The Smiting of the King
‘I will smite the king only.’—2 Sam. xvii. 2.
IT may be that this futile threat of a wicked man against the king was like the saying of Caia-phas,—’not of himself,’ but written for our learning ‘more about Jesus.’ A deadly stroke was to be aimed at * the king only,’ for he was ‘worth ten thousand ‘ of the people; if he were smitten, they should escape. Do the words of David in another place tell of his great Antitype’s desire that it should be so? ‘ Let Thine hand, I pray Thee, O Lord my God, be on me, . . . but not on Thy people.’ ‘ For the transgression of my people was the stroke upon Him ‘ ; therefore not upon us, never upon us. The lightning that strikes the conductor instead of the building to which it is joined, has spent its fiery force and strikes no more.
1 2 Cor. vi. I; Phil. iii. lo. 2 Cant. iv. 8. 3 John xi. 51.
•4 Rom. XV. 4. 5 Cf. I Kings xxii. 31; 2 Sam. xviii. 3.
6 I Chron. xxi. 17.
Not the hand of an impotent foe, but the sharp sword of the omnipotent Lord of hosts, was lifted to smite His Shepherd,—our Shepherd-king,’ The Great, The Chief, The Good (and The Beautiful, as the original implies). Think of the words, ‘stricken, smitten of God,’ with their unknown depths of agony, and then of Jesus, Him whom we love,’ fathoming those black depths of agony alone ! ‘Jesus smitten of God!’ can we even even say the words, and not feel moved as no other grief could move us ? Do not let us shrink from dwelling upon it; let us rather ask the Holy Spirit, even now, to show us a little of what this awful smiting really was,— to show us our dear Lord Jesus Christ, in this tremendous proving of His own and His Father’s love, —to whisper in our hearts as we gaze upon the Crucified One, ‘ Behold your King !’
‘ The King only. ‘ For, ‘ by Himself He purged our sins.’ ‘ Certainly we had nothing to do with it then ! Certainly no other man or means had anything to do with it! and certainly nothing and no one now can touch that great fact, so far out of reach of human quibbling and meddling, that Jesus, ‘ His own self, bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’ Is not the fact that He with whom we have to do,’ was smitten of God instead of us, enough ? What else can we want to guarantee our salvation ?
1 Isa. liii. 8. 2 Zech. xiii. 7. 3 Heb. xiii. 20.
?* I Pet. V. 4. ^ John x. 11. ^ Isa. liii. 4.
7 I Pet. i. 8. 8 Isa. Ixiii. 3. ^ John ix. 14.
10 Heb. i. 3. 11 I Pet. ii. 24.
The King only. ‘ For the sorrow of our King is shared with His people; but in the smiting we have no part. We can only stand ‘ afar off,’ bowed and hushed in shuddering love, as the echoes of the awful stripes that fell on Him float down through the listening centuries, while each throb of the healed heart replies, ‘For me ! for me !’
‘I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me.’