A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *12/24/2012
(This was followed by a farewell address from his son, Thomas Spurgeon.)
But no one says, “Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the
night; who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes
us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” [Job 35:10,11]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1511, “Questions Which Ought to be Asked” 1511]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2558, “Songs in the Night” 2559]
1. Elihu saw the great ones of the earth oppressing the needy, and he traced their domineering tyranny to their forgetfulness of God: “No one says, ‘Where is God my Maker?’ ” Surely, had they thought of God they could not have acted so unjustly. Worse still, if I understand Elihu properly, he complained that even among the oppressed there was the same departure in heart from the Lord: they cried out by reason of the arm of the mighty, but unhappily they did not cry to God their Maker, though he waits to be gracious to all such, and executes righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed. Both with great and small, with oppressors and oppressed, there is one common fault in our nature, which is described by the apostle in the Romans, “There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks after God.” Until divine grace comes in and changes our nature there is no one who says, “Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?” This is a very grave fault, about which we shall speak for a few minutes, and may the Holy Spirit bless the word.
2. I. And first, LET US THINK OVER THESE NEGLECTED QUESTIONS, beginning with “Where is God my Maker?” There are four questions in the text, each of which reminds us of the folly of forgetting it.
3. First, “Where is God?” Above all things in the world we ought to think of him. Pope said, “The proper study of mankind is man”; but it is far more true that the proper study of mankind is God. Let man study man in the second place, but God first. It is a sad thing that God is all in all, that we owe everything to him, and are under allegiance to him, and yet we neglect him. Some men think of every person except God. They have a place for everything else, but no place in their heart for God. They are most exact in the discharge of other relative duties, and yet they forget their God. They would consider themselves base indeed if they did not pay every man his due, and yet they rob God. They rob him of his honour, to which they never give a thought; they rob him of obedience, for his law has no hold on them; they rob him of his praise, for daily they are receiving from his hands, and yet they yield no gratitude to their great Benefactor. “No one says, ‘Where is God?’ ” My dear hearer, do you stand convicted of this? Have you been walking up and down in this great house, and never asked to see the King whose palace it is? Have you been rejoicing at this great feast, and have you never asked to see your Host? Have you gone outside through the various fields of nature, and have you never wished to know him whose breath perfumes the flowers, whose pencil paints the clouds, whose smile makes sunlight, and whose frown is a storm? Oh, it is a strange, sad fact — God so near us, and so necessary for us, and yet not sought for!
4. The next point is, “No one says, ‘Where is God my Maker?’ ” Oh! unthinking man, God made you. He fashioned your curious framework, and put every bone into its place. He, as with needlework, embroidered each nerve, and vein, and sinew. He made this intricate harp of twice ten thousand strings: it is wonderful that it has kept in tune so long: but only he could have maintained its harmony. He is your Maker. You are a mass of dust, and you would crumble back to dust at this moment if he withdrew his preserving power: he only speaks, and you dissolve into the earth on which you tread. Do you never think of your Maker? Have you no thought for him without whom you could not think at all? Oh, strange perversity and insanity that a man should find himself so intricately made, and bearing within his own body what will make him either a madman or a worshipper; and yet for all that he lives as if he had nothing to do with his Creator — “No one says, ‘Where is God my Maker?’ ”
5. There is great force in the next sentence: “Who gives songs in the night.” That is to say, God is our Comforter. Beloved friends, you who know God, I am sure you will testify that, though you have had very severe trials, you have always been sustained in them when God has been near you. Some of us have been sick — near to death, but we have almost loved our suffering room, and scarcely wished to come out of it, so bright has the room become with the presence of God. Some of us here have known what it is to bury our dearest friends, and others have been short of food, and forced to look up each morning for your daily manna; but when your heavenly Father has been with you — speak, you children of God — have you not had joy and rejoicing, and light in your dwellings? When the night has been very dark, yet the fiery pillar has set the desert all a glow. No groans have made night hideous, but you have sung like nightingales amid the blackest shadows when God has been with you. I can hardly tell you what joy, what confidence, what inward peace the presence of God gives to a man. It will make him bear and dare, rest and wrestle, yield and yet conquer, die and yet live. It will be very sad, therefore, if we poor sufferers forget our God, our Comforter, our Giver of songs.
