his suit pocket. Wallace took one even though, as he put it, "I don't qualify as a mother. Wallace was happy, anyway. After all, the Grizzlies could have fallen to No. You just cannot kill the hope within Chris Wallace.
Among the topics that generated the most debate: LeBron denouncing the idea stalled its momentum, but the win-or-go-home game between Denver and Minnesota reinvigorated it.
I got annoyed noticing even the black briefcase in which the lottery balls are carried into the drawing room has branding -- State Farm -- emblazoned on it. Leftwich worked at the league for more than 20 years, and for most of that time, she was in charge of writing out the selected four-number combinations -- and the teams to which they were attached -- on a giant white sheet of paper atop an easel.
Remarkably, that role still exists. Leftwich during her time lobbied for the league to digitize it. Steve Mills, the current Knicks president, worked for the league in the s and s, and said Tuesday that he set up the room where the so-called "frozen envelope" drawing happened granting the Knicks the right to draft Patrick Ewing.
A half-decade later, the league switched from envelopes to ping-pong balls. Mills and Joel Litvin, the NBA's former president of league operations, were in charge of testing out the new balls, they both recalled. They started by numbering them. Some teams complained that balls with double-digit numbers would weigh more, perhaps impacting the odds somehow.
Mills and Litvin switched to team logos. Teams objected that a logo-based system might bring the same issue. Never let a team executive tell you fans are nuttier about conspiracy theories than they are.
That team gets five of the 1, possible four-number combinations. Don't just spend time with your children - invest it. He will hear your voice out of His temple, and your cry will come before Him even into His ears. He will answer, and set you in a large place. God redeemed David from the calumny of those who maligned him without cause. In so many of his Psalms he refers to the unjust and cruel hatred which misrepresented him and his doings.
But God, to whom he committed his cause, vindicated him, so that his righteousness shone as the light, and his judgment as the noonday. So He will do for you. Those who now lay all manner of unkind charges to your door, will be compelled to admit your innocence.
Only leave your cause with God, and be still. God redeemed David from all the afflictions that shadowed his early days: Our pathway is thick with snares and dangers, as the pilgrims found it when journeying through the valley of the shadow; but there is a way out, and in the morning we shall marvel to see how we escaped. It was deeply graven in his soul. How could he forget the word which guaranteed the succession of his race upon the throne of Israel!
At the same time he distinctly recognized that the fulfillment was conditional. There was an if in it. It was only in so far as his children took heed to walk before God in truth that God was bound to place them on the throne of Israel; therefore he urged Solomon to keep the charge of the Lord, that the Lord might continue His word.
In the Lion of the tribe of Judah there is the boldness which will not swerve in the face of the foe. Timid women and little children in the days of persecution have waxed valiant in the fight, and have not flinched from death, because Jesus was beside them. Keep the charge of the Lord thy God. Let us watch them until we see them weighed out in the temple as were the sacred vessels which Ezra committed to the priests for transport across the desert Ezra 8: Keep His statutes and commandments.
Acting thus, we shall put ourselves in the way of enjoying a continuance of that favor which God has promised. I know not how to go out or come in… Give Thy servant an understanding heart.
Wealth, honour, fame, the surpassing of our rivals, are not the chief things to be considered, or our judgment will be impaired and our vision distorted. It was because Solomon desired and sought the kingdom and glory of God, that He gave him also the things for which he did not ask 1 Kings 3: Impressed by the greatness of his responsibilities, the young king had gone to Gibeon to worship God.
He wished to fulfil his opportunities to their highest measure, and to serve his fatherland, but he realized his inefficiency. Do you feel like this? You realize the wonderful opportunities and responsibilities of life in this marvellous age, and long to be of service to God and your fellows, but what can you do?
You are but as a little child, and "know not how to go out or come in. It is like the systole and diastole of the heart's action, which should be alike consecrated to God and of service to man.
