2278. Feeding On The Word

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No. 2278-38:493. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 8, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 16, 1892.

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. {Isa 55:2}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2278, “Feeding on the Word” 2279}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2786, “Soul’s Best Food, The” 2787}
   Exposition on Isa 53; 55:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2534, “Greatest Gift in Time or Eternity, The” 2535 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 Jer 30:1-11 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3419, “God the Husband of His People” 3421 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55:1-4 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3471, “Three Hours Of Darkness, The” 3473 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2278, “Feeding on the Word” 2279 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2581, “Perfection in Christ” 2582 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2797, “Need and Nature of Conversion, The” 2798 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2954, “Big Gates Wide Open, The” 2955 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3299, “Ho! Ho!” 3301 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 138 Isa 55:1-11 Ro 8:28-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3422, “Call to the Depressed, A” 3424 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 23 Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2886, “Restless! Peaceless!” 2887 @@ "Exposition"}

1. How important it is that we should hear God, that we should have an attentive ear to his Word; and that it should, through our ears, reach our souls, and become to us, consciously, the living Word of the living God! The great gate of commerce between heaven and the town of Mansoul, is Ear-gate. We can see very little of the things of the kingdom; but we can hear much concerning them.

2. We are told, not only to “listen” to God, but to “listen diligently.” You cannot have too much hearing of the right kind of truth, nor too much of the right kind of hearing. Some people like few sermons, and those very short; but, when a soul is hungry after God and eternal life, it puts another meaning on this exhortation, “Listen diligently.” It cannot hear too much; it cannot hear too often; it cannot hear too intensely. Faith comes by hearing; and hence, Satan tries to block up that gateway of mercy. If he can persuade men not to hear, then he can keep them out of the way of grace; but the exhortation of our text throws this door of salvation wide open, in which the Lord himself stands and cries, “Listen diligently to me.”

3. You, dear friends, love to hear the Word of the Lord; therefore, I need not dwell upon that exhortation; but I do pray that no one may hear in vain. “Take heed to what you hear,” and “take heed to how you hear.” Do not be content merely to open Ear-gate; but do not rest satisfied until the King himself comes riding through that gate right up to the very citadel of the town of Mansoul, and takes possession of the castle of your heart.

4. With this brief introduction, we will come to the consideration of our main text, which follows after the exhortation. We are to “listen diligently” to this message from the Lord’s lips, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Here are four things; first, the food; next, the feeding; then, the welcome; and lastly, the delight.

5. I. First, here is FOOD: “Eat what is good.”

6. I ask about this food, first, How is it presented to us? It is presented to us freely. The invitation is, “Come and eat.” There was a word about buying; but, as I said in the reading, that was soon covered up with, “Buy without money and without price.” Others are trying to get salvation by their own efforts. The rich man spends his money; the poor man spends his labour; but both of these ways come from self, and they mean self-salvation — every man is his own saviour. This is not the method to which you are called; you are, indeed, taken off that way. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread? and your labour for what does not satisfy?” You are called simply to hear, that your souls may live; and, having heard, you are told freely to partake of what is good, and what is rich, which God has provided. We need still to say that the grace of God is free. No merit is asked for, nothing to prepare you for its reception, nothing as a compensation to God for the gift of it. Grace is as free as the air you breathe. Eternal salvation comes without a penny of cost to every hungry, needy, bankrupt soul that is willing to receive it.

7. Further, while it is so presented freely with respect to any labour with which to procure it, it is also presented freely with respect to its quality, its highest quality. You are not permitted to drink freely of water, and then to purchase wine. You are not invited to come and eat freely what is good, and then to spend your labour for what is fat. No, the richest dainties of God’s house are as free as the bread he gives to hungry souls. You think that you will be highly favoured if you are allowed to partake of the crumbs that fall under the table, and so indeed you will be; but the daintiest morsels on the table are as free to you as those crumbs. Sanctification is as much a gift of God as justification; and the highest perfection in heaven is as much the gift of grace as the first cry of, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It is all graciously given; and you are invited to come, not only to the waters, but to drink wine and milk, to eat what is good, and to delight yourselves in fatness.

