A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, March 29, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *1/14/2012
Then King David went in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who
am I, oh Lord God? and what is my house, that you have brought me so
far? And this was even a small thing in your sight, oh Lord God, but
you have spoken also concerning your servant’s house for a great
while to come. And is this the manner of man, oh Lord God? And what
more can David say to you? for you, Lord God, know your servant. For
your word’s sake, and according to your own heart, you have done all
these great things, to make your servant know them. Therefore you are
great, oh Lord God: for there is no one like you, neither is there
any God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our
ears.” [2Sa 7:18-22]
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1. David was overwhelmed with the mercy of God: Nathan’s message was too much for him. He felt emotions in his heart which he could not express. Like a wise man, he went at once, while under the impulse of gratitude, into the place of nearness to God. It was not everyone who might go in and sit before the Lord as he did; but he felt he had a special call to draw near to the Most High: and there he sat himself down in the posture of waiting to receive the fulfilment of what was promised, in the posture of rest, as one who now had all that he could desire, and was pressed down under the weight of blessing. Yet the psalmist’s sitting was also a posture of worship, and surely of all passages of Scripture none can be said to contain more true adoration than what is now before us. The king sat, however, before the Lord. The mercy had all come from God, and therefore all his praise is offered to God. His soul waited only upon the Lord, because his expectation was from him alone. He was conscious of being in the sacred presence, and he sat there, feeling that by the covenant blessing he had been brought very near, and his spirit exalted in that nearness. Brothers and sisters in Christ, the mercies which God has shown to us are as great as those which he revealed to his servant David, and if the Spirit of God has opened our eyes to see and understand them we may this morning ardently wish to do precisely what David did. Let us have boldness to enter into the nearest possible fellowship with God — yes, let us go where David could not go, within the veil, and there, where Christ has opened up the way through his broken body, let us sit down in a restful, waiting, happy spirit, and give full play to all those divine emotions which ought to be aroused by reflecting upon the lovingkindness of the Lord. I have selected this subject because there are many among us who have recently found the Saviour, and it is good to let them see the happiness which belongs to them, the pleasures and the treasures which are theirs in Christ Jesus, so that they may render to the God of grace the glory which is due to his name.
2. David did not understand the words of Nathan to relate merely to his dynasty and to his dominion over the house of Israel. He looked far beyond temporal things, and therefore in the words before us there is a spiritual depth which will not strike the eye of the casual reader. The New Testament must be the expositor of the Old, and Peter in his famous sermon gives us the key to this passage. Turn to Ac 2:29, and you will find that Peter accounts for a memorable utterance of David in the Psalms by declaring that he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn with an oath to him, that from the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.
3. The joy which filled David’s heart was a spiritual one, because he knew that Jesus would come of his clan, and that an everlasting kingdom would be set up in his person, and the Gentiles should trust in him. Now, then, we also, being blest with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, are bound to feel as David felt, and therefore we shall pass in review David’s expressions, with the desire that we may drop into the same mood. May God the Holy Spirit, who alone can enable us to do so, bless our meditation at this time.
4. I. First I shall want you to notice THE HUMILITY apparent in David’s words. “Then King David went in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, ‘Who am I, oh Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me so far?’ ”
5. First, he admitted the lowliness of his origin — “What is my house?” He did not come from royal blood. Nathan spoke the truth when he said in the Lord’s name, “I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep.” He was only a humble shepherd lad when he was first anointed, and after that anointing he continued in that humble position. From this he rose to become the leader of a motley band of renegades exiled from their country; yet the Lord was pleased to call him from his low estate to make him king over the chosen people. Beloved, what is our origin? What is there about our descent that could claim for us the high privilege of being sons of God? Trace our origin to its most ancient source, and behold sin is there, staining the coat-of-arms of our house. All down the line there is a taint of high treason against the divine Majesty; we come from a race of rebels, and our own personal birth was marred with sin. Heraldry lends no pomp to us, and the genealogist for most of us reveals no hereditary glories, and if he did they would be mere fancies and fictions, not worthy to be mentioned before the presence of the Lord. “Who am I, oh Lord God? and what is my father’s house?”