Solomon asked for an understanding heart, that he might discern between good and bad. We all need this faculty, that we may discriminate between things that look very much alike, but are different in nature and direction Hebrews 5: It is not an enduement of intellectual power, but of moral taste and discernment.
It has been said, that the difficulty in life is not to discriminate between white and black, but to choose between the different shades of grey. In our fellowships, recreations, literature, business--we are in urgent need of the understanding heart, which listens for and heeds the voice of God.
Solomon offered a thousand burnt-offerings upon the altar 1Kiings 3: We are required to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God, which is our reasonable service.
Our career is often determined by our circumstances, or by our special gifts and talents, and, on the whole, we succeed best in doing what we like best. But if we yield ourselves to do God's will, He will direct our paths. May we prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good. But God did exceeding abundantly beyond what he asked or thought. Riches and honor, victory and long life, were thrown in as part of the Divine gift; as paper and string are given by the tradesmen with the goods we purchase.
Put first things first. The child will take the handful of glass beads, and leave the heap of diamonds in the rough. Seek God and all things in Him. To know God, and to be known by Him, is to possess all things. All that is lovely, strong, or right, in any human being was in the Creator before it entered the creature; having God, you possess all things in Him.
Be more careful of what you are than what you have. We must all admit that our soul is too narrow. How little we know of the experience which Madame Guyon describes when she says: God is the Rest-Giver. When He surrounds us on every side with His protecting care, so that our life resembles one of the cities of the Netherlands in the great war— inaccessible to the foe because surrounded by the waters of the sea, admitted through the sluice— then neither adversary nor evil occurrent can break in, and we are kept in perfect peace, our minds being stayed on God.
Have you experienced the rest which comes by putting God round about you, on every side—like the light which burns brightly on a windy night because surrounded by its four panes of clear glass? Wars on every side; Rest on every side. And yet the two are compatible, because the wars expend themselves on God, as the waves on the shingle; and there are far reaches of rest within, like orchards and meadows and pasture-lands beyond the reach of the devastating water.
Out of such rest should come the best work. We are not surprised to find Solomon announcing his purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord. Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, anointed Him.
Out of quiet hearts arise the greatest resolves; just as from the seclusion of country hamlets have come the greatest warriors, statesmen, and patriots. Men think, foolishly, that the active, ever-moving souls are the strongest.
It is not so, however. They expend themselves before the day of trial comes. Give me those who have the power to restrain themselves and wait; these are they that can act with the greatest momentum in the hour of crisis.
In absolute silence, like the growth of a palm in the desert, that noble building arose in the symmetry of its fair proportions. But there was plenty of quarrying and hammering and chiseling before the materials were brought to the site.
The absolute silence with which the Temple rose is a meet emblem of the progress of the Church, from its foundations laid in the Apostolate toward the top stone, which before very long will be laid upon the completed structure. Amid the rise and fall of dynasties and empires, the Church is being built. Soul after soul, as so many added bricks, is being quietly placed upon the walls. Some day the world will be amazed when it sees the New Jerusalem descend out of heaven from God. The mightiest works of God are the fruit of silence.
You and I are now in the quarry, hewn, chipped, chiseled: Be of good cheer! It will not be long, the preparatory work will be over, and we shall become part of the eternal structure. Into heaven there can enter neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron. The trial will have done its work. Sorrow and crying will flee away. The Apostle Paul, who knew more than any man what trial and pain meant, could confidently declare: The Apostle tells us to obey from the heart that mould or form of doctrine to which we were delivered Romans 6: What a mould is to the metal which is wrought into various forms of utensils, that the form of sound doctrine is to believers who desire to resemble Christ.
When our hearts, melted in contrition and penitence, are poured into the teaching of the Apostles, to ponder it in memory, and to carry it out in life, they are, so to speak, cast into the pattern of Jesus Christ, which they wear forevermore. Thus we are conformed to the image of His Son. We differ as widely as the vessels named here. Some are lavers, and some bases; some shovels, and some basins. The machinery of the whole would have been hindered if one had been missing. Be content with the shape which the Great Designer hath intended for thee.