8. This royal bounty is freely given; and freely given to the most undeserving. The only limitation is no limitation at all: “Ho, everyone who thirsts!” All of you who are dissatisfied, or discontented, who have not obtained what you wanted; who are longing for something, you hardly know what it is you do long for; you who have a thirst insatiable but yet indescribable, who came here tonight saying, “I wish I had it; others whom I know have it; I hardly know what it is that they have; but oh, that I might have it!” — you will find out what it is when you have received it. You hardly know yet what the taste of wine and milk may be. You hardly know yet what the fat things full of marrow, that are part of Christ’s great gospel feast, can possibly be. You shall know them eventually; but, whoever you may be, come and welcome; sinner, come. If you have nothing, Christ is everything. Though you are unworthy, he is infinitely worthy; and so he presents to you food tonight on the freest possible terms; or, indeed, without any terms or conditions at all, for he puts it like this, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

9. I ask, next, What is this food? I answer, first, it is the Word of God. The soul can never feed to the satisfying of the understanding, the conscience, the heart, except on divinely revealed truth. You must know what God would have you know. Therefore attend, and listen diligently, so that the God-breathed truth may become nutriment to your spirit.

10. Better still, the food is the Incarnate Word of God; for Christ Jesus, the Son of man, the Son of God, is the Word. If men feed on him, they shall find that his flesh is food indeed, and his blood is drink indeed. Remember his own words, “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat of it, and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven: if any man eats of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” This is God’s Bread given to you, his only-begotten Son, clothed in human flesh, living and dying for the sons of men. Happy are those who feed on this heavenly manna.

11. What is this bread? Well, it is the grace of God. As you read this chapter through, you find that the Lord refers first to his Word, and tells you to hear it. Next, he speaks of his Son, whom he has given to be a witness to his people. Further on, he magnifies his grace, and speaks of wonderful changes which that grace works in those to whom it is given. Oh, how satisfying is the grace of God! “He gives more grace.” We live on grace; it is our daily bread, grace for every trial, grace for every duty, grace for every sin, and grace for every grace. “Of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace.” This is the food for you. Thirsty with sin, your sin is quenched with grace. May God grant us grace to feed upon grace, to live upon his Word, and to feast upon his Son!

12. I ask yet another question, What is the nature of this food? It is good; it is good, in every sense of the word “good.” It is satisfying. It is pure; no harm can ever come by eating it. This heavenly food is good, and good for you, good for you tonight, good for you at any time, good for you living, good for you dying. All other foods that men seek after are unsubstantial; they can surfeit, but they cannot satisfy; they can cloy, but they cannot content; but the food that has come down from heaven, if a man only takes it into himself, shall be the best food he ever ate.

13. Moreover, this food is described here as being fatness: “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Within the Word of God, there are certain better truths; in Christ, there are certain better joys; in grace, there are certain better experiences than men at first know about. It is not merely bread and food, but it is marrow and fatness. There are “tid-bits” for the Lord’s children. “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.” “In this mountain the Lord of hosts shall make for all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” I hope that, before we are finished tonight, we shall have introduced some poor soul to the fatness, the choice, special parts of God’s most holy Word. It is not lean meat that God gives you, not scrapings from a bone; but he feeds us royally, he gives us from the best he has, and plenty of it. “He daily loads us with benefits.” He gives us food to eat of which even angels do not know about.

   Never did angels taste above,
   Redeeming grace, and dying love.

These things are our soul’s daily nourishment.

14. II. But now, secondly, here is FEEDING. One of the most important words in our text is that little word eat: “Eat: eat.”

