A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, August 3, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *12/1/2012
The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet from the midst of you, from your brethren, like me; you shall listen to him; according to all that you desired from the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, “Do not let me hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, so that I do not die.” And the Lord said to me, “They have spoken well what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a Prophet from among their brethren, like you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” [De 18:15-19]
1. Man, the creature, may well desire communion with his Creator. When we are right-minded we cannot bear to be like fatherless children, born into the world by a parent of whom we know nothing whatever. We long to hear our father’s voice. Of old time, before sin had entered into the world, the Lord God was on the most intimate terms with his creature man. He communed with Adam in the garden; in the cool of the day he made the evening to be sevenfold refreshing by the shadow of his own presence. There was no cloud between unfallen man and the ever-blessed One: they could commune together, for no sin had set up a middle wall of partition. Alas, man being in honour did not continue, but broke the law of his God, and not only forfeited his own inheritance, but bequeathed upon his descendants a character with which the holy God can hold no communion. By nature we love what is evil, and within us there is an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God, and consequently communion between God and man has had to be upon quite another footing from what began and ended in the glades of Eden. It was condescension at the first which made the Lord speak with man the creature; it is mercy, unutterable mercy, now if God condescends to speak with man the sinner.
2. Through his divine grace the Lord did not leave our forefathers altogether without a word from himself even after the Fall, for between the days of Adam and Moses there were occasional voices heard from God speaking with man. “Enoch walked with God,” which implies that God walked with him and had communion with him, and we may rest assured it was no silent walk which Enoch had with the Most High. The Lord also spoke twice to Noah, and made a covenant with him: and then he, at still greater length and with greater frequency, spoke with Abraham, whom he graciously called his friend. Voices also came to Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and celestial beings flitted to and fro between earth and heaven. Then there was a long pause and a dreary silence. No prophet spoke in Jehovah’s name, no voice of God in priestly oracle was heard, but all was silent while Israel lived in Egypt, and sojourned in the land of Ham. So completely hushed was the spiritual voice among men that it seemed as if God had utterly forsaken his people and left the world without a witness to his name; yet there was a prophecy of his return, and the Lord had great plans, which only waited until the full time was come. He purposed to try man in a very special manner, to see whether he could bear the presence of the Lord or not. He resolved to take a family, multiply it into a nation, and set it apart for himself, and he would make a revelation of himself to that nation of the most extraordinary character. So he took the people who had slaved among the brick-kilns of Egypt, and made them his elect, the nation of his choice, ordained to be a nation of priests, a people near to him, if they only had grace to bear the honour. Though they had lain among the pots, with a high hand and an outstretched arm he delivered them, and with gracious love he favoured them, so that they became for beauty and excellence as the wings of a dove that are covered with silver and her feathers with yellow gold. He divided the Red Sea and made them a way of escape, and afterwards set that sea as a barrier between them and their former masters. He took them into the wilderness, and there fed them with manna which dropped from heaven, and he sustained them with water out of the rock. After a while he began to speak to them, as he had never spoken to any nation before. He spoke with them from the top of Sinai, so that they heard his voice out of the midst of the fire, and in astonishment they cried, “We have seen today that God does talk with man, and he lives.” But the experiment failed. Man was not in a condition to hear the direct voice of God. On the very first day the people were in such terror and alarm that they cried out, “This great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more we shall die.” As they stood still at a distance to hear the words of God’s perfect law they were filled with great fear, and so terrible was the sight that even Moses said, “I greatly fear and tremble.” The people could not endure what was commanded, and entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more. They felt the need for someone to interpose — a mediator, an interpreter, one out of thousand was needed to come between them and God. Even those among them who were the most spiritual, and understood and loved God better than the rest, still confessed that they could not endure the thunder of his dreadful voice, and their elders and the heads of their tribes came to Moses and said, “Go near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak to us all that the Lord our God shall speak to you; and we will hear it, and do it.”
