A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, November 9, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *12/19/2012
And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and
you shall glorify me. [Ps 50:15]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1505, “Prayer to God in Trouble an Acceptable Sacrifice” 1505]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1876, “Robinson Crusoe’s Text” 1877]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3464, “True Worship” 3466]
Exposition on Ps 50:14-23 Eze 36:21-38 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3472, “Solemn Deprival, A” 3474 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Ps 50 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3134, “Spirit’s Work in the New Creation, The” 3135 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Ps 50 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3216, “Two Gatherings, The” 3217 @@ "Exposition"]
1. The Lord God in this Psalm is described as having a controversy with his people. He summons heaven and earth to hear him while he utters his reproof. This indictment will show us what it is that the Lord sets the greatest value on, for his complaint will evidently touch upon that point. We are informed most plainly that the Lord had no controversy with his people concerning the externals of his worship; he does not reprove them for their sacrifices and burnt offerings; he even speaks depreciatingly of these symbolic sacrifices, and says — “I will take no young bull out of your house, nor he-goats out of your folds.” His complaint was not concerning visible ceremony and outward ritual; and this shows that he does not attach so much importance to outward things as most men suppose him to do. His complaint was concerning inner worship, soul worship, spiritual worship: his reproof was that his people did not offer thanksgiving and prayer, and that their conduct was so inconsistent with their professions that clearly their hearts did not agree with their outward formalities. This was the essence of the charge against them. They were faulty, not in visible religiousness, but in the internal and vital part of godliness: they had no true communion with God though they kept up the appearance of it. We see then that heart worship is the most precious thing in the sight of the Lord. We learn what is that priceless jewel, which must be set in the gold ring of religion if the Lord is to accept it.
2. Nor is it hard to see why it is so; for it is plain that if a man had kept the ritual of the old law to the very full yet he might not be in sincerity a worshipper of God at all. He might drive whole flocks of his sheep to the temple door for sacrifice, and yet he might feel no spiritual reverence for the Most High; for it has been proved countless times that the most careful and zealous attention to external ceremonies is quite consistent with the absolute absence of any true apprehension of God and hearty love for him. Habit may keep a man outwardly religious long after his mind has forgotten the Lord; yes, the conscious lack of inward and vital grace may drive a man to a more intense zeal in formalities in order to conceal his defect. It is written, “Israel has forsaken his Maker, and builds temples.” You would think if he built temples he must recognise his God, but it was not so; within those buildings he hid himself from him who does not reside in temples made with hands. Beneath the folds of vestments men smother their hearts, so that they do not come to God; fine music drowns the cry of the contrite soul; and the smoke of incense becomes a cloud which conceals the face of the Most High.
3. Great sacrifices might often be an offering made to a rich man’s personal pride. No doubt certain kings who gave great contributions to the house of God did it to show their wealth, or to display their generosity, somewhat in the spirit of Jehu, who said to Jehonadab, the son of Rechab, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” A great sacrifice might be nothing more than a bid for popularity, and so an offering to selfishness and vanity. With such sacrifices God would not be well pleased. Alas! how easy it is to defile the worship of God and nullify its quality, until like milk which is soured it may be utterly rejected. I am sure you know very well that it may be so in the simplest form of public worship, such as our own. Bare as is our mode of service there is room for self. Singers may lift up their sweet voices so that others may hear how charmingly they sing; ministers may preach with graceful eloquence so that they may be admired as men who are models of exquisite speech; believers may even pray devoutly, so that their fellow Christians may see how gracious they are. Alas! this blight of self may come into any and every part of outward service, and turn the worship of God into an occasion for self-glorification. So Belshazzar drink out of the vessels of the sanctuary, while the buyers and sellers turn the temple into a den of thieves. Do not wonder, therefore, that God looks with mere scant satisfaction — I was about to say with bare tolerance — upon the abundance of outward worship, because he sees how easy it is for it not to be his worship at all, but a mere exhibition of man’s carnal boasting.
