2295. God’s People, Or Not God’s People

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No. 2295-39:73. A Sermon Delivered Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 12, 1893.

I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; and I will say to those who were not my people, “You are my people”; and they shall say, “You are my God.” {Ho 2:23}

As he says also in Hosea, “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved.” {Ro 9:25}

1. To my mind, it is very instructive to notice how Paul quotes from the Prophets. The revelation of the mind of God in the Old Testament helps us to understand the gospel revealed in the New Testament. There is no authority that is so powerful over the minds of Christian men as that of the Word of God. Has God made known any truth in his Word? Then, it is invested with divine authority. Paul, being himself inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore able to write new revelations of the mind of God, brings here the authority of God’s Word in the olden times to back up and support what he says: “As he says also in Hosea.”

2. Beloved friend, if you are seeking salvation, or if you want comfort, never rest satisfied with the mere word of man. Do not be content unless you get the truth from the mouth of God. Say in your spirit, “I will not be comforted, unless God himself shall comfort me. I want chapter and verse for what I receive as gospel.” Our Lord’s reply to Satan was, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Give me, then, only a word out of God’s mouth, and I can live on it; but all the words out of man’s mouth, apart from divine inspiration, must be as unsatisfying food as if men tried to live on stones.

3. Notice, again, how Paul teaches that the very essence of the authority of the Scriptures lies in this, that God speaks through his revealed Word: “As HE says also in Hosea.” It is God speaking in the Bible whom we ought to hear. The mere letter of the Word alone will kill; but when we hear God’s voice speaking in it, then it has power which it could not possess otherwise. It is a blessed thing to put your ear down to the promises of Scripture, until you hear God speaking through them to your soul. It is truly profitable to read a gospel commandment, and to listen to its voice until God himself speaks it with power to your heart. Please, do not regard anything that is preached here unless it agrees with what is written there in the Bible. If it is only my word, throw it away; but if it is God’s truth that I declare to you, if God himself speaks it through my lips, you will disregard it at your peril.

4. I will only make one other observation by way of introduction. Is it not wonderful how God’s Word is preserved century after century? There were seven or eight hundred years between Hosea and Paul; and it is remarkable that the promise to the Gentiles should lie asleep all that time, and yet should be just as full of life and power when Paul was quoting it after all those centuries. God’s Word is like the wheat in the hand of the mummy, of which you have often heard. It had lain there for thousands of years; but men took it out of the hand, and sowed it, and there sprang up the bearded wheat which has now become so common in our land. So you take a divine promise, spoken hundreds or thousands of years ago, and lo, it is fulfilled for you! It becomes as true to you as if God had spoken it for the first time this very day, and you were the person to whom it was addressed. Oh blessed Word of God, how we ought to prize you! We cannot tell yet all that lies hidden between these covers; but there is a treasury of grace concealed here, which we ought to seek until we find it.

5. So having introduced our texts as taken from God’s Word in the Old and New Testaments, and as being God’s voice to us, speaking down through the centuries with all the freshness and force it would have if it were uttered anew tonight, I invite every unconverted person to listen with both his ears, and his whole heart, to hear if there shall drop some living word of cheer and promise that shall make this evening to be his birthnight. If so, this shall be the time when his captivity shall be ended, his mouth shall be filled with laughter, and his tongue with singing, and his spirit shall rejoice in God his Saviour.

6. I. Now, first, in considering the words in the Epistle to the Romans, let us look at THE ORIGINAL STATE OF GOD’S PEOPLE. “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved.”

7. If we look at the original state of God’s people, we shall gaze upon a very gloomy picture. Yet this portrait reveals the state in which every unconverted man is tonight, the state in which all of us, who are now saved, once were. We were not God’s people; that is to say, we did not have God’s approval. I speak now of all those whom God has saved. There was a time when there was no approval of them; as the apostle says, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” So it was with those who were not God’s people; their thoughts were contrary to God’s thoughts; their ways were such as God could not endure; their speech grated on his ears; they followed the devices and imaginations of their own hearts; the prince of this world had dominion over them, and God’s grace had not been displayed upon them. They went astray like lost sheep. That is your condition tonight, sinner, you are the object of divine disapproval. “Not beloved,” says the text. “Not beloved.” How can you be beloved by God? How can the Lord take any delight in a man who takes no delight in his God, who does not try even to think of him, who breaks his law with impunity, and finds pleasure in what God abhors? “Not my people,” says the text, that is, they were not the subjects of divine approval.