3. The Lord knew that man would always be unable to hear his Maker’s voice, and he therefore determined not only to speak by Moses, but, from this time on to speak by his servants the prophets, raising up here one and there another; and then he determined, as the consummation of his condescending mercy, that at the last he would put all the word he had to say to man into one heart, and that word should be spoken by one mouth to men, furnishing a full, complete, and unchangeable revelation of himself to the human race. This he resolved to give by one of whom Moses had learned something when the Lord said to him in the words of our text, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like you, and will put my words in his month; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.” We know assuredly that our Lord Jesus Christ is that prophet like Moses by whom in these last days he has spoken to us. See Peter’s testimony in the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and Stephen’s in the seventh chapter of the same book. “This man was considered worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honour than the house,” yet he bore a gracious likeness to Moses, and in it his apostles found a sure argument of his being indeed the Messiah, sent by God.
4. The subject of this morning’s discourse is the Lord’s speaking to us by Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man, and our earnest intention is that all of us may reverently hear the voice of God by this greatest of all prophets. Men and brethren, this is the word of God to you this morning, that very word which he spoke on the holy Mount, when the Lord was transfigured and there appeared with him Moses and Elijah speaking to him, and out of the excellent glory there came the word, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” This is my message at this hour — “Hear him.” He says to you all today, “Incline your ear and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live. Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” “See that you do not refuse him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven.”
5. Our meditation will run like this: first, we will think for a moment upon the necessity for a Mediator; secondly, upon the person of the Prophet Mediator whom God has chosen; and, thirdly, upon the authority with which this Mediator is invested, by which authority he calls upon us today to listen to God’s voice which is heard in him.
6. I. We begin by considering how urgently there existed THE NECESSITY for a Mediator. I need only a very short time to present this.
7. There was a necessity for a Mediator in the case of the Israelites, first, because of the unutterable glory of God, and their own inability to endure that glory, either with their eye, their ear, or their mind. We cannot suppose that the revelation of God upon Sinai was the display of all his greatness: no, we know that it could not be such, for it would have been impossible for man to have lived at all in the presence of the infinite glory. Habakkuk, speaking of this manifestation, says, “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was fall of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand”; but he adds, “there was the hiding of his power.” Despite its great glory, the revelation upon the mount of God at Horeb was a subdued revelation, and yet, though it was toned down like this because of human weakness, it could not be endured. No mortal eye could bear the unveilings of Jehovah’s face. The voice with which God spoke at Sinai is by Moses compared to the voice of a trumpet growing extremely loud and long, and also to the roll of thunder; and we all know the awe-inspiring sound of thunder when it is heard near at hand, its volleys rolling overhead. How the crash of peal upon peal makes the bravest heart, if not to quail, yet still to bow in reverent awe before God! Yet this is not the full voice of God: it is only his whisper. Jehovah has hushed his voice in the thunder, for were that voice heard in its fulness it would not only shake earth, but also heaven. If he were for once to unveil his face the lightning’s flame would pale to darkness in comparison. The voice of the Lord God is inconceivably majestic, and it is not possible that we, poor creatures, worms of the dust, insects of a day, should ever be able to hear it and live. We could not bear the full revelation of God apart from mediatorial interposition. Perhaps when he has made us to be pure spirit, or when our bodies shall have been “raised in power,” made like the body of our Lord Jesus, we may then be able to behold the glorious Jehovah, but as yet we must accept the kindly warning of the Lord in answer to the request of Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live.” The strings of life are too weak for the strain of the unveiled presence; it is not possible for such a gossamer, spider-like thread as our existence to survive the breath of Deity, if he should actually and in very deed draw near to us. It appeared clearly at Sinai, that even when the Lord accommodated himself, as much as was consistent with his honour, to the infirmity of human nature, man was so alarmed and afraid at his presence that he could not bear it, and it was absolutely necessary that instead of speaking with his own voice, even though he whispered what he had to say, he should speak to another man by himself, and afterwards that man should come down from the mount and repeat the Lord’s words to the people.