Dare to pour thyself into the dark passages of the mould. Do not ask the intention of this or that. Obey from the heart, otherwise thou mayest have to be broken up, and put back again into the furnace to go through the process once more. This is the Plain of the Jordan for us, the place of death; but soon we shall be remitted to the Palace and Temple of God. There is no clue to the understanding of the mysteries of our mortal life, save the hypothesis, that we are being prepared for the position which has been prepared for us in the eternal world.
Or, you are beset by strong competition; and, in order to hold your own, you have been tempted to do what is not perfectly the best— to spice your teaching with a little heterodoxy, puff your wares with misleading titles, to adulterate your goods. But there is no need to do this; if only you are faithful to God, He will maintain your cause, as every day may require. Or, you are tempted almost beyond endurance, and think that you must yield.
The seductions are so insidious, the pitfalls so carefully concealed, the charm of evil so subtle. But, if you will only look away to God, you will find Him a very present help to maintain your cause. Oh, trust Him; for none of them that do so can be desolate.
Daily strength for daily need; daily manna for daily hunger; daily maintenance for daily temptation. As we stand on the hilltop in the morning and look across the valley of the coming day, its scenes are too closely veiled in heavy-hanging mists for us to specify all our requests. Man builds; God hallows. This cooperation between man and God pervades all life. Man performs the outward and mechanical; God the inward and spiritual.
Paul plants, Apollos waters; but God gives the increase. We elaborate our sermons and addresses, building them up with careful, eager thought; but God must work in and through them for His own glory in the salvation and upbuilding of souls. We must be careful to do our part with reverence and godly fear, remembering that God must work in realms we cannot touch, and to issues we cannot reach, before our poor exertions can avail.
Many who read these lines are engaged in building structures which will outlive the Pyramids. The body is only the scaffolding, behind and through which the building of the soul is being upreared. The materials with which we build may be the gold, silver, and precious stones, of our example, precept, careful watching, and discipline; but God must come in to hallow. Our strenuous endeavor must be supplemented by the incoming of the Holy Spirit.
God hallows by His indwelling. Each day may be a building, reared between sunrise and sunset, with our activities; but it were vain to hope to realize our ideal unless the structure become a temple filled with God.
Build what you will; but never be satisfied unless God sets His eyes and heart upon your life, hallowing and sanctifying each day and act to Himself. There were two reasons why Solomon was on the throne.
May we not address our Savior with similar expressions of gladness as those which the queen addressed to a less than He? Prayer is good, but it may revolve too largely about our own needs and desires: We can never praise Him enough. Our furthest thoughts fall short of the reality. His wisdom and prosperity exceed His fame. No question He cannot answer; no desire He cannot gratify; no munificence He cannot excel.
Happy are they who stand continually before Him. Let us see that this is our happy privilege; not content to pay Him a transient visit, returning to our own land, but communing with Him always of that which is in our heart. Every man is vulnerable at one point of his character. Strong everywhere else, and armor-plated, he is weak there; and our great enemy knows just where to strike home. It would have been useless to argue with Solomon for the claims of idols. He could at once, by his wisdom, have annihilated all infidel arguments, and have established the existence and unity of God.
But, step by step, he was led by silken cords, a captive, to the worship of other gods. Yet among many nations there was no king like him who was beloved of his God. Let young people beware where they let their hearts go forth in love. Whom we love we resemble; and in the marriage tie it is almost inevitable that seductions to the lower will overcome the drawings to the higher.
Our associates determine the drift and current of our life. It is so easy to launch upon the current that flows past our feet; it seems impossible that the laughing, enticing water should ever carry us against sharp, splintering rocks, or over-breaking cataracts. When we are compelled to associate with the ungodly, let us maintain a strict self-watch, and pray that the breath of the heavenward gale may more than counteract the tendency of the earthward current.