15. Food is of no use until it is eaten; and here, often, is the crucial question with seeking souls. “I see that Christ is the Bread of life that I want; but how am I to eat him?” Well, now, really, you ought not to need any instruction on this point. We take a great many orphans into the Orphanage, and some of them are very ignorant, and we have to teach them a great many things; but we have no class for teaching them to eat. They all know how to do that, and to do it pretty heartily, too. If men were hungry, they would know how to eat, if they had the food. It is because men are not really hungry on account of sin that they come and ask us, “What do you mean by this eating?” Yet it may be that some are sincere in asking the question, so I will answer it.

16. To eat is, first, to believe. To “eat” a truth, you must believe it to be true. To “eat” Christ, you must believe him to be the Christ of God. To “eat” the grace of God, you must believe it to be “the grace of God, which brings salvation.”

   Artful doubts and reasonings be
   Nailed with Jesus to the tree.

I will gladly lend you a nail or two, and the use of a hammer as well, for I do not like these doubts. They are in the air like gnats; they fly around everywhere, and certain brethren endeavour to multiply the pests. But, oh, that you, poor sinner, would be finished with doubts, and simply believe! Believe what is certainly true, for God cannot lie, and what he reveals is infallibly certain. Believe it.

17. Well, after you have done that, to eat is chiefly to appropriate. A man takes a piece of bread into his hand; but he has not eaten it until he has put it into his mouth, and swallowed it, and it has gone down into the secret parts of his very self, and has become his very own. When a thing is eaten and digested, it cannot be restored.

18. You may take away my house; you may take away my money; but you cannot take away from me yesterday’s dinner. You must take Christ in the same way that you eat your food; that is, appropriate him. Say, “He is mine; I take him to be entirely mine. This Christ, this grace, this pardon, this salvation, I believe it; and I now trust in it, rest in it, appropriate it, and take it to be my own.” “Suppose that I should make a mistake in taking it,” one says. No one ever did. If you can take it, God has given it to you. If you have grace to grasp Christ, though you think yourself to be a thief in doing so, there is no roguery in it. What God sets before you, take, and ask no questions. Oh, what a blessed thing it is when a soul is enabled to feed upon the Word of God, to feed upon the Christ of God, to feed upon the grace of God! You cannot go wrong in so doing. It is written, “He who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.” “Let him who is thirsty come. And whoever wills, let him take the water of life freely.” This is to eat, — to appropriate.

19. But after you have eaten, you know, the full process of eating includes digestion. How do I digest the Word of God? I know what it is to read, and mark, and learn it; but how do I inwardly digest it? When you meditate upon it. Oh, what a blessed work is that of sacred meditation, turning the truth over and over and over in the mind, throwing it into the wine-press of memory, and treading it out with the feet of thought, until the ruby juice flows out, and you drink it, and are satisfied! Meditate upon the Word; think much of what God has done for you. Think over his thoughts; turn over his words; and so your soul will grow strong.

20. Feeding also means trusting yourself entirely to Christ. The man who eats his breakfast, goes about his business trusting in the strength which that morning’s meal will give him; and when noon comes, and he feels faint, he eats again, without a doubt that what he eats will nourish him; and he goes back to his work, and uses muscle and sinew, trusting his food to supply him with power. It is just the same with Christ. Take him, and believe that he will help you to go about your business, to bear your trouble, to meet your adversary, to serve without weariness, and to run without fainting. This is to eat what is good; it is to take freely into yourself Christ, his grace, his Word, and to live on it, so that you may grow by it.

21. I should like to make this plain to all of you; but I cannot make it any plainer than this. You have Christ before you; take him. “Oh, but I am not fit,” one says. A man who is very hungry might say that he is not “fit” for dinner; but, if he is a sensible man, he just starts eating. So do the same; whatever your unfitness may be, you are welcomed by the invitations of this chapter. Come along with you; enter the banquet hall at once, and feed to the full.

22. III. My third point is WELCOME. What does the Lord say? “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

23. Do you see, here is, first, no stint? “Eat, eat, eat, eat, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” It is not said, “Here is a pair of scales; here is a plate; here is a knife. The law allows so many ounces of food for you, just so much, and you must not have half-an-ounce over.” Nothing of the kind. You are just taken to the table, and the exhortation is, “Eat to your heart’s content. Let your soul delight itself in fatness.” There is no stint.