8. This sufficient reason is supported by another most weighty fact, namely, that God cannot commune with men because of their sin. God was pleased to regard his people Israel at the foot of Sinai as pure. “Moses went down from the mount to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.” They had abstained for a while from defiling actions, and when they stood outside the bounds they were ceremonially clean; but it was only a ceremonial purity. Before long they were really unclean before the Lord, and in heart defiled and polluted. The Lord said of them, “Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and always keep all my commandments, so that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” He knew that their heart was not right even when they spoke obediently. Not many days after the people had trembled at Sinai, they made a golden calf, and set it up and bowed before it, and provoked the Lord to jealousy so that he sent plagues among them. It is quite clear that after such a rebellion, after a deliberate breach of his covenant, and daring violation of his commands, it would have been quite impossible for God to speak to them, or for them to listen to the voice of God, in a direct manner. They would have fled before him because of his holiness, which shamed their unholiness; and because of their sin, which provoked his indignation, because of the wandering, and instability, and treachery of their hearts, the Lord could not have endured them in his presence. The holy angels for ever adore with that threefold cry, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts”; and he could not permit men of unclean lips to profane his throne with their unholy utterances. Oh no, my brethren, with such a sense of sin as some of us have, and as all of us ought to have, we should have to cover our faces, and cower down in terror, if Jehovah himself were to appear. He cannot look upon iniquity, neither can evil dwell with him, for he is a consuming fire. While we are encompassed with infirmity we cannot behold him, for our eyes are dimmed with the smoke of our iniquities. If we would see even the skirts of his garments we must first be pure in heart, and he must put us in the cleft of the rock, and cover us with his hand. If we were to behold his stern justice, his awful holiness, and his boundless power, apart from our ever-blessed Mediator, we should dissolve at the sight, and utterly melt away, for we have sinned.
9. This double reason of the weakness of our nature, and the sinfulness of our character, is a forcible one, for I close this part of the discourse by observing that the argument was so forcible that the Lord himself agreed with it. He said, “They have well spoken, what they have said.” It was no morbid apprehension which made them afraid, it was no foolish dread which startled them, for wisdom’s own self in the person of Moses, said, “I do greatly fear and tremble.” The calmest and meekest of men had real cause for fear.
10. God’s face is not to be seen. An occasional glimpse may come to spirits raised above their own natural level, so that they can for a while behold the King, the Lord of hosts; but even to them it is a terrible strain upon all their powers, the wine is too strong for the bottles. What did John say, when he saw, not so much absolute Deity, but the divine side of the Mediator? “When I saw him I fell at his feet as dead.” Daniel, the man greatly beloved, confesses that there remained no strength in him and his vigour was turned into frailty when he heard the voice of God; and Job said, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I abhor myself in dust and ashes.” No, God knows it is not silly fright nor unbelieving fear; it is a most seemly awe and a most natural dread which takes hold of finite and fallible creatures in the presence of the Infinite and Perfect One. These frail tabernacles, like the tents of Cushan, are in affliction when the Lord marches by in the greatness of his power. We need a Mediator. The Lord knows very well that our sinfulness provokes him, and that there is in us, in the best here present, what would make him to break out against us to destroy us if we were to come to him without a covering and propitiation.
We must approach the Lord through a Mediator: it is absolutely
necessary. God himself witnesses it is so, and therefore in his mercy
he ordains a Mediator, so that by him we may be able to approach his
throne of grace. May the Holy Spirit make this truth very plain to
the consciousness of all of us, and cause us to sing with the poet:
Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find;
The holy, just, and sacred Three
Are terrors to my mind.
But if Emmanuel’s face appear,
My hope, my joy begins;
His name forbids my slavish fear,
His grace removes my sins.
12. II. This brings us to consider THE PERSON of the appointed Mediator, and in my text we obtain a liberal measure of information on this point. Read these blessed words, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet from the midst of you, from your brethren.”