Jeroboam acted on expediency. It did seem reasonable to argue that the constant going up to Jerusalem to worship might alienate the people from his throne, and awaken a desire for the old national unity; and without doubt a mere worldly wisdom extolled his setting-up of idol-gods at Bethel and Dan; but his policy in this respect led to the downfall of his kingdom. How prone we all are to devise out of our own hearts! We take counsel with ourselves, and do what seems prudent and farseeing, with the inevitable result of being betrayed into courses of action that God cannot approve, and of which we have reason to repent bitterly.
It is infinitely better to wait on God till He develop His plan, as He most certainly will, when the predestined hour strikes. He who trusts in his own heart, and takes his own way, is a fool. To run before God is to sink knee-deep into the swamp. What a contrast to the course of Jeroboam was that of the Son of Man!
He would do nothing of Himself. We are inclined at first sight to pity this unknown prophet, and to justify his return; but as we look closer into the story, we not only discover the reason for the severe penalty that overtook him, but we are warned lest we make a similar mistake.
When we have received a direct command fresh from the lips of Christ, we must act on it, and not be turned aside by a different suggestion, made to us through the lips of professing Christians. God does not vacillate or alter in the thing which proceeds from His mouth. When we know we are in the line of His purpose, we must not allow ourselves to be diverted by any appeal or threat, from whomsoever it may emanate. Deal with God at first-hand. Beware of any one who allures you with the bread and water that are to break your fast.
That bait is likely enough to disturb the balance of your judgment. When a voice says spare thyself, be on the alert; it savors the things that be of man, not of those that be of God.
Learn to deal with God at first-hand. Do not run hither and thither to human teachers, or to the Church. Be still before God, and what He says in the depths of thy soul, do. His Holy Spirit shall guide you into all truth; and when once His way has been revealed to thee, go straight on, listening to no other voice, however much it professes Divine inspiration.
Jeroboam thought that the old prophet could penetrate the vail that hid the future, but not the disguise in which his wife wished to conceal herself. From God no secrets are hid. Immediately on His accosting her by her name there came the dread announcement of inevitable disaster.
We must not hesitate to unfold all the consequences of sin. As watchmen on the walls, we are bound to tell men of the certain fearful looking for of fiery indignation which shall devour the transgressors. None of us should flinch from declaring the whole counsel of God. We should specially insist on the guilt side of sin.
Not only that it is a misfortune, a mistake, an error, a disease, a tyranny; but a crime. The sinner is a criminal, who has incurred the just wrath and anger of a holy God: Oh for more tenderness that we may with tears warn men of their doom! If the tidings are heavy, let us first feel their pressure on our own hearts; let us bend over the regions of despair and darkness, and hear the bitter weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and come back to warn our brethren, lest they also come to that place of torment.
Though it was with fear and much trembling that Paul preached the Gospel, yet he did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. And while we go to men with the good tidings of salvation, we must not withhold the heavy tidings from those who persist in unbelief. It is a great thing to have such a testimony as this. We may do right in our own eyes; yet the eye of the Lord may detect evil which neither our associates nor we have seen. We may deceive ourselves, we may deceive others; but we cannot deceive God.
In the home or business, in situation or factory, let us live as under the searching gaze of God. This is what the world is languishing for— reality, consistency under all circumstances, and before all men. There are, however, two clouds overhanging this otherwise bright life. Though idols were destroyed, the groves in which they were erected remained. We must not only cleanse our way before the Lord, but remove any evil thing which may cause others to stumble.
The other cloud is indicated in 2 Chronicles The enemy of souls is ever on the watch. Pray that amid the pains of death, you may not act unworthily. His sin was very aggravated, largely through the influence of Jezebel, his young and beautiful wife, who introduced the abominations of Phoenician idol-worship. This is why he is said to have exceeded his predecessors in wickedness. They broke the second commandment, and worshipped Jehovah under the form of a calf.
Ahab and Jezebel broke the first, and chose other gods— Baal, the sun, and Ashtoreth, the moon. The inveterate love for this idolatry was connected with licentious rites with which these deities were served. What wonder that the land became corrupt when the fountains of its religious life were polluted at the source?