6. David laid the most stress upon his own personal unworthiness. He said, “Who am I? What was there in me that you should make me a king, and a progenitor of the Christ?” And will not each believer here say the same? “Who am I? What is there in me?” God might have chosen the great and the mighty of the world, but he has passed them by; he might have chosen the learned and famous, but not many of them are called: he has chosen the poor of this world and things that are despised; yes, God has chosen the base things, and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh might glory in his presence. Look at yourself from head to foot; examine every cranny of your heart, and every single feature of your character, and can you see anything there that might command Jehovah’s esteem, any qualifications for being bought with redeeming blood, any reasons why you should be made sons of God, and heirs of glory? The Lord had reasons for choosing you, for he acts according to the counsel of his will, but those reasons are not in you; they lie in his own heart, and you must exclaim, “Who am I that you have brought me so far?” I have no doubt that David looked upon his own deservings — what if I rather correct myself and say his own undeservings? — and marvelled that the Lord had chosen him and rejected Saul. He was a man after God’s own heart, but his conduct was that of a bold, rough soldier, and he could not look upon it without observing its imperfections. He prayed in the twenty-fifth Psalm, “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to your mercy remember me for your goodness’ sake, oh Lord.” [Ps 25:7] These sins are not recorded in the chronicles of his life, but they were written in his own penitent memory; and being humbled concerning them he cried, “Who am I?” There must have been many an action in his exile and wanderings which he did not rejoice to remember: for example, his mimicry of madness before the king of Gath, his great anger against Nabal, and his alliance with the Philistines; and beside such prominent errors as these, he could see many failings and transgressions all along, and these both made the grace of God the more illustrious, and led him to cry from his very heart, “Who am I, oh Lord God?”
Now, brothers and sisters, look back upon your own lives before
conversion. What were they? Let them be blotted out with tears.
Consider your lives since conversion, and confess that whenever you
have been left to yourselves, and the grace of God has withdrawn for
a while, you have always stumbled into some form or other of
deplorable folly. Who am I? What have I done? What have I been? How
is it that I am made your child, purchased with the blood of Jesus,
and made an heir of heaven? We may sum it all up in that exclamation,
“Why me, Lord?”
Why was I made to hear thy voice,
And enter where there’s room,
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
8. There is something very interesting in the expression, “Who am I, oh Lord God?” His sense of his own nothingness is strikingly illustrated by putting the “I” side by side with “Lord God.” “I David, Jesse’s son, the shepherd’s boy, who am I, oh you infinite, all commanding Jehovah, Creator, Preserver, Lord over all? How can I stand in your presence? I shrink to nothing there. Did I not come from you? Do I not owe all to you? Are you not the very breath of my nostrils? and I am a nothing, a very dream, a thing of naught, and yet you do look upon me; and you shower your mercies down upon me; you carry me away with a flood of blessedness. Who am I, oh Lord God, and what is my house?” So you see David’s humility under a sense of mercy.
And let us here notice that nothing humbles a man like the mercy of
God. Unkind, ungenerous remarks do not humble the soul, they rather
engender pride. Under the criticisms of unkindness a man who is a man
finds all that is strong within him coming to the forefront, and, as
in Job’s case, self-assertion immediately leads the vanguard.
Reproach and rebuke tend rather to make men proud than humble, love
is the melting power. Nothing weighs a man down like a load of
blessing. When you see God blotting out your sin, accounting you
righteous in his sight, for Jesus’ sake, and saying to you, “I have
loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness I
have drawn you,” where is boasting then? It is excluded. Love shows
boasting to the door, and bars its return. Peter was ready enough to
speak of what he had done, but in the presence of his loving Lord,
when he saw his ship sinking through the plenteous draught of fishes,
he knelt down and cried in deep humiliation, “Depart from me, for I
am a sinful man, oh Lord.”