13. Dwell with sweetness upon this fact that our Lord Jesus was raised up from the midst of us, from among our brethren. In him is fulfilled that glorious prophecy, “I have exalted One chosen out of the people.” He is one of ourselves, a brother born for adversity. He was born at Bethlehem, not in fiction, but in fact: he lay in a manger where the horned oxen fed, as any other babe might do, wrapped in swaddling bands, and dependent on a woman’s loving care as any other babe might be. He was like ourselves in his growth from infancy to manhood, increasing in stature as we do from our childhood to our maturity. Though he was the holy child Jesus, he was still a child, and therefore he was subject to his parents. And when he came as a man, his was no phantom manhood, but true flesh and blood; he was tempted and he was betrayed: he hungered and he thirsted; he was weary and he was greatly amazed; he took our sicknesses, and he carried our sorrows; he was made in all points like his brethren. He did not set himself apart as though he were of an exclusive caste or of a superior rank, but he lived among us; the brother of the race, eating with tax collectors and sinners, always mingling with the common people. He was not one who boasted about his descent, or gloried in the so-called blue blood, or placed himself among the royalty, who must not see the light except in marble halls. He was born in a common house of entertainment where all might come to him, and he died with his arms extended as a pledge that he continued to receive all who came to him. He never spoke of men as the common multitude, the vulgar herd, but he made himself at home among them. He was dressed like a peasant, in the ordinary clothing of the country, a garment without seam, woven from the top throughout; and he mixed with the multitude, went to their marriage feasts, attended their funerals, and was so much among them, a man among men, that slander called him a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. In all respects our Lord was raised up from the midst of us, one of our own kith and kin. “For this cause he is not ashamed to call us brethren.” He was our brother in living, our brother in death, and our brother in resurrection; for after his resurrection he said, “Go, tell my brethren”; and he also said, “My Father, and your Father; my God, and your God.” Though now exalted in the highest heavens he pleads for us and acts as a High Priest who can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. God has graciously raised up such a Mediator, and now he speaks to us through him. Oh sons of men, will you not listen when such a one as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of man, is ordained to speak of the eternal God? You might be unable to hear if he should speak again in thunder, but now he speaks by those dear lips of love, now he speaks by that gracious tongue which has performed such miracles of grace by its words, now he speaks out of that great heart of his, which never beats except with love for the sons of men — will you not hear him? Surely we ought to give the most earnest heed and obey his every word.
14. Moses was truly one of the people, for he loved them intensely, and all his sympathies were with them. They provoked him terribly, but he still loved them. We can never admire that man of God too much when we think of his selfless love for that guilty nation. See him on the mountain there as Israel’s advocate. The Lord said, “Leave me alone so that I may destroy them, and I will make of you a great nation.” That proposal opened up before Moses’ eye a glittering destiny. It was within his grasp that he himself should become the founder of a race, in whom the promises made to Abraham should be fulfilled. Would not most men have greedily grasped for it? But Moses will not have it. He loves Israel too well to see the people die if he can save them. He does not have an atom of selfish ambition about him; but with cries and tears he exclaims, “Why should the Egyptians speak and say, ‘He brought them out for mischief, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.’ ” He prevailed with God by his pleading, for he identified himself with Israel. Moses did, as it were, gather up all their grief’s and sorrows into himself, even as our Lord did. He was a true Israelite, for he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and cast in his lot with the people of God. This is just what our blessed Lord has done. He will not have honour apart from his people, nor even life, unless they live also. He saved others, he could not save himself. He would not be in heaven, and leave his saints behind, he loved the people and so proved himself to be one chosen out of their midst, a brother among brethren.
15. Notice well that, while our Lord is our brother like this, the great God has in his person sent us one who is lifted up above us all in the knowledge of his mind. Thus says the Lord, “I will put my words in his mouth.” [De 18:18] Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us inspired by God. He does not come alone, nor on his own authority; but he says, “The Father is with me: I always do the things which please him: the Father who dwells in me, he does the works.” Both in word and work he acted for his Father, and under his Father’s inspiration. Men and brethren, I beseech you not to reject the message which Jesus brings, since it is not his own, but the sure message of God. Do not trifle with a single word, which Jesus speaks, for it is the word of the Eternal One: do not despise one single deed which he did, or precept which he commanded, or blessing which he brought, for upon all these there is the stamp of deity. God chose one who is our brother so that he might come near to us; but he put his own royal impress upon him, so that we might not have an ambassador of second rank, but one who considers it not robbery to be equal with God, who nevertheless for our sake has taken upon himself the form of a servant so that he might speak directly to our hearts. For all these reasons, I beseech you do not despise him who speaks, since he speaks from heaven.