6. Two little boys were once speaking together about Elijah riding to heaven in the chariot of fire. One of them said, “I think he had plenty of courage. I would have been afraid to ride in such a carriage as that.” “Ah! Ah!” said the other, “but I would not mind if God drove it.” So do Christians say. They do not mind if they are called to mount a chariot of fire if God drives it. We speak as honest men what we know and feel, and we tell all our fellow men that as long as God is present with us we have no choice regarding what happens to us, whether we sorrow or whether we rejoice. We have learned to glory in tribulations also when God’s own presence cheers our souls, Why do they not also seek to know the Giver of songs?
7. And then there is a fourth point. “No one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven?’” Here we are reminded that God is our Instructor. God has given us intellect; it is not by accident, but by his gift, that we are distinguished from the beasts and the fowls. Now, if animals do not turn to God we do not wonder, but shall man forget? Strange to say, there has been no rebellion against God among the beasts or the birds. The beasts obey their God, and bow their necks to man. There are no sin-loving cattle or apostate fowls, but there are fallen men. Think, oh man, it may have been better for you if you had been made a frog or a toad than to have lived a man if you should live and die without making peace with your Maker. You boast that you are not a beast: take heed that the beast does not condemn you. You think yourself vastly better than the sparrow which lights upon your dwelling: take heed that you do better and rise to nobler things. I think if there were a choice in birds, and souls dwelt in them, their minstrelsy would be as pure as it is now: they would scorn to sing loose and frivolous songs, as men do, but they would carol everlastingly sweet psalms of praise to God. I think if there were souls in any of the creatures, they would devote themselves to God, as surely as angels do. Why then, oh man, why is it that you with your superior endowments must be the sole rebel, the only creature of earthly mould who forgets the creating and instructing Lord?
8. Four points are then before us. Man does not enquire after his God, his Maker, his Comforter, his Instructor: is he not filled with a fourfold madness? How can he excuse himself?
9. II. Supposing you do not ask these questions, let me remind you that THERE ARE QUESTIONS WHICH GOD WILL ASK OF YOU.
10. When Adam had broken God’s command he did not say, “Where is God my Maker?” but the Lord did not therefore leave him alone. No, the Lord came out, and a voice, silvery with grace, but yet terrible with justice, rang through the trees, “Adam, where are you?” There will come such a voice to you who have neglected God. Your Judge will enquire, “Where are you?” Though you hide in the top of Carmel, or dive with the crooked serpent into the depths of the sea, you will hear that voice, and you will be constrained to answer it. Your dust long scattered to the wind will come together, and your soul will enter into your body, and you will be obliged to answer, “Here I am, for you called me.”
11. Then you will hear the second question, “Why did you live and die without me?” And such questions as these will come thick and fast upon you, “What did I do that you should slight me? Did I not give you innumerable mercies? Why did you never think of me? Did I not put salvation before you? Did I not plead with you? Did I not entreat you to turn to me? Why did you refuse me?” You will have no answer to those questions: and then there will come another question — ah! how I wish it would come to you while there is time to answer it — “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Tonight I ask you so that you may propose a way of escape, if your imagination is equal to the task. You will be baffled even in trying to invent an escape now, and how much more when your time of judgment really comes! If you neglect the salvation of God in Christ you cannot be saved. In the next world, how will you answer that question — “How shall we escape?” You will ask the rocks to hide you, but they will refuse you that dread indulgence. You will beseech them to crush you, so that you may no longer see the terrible face of the King upon the throne, but even that shall be denied to you. Oh, be wise, and before you dare the wrath of the King eternal and dash upon the bosses [a] of his buckler, turn and repent, for why will you die?
12. III. Now, if anyone seeks for an answer to the grave enquiries of the text, and sincerely asks, “Where is God my Maker?” let us GIVE THE ANSWERS.