24. Just as there is no stint, so there is no reserve. It is not said, “Now you may eat those two things; but you must not touch that nice fat morsel over there; that is for Joseph; that is for the particular favourite, not for you.” No, poor soul, when God invites you to his table, you may have anything there is on the table. No matter though it is eternal life, though it is communion with Christ, though it is immutable love, you may eat it. Take it, take it; for you are not called here to sit, as they used to have it, “below the salt,” among the inferior folk; you are called to sit at the table like any of the princes, and the great King himself says, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

25. So, too, there is no end to the feast. “Eat; keep on eating. Delight yourself in fatness; keep on delighting yourself in fatness. You will never use it all up.” I read of a country once, though I hardly believed the description of it; for it was said that the grass grew faster than the cows could eat it. Well, there is a country that I know of, where the grass grows faster than the sheep can eat it. You may eat all you wish out of the divine Word; but you will find that there is more left than you have taken; and it seems as if there were more after you had taken it, as if the grass grew deeper as you fed more ravenously on it. You will find it so. God imposes no time-limit. In the morning, feed on his Word; at noon, drink to strengthen your life out of the Sacred Scriptures; and at night, feed your heart, yet again, upon your evening portion.

26. I want to talk to you a little about this feeding, and especially in reference to the fatness of divine truth. There are some of God’s people who do not live upon the richer meats of his Word. Poor souls, some of them never get a taste of them. Perhaps they attend a ministry where the richer meat is never brought out. The “clods and stickings” of the gospel they will get; but not the prime joints, not the best parts of the gospel. Well, well, if that is all that their ministers have to give them, it is good that they should give them that; but if any man has learned by experience to feed upon the deep things of God, and the food that sustains the soul, let him not fail to put it in due season upon the children’s table. Why, some of you dare not make a good meal on the doctrine of election! If you did, you would find it to contain “fat things full of marrow.” The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, the doctrine of the immutable love of God, the doctrine of the union of the believer with Christ, the doctrine of the eternal purpose that can never fail — why, I have seen many a child of God sniff at these things! Well, well, well, we must not find fault with them. Babes, of course, do not like meat. Poor creatures, they do not have teeth enough yet to bite meat, and we must give them milk. Only do not let the babes kick at us who can eat meat. We must eat the strong meat, for it is the very food of our souls.

27. Different foods are for different growths of grace; but it is a pity that the children of God should habitually neglect the richer joints of the gospel. There are some of them who measure themselves by others. I do believe that some of God’s people are afraid of being too holy, which fear need never haunt them much. Some of them are afraid of being too happy, because they know a dear soul, who is a kind of barometer to them, and she is not very often happy, and so they are afraid that they must not be. How many a person has set up Mr. Little-Faith to be his model, or Mr. Ready-to-Halt, with his crutches, to be a kind of pattern for him! Now, Ready-to-Halt was a very sensible man; he would not advise other people to use crutches. They were good for him; but he wished that he had never needed them. So it is with a mournful child of God, there are some of the best who are of a sorrowful spirit; but I would not recommend you to be like them. If that man on the other side of the table dares not eat the marrow and fatness, that is no reason why you should not have your share if you can enjoy it.

28. There are some people (I will not judge them), who always want to know, when they come to God’s feast, how little food will be sufficient, what is the minimum upon which a person could live. Dear, dear, I never tried that plan; and I do not recommend you to go tonight, and consult a doctor to know what is the least amount of food upon which a man could live. There are, I fear, a good many of you working out that problem with regard to your souls. You say, “Well, now, do you not think that one sermon on Sunday is quite enough?” Then, there is the prayer meeting, and you say, “It is only a prayer meeting; we shall not go to that.” So you go from Sunday to Sunday, sometimes, you one-sermon-a-week people, and you say, “I feel unhappy; I have many doubts and fears.” I should think you have. If you had only one meal a week, you would feel a little hollow here and there; and if you only get one spiritual meal a week, it is no wonder that you are weak. The text says, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” It does not put to you that strange proposition of trying how little spiritual food you can live on.