16. The main point, however, upon which I want to dwell is, that Jesus is like Moses. There had been no better mediator found than Moses up to the day of Moses; the Lord God, therefore, determined to work upon that model with the great prophet of his race, and he has done so in sending the Lord Jesus. It would be a very interesting task for the young people to work out all the points in which Moses is a personal type of the Lord Jesus. The points of resemblance are very many, for there is hardly a single incident in the life of the great Lawgiver, which is not symbolic of the promised Saviour. You may begin from the beginning at the waters of the Nile, and go to the close upon the brow of Pisgah, and you will see Christ in Moses as a man sees his face in a mirror. I can only mention in what respects, as a Mediator, Jesus is like Moses, and surely one is found in the fact that Moses beyond all who went before him was particularly the depository of the mind of God. Twice we find him closeted with God for forty days at a time. He went completely away from men to the lone mountain top, and there he was forty days and forty nights, and neither ate nor drank, but lived in high communion with his God. In those times of seclusion he received the pattern of the tabernacle, the laws of the priesthood, of the sacrifices of the holy days, and of the civil estate of Israel, and perhaps the early records which compose the book of Genesis. To whom else had God ever spoken for that length of time, as a man speaks with his friend? He was the particular favourite of God. From the first day of his call, when he was keeping the flocks of his father-in-law on the backside of the desert, right to the day when God kissed away his soul on the top of Nebo, he was a man greatly beloved, to whom God revealed himself as to no other. Hear the Lord’s own words to Aaron and Miriam. “And he said, ‘Hear my words now: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. My servant Moses is not like this, who is faithful in all my house. With him I will speak face-to-face, even plainly, and not in dark speeches: and he shall behold the similitude of the Lord: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’ ” In this our Lord Jesus is like Moses, only he far surpasses him, for the communion between Christ and the Father was very much more intimate, since that Jesus is himself essential deity, and “in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Cold mountains and the midnight air continually witnessed to his communion with the Father. Nor did these alone, for he abode with the Father. His language was always spoken out as God was speaking within him; he lived in God, and with God. “I know,” he said, “that you always hear me.” Instead of having to point out when Christ was in communion with the Father, we have rather, with astonishment, to point out the solitary moment when he was left by the Father, even that dread hour when he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Only for that one time the Father had left him, and even then it was inexplicable, and he asked the reason for it; though he knew himself to be then suffering as the Substitute for man, yet his desertion by God came upon him as a novelty which utterly overwhelmed him, so that he asked in agony why he was forsaken.
17. Moses, to take another point, is the first of the prophets with whom God kept up continuous revelation. To other men he spoke in dreams and visions, but to Moses by plain and perpetual testimony. His Spirit rested on him, and he took from it to give of it to Joshua, and to the seventy elders, even as Jesus gave from his Spirit to the apostles. Sometimes God spoke to Noah, or to Abraham and others; but it was upon occasions only; and even then, as in the case of Abraham and Jacob, they must fall asleep to see and hear him best: but with Moses the Lord remained perpetually; whenever he willed he consulted the Most High, and at once God spoke with him, and directed his way. So it was with Christ Jesus. He did not need to behold a vision: the spirit of prophecy did not occasionally come upon him, and bear him out of himself, for the Spirit was given to him without measure, and he knew the very mind and heart of God perpetually. He was always a prophet; not sometimes a prophet, like Samson of old, of whom we read, “The Spirit of God came upon him in the camp of Dan”; or like others of whom it is written, “the word of the Lord came to them.” At all times the Spirit rested upon him: he spoke in the abiding power of the Holy Spirit, even more so than Moses did.