4. Many, too, have performed outward worship with a view to merit something from the Lord: they have supposed that God would be their debtor if they were zealous in furnishing his altars and frequenting his courts. If they have not put it in that crude form it has certainly come to that, that they hoped to be held worthy of particular regard if they were more zealous than others. Some have superstitiously dreamed of obtaining prosperity in this world by observing holy days and seasons, and many more have hoped to have it set to their account at the last great day that they have heaped up the offertory, or given a stained-glass window, or built a place for the poor, or attended daily service for years. Now, what is this except an offering to selfishness? The man performs pious and charitable deeds for his own good, and this motive flavours his entire life, so that the taint of self is in every particle of it. The Jew might offer young bulls or sheep for his own salvation, and what would this be except the obvious worship of self? It brought no glory to God, and did not intend his praise. Do not wonder, therefore, if the Lord speaks so slightingly of all it.
5. What the Lord missed in his people was not temple rites and offerings, for in these they abounded, but he missed the fruit of the lips giving glory to his name. He missed first their thankfulness, for he says to them, “Offer thanksgiving to God; and pay your vows to the Most High”; and next he missed in them that holy, trustful confidence which would lead them to resort to him in the hour of their need: hence he says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Brothers and sisters, have you failed in these two precious things? Do you fail in thankfulness? The Lord multiplies his favours to many of us, do we multiply our thanks? The earth gives back a floweret for every dewdrop: are we equally responsive to plentiful mercy? Do the bounties of his providence and the favours of his grace teach us how to sing psalms to the Ever-Merciful? Do we not too often permit divine mercies to come and go in silence as if they were not worthy of a thankful word? Have we a time and season for God’s praise? Is it not too often huddled into a corner? We have a closet for our prayers, but no place for our praises. Do we make it a point in life that whatever is neglected the praises of God shall have full expression? Do you, my brethren, give thanks in everything? Do you carry out to the full this sentence: “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised?”
6. May I also venture to ask whether you pay your vows to him? In times of sickness and sorrow you say, “Gracious Lord, if I recover, or if I am brought out of this condition, I will be more believing, I will be more consecrated. I will devote myself alone to you, oh my Saviour, if you will now restore me.” Are you mindful of these vows? It is a delicate question, but I ask it pointedly, because a vow unredeemed is a wound in the heart. If you have failed in your grateful acknowledgments, remember that these are the things which God looks for more than for any ceremonial observance or religions service. He would have you bring your daily thankfulness and your faithful vows to him, for he is worthy to be praised, and it is fitting that the vow should be performed to him.
7. It is not to thankfulness, however, that I am going to ask attention this morning, so much as to the other sacrifice — namely, prayer in the day of trouble. Let me say at the outset that I am struck with wonder that God should regard it as being one of the most acceptable forms of worship, that we should call upon him in the day of trouble. Such prayers seem to be all for ourselves, and to be forced from us by our necessities, and yet such is his condescending love that he records them as being choice sacrifices, and places them side by side with the thankful paying of our vows. He tells us that our call for his help in the hour of distress will be more acceptable to him than the oblations which his own law ordained, more pleasing than all the young bulls and rams which generous princes could present at his altars. Do not be tardy then, beloved, to cry to him in your hour of need. If it pleases him and profits you, you ought not to need a single word from me to motivate you to do what seems so natural, so comforting, so beneficial. Are our cry of anguish and our appeal of hope acceptable to God? Then let us cry mightily to him. Are any of you in the black waters? Call upon him. Are you in the dry and barren desert? Call upon him. Are you in the lions’ dens, and among the mountains of the leopards? Call upon him. Whether you are in peril concerning your souls or your bodies, do not hesitate to pray at once, but say to yourself, “Why should I delay? Let me tell the Lord my grief very speedily; for if he considers my call a worthy sacrifice assuredly I will present it with my whole heart.”
8. Let us look at this matter and see the value of this form of adoration. Our first point shall be, that Calling upon God in the day of trouble brings honour to God in the very act; secondly, it brings honour to God in its answer, for there is coupled with such a prayer the blessed assurance, “I will deliver you”; and thirdly, it brings honour to God in our subsequent conduct, for it is written, “You shall glorify me.”
9. I. May the Holy Spirit the Comforter enable us to see that CALLING UPON GOD IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE BRINGS GLORY TO HIM IN ITSELF. I ask you to notice the time that is especially mentioned. Calling upon God at any time honours him, but calling upon him in the day of trouble has a special mark set on it as particularly pleasing to the Lord because it yields particular glory to his name.