29. There are others, who are very sincere, who always ask how much they may take. May I take a promise? Poor soul that I am, may I dare to call Jesus mine? Why, I am the very lowest of the people of God, may I dare to think about everlasting love? When you go to a feast, the question is not what you are, but what the host is; and, if he has spread the table, and invited you, make no “bones” about it, as men say, but eat what he sets before you. Ah, dear hearts! if we had no more than we deserved, we should not even be alive in the land of mercy. Everything that God gives is of grace, not of merit, not of deserving; therefore, unworthy though you are, take it.

30. “Oh! but,” one says, “I am afraid of being presumptuous.” Oh, yes, I know! There are a great many who are afraid of presumption, and they make a mistake about what presumption is. I think I told you, one day, of two little boys, to whom their mother said, “Now, John and Thomas, I shall take you out next Monday for a day’s holiday.” Well, it was Thursday or Friday, and one of them began to talk about it with all his might: “I am going out for a holiday next Monday; I know I am; I am going out for a holiday next Monday.” His little brother was “afraid to presume”; so he said that he thought, perhaps, he might go out for a holiday next Monday, but he was afraid to presume. The other little fellow, when he got up on Saturday morning, said, “Mother, is it Monday yet?” and he was as happy as a lark with the idea that Monday must come very soon. Now, which of the two was presumptuous? I do not think that the boy who believed his mother’s promise was presumptuous; I think that he was a good, humble, believing child; but I think that the other boy, who argued, “Well, you see, mother cannot afford to take us out; perhaps it will be raining; and mother, perhaps, will not keep her word; she will forget it.” I say, he was presumptuous, and did not deserve to go at all. You who doubt are vastly more presumptuous than you would be if you would simply believe.

31. Let me encourage you, dear friends, to put into practice my text, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Feed your souls on precious truth. Do not say, “Oh, that is high doctrine!” My dear friend, you have no business to call doctrine high or low. If it is in God’s Word, believe it, and live on it. “Oh, but those are deep things!” Some people even say that they are “Calvinistic.” Never mind if they are; they will not harm you. I am of the mind of the old lady who said, when she heard a certain preacher, “I like to hear that kind of minister, he is a high Calvary preacher.” That was a good mistake to make; I would like to be a “high Calvary preacher”; and preach up Jesus Christ and him crucified with all my might. Do not be afraid to feed on anything that Christ is, or did, or promised. Come with a glorious appetite, “and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” If there are any high enjoyments, raptures, ecstasies, delights, if you lose yourself in heaven begun below, if you can feel the Lord very near you, well, be ready to dance for joy. “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

32. But as for holy exercises, such as prayer, and prayer continued, prayer strong and mighty, and such as praise, too, that is akin to the music of heaven, do not avoid them. Go in for them with all your might. “Let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Oh, our poor starveling services, our weak, impotent drawings near to God! May we be delivered from them, and may we get into the marrow and fatness of real communion with the Most High!

33. Above all, do not neglect to feed on what you have not yet received, but what is yours in the hand of Christ. On the glory yet to be revealed, on the glories of the Second Advent, especially, often dwell; and let your hearts take fire as you think of them, and let your spirit grow strong with an intense delight, because HE is coming. HE is coming quickly; and who knows when he may appear? Live on the promise of his coming, and rejoice in it. “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

34. IV. Now, my time has gone, and therefore I will not preach on the fourth point, which was to have been DELIGHT; but I will just say these few words on this part of my theme.

35. There is no peril in holy joy, in delighting yourself in God’s Word, and delighting yourself in Christ. You may be as happy as you ever can be, and there will be no danger in it: for “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The joy of the Lord is your safety; the joy of the Lord will be your restoration, if you have wandered away from him.

