For Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. 1 Kings 2:28.
Joab stood the big test, he remained absolutely loyal and true to David and did not turn after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom, but yet towards the end of his life he turned after the craven Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where any one may go back (see 1 Cor. 10:13). You have gone through the big crisis, now be alert over the least things; take into calculation the ‘retired sphere of the leasts.’
We are apt to say—‘It is not in the least likely that having been through the supreme crisis, I shall turn now to the things of the world.’ Do not forecast where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the peril. In the aftermath of a great spiritual transaction the ‘retired sphere of the leasts’ begins to tell; it is not dominant, but remember it is there, and if you are not warned, it will trip you up. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials, now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be morbidly introspective, looking forward with dread, but keep alert; keep your memory bright before God. Unguarded strength is double weakness, because that is where the ‘retired sphere of the leasts’ saps. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.
“Kept by the power of God”—that is the only safety.