10. Notice then, first, that when a man calls upon God sincerely in the day of trouble, it is a truthful recognition of God. Outward devotions presuppose a God, but prayer in the day of trouble proves that God is a fact to the supplicant. The tried pleader has no doubt that there is a God, for he is calling upon him when mere form can yield no comfort. He needs practical matter of fact help, and he so believes God that he treats him as real, and appeals to him to be his Helper. God is not a mere name or a superstition to him; he is certain that there is a God, for he is calling upon him in an hour when a farce would be a tragedy, and an imposture would be a bitter mockery. The afflicted supplicant perceives that God is near him, for he would not call upon one who was not within hearing. He has a perception of God’s omnipotence by which he can help, and of God’s goodness which will lead him to help. You can see that he believes in God’s hearing prayer, for a man does not call upon one whom he judges to be a deaf deity, or upon one whose palsied hand is never outstretched to help. The man who calls upon God in the day of trouble, clearly possesses a real and sincere belief in the existence of God, in his personality, in his power, in his condescension, and in his continual active interposition in the affairs of men; otherwise he would not call upon him. Many of your beliefs in God are a kind of religious parade, and not the actual walk of faith. Many have a holiday faith which enables them to repeat the creed, and say with the congregation, “I believe in God the Father Almighty”; but in very deed they have no such belief. Do you, my hearer, believe in God the Father Almighty when you are in trouble? Do you go to the great Father at such times and expect help from him? This is real work and not hypocritical play. There is solid metal about the faith which follows the Lord in the dark, cries to him when the rod is in his hand, and looks to him not for sentimental comforts in prosperity, but for substantial help in bitter adversities. What we need is facts, and trial is the test of fact. Sharp furnace work does away with mere pretence, and this is one of its great uses, for that grace which, like the salamander, [a] lives in the fire, is grace indeed.
11. I say, again, that very many publicly professed creeds of faiths are mere shams, which like the leaves of autumn’s trees would wither and fall if one sharp winter’s frost should pass over them. It is not so when a man in the dire hour of his distress casts himself upon God, and believes that he is able to help. Then there is evidence of true reliance and real confidence in a real God, whom the mind’s eye sees and rejoices in. It is this actuality, this making God real to the soul, which makes our calling upon God in the day of trouble so acceptable to him.
12. There is more here, however, than this first good thing. When a man calls upon God in the day of trouble it is because he seeks and in some measure enjoys a spiritual fellowship with God. “Call upon me in the day of trouble.” That call is heart language addressed to God; it is the soul really speaking to the great Father beyond all question. How easy it is to say a prayer without coming into any contact with God! Year after year the tongue repeats pious language, just as a barrel-organ grinds out the old tunes, and there may be no more conversation with the Lord than if the man had muttered to the ghosts of the dead. Many prayers might as well be said backwards as forwards, for there would be as much in them one way as the other. The abracadabra of the magician has quite as much virtue in it as any other set of mere words. The Lord’s Prayer, if it is merely rehearsed as a form, may be a solemn mockery. But prayer in the day of trouble is honest speech with God, or at least a sincere desire in that direction. Many are the words which pass between the Lord and the afflicted saint. He cries, “Hurry to help me, oh Lord, my salvation. Be pleased, oh Lord, to deliver me. Do not hide your face from me, for I am in trouble. Hear my cry, oh God, attend to my prayer!” With multiplied entreaties the heart thus holds conversation with the Lord, and the Lord takes pleasure in it. He loves to have his people draw near to him in spirit and in truth, and because calling upon him in the day of trouble is an undoubted form of fellowship, therefore he regards it with satisfaction.
13. Now, as I have already said, in the sacrifice of young bulls there was no communion with God in the case of a great many, and in external devotion, whether it is performed in a cathedral or in a humble barn, there is frequently no coming near to God; but when we believingly call upon God in the day of trouble then there is no mistake in the matter, we are holding conversation with God, — “the righteous cry, and the Lord hears.” Communion with the unseen, spiritual Father is genuine indeed when it is carried on against wind and tide, under pressure of sorrow and weight of distress: may the Lord help us to do it whatever may happen to us.