The connection between the indulgence of impurity and the declension of the spiritual life, is very close. As the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1, the men that refuse to retain God in their knowledge are given up to the working of passion; and as they yield to passion they lose the sweet, clear impression of the truth and nearness of the Christ.
The first, second, and third thing to be said to young people on venturing out into the world, corrupt through many deceitful lusts, is, Be pure. Wear the white flower of a blameless life. If you cannot be faultless, be blameless.
If you cannot realize all the good you know, at least refrain from all the evil. Keep your robes unspotted from the world. Then through purity of heart and obedience in life, you shall see God. As the living Christ enters the heart, He will drive before Him the brute forms of evil, overthrow the tables of the moneychangers, and will sit to teach of God. Give yourself unreservedly into His keeping, that He may govern and control every avenue of your life. We must be where God desires.
He deemed himself as much a courtier in the royal palace as Gabriel Luke 1: Wherever you go, and whatever ministry you are called to undertake, glory in this, that you never go to any greater distance from God. If we are where God wants us to be, He will see to the supply of our need. It is as easy for Him to feed us by the ravens as by the widow woman. As long as God says, Stay here, or there, be sure that He is pledged to provide for you. Though you resemble a lonely sentinel in some distant post of missionary service, God will see to you.
The ravens are not less amenable to His command than of old: How often God teaches best in seclusion and solitude! It is by the murmuring brooks of nature that we have our deepest lessons. It is in the homes of the poor that we are fitted for our greatest tasks. It is beside couches where children suffer and die, that we receive those preparations of the heart which avail us when the bugle note summons us to some difficult post. God leads through death to life. Fear not that gateway!
If the Lord be God, follow Him: And the people answered him not a word. As soon as we can think for ourselves, we are accosted by the challenge of the Divine Voice- Art thou for Me or against Me?
Which side dost thou take? From the lips of our blessed Lord comes the additional challenge, which compels us to face the alternative as one that may not be trifled with or put aside: How long halt ye between two opinions?
We must take one side or the other. When the division-bell rings in the House of Commons, the Ayes must go to the right and the No's to the left. A man must choose which he will take! If Jehovah, If Baal, We cannot be neutral without being stultified. Who, then, is prepared to take sides, and to come out to Christ, without the camp, bearing His reproach? To be on the Lord's side is to acknowledge Him as our King as well as Saviour.
It is to render to Him our reverence, obedience, love and devotion. It is to abandon all refuges and resorts to our own works and ways, and to strive for heart, mind, and life to be assimilated to His will and character. This is what our Saviour expects and asks of each of us!
We are to belong wholly to God, to give Him all that we are capable of giving, to choose His cause, and to find in Him the beginning and ending, the first and last.
Jesus Christ possesses an unimpeachable and absolute right over us--the right of Creator, "it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves"; the right of Benefactor, not only in the realm of temporal but of spiritual existence; the right of Redeemer, and this is the greatest claim of all. Our decision demands declaration. Christ will not have His followers live in secret.
In the days in which we live, when there are so many temptations to compromise between the disciples of Jesus and the votaries of the world, there is overwhelming reason why we should take His side. And in that great day, He will take our side and acknowledge us before His Father and the Holy Angels!
Grant that we may willingly consecrate them all to Thee, and use them in Thy service. Because this was such a crucial prayer, it is worth noting the specific things for which Elijah prayed. He had four specific requests of God. The burden of Elijah's heart was that others would know the true God and that they would realize that He alone is God.
This revealed Elijah's humble attitude--he wanted to be known only as a servant of the true God. Elijah not only wanted to be known as the servant of God but also as an obedient servant. He especially did not want the prophets of Baal to think that he had dreamed up all of this on his own. He wanted them to be clearly convinced that God had directed him. This is also an indication that God is a personal God. Baal could not direct anyone; even those who worshiped him could not expect personal guidance.