The more thy glories strike mine eyes
The humbler I shall lie.
A sight of the glory and mercy of God is sure to produce in us a sense of shame for our bad behaviour, combined with wonder that God should have so much as a single kind look for us. Sit down, then, children of God, and review his mercy and be humbled. Do not deny yourselves the joyful review because of a jealous fear of being exalted by it. Never endorse the great lie of the self-righteous, that full assurance of faith leads men to presumption. It does no such thing; it humbles a man, makes him feel his own unworthiness, and so leads him to walk more carefully and prayerfully before his God. It is in this point that faith makes us strong, for while it exalts our joys, it kills our pride and makes us shrink to nothing before the great ALL IN ALL.
II. Now observe, secondly, David’s WONDERING GRATITUDE. He
wondered, first, at what God had done for him: “What is my house,
that you have brought me so far? — to a house of cedar, and to be able
to talk about building a house for you; to be your chosen king, and
to have my seed established on my throne, and to become the ancestor
of the Christ!” Come, brothers and sisters, you do not need me to
preach to you here. I should like to sit down and leave you to muse
upon what the Lord has done in bringing you so far — up from the pit of
destruction, up from the miry clay of your depravity, out of the
horrible prison house of your dread of divine wrath, away from the
Egypt of darkness and bondage into light and liberty. What an
almighty work it was that brought you from darkness into light, from
death into life. Bless the Lord for this. Praise him for your calling
when he drew you effectually, and you ran to him weeping and singing.
Praise him for your pardon when he washed you in the blood and you
were clean, and knew you were. Wonder of wonders is this! Praise him
for your justification, when he took the robe the Saviour made, and
clothed you with it, as no bride was ever arrayed by the most loving
bridegroom. Praise him for your regeneration, when you were born into
a new world; praise him for being set apart for holy uses, admitted
to new company, filled with holy joys, instructed in heavenly truths,
and dedicated to sacred duties. Praise him for sanctification, which
has made you fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in
light. Praise him for the preservation from sin which you have so far
received, and the education for eternity which has so happily begun;
for the provision so bounteous with which he has furnished a table in
the wilderness, both temporally and spiritually, and for the
protection with which he has warded off the arrow that flies by day,
and the pestilence that walks in darkness. Oh Lord, I bless you that
you have brought me so far. Sometimes when I look at what God has
done for me I feel like Christian when he went through the Valley of
the Shadow of Death by night. Remember how Bunyan pictures the
scene; — a narrow pathway with a pit on this side and a deep morass on
that; on all sides hobgoblins, dragons, and spirits of the deep,
seeking to destroy him; his sword useless, and therefore put back in
its sheath; no weapon in his hand except that of All Prayer, which
alone he found to be equal to the emergency, and when he had gone
through it, and the sun rose on him, and he looked back, he could not
believe his eyes that he passed through it. And truly at this moment
looking back on life with its innumerable temptations, and
remembering the tendency to yield there is within every one of us,
each one of us can sing as Christian did —
Oh, world of wonders (I can say no less),
That I should be preserved in that distress
That I have met with here! Oh, blessed be
That hand which from it hath delivered me!
Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin,
Did compass me, while I this vale was in:
Yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets did lie
My path about, that worthless, silly I
Might have been catched, entangled, and cast down,
But, since I live, let Jesus wear the crown.