36. There will be no idleness, or selfishness, produced by this fat feeding. The more you feed on God’s Word, the more you will work for the good of others. You will not say, “I am saved, and therefore I will let others perish.” Oh, no! You will have an intense, burning desire to bring others in to feed on “free grace and dying love.” There are none who love the souls of men so much as those who love their Lord much. When they have themselves had much forgiven, and they know it, they go and seek their fellow sinners, and try to bring them to the Saviour’s feet.

37. Dear friends, may you get such meals upon the rich things of the Word of God that you may come to a sacred contentment, until you shall not say, like Esau, “I have enough,” but shall say, like Jacob, “I have all things!” May you be unable to wish for anything more! May you be so complete in Christ, so fully supplied in him, that you can say, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not lack!”

38. May you also attain to a sense of holy security; not of carnal security, for that is dangerous; that is ruinous; but holy security, so that you can say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him against that day.” “Of what persuasion are you?” said one man to another. “Of what persuasion am I? I am of this persuasion, that he is able to keep what I have committed to him.” This is a blessed persuasion. May you have it, and keep it all your days!

39. Then, next, may you come into a state of perfect rest! “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” “We who have believed enter into rest.” “Therefore there remains a rest for the people of God.” But there is a rest which they enjoy even now; may you get it!

40. May you also come into a state of complete resignation to the will of God! If we sang with our hearts that beautiful hymn, “Freedom From Care” {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Peaceful Trust — Freedom From Care” 691} just now, we are able to leave everything with God, and let him do what he likes with us. May you just feel that your will is what God’s will would have it to be, and that God’s will shall be your will! Then you will let your soul delight itself in fatness.

41. Lastly, may you be filled with a happy expectancy! May you be able to say with our poet, —

   My heart is with him on his throne,
      And ill can brook delay;
   Each moment listening for the voice,
      “Rise up, and come away.”

Oh, to live in the suburbs of heaven, to get into the vestibule of God’s great palace, and to stay there, and hear the singing of the seraphim inside the walls! There is such a thing as feeling, on the Hill Beulah, the breezes from the distant Celestial City. When the wind blows the right way, you may often smell the spices of the glory-land where Emmanuel is King, and his beloved lie in his bosom for ever. I pray that you may all have this. Do not say, “We cannot.” Do not fear that you cannot, but rather listen to the text, and carry it out, “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

42. Oh, that some poor soul would get his first mouthful of Christ tonight! Take him. I have seen a hungry child sent by his mother to the baker’s. There is a little piece of bread put in as a “makeweight,” {a} and the poor child eats it on the way home. I give you permission to do that tonight. Carry the truth away with you, and keep it; but eat a bit as you go home. Lay hold on Christ tonight, now, before you leave the Tabernacle. May his grace enable you to do it; and then sit down, and eat, and eat, and eat for ever from this precious, inexhaustible provision of God’s infinite love; and to him shall be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

{a} Makeweight: A comparatively small quantity added to make up a certain weight. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 55}

Tonight we shall read that precious chapter of gospel invitation, the fifty-fifth of Isaiah, which, I hope, you all know by heart.

1. Ho, everyone who thirsts,

God would have the attention of sinners; he calls for it. Are not sinners eager for God? Oh, no! It is God who is eager for sinners; and so he calls “Ho!” Men pass by with their ears full of the world’s tumult; and God calls, again and again, “Ho! Ho!” Whether rich or poor, learned or illiterate, if you are in need, and especially if you feel your need, “Ho, everyone who thirsts.”

1. Come to the waters,

There are only in one place waters that can quench your thirst; and God calls you that way: “Come to the waters.”

1. And he who has no money;

Water is a thing that is sold, not given away, in the East; and he who needs it, must buy it. But he who buys from God, has nothing to pay: “He who has no money.”

