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Behind The Mask

By Elie Nessim, October 30 1999 Printer Friendly Version

And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, `Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die."
Our text reminds us of the parable YESHUA told of the unforgiving servant. In Matthew, Chapter 18, we read about the king who wanted to reckon with his servants, and he found one who owed him 10,000 talents.  That's a tremendous sum of money; millions of dollars; and the man had nothing to pay, so the king said, 'Alright, sell him, sell all his family into slavery; sell his possessions and let him make payment.'  Actually the payment would have been such a paltry sum, just a drop in the bucket compared to what he owed.  But the servant fell before his master and he said, 'Have mercy on me and I will pay you all.'  That was totally impossible but he was desperate.  'Have mercy on me and I will pay you all.'  So the king had pity on him.  'Let him go.'  So he wiped out the debt.  But it was a conditional reprieve.  The king was still waiting to see how that servant would behave, that had been forgiven so much. 

We read about him that he found a fellow servant that owed him 100 pence (that's about 3 months wages).  100 pence.  He took him by the throat saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' and this servant, this second servant, fell before him and he said, 'Have mercy on me and I will pay you all.'  This time it was feasible, he could have paid it all.  'No!'  He sent him into jail until he should pay what he owed.  But really when the poor man is in jail, he can't possibly earn anything to pay his debt.  So this unforgiving servant was really cutting his nose to spite his own face.  When the servants heard about it, they told the king and the king called him back.  He said, 'You wicked servant.  I forgave you such a vast debt because you asked me.  Should you not have had compassion on your fellow servant as I had on you?'  The king was angry and delivered him to the tormenters till he should pay what he owed.  And that meant never!

The unforgiving servant.  So we see here, also,  Adonijah pleading for mercy.  And what Solomon did in response was, 'I will give him a conditional reprieve.'  Really what Solomon was saying was, 'His character will determine his fate.' It's your character and mine that will determine our fate; our standing before GOD.  It's not what we say.  It's our character.  GOD is looking, watching to see, are we true in our hearts towards Him?  Solomon gave him a conditional reprieve.  He put him on his good behaviour. In Matthew, Chapter 7, the LORD YESHUA says in verse 20: 'Therefore by their fruits you will know them.'  'By their fruits you will know them.' And so he was saying, 'I'll give him a chance to prove himself; I'll give him a fair opportunity to vindicate his honesty, his integrity.  If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth.  But if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.' 

Well he came and bowed before King Solomon, which meant that he was acknowledging now that Solomon was the rightful king, and then Solomon said to him, 'Go to your house.'  That means, go home; lead a private life; don't meddle anymore with the affairs of the kingdom.  That's really what he was saying.  'Go home; you're free, but don't interfere anymore.'

Now, in Chapter 2, we have David's dying charge to Solomon; verses 1 through 9, and there's a problem here that we have to look at.  'Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son saying, 'I go the way of all the earth.  Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your GOD to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may fulfil His word which He spoke concerning me saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'he shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

As Jacob charged Joseph before he died, gave him his dying instructions, so we have it here.  Shaul, also, when he wrote to Timothy, he said, 'This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, that by it you may war a good warfare.'  He was going the way of all the earth.  That reminds us of the universal sentence of death on mankind.  But you notice, he doesn't say, 'I'm finished.' 

When one of my friends was dying in hospital, Saul Frey, he said, 'I'm finished.'  But the Believer doesn't say that.  He says, 'I go the way of all the earth.'  It is a way; it is not the end.  In Psalm 23, David says, 'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.  Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.' Now David says, 'Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.' That is, be strong in faith; be strong in purpose, etcetera.  'I'm going, Solomon, I'm no longer there as your prop.  Now it will appear what kind of man you are.'

People, sometimes, are worse, turn for the worse when the one that they relied on is taken away from them.  As long as the people are there, they're okay; they're on the rails.  But once that good influence has been removed, then they show what they really are. There was one of the kings of Judah like that.  His name was Joash.  As long as Jehoiada, the high priest, was alive, he followed the advice of Jehoiada and he lived a Godly life.  But when Jehoiada was dead, he turned to idols.  And he showed what he really was like inside, behind the mask.  So what David is saying to Solomon, 'Now Solomon, you're on your own; you're on your mettle.  Prove to yourself, to GOD, and to all others, that you are a worthy man.'

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