11. David did not end his wonder there, but went on to another and greater theme, that is the blessings which the Lord had promised him. He praised the Lord for what he had laid up as well as for what he had laid out. He said, and notice the words, “And this was yet a small thing in your sight, oh Lord God, but you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come.” What a wonderful expression! “And this was even a small thing in your sight.” It sometimes appears as if every mercy the Lord brings us is meant to eclipse those which have gone before. For example, he gives a sinner pardon, and the soul is for a time perfectly content with cleansing, and expects nothing more, but soon it learns that there is such a thing as justification; and when it comes to be just with God, complete in Christ, and accepted in the Beloved, then it rejoices anew as if pardon were only a small thing compared with justification. And lo, before our eyes have fully drank in the beauty of justification, we hear the word which says, “I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a right spirit within you: I will write my law in your hearts, and you shall not depart from me,” and our hearts are carried away with the splendours of sanctification. Scarcely, however, have we been fully made aware of the extent of this blessing before another portion of the royal regalia is uncovered, and we hear it said, “ ‘They shall be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord God Almighty,” and now we understand that we are adopted, and are children of God. Before we fully understand this great privilege we begin to hear the song whose swell is like that of many waters, “He has made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign for ever and ever,” and we see the royal prerogative, the priestly dignity which God has put upon us; yes, and long before even these mercies are perfectly understood we are called away to see the heavenly joys, compared with which all else will seem to be even a small thing.
I urge you, my brethren, to remember today that your God has spoken
of you for a great while to come. He has said, “I will never leave
you nor forsake you.” Is that not for a great while to come? He has
compelled you to say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for
ever.” Is that not for a great while to come? He has promised to give
you all you ever shall require. “I will withhold no good thing from
those who walk uprightly.” Notice well that text always to be
remembered, “Because I live you shall live also,” and that petition
of our Lord, “Father, I wish that they also whom you have given to me
be with me where I am, so that they may behold my glory.” These, and
a hundred more gracious words, all concern a great while to come. Oh,
my brethren, you have not obtained transient blessings, benefits
which will be gone tomorrow, gifts which will decay as the year grows
old and the autumn leaves flutter to the ground. You have not
obtained a mercy which will leave you when you tremble in
decrepitude, indeed rather, when old and grayheaded your God will not
forsake you; you shall still produce fruit in old age, to show that
the Lord is upright. “When you pass through the rivers I will be with
you; the floods shall not overflow you”; therefore you may boldly
say, “Yes, although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” When you die you shall
rise again. In your flesh you shall see God, and shall rejoice before
him. Yes, for ever shall you be satisfied when you wake up in his
likeness; you shall go into everlasting joy, and so shall be for ever
with the Lord. He has spoken concerning you for a great while to
come. Sit down and wonder; wonder and adore for evermore.
Firm as the lasting hills,
This covenant shall endure,
Whose potent shalls and wills
Make every blessing sure:
When ruin shakes all nature’s frame,
Its jots and tittles stand the same.
13. David had even another theme for wonder, which was this — the manner of the giving of all this. There is often as much in the manner of a gift as in the gift itself. I have known some who could refuse a favour, and give greater pleasure by their kindly worded denial than others by their rude consent. Now, here is a mercy of which the way of giving it, is, if possible, more astounding than the mercy itself, though that is amazing beyond measure; for David says, “And is this the manner of man, oh Lord God?” The word in the Hebrew is the “law.” It is never translated, except in this case, by the word “manner”; and we may keep to the word “law” if we like: — “Is this the law of man, Lord God?” We will render the passage first according to the Authorised Version: “Is this the manner of man?” Does man act like this? Does man set his love upon the unworthy? Does man exalt the lowest to the highest place? Does man forgive transgressions, and continue to do so? Does man bear provocation, and return love for offences? Is man so faithful? Is man so bounteous? Oh, man can never be divine, and therefore man can never come up to the infinity of your grace, oh Lord God. This is not after the manner of man, neither is it after the law of man, for the law of Adam is, “In the day you eat of it you shall surely die.” Punishment follows quick on the heels of sin. Free grace is not the law of the first man, it is the law of another man, the Second Adam, and so some render the passage, “This is the law of the Man,” the Man Christ Jesus, the true Adam. We will not contend for that rendering, but it contains a truth which we will now utter in our own words. It is not the law of man, it is the law of grace, the law of infinite mercy, the law of infallible faithfulness, the law of immutable love. Beloved, if it had not been revealed to you you could never have imagined or dreamed of such a fulness of grace as the Lord has actually made to pass before you. It is more marvellous than romance. It may well make your heart exalt, for it is astonishing beyond all measure. Jonathan Edwards, when defending the great Calvinistic theory, made use of language somewhat to this effect: “You tell me that the doctrines of grace are a dream; then, if it is so, you ought to join with me in perpetual regret that it is so.” I venture to say, let the earth be hung in sackcloth if there is no covenant of grace, no way of salvation by redemption; for it is the most charming of conceptions, and brings to mankind the most extraordinary of blessings. If this is dreaming, let me dream on, my God, for ever. Eternal love welling up in infinite blessing for the chosen race, and pouring out for ever inexhaustible rivers of mercy, is far above all that man could by himself have imagined. Poetry has never soared within a myriad leagues of such an imagination. I am more than content with the covenant love of my God. I ask for nothing else. This fills my soul and satisfies my spirit, and I would sit down before you, my Father, and say, “Is this the manner of man, oh Lord God?” Infinite love granting infinite blessings! The gospel must be true; it bears its own witness upon its very brow, for who could have made it up? Where is the imagination that could have conceived such majestic mercy as God reveals to his people?