1. Come, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

See how God’s good things grow as we look at them. The first invitation was, “Come to the waters”; the next was, “Eat”; but this one speaks of “wine and milk.” Our first idea of the gospel is very simple, it is water for our thirst. Soon we find that it is food for our hunger. Presently we discover it to be wine for our delight, and milk for our perpetual sustenance. There is everything in Christ; and you need him. Come and have him. There is no other preparation needed except that you feel your need of him.

   This he gives you;
   ’Tis his Spirit’s rising beam.

What a cheering verse this is to begin with!

2. Why do you spend money for what is not bread? and your labour for what does not satisfy?

If you spend your money for what is not bread, you are likely to be disappointed. “Oh, but,” you say, “I have made many an effort.” Yes, I know you have; but, if you labour for “what does not satisfy,” I do not wonder that you are not satisfied. Let your past defeats drive you to your God. If you have failed so far, so much the more reason why you should listen to the Lord’s message. He says to you, —

2. Listen diligently to me,

Salvation comes through the ear, more than through the eye. Listen; listen; listen diligently, with both your ears, with all your heart, listen to your God.

2. And eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

If we will hear, and will believe, we shall be satisfied; we shall be delighted; we shall be overjoyed. The Lord can take our thirst away, and in its place give a delight in fatness.

3. Incline your ear,

Hold it near the mouth of the gracious Speaker. Be willing to hear what God has to say. Take out that wool of prejudice that has prevented you from listening to God’s voice: “Incline your ear.”

3. And come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

“When you so live, I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I am not the God of the dead, but of the living; and when once, through hearing the divine Word, you have come to life, I will be your God.”

4. Behold, I have given him

One greater than David, even the Beloved of the Lord, the Only-Begotten, the Messiah Prince, the King of kings, even Jesus.

4. For a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

God did not give us an angel to lead us, but he gave us his Son; and he did not merely give us his Son to be an example, but to die for us, to bleed to death on our behalf, to be our Substitute, dying in our room and place. “I have given him.” This is the greatest wonder that ever was. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son”; not, “God so loved the saintly; God so loved the earnest; God so loved the moral”; but “the world,” the commonplace, sinful world; he so loved those who lay dead in trespasses and sins “that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And the Father, in giving his Son, gives him a promise: —

5. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and nations that did not know you shall run to you because of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you.

So, brethren, the gospel must succeed. Christ must have whole nations to come to him; they must come; they shall come; for God has glorified his Son, and he glorifies him in this among other ways, in bringing nations to his feet. The gospel is no experiment; there is no question concerning its success. There may be dark days just now, and our hearts may sink as we look around; but the Father will keep his promise to the Son, and that encourages us to look up in the darkest hour. This fact, which is more than a promise, will never be altered, “He has glorified you.”

6. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near:

Oh, may the Holy Spirit make every word I read to be powerful with you! God himself speaks to you tonight, out of a Book which not only was inspired, but is inspired; and he says tonight, freshly from his own lip to you who have no rest of heart, “Seek the LORD while he may be found.” He may be found; therefore seek him. “Call on him while he is near.” He is near; therefore call on him.

7. Let the wicked forsake his way,

Do not let him wait until he has finished this thing, or done the other, or until he has so much to bring in his hand. Let him run away from his old master, and from his old way, and from his old self at once. May God help him to do so!

7. And the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God,

Whom we love, and in whom we trust, and who has pardoned us: “to our God.”

7. For he will abundantly pardon.

The marginal reading is, “He will multiply to pardon.” He will pardon, and pardon, and pardon, and pardon, and pardon, and pardon, ad infinitum. Enormous as the sin may be, God’s pardon shall suffice to put it all away. Is this message too hard for you to believe? Oh, broken heart! does this divine truth seem to you to be too good to be true? Oh, trembling one! does it seem impossible that the righteous God can cast all your sins behind his back, and drown them in the depths of the sea? Continue to listen to our Lord’s gracious words

9-11. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For just as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it fruitful and bud, so that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God’s Word is not impotent. If you will hear it, it will bless you. When God sends snow and rain, they do not go back again. The earth receives them; they sink into her pores; they refresh her secret life. Receive, oh black heart, the Word of God, as the earth receives the snow! Oh you dry heart, receive the Word as the dry ground receives the shower. It shall not go back again; it shall sink into your innermost soul; it shall save you. God can save you. Believe it; receive his Word into your heart, and it shall save you. Note who you are, who are spoken to in the first and second verses, you who are thirsty, you who have no money, you who have laboured, and are disappointed with the fruit of your toil.

