Willows Spring, N.C.
“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:1-6
For sometime I have had a mind to write on the scriptures at the head of this article, but as I have said many times, that if preaching or writing is profitable to the household of faith, it must first be taught in our experience by the Son of God, and then revealed or brought to our remembrance by the Holy Ghost. (John 14:28)
When some one is talking or writing about a great person we are very apt to inquire in our mind, who is this man? Where did he come from? Who was his father and mother? Where did his ancestors come from? In answer to some of the above questions, may I add that was according to Holy Writ, Solomon was the son of David who was king of Israel, his mother was Eliam's daughter and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. It may be of interest to the readers to know that David had Uriah put in the forefront of the battle so that he was smitten. Then David took Uriah's wife to be his wife, and she was Solomon's mother. His grandfather was named Jesse, and his ancestors were of this notable family, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I have regarded Solomon, in many respects, as being a type of Christ. First, he possessed more wisdom than any other man, and if my memory serves correctly, we are told that none shall come after him that is as wise as he. Second, he was a kind and gentle ruler over all Israel, and rendered just and righteous decisions before the people. “In Gideon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ask what I shall give thee.” I Kings 3:5. Solomon prayed to God to”Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” So the Lord did not only give him wisdom, but riches and honor also.
When I was a boy I read this scripture and I thought that it was a matter of choice for which he cold ask. (Of course it was a matter of choice but not in the sense which I thought.) I had an idea that he could ask for riches, wisdom, honor or anything of his own choosing. In other words, I thought it was about like this, If I should go to town and buy several presents and say to my little girl take any one that you want, and in all probability, I would not know which one she would take before she made her selection. I also though that I certainly would have asked for riches, then I could discharge all of my obligations and probably give a little to the poor, but make sure that I would reserve a sufficient amount for future use, and there is little doubt in my mind but that Solomon would have asked for riches had he possessed a carnal mind at the time. But ah! how different do I look at the scene now. Does God ever put the burden of prayer in your heart, before he first makes you feel the need of the thing that he purposes to give you? Can we pray for mercy before we feel the need of help? Solomon felt the need of wisdom more than anything else for he was now beginning to reign in the place of his father, David, and he was conscious of the fact that many perplexing problems would arise among the people, which would require the guiding hand of God, therefore, he said, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad.”
Dear servants of God, have you not had the same experience that Solomon did, many times in your feeble efforts in serving as a servant among the people of God? I know that my dear wife and I have felt this to a great extent in our family circle, in the rearing of our children. Before I was married I thought I knew all about rearing children, and I had a fixed rule in my mind that I would follow which was something like this. If I ever married a wife and any children were born in our family, I would use the lash in making any corrections, but ah! how mistaken I was. May I say that if your child knows but the rod of correction laid on his or her back every time it does something wrong, you have a poorly brought up child, for I have learned by experience that it takes a great deal of patience, kindness and teaching mixed with firmness, to get the proper respect and confidence of our children, in order that they may obey from a standpoint of love rather than fear. When our boys grew up into the teen age, they would come around and say, “Father, I want your car to go to a ball game, picture show or some worldly amusement.” My preference was that they be content not to go, but I began to realize that I was once a boy and I enjoyed parties and dances, and I wanted them to have reasonable privileges with other boys lest they think that their mother and I were too strict with them. But the great problem was this, when they repeated this request, which I thought was too often, shall I say yes, or shall I say no, and for fear that I was not in the frame of mind to make a proper decision, I would say, “go and ask your mother,” and she would say, “go back and ask your father.” We have often been brought into great straits making up our minds, and many times we said, “Oh Lord, decide this matter for us, that we may train our children up in the way that they should go, that when they get old they will not depart from it.” The same has been true in regard to our girls.
One notable circumstance which was brought before King Solomon was the case of two women who lived in the same house and each gave birth to a child about three days apart, one of the women overlaid her child and it died. About the midnight hour she laid the dead baby in the bed of the other woman and took the living child and claimed it as her own; the other woman awoke in the morning to give her child suck, and upon finding that she had been defrauded of her child she made complaint to the other woman that the living child was hers, but the other contended that the living child was hers. Inasmuch as they could not settle the matter they brought the case before the highest tribunal on earth. So Solomon heard the testimony of each, both testifying that the living child was hers. No other witnesses were present, which of course made it much harder to decide. I am sure that nothing short of divine wisdom could render a righteous verdict in this case. May I repeat again that King Solomon had prayed and said, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad.” He said to his servant, “Bring me a sword,” which they did, and the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the King, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my Lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the King answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.” I Kings 3:25-27.