14. III. Now, changing the note, and yet continuing in the same strain, we have to speak of David’s emotion of LOVE:
15. I almost regret that I have to speak to you; I wish I could sit still and yet make you feel what I feel. If there could be some telepathic action by which thought could be communicated without words, it would suit my mood exactly at this moment. David found only a scant outlet for his love. What precious words are these: “What more can David say?” It is love struck dumb by receiving an unspeakable gift. The king was exactly in the same state as Paul when he said, “What shall we then say to these things?” To that question no answer was ever given by love. Love sat silent after she had asked it, speechless in adoration; and faith pushed himself forward and cried, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” But Love was silent, dumbfounded with the mountain of mercy. So David says, “What more can David say?” Certainly no eloquence can match the silence of human love abashed by divine love. Sit down, oh you saints, and cry, “What more can your servants say?”
16. Notice the childlikeness of this love. “What more can David say?” Your little child, if she is ill, will not say, “Mother, nurse me,” but “Mother, nurse poor little Mary”: and when she feels very sick she will say, “Mary’s head aches.” Your little John, when he wants you to play with him will say, “Please, father, take little John on your knee,” or “Please, father, take John for a walk.” It is the way children talk, and this is David’s childlike talk to God. “What more shall David say?” He might have said, “What more shall I say?” but love taught him a simple and sweet speech, which he delighted to use.
Observe, it is a love which longs for communion, and enjoys it. He
says, “What more can David say to you?” He can talk to other
people, but he does not quite know how to speak to God, and then he
adds, “For you, Lord God, know your servant,” which is a parallel
passage to that of Peter, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I
love you,” as if he could not speak his heart, but his Master could
read it, and he asked the Lord to act as his interpreter. Such
thoughts as those which were in David’s mind break the backs of
words, and stagger speech. Tongues are an after thought, hearts come
first; and often hearts wish they could fly away from tongues.
Language is only a feeble wing, we want to ride the lightning.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above,
has often been our cry. We are right enough in thinking that we can
never express ourselves until we get to heaven. How does John
Berridge put it in that outstanding hymn? I do not know if I can
recall it on the spur of the moment. Yes, here it is —
Then my tongue would fain express
All his love and loveliness;
But I lisp and falter forth
Broken words not half his worth.
Vex’d I try and try again,
Still my efforts all are vain:
Living tongues are dumb at best,
We must die to speak of Christ.
Death must release these stammering tongues, or they will never be able to speak all that we feel when divine love casts us into devout raptures. Strip us of this encumbrance, and we will vie with seraphs in their burning hymns, and even the heavenly harps shall learn from us how to magnify the Lord. Until then we must be content to cry with David, “What more can we say? You, Lord, know your servants.”