18. Moses is described as a prophet mighty in word and deed, and it is exceptional that there never was another prophet mighty in word and deed until Jesus came. Moses not only spoke with matchless power, but performed miracles. You shall find no other prophet who did both. Other prophets who spoke well performed no miracles, or only here and there; while those who performed miracles, such as Elijah and Elisha, have left us very few words that they spoke: indeed, their prophecies were only lightning flashes, and not as the bright shining of a sun. When you come to our Lord Jesus you find lip and heart working together, with equal perfection of witness. You cannot tell in which he is the more marvellous, in his speech or in his act. “Never man spoke like this man,” but certainly never man performed such marvels of mercy as Jesus did. He far exceeds Moses and all the prophets put together in the variety and the multitude and the wonderful character of the miracles which he did. If men bow before prophets who can cast down their rods, and they become serpents, if they yield homage to prophets who call fire from heaven, how much more should they accept him whose words are matchless music, and whose miracles of love were felt even beyond the boundaries of this visible world; for the angels of God flew from heaven to minister to him, the demons of the pit fled before his voice, and the caverns of death heard his call and yielded up their prey. Who would not accept this prophet like Moses, to whom the Holy Spirit bare witness by mighty signs and wonders?
19. Moses, again, was the founder of a great system of religious law, and this was not the case with anyone else except the Lord Jesus. He founded the whole system of the Aaronic priesthood and the law that went with it. Moses was a lawgiver: he gave the ten commandments in the name of God, and all the other statutes of the Jewish state were ordained through him. Now, until you come to Christ you find no such lawgiver; but Jesus institutes the new covenant as Moses introduced the old, the sermon on the mount was an utterance from a happier Sinai, and whereas Moses gives this and that command, Jesus gives the same in sweeter form and in a more divine way, and embodies it in his own sacred person. He is the great legislator of our age, the King in the midst of Jeshurun, giving out his command, which runs very swiftly, and those who fear the Lord are obedient to it.
20. Time will fail us, or we would mention to you that Moses was faithful before God as a servant over all his house, and so was Jesus as a Son over his own house. He was never unfaithful to his charge in any respect, but in all things ruled and served to perfection as the anointed of the Father. He is the faithful and true Witness, the Prince of the kings of the earth. Moses, too, was zealous for God and for his honour. Remember how the zeal of God’s house ate him up. When he saw grievous sin among the people, he said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” and there came to him the tribe of Levi, and he said, “Go in and out, and kill every man who was joined himself to Baalpeor.” Herein he was the stern type of Jesus, who took the scourge of small cords, and drove out the buyers and sellers, and said, “Take these things out of here: it is written, ‘My Father’s house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves”; for the zeal of God’s house had eaten him up.
Moses, by divine grace, was very meek, and perhaps this is the
chief parallel between him and Jesus. I have said, “by divine grace,”
for I suppose by nature he was strongly passionate. There are many
indications that Moses was not meek, but very far from it until the
Spirit of God rested upon him. He hastily killed the Egyptian, and in
later years he went out from the presence of Pharaoh “in great
anger.” Twice you find him very angry: he took the tables of stone
and dashed them in pieces in his indignation, for “the anger of Moses
grows hot”; and that unhappy action which occasioned his being shut
out of Canaan was caused by his “being provoked in spirit so that he
spoke unadvisedly with his lips,” and said, “Hear now, you rebels;
must I fetch you water out of this rock?” Divine grace had so cooled
and calmed him that in general he was the gentlest of men, and when
his brother and sister thrust themselves into his place and
questioned his authority, it is written, “Now the man Moses was very
meek, more than all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
In his own quarrel he has never anything to say: it is only for the
people and for God that his anger grows hot. Even about his last act
of hastiness he says, “God was angry with me for your sake,” not for
his own sake. He was so meek and gentle that for forty years he bore
with the most rebellious and provoking nation that ever existed. But
what shall I say of my Master? Let him speak for himself. “Come to
me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest:
take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in
heart: and you shall find rest for your souls.” Our children call him
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” The man Jesus is very meek more than
all men who are upon the face of the earth. He has his indignation,
Like glowing oven is his wrath,
As flame by furious blast up blown,
for he can be angry, and the wrath of the Lamb is the most awful wrath beneath the sun; but still to us, in this gospel day, he is all love and tenderness; and when he invites us to come to him, can we refuse to hear? So meek is the Mediator that he is love itself, incarnate love; so loving, that when he died his only crime was that he was “found guilty of excess of love”; can we be so cruel as to reject him? Oh brothers and sisters, do not refuse to listen to the voice of this Tender One by whom God speaks to you.