14. Yet there is more than this, for the soul not only comes into God’s presence, but in calling upon God in the day of trouble it is filled with an obvious hope in God it hopes in God for his goodness, for it is a belief in that goodness which is the reason why it feels able to pray at all. The soul hopes in his mercy, or it would remain in silence and never lift up another cry to heaven. Amid a sense of deserved wrath the heart has a trust in infinite grace, and hence its call.
15. A soul calling upon God honours his condescension. The troubled one says within himself, “I am less than the least of all his mercies, yet he will regard me. When I consider the heavens, the work of his fingers, I wonder that he should visit man, but I believe that he will do so, and that he will condescend to look upon the contrite and humble, and will deliver them out of their distresses.” There is a hope, then, in such a prayer which honours God’s goodness and condescension, and equally pays tribute to his faithfulness and his all-sufficiency. He has promised to help those who call upon him, therefore we call upon him; and he is all-powerful to keep his promise, therefore we come to him, and spread our case before him. Little as the act of calling upon God in the day of trouble seems to be, it puts crowns upon all the attributes of God in proportion to the spiritual knowledge of the supplicant. I venture to say that if the greatest king of Israel had presented before God, on some solemn day, ten thousand of the fat of fed beasts, and poured out rivers of oil, it might be highly possible that God would not be so well pleased with all that royal zeal as with the cry of a poor, humble woman whose husband was dead, and whose two sons were about to be taken for slaves, who had nothing in the house except a little oil, and then in her extremity cried, “Oh God, the Father of the fatherless, and the Judge of the widow, deliver me out of the depths.” There may be more honouring of the Lord in a ploughboy’s tear than in a princely endowment; more homage to the Lord in the humble hope of a dying pauper than in the pealing anthems of the cathedral, or the great shout of our own mighty congregation. The publican’s confession, and his hope in the mercy of God, had more worship in it than the blast of the silver trumpets, and the ringing out of the golden harps, and the songs of the white-robed choristers, who stood in the courts of the Lord’s house, and led the far-sounding hallelujahs of Israel.
16. This calling upon God in the day of trouble, again, pleases the Lord because it exhibits a clinging affection to him. When an ungodly man professes religion, as such men often do, he is all very well with God as long as God pleases him. Sunshiny weather makes such a man bless the sun: if God smiles upon him he says that God is good. Indeed, but a true child of God loves a chastening God. He does not turn his back when the Lord seems angry with him; but it is then that he falls prostrate in humble supplication, and cries, “Show me why you contend with me: I will not believe you to have any real spite against me: if you strike me there must be some wise and good reason for it: therefore show me, I beseech you.” It is very sweet, brethren, when God sends you a great deal of trouble to love him all the more for it. This is a sure way of proving that ours is not a hireling love, which stays while it gets its price, and goes when wages fail. God forbid that we should have Balaam’s love for reward, and Judas’s treacherous greed. A dog will follow a man as long as he throws him a bone, but that is a man’s own dog which will follow him when he strikes him with the whip, and will even fawn upon him when he speaks roughly to him. Such Christians ought we to be who will keep close to God when he is robed in thunder. It is ours to will that God shall do what he wills and ours to call upon him in the day of trouble, and not to call out against him when times are hard. I would trust my God as unreservedly as Alexander trusted his friend, who was also his physician. The physician had mixed a medicine for Alexander, who was sick, and the potion stood by Alexander’s bed for him to drink. Just before he drank, a letter was delivered to him in which he was warned that his physician had been bribed to poison him, and had mixed poison with the medicine. Alexander read the letter, and summoned the physician into his presence, and when he came in Alexander at once drank up the cup of medicine, and then handed his friend the letter. What grand confidence this was! To risk his life upon his friend’s fidelity! Such a man might well have friends. He would not let the accused know of the libel until he had proved beyond all disputes that he did not believe a word of it.
17. Is not our heavenly Father in Christ Jesus worthy of even a grander faith? Shall I ever doubt him? The devil tells me that this affliction which I am suffering will harm me. My Lord, I do not believe it. Not for a moment do I believe it, and to prove that I have no suspicion, I accept it joyfully from your hands. I am glad and rejoice in it, because you have ordained it, and I call upon you to make it work for my lasting good. I will take bitter from your hand as well as sweet, and the gall shall be honey to me. If we act like this we shall be imitating the patience of Job. When his wife told him to curse God and die, what did he say? “You speak as one of the foolish women speak. What! shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” It seems to me we cannot glorify God better than calling upon him like this in the day of trouble, and so showing that we do not believe badly of him, or suspect him either of error or unkindness. We go further, and are assured that infallible wisdom and infinite love is at the bottom of every trial which afflicts our spirit: so we glorify the Lord.