Elijah wanted his prayer to be heard by God, and he wanted the people to return to God. Then the fire fell! It consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust and the water that had been poured in the trenches. Such differences obtain still. The children of this world and the children of light are manifest.
What though the bodies of four hundred and fifty prophets lay slain in the gorge of the Kishon; or that by one great act Elijah had hewn down the upas tree, the deadly, influence of which had corrupted Palestine; or that the long-expected rain was in the air— yet Ahab must eat and drink. These are the things which the children of the world seek after. Watch and pray, lest you enter into this temptation. Let appetite be kept well in hand— your servant, not your master; and see to it that you are capable of such profound and absorbing interest in the things of the Kingdom of God, as to count the gratification of physical desire unworthy to be compared with the high delights of service, prayer, and communion with the unseen.
Though he must have been exhausted with the excitements and efforts of the day, Elijah must spend the evening hour with God. Though he knew that the rain was near, he felt that his prayers were a needful condition for its bestowment. Though any part of Carmel might have become his oratory, he sought the lonely solitudes of the summit with the outspread sea before him, that his soul might hold undisturbed vigil, and that he might see over the wide expanse of the ocean the first tokens of the coming answer.
His attitude denoted his humility. His repeated injunction to the lad, his perseverance. His success approved his faith. Stand, O suppliant soul, on the highest point of expectant hope; see the hurrying answer, which was being prepared from pools and lakes and seas, long ere thy prayer began. In all probability the angels often touch us when danger is near, threatening our health and life, or when foul fiends step up to us with hideous temptation.
They find us out, especially when, like Elijah, we are alone and depressed; when nervous depression has crept about our hearts; when we seem to have failed in the conflict against evil and long for death to end our long and weary strife.
It was very gracious for God to deal thus with His servant. We might have expected rebuke or remonstrance, chiding or chastisement; but we would hardly have expected such loving, gentle treatment as this. Is this the man who defied Ahab and all his priests?
He is as frail and impotent as any! Nay, but God looked beneath the surface depression, and detected the strong fountains of courage and devotion that lay beneath, only capable of being called again into intense manifestation. He knew how to distinguish between the passing overstrain of the body and the heroic temper of the spirit.
So, He understands us in our fits of depression and despair. Whenever these angel-fingers touch you, whether directly or through the medium of loving mortal hands, you will always find the cake and the cruse of water. God never awakens to disappoint. It is an infinite pleasure to Him to awaken His loved ones to good things, which they had neither asked nor thought. Will not dying be something like this! The angel of life will touch us, and we shall awake to see what love has prepared.
This was likely enough to happen on a battlefield. It would not be possible to hold your prisoner, and to busy yourself about other things at the same time.
But is it not thus that men miss the main end of life? Busy here and there and life is gone. Like children they dig in the sand; like the butterfly they flit from flower to flower.
A round of visits, a few novels, a good many hours of light gaiety; vanity, fashion, and amusement; these fill their hours, the days flash by, and life is gone. They have nothing to show for it. Busy here and there, and the chance of saving others is gone.
But too often we deal only with superficialities, busying ourselves in the slightest interests, but not seeking the salvation of those with whom we associate. Busy here and there, and the knowledge of God is gone. The ephemeral interests of life press hard on its real interests. Like boys, we squander in trifling the hours given to prepare for an examination on which all the future must turn. Ahab got his garden of herbs, but he had Elijah withal, who stood at the gate like an incarnate conscience.
Men may get the prize on which they have set their heart; but if they have obtained it wrongfully, the conscience of the wrong done will haunt them, and take away the pleasure on which they counted, and ultimately bring them like a quarry to the ground. We turn our best friends into enemies, as Ahab did Elijah. The cloud that lights Israel is darkness to Pharaoh; the angel that protects Jerusalem, slays the host of Sennacherib; the gentle love which anoints the Savior, instigates in Judas a jealousy which ends in murder.