22. Our Lord was like Moses in meekness, and then to sum it all up — Moses was the Mediator for God with the people, and so is our blessed Lord. Moses came in God’s name to set Israel free from Pharaoh’s bondage, and he did it: Jesus came to set us free from an even worse bondage, and he has achieved our freedom. Moses led the people through the Red Sea, and Jesus has led us where all the hosts of hell were overthrown, and sin was drowned in his own most precious blood. Moses led the tribes through the wilderness, and Jesus leads us through the weary ways of this life to the rest which remains for the people of God. Moses spoke to the people for God, and Jesus has done the same. Moses spoke to God for the people, and Jesus lives for ever to make intercession for us. Moses proposed himself as a sacrifice when he said, “If not, blot my name out of the book of life”; but Jesus was an actual sacrifice, and was taken away from the land of the living for our sakes, being made a curse for us. Moses, in a certain sense, died for the people, for he could not enter into the land, but needed to close his eyes on Nebo. Those are touching words, “The Lord was angry with me for your sakes”: words, which in a more divine sense may be better applied to Jesus, for God was angry with him for our sakes. Right through to the very end our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, is a prophet like Moses, raised up from the midst of his brethren. Oh my hearers, hear him. Do not turn your ear away from this Prophet of prophets, but hear and live.
23. III. I close with that point, and if my words are very few let them be weighty. Let us think of THE AUTHORITY of our great Mediator, and let this be the practical lesson — Hear him.
24. Men and brethren, if our hearts were right, the moment it was announced that God would speak to us through Jesus Christ there would be a rush to hear him. If sin had not maddened men they would listen eagerly to every word of God through such a Mediator as Jesus is; they would write each golden sentence on their tablets, they would hoard his word in their memories, they would wear it between their eyes, they would yield their hearts to it. Alas, it is not so; and the saddest thing of all is that some talk about Jesus for gain, and others hear of him as if his story were a mere tale or an old Jewish ballad from nearly two millennia ago. Yet, remember, God still speaks by Jesus, and every word of his that is left on record is as solemnly alive today as when it first leaped from his blessed lips. I beseech you to remember Christ does not come as an amateur, but he has authority with him: this ambassador to men wears the authority of the King of kings. If you despise him you despise him who sent him: if you turn away from him who speaks from heaven you turn away from the eternal God, and you do despite to his love. Oh, do not do this.
25. Notice how my text puts it. It says here, “Whoever shall not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” My heart trembles while I repeat to you the words, “I will require it of him.” Today God graciously requires it of some of you, and asks why you have not listened to Christ’s voice. Why is this? You have not accepted his salvation. Why is this? You know all about Jesus, and you say it is true, but you have never believed in him: why is this? God requires it of you. He has waited patiently for many years, and he has sent his servant again and again to invite you. The men of Nineveh sought for mercy in their day, and yet you have not repented. God requires it of you. Why is this? Give your Maker a reason for your rejection of his mercy if you can: formulate some kind of excuse, oh you rebellious one. Do you despise your God? Do you dare his wrath? Do you defy his anger? Are you so mad as this?