18. But do you see it is obedient love as well? It is not mere sentiment, there is a practicalness about it, for he says, “Lord, you know your servant,” he subscribes himself as henceforth bound to God’s service. With delight he puts on his Master’s livery, and sits like a servant in the hall of the King of kings, waiting to hear what shall be spoken to him. Just as the eyes of the handmaidens are on their mistress, so his eye is upon his God. Hence it is that David was accustomed in later times to sing, “Oh Lord I am your servant; I am your servant, and the son of your handmaid: you have released my bonds.” He had caught the spirit of the Christian proverb, “To serve God is to reign.” He loved to do homage at the feet of his liege-lord, and yield himself and all that he had as a reasonable service to him who had crowned him with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Warm love always urges the soul to service. No one is so ready to wear the yoke of Christ as those who have leaned on his bosom. The nearer we come to our Father’s heart the more submissive we are to his commands. Free grace is the best atmosphere in which to grow strong in obedience. The more often we consider what we owe to eternal love the more ready we shall be to pay our vows to the Lord.
19. How he dwells upon those words, “You, Lord God.” What pleasure he finds in the very name of his Benefactor and Master. All through Scripture we ought to notice the titles by which God is called in each distinct place. We are so poverty stricken in thought that we generally use only one name for God; not so the rich soul of David: throughout the Psalms you will find him appropriately ringing the changes upon Adoni, El, Elohim, Jehovah, and all the varied combinations of names which loving hearts were accustomed to give to the glorious Lord of Hosts; and here he says, “You, Lord God.” He delights in God, and finds music in his name; he is affluent in ascriptions and titles, because his soul is rich in affection. His love was reverent love, adoring love, meditative love, intelligent love, whole hearted love. It expresses itself by reverence when it fails to encompass infinite mercy by descriptions. I want every believer here to be sweetly stirred with this love this morning; I would have you go home and spend an hour this afternoon in contemplating the ever blessed God, who has done so much for you that you may well say, “What more can David say to you?”
20. My time is flying, but I must have time for another point. David’s language is so rich that truly as I take up these words one by one I feel as if I could say with the psalmist, “My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness.” Have we not marrow and fatness here?
21. IV. David’s heart was full of PRAISE.
22. The praise was first for the freeness of the grace which brought him such blessedness. “For your word’s sake, and according to your own heart you have done all these great things.” Whenever the believer asks why God gave him grace in Christ Jesus he can only resort to one answer, — the Lord’s own heart has devised and ordained our salvation. Why did the Lord love you, my brother? Because he wanted to love you, is the only possible reply. In De 7:7,8, we have this self-contained love presented. The Lord did not love the people because they were numerous, but because he loved them. His love was its own reason. He loved us because he would love us, “according to his own heart.” Now, this is one of the things which always must astound us and make us love God, that everything comes from him spontaneously, without anything in us that could produce it or evoke it. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,” rolls like thunder over the rebel’s head, but to a child of God it is full of music; so that voice of the Lord is full of majesty to him. Oh, wonder of wonders, that he who passed by the fallen angels nevertheless stooped to save unworthy men, for so it seemed good in his sight.
David praised also the faithfulness of God. He says, “For your
word’s sake.” Is that not the reason upon which all mercy is received
by the child of God? God has promised it and will keep his word. He
has never gone back on his covenant yet.
As well might he his being quit
As break his promise or forget.
Jehovah must be true. Oh, what a faithful God he has been to many of us! We can recount the scores and hundreds of times when, if the promise had failed, the disaster would have been irretrievable: but it never has failed. Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord God has promised. You men of seventy, you can say that: we who are only lads in the army are nevertheless bold to affirm the same. He has helped in every need, and he has never yet been backward in coming to our rescue or supplying our needs. Glory be to his name. Let us sit down and adore his faithfulness.