18. There is in connection with this clinging affection a most steadfast confidence. Those who call upon God in the day of trouble become quiet and unshaken, and remain in full assurance concerning the Lord on whom they rely. Oh troubled one, do not be agitated, do not run away to others, but call upon God in calm faith. Do not sit down in silent despair and fretfulness, but call upon God; do not be soured into a morose state of mind, nor go into the sulks, but call upon the Lord as one who cannot be driven to curse or to be in a passion, but gives himself to prayer. It is a blessed thing when we can say, “Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him,” and can feel that whatever happens to us we never will turn aside from our firm conviction that the Lord is good, and his mercy endures for ever. It was a brave speech of Zwingli when amid furious persecutions he said “Had I not perceived that the Lord was preserving the vessel I should long ago have abandoned the helm. I behold him through the tempest strengthening the cordage, adjusting the yardarms, spreading the sails, and commanding the very winds. Would I not, then, be a coward, and unworthy of the name of a man, were I to abandon my post? I commit myself wholly to his sovereign goodness. Let him govern; let him hasten or delay; let him plunge us into the bottom of the abyss: we will fear nothing.” That is the word which I admire. “Let him plunge us into the bottom of the abyss: we will fear nothing.” This is the bravery of a child who knows no dread because he is in his father’s hand, and his trust in his father cannot admit a fear. Calling upon God enables men to face trouble, and play the man, since they do not doubt a blessed outcome from all things, however contrary they may seem to be. Our business is to be as confident in God at one time as at another, since he is the same for evermore, and mere changes in circumstances are matters unworthy to be taken into consideration. What are circumstances while Almighty God has the rule over them?
In summary, it is this which God accepts as honouring him, that in
the day of trouble we should take all our troubles to him, pour out
our hearts before him, and then leave the whole case in his hands.
The childlike revealing of the heart to God alone is very precious to
him. There are times when it is wise to advise a troubled heart to be
quiet before men.
Bear and forbear and silent be,
Tell no man thy misery.
But it is always wise to expose the heart to the Lord’s eye. Is the slander too vile to be communicated even to a single friend? Then follow the example of Hezekiah and spread Rabshakeh’s letter before the Lord. Is the trial too severe, inasmuch as others are obliged to suffer with you, and are therefore turned to speak bitterly against you? Then imitate David at Ziklag, and encourage yourself in the Lord your God. Hide nothing. Reserve nothing. Tell it all, and then trust about it all. When you have once put the burden before the Lord leave it with him. Do all that lies in you, that prudence can dictate, or common sense suggest, or industry accomplish, but still make the Lord your mainstay, your buckler, your shield, your fortress and high tower. Say to yourself, “My soul, only wait upon God, for my expectation is from him.” If you can do this, not once and awhile, but throughout your whole life, you will glorify the Lord greatly, and in your holy confidence and childlike faith the Lord will take as much delight as in the golden harps which ring out his perfect praises before his eternal throne. If we could reproduce Job and Enoch in one person, the patient saint continually walking with God, we should indeed reveal the glory of our heavenly Father. And why not? Blessed Spirit of God, you can work in us this very same thing!
20. A critic may sneeringly say, “It is a very natural thing for a man to cry out to God in the day of trouble, and certainly a selfish thing to run to the Lord because you need his help.” “Besides,” another says, “it must be a very distracted prayer that such a person offers, and faith under troublesome circumstances is a very elementary virtue.” But, my good sirs, listen. Surely the Lord knows best what pleases him, and if he declares his delight in our calling upon him in the day of trouble, why should we dispute with him? It is so, for he has said it. As for us, who dare not raise such quibbles, let us not be moved by them, but continue to call upon him in the day of trouble, and we shall certainly glorify his name.
21. II. When we call upon God in the day of trouble IT BRINGS HONOUR TO GOD THROUGH THE ANSWER which the prayer obtains. “I will deliver you.”