This one decision was published abroad throughout the land, and the people feared him, for they saw that the hand of God was with him. The vast number of horses and chariots, and the great number of beasts that were slain each day to satisfy the hunger of those of his household, and the men servants and maid servants that were in attendance at his command, are beautiful types at the bountiful storehouse of our great Emanuel, who sits upon his throne and metes out justice and mercy to all of hos poor, hungry and tempest tossed children. As Solomon was governor over all of Israel who would say that God does not govern the universe from the huge monsters down to the smallest insect. He has said in his word, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” Isa. 66:1. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mind. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine and the fulness thereof.” Psalms 50:10-12. But ah! before we can fully realize the truth of this we have to be brought down from our throne of self works and self righteousness, then we can appreciate the true value of this inspired word. When the great King Nebuchadnezzar was dismounted from his throne and was made to eat grass like oxen, “and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws,” (Dan. 4:33) then he could say with a true and understanding heart that “all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he (God) doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Dan. 4:35
I can appreciate and sympathize with our brethren when they get in a low state, and the Lord seems to hide his face. We see so many of the dear fathers, and mothers passing out and so few joining the church to fill the vacancies. We often wonder and feel that we have been remiss in our duty. Such has been my own feelings many times. When we are brought to this low ebb, and darkness enshrouds our souls it is then that satan makes his worst attacks, but when the day dawns and we are again illuminated by the Holy Spirit, the evil one flees away like the rays before the beaming sun, and as these Temanites were a great pest in the life of Job, you may be sure that they will pester you. How good it is to remember the words of the inspired apostle which was directed by the Holy Ghost, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The eagle is a faint type of the church and I would not say that during her molting season she is entirely free from her prey, but when she feathers out she soars high above the clouds. The old prophet Elias was reduced to a low state when he made intercession to God against Israel saying, “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto Him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal,” and the apostle Paul referred to this and said, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Rom. 11:3-5. Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
I will now attempt, if God is willing, to explain what I see in the scripture at the head of this article. “Wisdom hath builded her house.” The house which Solomon built, was to my mind a type of the heavenly church which the Lord has or is building for he said, “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18. This house was not so large according to the dimensions, but it was an expensive one. It took one hundred fifty-three thousand and three hundred men, seven years to build it. Cedar and stone were the principle materials that were used in the construction of this building. Cedar is a highly typical material because of its long life and preserving qualities. It kept the moths out and the stones made it burglar proof which compares favorably tot he language of Jesus, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.” Matt. 6:19-20. These trees were hewn out chiefly by the servants of Hilram, from the cedars of Lebanon. Each piece of material was so minutely dressed out, “that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was building.” I Kings 6:7. As the type so is the reality when the Lord began his work, you were in the forest of nature, “and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Eph. 2:3. He first cut you down, and each stroke was indeed necessary in order to hew off the roughage, straighten you out and make you fit for the Master's use. The reader may inquire, “Have I been properly dressed out?” I have said that this is a fairly good rule by which to tell. If we are back biting, fault finding, contending about trifling things and striving about words to no profit among and with our brethren, it is good evidence that a few more knots need to be slabbed off, which God alone can do. Long before you united with the church you may have though that there were certain members on the inside that you could not fellowship, but ah! how different when you were carried there on the wings of God's love. There was then no thought in your mind of who can I fellowship, but the great wonder now is who can fellowship me? How good if we could always be possessed with this spirit.
Several years ago I had an appointment at a church during the week. Upon approaching the ground several brethren gathered around me and said, “Brother Adams, there is a man here that we want you to encourage to unit with the church.” I said, “What is his reason for staying out?” They said, “He stated that there was a member that he could not fellowship.” My reply was, “You had better let him alone until God completes his work with the hewing ax.” About two years later, the unworthy writer was present when this brother came pleading for a home and was happily received into the fold. It will be noticed that when these timbers were hewn out they were floated to Joppa by way of the sea. The word sea often when used in the Scriptures signifies trouble. We see the waves and billows as they roll to the shore. David said, “All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” Psalm 42:7. Dear child of God, have you ever felt any of these waves and billows come over you while you are floating by the way of the sea? If so, be not discouraged for our God has spoken by the mouth of his apostle and said, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. The material that were used in the construction of this building were not dead, rotten or decaying materials. They were sound and seasoned materials. So is the church of God. She is built out of living materials, living by the reason of Christ who lives in her. Peter said, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” I Peter 2:5, which is in harmony with the testimony of the apostle Paul, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Eph. 2:20-21.
“She hath hewn out her seven pillars.” I do not claim to have any superior knowledge over my precious brethren in writing on this or any other portion of God's sacred word. Some have said “the seen pillars” represent the seven churches of Asia, but as I view the natural building of Solomon, I see the building is supported by the pillars and the pillars get their support from the rock bed underneath. Now the pillars are between the rock and the building which seems to me to more fully represent the apostles and prophets who were peculiarly fitted and hewn out to withstand the cold, chilly winds and give succor and support to the children of God by reason of the severe trials and afflictions which they were enabled by the grace of God to pass through. Would you not say that you have many times drawn comfort and peace from their sacred writings when they are applied to your experience by the Holy Ghost? When the apostle John was exiled upon the isle of Patmos, he said, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation.” Remember that it is when you are in tribulation that he is your bosom friend. The word “seven” is often used to denote fulness. The above views which I have penned seem to me to be in harmony with the inspired writings of the apostle Paul. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Eph. 2:20-21.
(To be continued.)
Elder T. Floyd Adams
Signs of the Times
Volume 114, No. 7