Here we may also see David discerning the connection between divine
mercy and the Lord Jesus Christ. What if I read it so — “For YOUR
WORD’S sake” — for the sake of the Eternal Logos, the Word that was
God, and was with God — for his sake all these mercies have come to
us. It is very sweet to see the mark of the pierced hand on every
covenant blessing, to receive every blessing from the hand that was
nailed to the tree for us, and to feel.
There’s ne’er a gift his hand bestows,
But cost his heart a groan.
This will lead us to praise God for the freeness of the mercy, for the faithfulness of the mercy, and for the mediatorial grace by which every mercy comes to us.
25. Then the king’s heart was taken up with the greatness of the covenant blessings. “According to your own heart, you have done all these great things.” They were all great. There was not a little mercy among them. All the mercies which we great sinners receive from our great God are inconceivably great, and therefore demand from us the greatest thankfulness. Dwell on the great deliverances, the great promises, the great comforts, the great expectations of the children of God, until your souls are enlarged with gratitude.
26. Once more David praised God for his condescending familiarity. “According to your own heart, you have done all these great things, to make your servant know them.” They were revealed to David by a prophet, just as Jesus communed with his disciples, and said, “I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it is come to pass you may believe.” And yet again, “If it were not so I would have told you.” God’s mercies are instructions for us. We never know them until God brings them to us and makes us know them, they are their own interpreters; like letters written in cypher they have the clue within themselves. Just as the prophecies are never understood until they are fulfilled, so the mercies of God are never understood until they are received. Experience teaches. Experience is the master doctor in the University of Christ. When you know him by testing and handling him, then Jesus is sweet; when you know his power by testing it in weakness, then you understand its exceeding greatness; when you know his faithfulness in deep affliction and great need, then you see it; and when you taste his mercy under a sense of great sin, then you weep with joy as you perceive it. God alone can make his servants know his gifts. Blessed be God, who alone teaches us to profit, and makes his own dear children to sit at his feet. Has he not said it, “They shall all be taught by the Lord.” There is no school like this; may I for ever be a scholar in it; I would be content to sit in the lowest form in that school and learn eternally. Now apply your souls to the sacred lesson. Praise and magnify your God, oh you who love his name!
27. V. To conclude, not for lack of matter, however, but for lack of time, David’s soul was wound up to HIGH THOUGHTS OF GOD, for our text concludes with these words: “Therefore you are great, oh Lord God: for there is no one like you, neither is there any God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
28. God is great. He is the greatest because he is the best. The old Romans used to say, optimus maximus — the best, the greatest. You, God, are good, and therefore you are great. As we drink in the sense of his goodness we cannot help saying, “Therefore you are great, oh Lord God” — great positively; then great comparatively — “there is no one like you”; yes, greatest of all, superlatively — “neither is there any God besides you.” I have heard of a preacher upon whom a good man’s criticism was that he made God great whenever he preached. May God forbid we should ever preach otherwise, and may you, dear hearers, always feel how great God is. I urge you to go away with this on your minds — he is too great for me to dare to offend him, too greatly good for me to grieve him, too greatly good for me to doubt him. Think of that last. So great, that nothing can be great that I can do for him; so great, that nothing is too great for me to give to him; so great, that when I give myself away, it is a poor offering compared with what he deserves; so great, that when all earth and heaven ring with his praises, they still fall short of his glory; so goodly great and greatly good, that I would be all his, and yield myself entirely up to his will, to be like an atom in a current, borne along by his unresisted will. I would be what he would have me be, do what he would have me do, give what he would have me give, suffer what he would have me suffer; I would be absorbed into him; I would find a heaven in a blessed union with himself, which should prevent for ever any self-assertion, or the setting up of so much as a wish or a thought which would be contrary to his mind. God is great, therefore I would wish others to know him and love him too. All hearts are cold in every place, oh that they were melted in this fire: oh that they flowed down at his touch in constant worship. Therefore, since he is so great, I will speak great things of him; I will proclaim it among the heathen that the Lord reigns. I would ask for talent, if I may be trusted with it, with which to proclaim him; and if I have little ability, yet with such as I have, grace being given to me, I would to the utmost of my ability proclaim the greatness which has already overpowered my spirit. Let him be crowned with majesty: let him be King of kings and Lord of lords, because of all that he has done. Go out, you daughters of Jerusalem, and crown your King: throughout your entire lives weave chaplets for the Redeemer’s brow. Let your lives be psalms, let your garments be vestments, let every meal be a sacrament, let your whole being be transformed into an immortal Hallelujah to the Lord Most High, for he is greatly to be extolled. Oh, come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, and give to the Lord the glory due to his name.