22. I ask you, troubled saints, to follow me while I repeat the text with variations, for that is about all I shall attempt. “Call upon me in the day of trouble” — there is the prayer commanded. “I will deliver you” — there is the answer promised. In these words we have a practical answer. It is not merely “I will think about you, I will hear you, I will propose plans for you, and somewhat aid you in working them out,” but, “I will deliver you.” You shall have solid, substantial aid. Either I will keep you out of the trouble of which you are afraid; you shall be delivered by never having to endure it: the Egyptians whom you see today you shall see no more for ever: you dread the stone at the mouth of the sepulchre, but you shall find it rolled away. Or else, if you must come into the trouble, I will deliver you while you are in it: like Noah, you shall be surrounded by the deluge, but the floods shall not overflow you; like the three holy children, you shall be in the furnace, but the fire shall not kindle upon you. You shall go through the trouble triumphantly, as Israel went through the Red Sea on foot. You shall have such sustaining grace that you shall glory in tribulation, and rejoice in affliction. I will also bring you out of it altogether: for these things have an appointed end. Like Joseph, you shall come out of prison to sit upon the throne; like David, you shall leave the caves, and the rocks of the wild goats, and I will set your feet in a large place; like Daniel, you shall be taken from among lions and set among princes. The promise may be kept in several forms, but in one way or another it must be carried out; for he who cannot lie has said, “I will deliver you.” Dear friend, grip those words and never let them go. You troubled ones, the Lord says, “Call upon me.” Have you been already much in supplication? Now, then, take for yourselves what the Lord himself gives to you: “I will deliver you.” Somehow or other a way of escape must be made, for God’s word never fails, and he has said, “I will deliver you.”
Notice, next, that it is a positive answer. It is not, “I may,
perhaps, deliver you”; but, “I will.” It is not, “I will
endeavour to do it,” but, “I will deliver you.” Did unbelief say,
“But how?” Friend, leave the “how” with God. Ways and means are with
him. He says, “I will deliver you.” To turn around and ask “How?” is
to forget that he is God all-sufficient.
Remember that omnipotence
Has servants everywhere.
24. Unbelief is very ready with its questions, and too often it enquires, “When?” Friend, leave the “when” with God. He does not tell us when, but the deliverance must come at the right time, because if he were not to deliver us until after we had perished it would be no deliverance at all. If deliverance came too late it would be a mere mockery. The promise comprehends within itself the implied condition that it shall be a timely deliverance, for otherwise how should the delivered one live to glorify the name of the Lord? Again I would say to you, dear friend, get a grip on this promise, “I will deliver you.” Do not let my Master’s promise be blown away like the sere leaves from the trees, but hold it firm as for dear life. Wave this before you, and your foes will flee as from a two-edged sword. Quote the divine word, “I will deliver you,” and legions of demons will flee before you. Remember how Paul expressed it: “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.”
25. Notice next, that the promise is personal. “I will deliver you.” It is not said, “My angels shall do it,” but “I will deliver you.” The Lord God himself undertakes to rescue his people. “I will be a wall of fire all around them.” “I the Lord keep it; I will water it every moment: lest anyone harms it, I will keep it night and day.”
26. Then, too, it is personal in its object: it is the same man who calls upon God in trouble who shall be a partaker of the blessing. “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you.” It is personal, personal to you; therefore, dear friend, personally believe in this personal promise of your God.
27. Remember, also, that it is permanent. Some of you pleaded this promise fifty years ago: it is as sure today as it was then. If you have a banknote, and take it to the bank and get the cash, it is over and done with: but my Master’s banknotes are self-renewing. You can plead his promise a hundred times over, for his word endures for ever; it is fulfilled only to be fulfilled again. Like a springing well, which is always full and flowing, so my Lord’s grace-words endure and continue in all their wealth of blessing. God’s promise made two thousand years ago is as valid as if it had been uttered this morning, and never yet expended upon a single soul. “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you” is a word for this very hour. Where are you at this moment, you troubled, downcast one? You said just now, “I shall never be happy any more.” Retract those words. Eat them with bitter herbs of repentance: “Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” You said “That blow has crushed me; I could have borne anything else, but I cannot bear this trial.” Tush! Do you know what you can bear? What does the apostle say? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Only have faith in God, and obey and believe the text: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.” Can you not take God at his word? If you can you shall find his promise true, and God will be glorified in delivering you. What praise will come to his name if he lifts you up out of the low dungeon; if he snaps your fetters; if he tears away your entanglements; if he makes plain your intricate path; if he brings you through difficulties which now seem to be impossibilities, and permits you to rejoice in him through them all! Why, then, his name will be glorified far more than by the offering of ten thousand young bulls, and rivers of oil.