The God who shows Himself merciful to the merciful is froward to the froward. The cause of the alteration is to be sought within ourselves. The sun that melts wax hardens clay, but the difference is in the clay. To the widow of Zarephath Elijah was an angel of light; whilst to Ahab he was an enemy. The difference lay in their hearts; the one being holy and loving, the other dark and turbid.
What you are, determines whether Elijah will be your friend or your enemy. A few promises which are never kept; a mirage that is dissipated in thin air when we approach it; a bribe of gold or silver that burns the hands which receive it— such are the price for which men sell themselves.
When he gets the soul into his power, he laughs at his former promises, and pays as wages, death. Every man we meet is clothed in armor; in other words, we all cover ourselves with plates on which to receive the thrust of accusation and reproach. Successful soul-winning depends on discovering the vulnerable part of a man, and striking there. But all this demands a very special discernment of spirits, and anointing of the Holy Ghost. The great need of the present day is a sharper and more searching analysis of sin.
Men need to be shown how they are violating the Laws of God. They assent generally to the Scriptural statements of what God requires, but fail to realize how greatly they have come short. You are almost sure to hit, if you begin to show the various ways in which respectably-living people are coming under the Divine sentence. But several conditions must be fulfilled. Because every type of human character is delineated in Holy Writ. He is a discerner of the thoughts of the heart, and will teach you to cut to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.
The Books of Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible. They cover the whole time of the Israelitish monarchy, exclusive of the reigns of Saul and David.
The Jewish tradition ascribes them to Jeremiah, and this is corroborated by internal evidence. But of course, Jeremiah, if he were the compiler, availed himself of the state records, and of all the documentary or oral sources of information within his reach. The Spirit of God was continually prompting his prophets to preserve a continuous record of the history of the chosen people; and thus abundant materials would be waiting for the author's use.
The First Book of Kings carries the story of Israel from the death of David to that of Ahab, while the record of the kingdom of Judah is carried to the death of Jehoshaphat. It is a wonderful story of the fulfilment of God's gracious promise to David, side by side with the chastisement of the people for their sins.
The story of Solomon's greatness; the building of his temple; the breaking away of the ten tribes; the ministry of Elijah -- are told at considerable length.
This book is often quoted in the New Testament; and our Lord especially derived from it many a searching lesson, as when He spoke of the Queen of Sheba, and the widow woman of Sarepta. Adonijah was the fourth son of David 2 Sam. He was born after Absalom 1 Kings 1: This attempt on his part to usurp the kingdom was a fulfilment of Nathan's prediction in 2 Samuel To the end of his life the effects of David's sin followed him.
And as Bathsheba and he met, for perhaps the last time on this dark day, each of them must have remembered the announcement which had broken in on their guilty attachment so long before.
How carefully we should walk before God, trusting Him to keep us moment by moment, since one glance of the eye may lead to such disastrous results! The revolt was abetted by Joab and Abiathar 1 Kings 1: The former had more than once crossed David's purpose, and might reasonably fear that Solomon would not favor him, while the latter was perhaps jealous of Zadok.
It was a compliment to the fidelity of the others that they were not invited. Any jealousy that might have stirred in the heart of the royal consort at seeing her place taken by another, was hushed in the presence of the supreme danger which threatened not only to engulf her hopes that Solomon should succeed to the throne, but to involve both her and him in a common death. What a noble part Nathan had played in David's life!
How much we owe to a true and wise friend! Though weakened in body, his mind was clear and his spirit strong and resolute. He did not forget, in those closing days of his life, the bitter adversity of his earlier years, or the redeeming mercy of God. He was equally mindful of his own solemn words of promise made in the presence of the living God: Solomon must ride on David's own mule 1 Kings 1: The tidings of this glad event carried comfort and joy into the hearts of all loyal citizens, but dismay into the hearts of traitors.
To the one a savor of life unto life, to others of death unto death. Those shouts that made the earth ring anticipated the acclamation that shall accompany the exaltation of Jesus to be King of men. Ah, happy day for His Church; but woe to them that plot against His rule! The nations rage and the peoples take counsel together; yet God will set His Son upon His holy hill.
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