26. The day will come when he will require it of you in a much more violent sense than he does today; when you shall have passed beyond the region of mercy he will say, “I called you and you refused, why is this? I did not speak to you in thunder. I spoke to you with the gentle voice of the Only Begotten who bled and died for men: why did you not hear him? Every Sunday my servant tried to repeat the language of his Master to you: why did you refuse it? You are cast into hell, but why did you not accept the pardon which would have delivered you from it?” You were too busy. Too busy to remember your God? What could you have been so busy about that was worth a thought as compared with him? You were too fond of pleasure. And do you dare to insult your God by saying that trifling amusements which were not worth the mentioning could stand in comparison with his love and his good pleasure? Oh, how you deserve his wrath. I implore you to consider what this means, “I will require it of him.” You who still harden your hearts, and refuse my Master, go away with this ringing in your ears, “I will require it of him! I will require it of him.” “When he lies dying alone in that sickroom I will require it of him: when he has taken the last plunge, and left this world, and finds himself in eternity, I will require it of him: and when the thunder wakes the dead, and the great Prophet like Moses shall sit on the great white throne to judge the quick and the dead, I will require it of him, I will require it of him.”
My Master will require of me how I have preached to you, and I
sincerely wish it were in my power to put these things in better
form, and plead with you more earnestly; but, after all, what can I
do? If you have no care for your own souls, how can I help it? If you
will rush upon eternal woe, if you will despise the altogether lovely
One through whom God speaks to you, if you will live day after day
carelessly and wantonly, throwing away your souls, oh, then my eyes
shall weep in secret places for you; but what more can I do except
leave you to God? At the last I shall be compelled to say “Amen” to
the verdict which condemns you for ever. May God grant that such a
reluctant task may not fall to my lot in reference to any one of you,
but may you now hear and obey the Lord Jesus, and find eternal
salvation at once, for his dear name’s sake. Amen.
[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — De 5; 18:15-22]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — The Unspeakable Gift” 240]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Acts, Predestinating Grace — Electing Love Acknowledged” 220]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 21” 21]
The Work of Grace as a Whole
240 — The Unspeakable Gift
1 Come, happy souls, approach your God
With new melodious songs;
Come, render to almighty grace
The tribute of your tongues.
2 So strange, so boundless was the love
That pitied dying men,
The Father sent his equal Son
To give them life again.
3 Thy hands, dear Jesus, were not arm’d
With an avenging rod,
No hard commission to perform,
The vengeance of a God.
4 But all was mercy, all was mild,
And wrath forsook the throne,
When Christ on the kind errand came,
And brought salvation down.
5 Here, sinners, you may heal your wounds,
And wipe your sorrows dry;
Trust in the mighty Saviour’s name,
And you shall never die.
6 See, dearest Lord, our willing souls
Accept thine offer’d grace;
We bless the great redeemer’s love,
And give the Father praise.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
God the Father, Acts, Predestinating Grace
220 — Electing Love Acknowledged <7.6.>
1 ‘Tis not that I did choose thee,
For, Lord, that could not be,
This heart would still refuse thee,
But thou hast chosen me:
Thou from the sin that stained me:
Wash’d me and set me free,
And to this end ordain’d me,
That I should live to thee.
2 ‘Twas sovereign mercy call’d me,
And taught my opening mind;
The world had else enthrall’d me,
To heavenly glories blind.
My heart owns none above thee;
For thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love thee,
Thou must have loved me first.
Josiah Conder, 1856.
Spirit of the Psalms
1 Thy strength, Oh Lord, makes glad our King,
Who once in weakness bow’s the head,
Salvation makes his heart to sing,
For thou hast raised him from the dead.
2 Thou hast bestow’d his heart’s desires,
Shower’don his path thy blessings down;
His royal pomp all heaven admires;
Thou on his head hast set the crown.
3 A life eternal as thy years,
A glory infinite like thine,
Repays him for his groans and tears,
And fills his soul with joy divine.
4 Oh King, beloved of our souls,
Thine own right hand shall find thy foes;
Swift o’er their necks thy chariot rolls,
And earth thy dreadful vengeance knows.
5 As glowing oven is thy wrath,
As flame by furious blast upblown;
With equal heat thy love breaks forth,
like wall of fire around thine own.
6 Be thou exalted, King of kings,
In thine own strength sit thou on high,
Thy church thy triumph loudly sings,
And lauds thy glorious majesty.
Charles H. Spurgeon, 1866.