28. III. Lastly, if you trust your God in your distress and are, therefore, delivered, THE LORD WILL BE GLORIFIED IN YOUR CONDUCT AFTERWARDS.
When a man prays to God in the hour of trouble, and gets deliverance,
as he is sure to get it, then he honours his great Helper by
admiring the way in which the promise has been kept, and by adoring
and blessing the loving Lord for such a gracious interposition. I
know some of you have seen enough of the hand of the Lord in your own
cases to make you wonder and admire for ever and ever. Next, you will
honour him by the gratitude of your heart, in which the memory of
his goodness will be recorded for ever. This devout gratitude of
yours will lead you in due time to bear testimony to his
faithfulness. You will be indignant at unbelief and will war
against it by personal witnessing. You will be very tender towards
those who are now in trouble, as you once were, and you will long to
tell them about the blessed rescue, which God is prepared to perform
for them as he did for you. Your mouth will be open, your witness
will be enlarged, you will speak as a man who has tasted and handled
these things for himself. Others will be impressed as you tell the
story of what the Lord has done for your soul. At the same time, you
will personally grow in faith by the experience of your heavenly
Father’s love and power, and in days to come you will glorify him by
increased patience and confidence. You will say, “He has been
with me in six troubles, and he will be with me in the seventh. I
have tried and proved my God, and I dare not doubt him.” Your
serenity of mind will be more deep and lasting, and you will be able
to defy the power of Satan to drive you out of your joy in God. I
know also that you will try to live more for his praise. As you
see him bring you out of one difficulty and then another you will
feel bound to his service by fresh bonds. You will become more a
consecrated man than you ever have been. You will jealously protect
your remaining days from being wasted by sloth or desecrated by sin.
And let me tell you that even when you die, and come up the banks of
Jordan on the other side, you will long to glorify your God. When the
angels meet you I think one of the first things you will do will be
to say, “Bright spirits, I long to tell you what the Lord has done
for me.” Even as you are going up towards the celestial gates, as
Bunyan pictures, I should not wonder if you began to say to your
guide, “Help me to sing; I cannot be silent. I feel I must
Sing with rapture and surprise
His lovingkindness in the skies.”
Should the bright spirit remind you that you are climbing to the choirs where all the singers meet, you may answer, “Yes, but I am a special case: I came through such deep waters; I was greatly afflicted. If one in heaven can praise him more than another, I am just that one.” The angel will smile and say, “I have escorted many a score up to glory who said just the same thing.” Each of us owes most to God’s grace, and hopes to praise him best. Some of you may think that you are love’s deepest debtors, but I know better. I am not going to quarrel with you, but I know one who is so undeserving and yet receives such mercy that he claims to take the lowest place, and most humbly to reverence boundless grace. Yes, I myself, less than the least of all saints, claim to have received most from his hands. I would gladly love him most, for he has shown towards me the utmost love in treating me as he has done. Am I not saying for myself what each of you would say for yourself? I know it is so, and hence it is that God is glorified by the reverence and love of those whom he delivers in answer to prayer.
30. I want you to notice with care the people mentioned in the first clause of the text. You do not see yourself; you only hear of yourself. It is “Call upon me.” God is there. There is no direct mention of you; you are hidden; you are such a poor, broken-down, dispirited creature that all you can do is to utter a cry and lie in the dust. There stands the mighty God, and you call upon him.
31. Now, look at the next clause, “I will deliver you.” Here are two people: the Lord stands first, the Ever-Glorious and Blessed, “I,” and far down there you are. “I will deliver you,” poor, humble, but grateful “You.” So we see the Lord unites with his poor servant, and the link is deliverance.
32. When you come to the third clause, do you see where you are? You are placed first, for the Lord now calls you into action — “You shall glorify me.” What a wonderful thing it is! For God to put glory upon us is easy enough, but for us to put glory upon him, this is a miracle of condescension on the part of our God. “You shall glorify me.”