13. Where is God? He is everywhere. He is all around you now. If you want him, here he is. He waits to be gracious to you. Where is God your Maker? He is within eyesight of you. You cannot see him, but he sees you. He reads each thought and every motion of your spirit, and records it too. He is within earshot of you. Speak, and he will hear you. Indeed, whisper — no, you need not even form the words with the lips, but let the thought be in the soul, and he is so near to you — for in him you live and move and have your being — that he will know your heart before you know it yourself. Where is your Comforter? He is ready with his “songs in the night.” Where is your Instructor? He waits to make you wise to salvation.
14. “Where, then, may I meet him?” one says. You cannot meet him — you must not attempt it — except through the Mediator. “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” If you come to Jesus you have come to God. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation,” which word we preach. Believe in Jesus Christ, and your God is with you. Trust your soul with Jesus Christ, and you have found your Creator, and you shall never again have to say, “Where is God my Maker?” for you shall live in him, and he shall live in you. You have found your Comforter and you shall be glad in him, while he shall rejoice in you. You have also in Christ Jesus found your Instructor, who shall guide you through life, and bring you to perfection in that bright world above.
May the Holy Spirit use this little sermon as a short sword to slay
your indifference, for Christ’s sake.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ps 42; 43]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — ‘Be Not Afraid, Only Believe’ ” 550]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Joy and Peace — God’s Presence Is Light In Darkness” 711]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Give Me Christ” 606]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 522]
[a] Bosses: The convex projection in the centre of a shield or buckler. OED.
Gospel, Received by Faith
550 — “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” <188.8.131.52.6.6.4.>
1 My faith looks up to thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Now hear me while I pray;
Take all my guilt away;
Oh let me from this day
Be wholly thine.
2 May thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire:
As thou hast died for me,
Oh may my love to thee
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire.
3 While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread,
Be thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From thee aside.
4 When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream
Shall o’er me roll,
Blest Saviour, then in love,
Fear and distrust remove;
Oh bear me safe above,
A ransom’d soul.
Ray Palmer, 1834.
The Christian, Joy and Peace
711 — God’s Presence Is Light In Darkness
1 My God, the spring of all my joys,
The life of my delights,
The glory of my brightest days,
And comfort of my nights.
2 In darkest shades if he appear,
My dawning is begun;
He is my soul’s sweet morning star,
And he my rising sun.
3 The opening heavens around me shine
With beams of sacred bliss,
While Jesus shows his heart is mine,
And whispers, I am his.
4 My soul would leave this heavy clay
At that transporting word,
Run up with joy the shining way
T’ embrace my dearest Lord.
5 Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
I’d break through every foe;
The wings of love, and arms of faith,
Should bear me conqueror through.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
The Christian, Contrite Cries
606 — Give Me Christ <7s.>
1 Gracious Lord, incline thine ear,
My requests vouchsafe to hear;
Hear my never ceasing cry;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
2 Wealth and honour I disdain,
Earthly comforts all are vain;
These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
3 Lord, deny me what thou wilt,
Only ease me of my guilt;
Suppliant at thy feet I lie,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
4 All unholy, all unclean,
I am nothing else but sin;
On thy mercy I rely,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
5 Thou dost freely save the lost!
Only in thy grace I trust:
With my earnest suit comply;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
6 Thou hast promised to forgive
All who in thy Son believe;
Lord, I know thou canst not lie;
Give me Christ, or else I die.
7 Father, dost thou seem to frown?
I take shelter in thy Son!
Jesus, to thy arms I fly,
Save me, Lord, or else I die.
William Hammond, 1745.
522 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
Thy Father calls for thee;
No longer now an exile roam
In guilt and misery;
2 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
‘Tis Jesus calls for thee:
The Spirit and the Bride say, Come;
Oh now for refuge flee;
3 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
‘Tis madness to delay;
There are no pardons in the tomb,
And brief is mercy’s day.
Thomas Hastings, 1834.