12. For you shall go out with joy,

You poor people who are invited to come to the waters, you who have nothing of your own, “You shall go out with joy.”

12. And be led out with peace:

To some places you can “go” by yourselves; to others you must be “led”; but in either case you shall have “joy” and “peace.”

12. The mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing,

They do not look like singing, do they? They look as if their only music would be the howling of the wild winds around their brow, or the roaring of the wild beasts along their sides; but for you, for you, you thirsty ones, they shall break out into singing.

12. And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Trees seem to have little sympathy with weary hearts; but when weary hearts find peace with God in Christ, as I trust some will tonight, then even the trees of the field seem to be in harmony with man, and they clap their hands in jubilant exaltation.

13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name,

Yes, it shall make God’s name great when you are converted; for you will talk about what the Lord has done for your soul, and that will bring God fame: “It shall be to the LORD for a name.”

13. For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Oh you who thirst, oh you hungry, oh you unsatisfied, may the reading of this Word be blessed to you tonight! Amen.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Sacred Gratitude — ‘Return Unto Thy Rest’ ” 708}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love — The Firm Foundation” 732}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Peaceful Trust — Freedom From Care” 691}

The Christian, Sacred Gratitude
708 — “Return Unto Thy Rest”
1 My heart is resting, oh my God;
      I will give thanks and sing;
   My heart is at the secret source
      Of every precious thing.
2 Now the frail vessel thou hast made
      No hand but thine shall fill;
   The waters of the earth have fail’d,
      And I am thirsting still.
3 I thirst for springs of heavenly life,
      And here all day they rise;
   I seek the treasure of thy love,
      And close at hand it lies.
4 And a “new song” is in my mouth,
      To long-loved music set;
   Glory to thee for all the grace
      I have not tasted yet.
5 I have a heritage of joy
      That yet I must not see:
   The hand that bled to make it mine;
      Is keeping it for me.
6 My heart is resting on his truth,
      Who hath made all things mine;
   Who draws my captive will to him,
      And makes it one with thine.
            Ann Letitia Waring, 1850, a.

The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love
732 — The Firm Foundation <11s.>
1 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
   Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
   What more can he say than to you he hath said,
   You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
2 In every condition — in sickness, in health,
   In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
   At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
   “As thy days may demand shall thy strength ever be.”
3 “Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
   I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
   I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
   Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”
4 “When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
   The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow:
   For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
   And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
5 “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
   My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
   The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
   Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
6 “E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
   My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
   And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
   Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.”
7 “The soul that on Jesus hath lean’d for repose,
   I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
   That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
   I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
                        George Keith, 1787.

The Christian, Peaceful Trust
691 — Freedom From Care
1 I bow me to thy will, oh God,
      And all thy ways adore;
   And every day I live I’ll seek
      To please thee more and more.
2 I love to kiss each print where Christ
      Did set his pilgrim feet;
   Nor can I fear that blessed path,
      Whose traces are so sweet.
3 When obstacles and trials seem
      Like prison walls to be,
   I do the little I can do,
      And leave the rest to thee.
4 I have no cares, oh blessed Lord,
      For all my cares are thine;
   I live in triumph, too, for thou
      Hast made thy triumphs mine.
5 And when it seems no chance nor change
      From grief can set me free,
   Hope finds its strength in helplessness
      And, patient, waits on thee.
6 Lead on, lead on, triumphantly,
      Oh blessed Lord, lead on!
   Faiths pilgrim-sons behind thee seek
      The road that thou hast gone.
         Frederick William Fabry, 1852, a.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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