33. “But,” one says in this place, “I do love the Lord, but I cannot glorify him. I wish I could preach, I wish I could write sweet hymns, I wish I had a clear voice with which to sing out the Redeemer’s praises, but I have no gifts or talents, and therefore I shall never be able to glorify him.” Listen: you will be cast into trouble one of these days, and when you are in trouble you will find out how to glorify him. Your extremity will be your opportunity. Like a lamp which does not shine by day you will blaze out in the dark. When the day of trouble is come you will cry, “Lord, I could not do anything for you, but you can do everything for me. I am nothing, but Lord, in my nothingness, I, poor I, do trust you, and fling myself upon you.” Then you shall find that you have glorified him by your faith. I think you might almost be content to have the trouble, might you not? It seems as if you could not glorify him in any other way, and to glorify him is the main object of your existence. Some Christians would scarcely have brought any glory to God if they had not been led by paths of sorrow, and made to wade through seas of grief. God gets very little glory out of many professors, and he would have still less if they had been allowed to rust their souls away in comfort. The brightest of the saints owe much of their clarity to the fire and the file. It is by the sharp needle of sorrow that we are embroidered with the praises of the Lord. We must be tried so that the Lord may be glorified. We cannot call upon him in the day of trouble if we have no such day; and he cannot deliver us if we have no trouble to be delivered from: and we cannot glorify him if we are not made to see the danger and the need in which he displays his love.
I leave the blessed subject of the text with you, as a souvenir,
until we meet again. May the Lord be with you until the day breaks
and the shadows flee away. Pray, also, that he may remain with me,
and with all my brethren in the ministry; and may we all in that
world of rest glorify him, who will then have delivered us completely
from all evil, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ps 50]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Attributes of God — Condescension” 194]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Attributes of God — Lovingkindness” 196]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Patience and Resignation — ‘Yet What I Shall Choose I Wot Not’ ” 700]
[a] Salamander: Concerning the mythical creature that lives in fire See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander_(legendary_creature)"
God the Father, Attributes of God
194 — Condescension
1 Up to the Lord, that reigns on high,
And views the nations from afar,
Let everlasting praises fly,
And tell how large his bounties are.
2 He that can shake the worlds he made,
Or with his word, or with his rod,
His goodness, how amazing great!
And what a condescending God!
3 God, that must stoop to view the skies,
And bow to see what angels do,
Down to our earth he casts his eyes,
And bends his footsteps downward too.
4 He overrules all mortal things,
And manages our mean affairs;
On humble souls the King of kings
Bestows his counsels and his cares.
5 Our sorrows and our tears we pour
Into the bosom of our God;
He hears us in the mournful hour,
And helps us bear the heavy load.
6 Oh, could our thankful hearts devise
A tribute equal to thy grace,
To the third heaven our songs should rise
And teach the golden harps thy praise.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
God the Father, Attributes of God
196 — Lovingkindness
1 Awake, my soul, in joyful lays,
And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise:
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving kindness, oh, how free!
2 He saw me ruin’d in the fall,
Yet loved me, notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate,
His loving kindness, oh, how great!
3 Though numerous hosts of mighty foes,
Though earth and hell my way oppose,
He safely leads my soul along,
His loving kindness, oh, how strong.
4 When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gather’d thick and thunder’d loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His loving-kindness changes not.
5 Often I feel my sinful heart
Prone from my Jesus to depart;
But though I have him oft forgot,
His loving kindness changes not.
6 Soon shall I pass the gloomy vale,
Soon all my mortal powers must fail;
Oh may my last expiring breath
His loving kindness sing in death!
7 Then let me mount and soar away
To the bright world of endless day;
And sing with rapture and surprise,
His loving-kindness in the skies.
Samuel Medley, 1787.
The Christian, Patience and Resignation
700 — “Yet What I Shall Choose I Wot Not”
1 Lord, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve thee is my share,
And this thy grace must give.
2 If life be long I will be glad,
That I may long obey:
If short — yet why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?
3 Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than he went through before;
He that into God’s kingdom comes,
Must enter by this door.
4 Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if thy work on earth be sweet,
What will thy glory be?
5 Then I shall end my sad complaints,
And weary, sinful days;
And join with the triumphant saints,
That sing Jehovah’s praise.
6 My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.
Richard Baxter, 1681.