Blessed God, blessed God, what more can your servant say? He does not
have the voice of David, nor David’s harp, nor David’s poetic fire,
nor David’s inspiration, and where even David failed, what more can
he say? Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you, and
thousands of your servants here can join in the same declaration.
Accept what we speak and what we feel, but cannot utter. Bless your
saints for ever. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — 2Sa 7]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love” 230]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — Eternal Love Exalted” 231]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — God My Exceeding Joy” 775]
The Work of Grace as a Whole
230 — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love <148th>
1 Indulgent God! how kind
Are all thy ways to me,
Whose dark benighted mind
Was enmity with thee;
Yet now, subdued by sovereign grace,
My spirit longs for thine embrace.
2 How precious are thy thoughts,
That o’er my bosom roll:
They swell beyond my faults,
And captivate my soul;
How great their sum, how high they rise,
Can ne’er be known beneath the skies.
3 Preserved in Jesus, when
My feet made haste to hell;
And there should I have gone,
But thou dost all things well;
Thy love was great, thy mercy free,
Which from the pit deliver’d me.
4 Before thy hands had made
The sun to rule the day,
Or earth’s foundation laid,
Of fashion’d Adam’s clay,
What thoughts of peace and mercy flow’d
In thy dear bosom, oh my God.
5 Oh! fathomless abyss,
Where hidden mysteries lie:
The seraph finds his bliss,
Within the same to pry;
Lord, what is man, thy desperate foe,
That thou shouldest bless and love him so?
6 A monument of grace,
A sinner saved by blood:
The streams of love I trace
Up to the Fountain, God;
And in his sacred bosom see
Eternal thoughts of love to me.
John Kent, 1803.
The Work of Grace as a Whole
231 — Eternal Love Exalted
1 Saved from the damning power of sin,
The law’s tremendous curse,
We’ll now the sacred song begin
Where God began with us.
2 We’ll sing the vast unmeasured grace
Which, from the days of old,
Did all the chosen sons embrace,
As sheep within the fold.
3 The basis of eternal love
Shall mercy’s frame sustain;
Earth, hell, or sin, the same to move,
Shall all conspire in vain.
4 Sing, oh ye sinners bought with blood,
Hail the Great three in One;
Tell how secure the covenant stood
Ere time its race begun.
5 Ne’er had ye felt the guilt of sin,
Nor sweets if pardoning love,
Unless your worthless names had been
Enroll’d to life above.
6 Oh what a sweet exulting song
Shall rend the vaulted skies,
When, shouting grace, the blood-wash’d throng
Shall see the top stone rise.
John Kent, 1803.
The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
775 — God My Exceeding Joy
1 Where God doth dwell, sure heaven is there,
And singing there must be:
Since, Lord, thy presence my heaven,
Whom should I sing but thee?
2 My God, my reconciled God,
Creator of my peace:
Thee will I love, and praise, and sing,
Till life and breath shall cease.
3 My soul doth magnify the Lord,
My spirit doth rejoice;
To thee, my Saviour and my God,
I lift my joyful voice;
4 I need not go abroad for joys,
I have a feast at home;
My sighs are turned into songs,
My heart has ceased to roam.
5 Down from above the blessed Dove
Is come into my breast,
To witness thine eternal love,
And give my spirit rest.
6 My God, I’ll praise thee while I live,
And praise thee when I die,
And praise thee when I rise again,
And to eternity.
John Mason, 1683, a.