8. Next, such people receive from God no good thing of the highest order. “Oh!” say some, “but we are receiving all kinds of temporal blessing’s from God.” I know you are, and you ought to thank him for them; but since you are not his people, and not beloved, even these good things turn out to be evil things for you. Your table becomes a snare and a trap for you. Men who receive God’s mercies before his grace has brought them to himself, make idols of the good things he bestows upon them. They receive benefits from his hands, and use them to provoke him to anger. They take their wealth, and they say, with the rich fool, “Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry”; and so they forget that they must die, and they forget their God. Often, even health and strength become a snare to men. They will plunge into greater sin because they have so much vigour of body. We have known some, who have been so robust in health that they would not think of God, or of Christ, or of their souls, or of eternity. I tell you, sinners, that while you are as you are, God’s curse rests upon your blessings. There is no good thing outside of Christ; for what would be good with Christ becomes evil without Christ; it becomes a thing which destroys rather than blesses, and which helps men all the more rapidly to destroy their souls. Oh, what a sad state is yours of whom God says, “They are not my people, and they are not beloved!” While they are as they are, they cannot receive the highest good from God; even the best thing that he sends them they turn into evil.

9. Remember, too, you who do not know God, that you are in a very miserable condition, because to you there is no application of the precious blood of Christ. Jesus died for sinners; but you pass by his cross as though you had nothing to do with it. Israel in Egypt was saved because God saw the blood, and passed over the houses of his people; but you are not beneath that crimson sign. You have never looked to Christ by faith. No blood is on the lintel and on the two side-posts of your door. All we can say of you, as we look at you, is “Not beloved: not beloved.” Oh, poor souls, you who have not believed, what does the Scripture say to you? Why, that you are “condemned already” because you have not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. You who have not believed in Christ are lying in the wicked one; and what does that expression mean? Why, lying in his bosom, as if you were the darling children of the devil. How can there be any sign of the divine delight or satisfaction towards you while your delight is in Satan and in sin? No, you have no interest in the precious blood of Jesus. Ah, me! What should I do if this were my case? I would sooner lose my eyes, my hearing, my sense of taste; I would sooner lose life itself than lose an interest in the precious blood of Jesus. Yet some of you live at ease though there has been for you no pardon of sin, no washing in the blood of sprinkling. You are still guilty before God.

10. Again, when these people were called by God “not my people,” and “not beloved,” there had been no saving work of the Spirit of God, upon them. I am addressing some here tonight who have never had their hearts broken by the Spirit of God. They have never been brought to repentance, they have never been led to faith in Christ. Consequently, for them the Spirit of God is not a Quickener; for them he is not a Comforter; for them he is not an Illuminator. All his divine offices are fulfilled in other people; but not in them. They are strangers to that blessed power, without which no man can come to God, or believe in Christ. Oh, what a sad condition for any to be in — “not my people,” and “not beloved!” They have no trace of that life which they would have if the Spirit of God had made them to pass from death to life. God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; and as long as you are dead in sin he is not your God in this special sense, neither does he call you his people.

11. Those who are in that sad state have no relief in prayer. They do not pray; they cannot pray. Now, when I am in trouble, I need no one to advise me to pray. A trouble no sooner comes to me than I spread it before God, and I find a sweet relief at once. Oh, if there were no mercy seat, I should wish that I had never been born! But there are some of you who never truly pray. Such prayers as you do offer have no heart in them, no life in them; and therefore God does not hear you, and you live on in this world without prayer. Men, how can you exist like this? Life must be for you like a burning desert, where every particle of sand blisters the foot that treads upon it. What can this world be to a prayerless man?

12. And just as you are without prayer, so you are without the promises of God to sustain you. The wealth of God’s people seldom lies in cash. Their treasure consists mostly in promises to pay, promises which God has made to his own people. But for the ungodly there are no blessed promises. God will give nothing to you who will not even believe his Word. He has made no covenant with you who will not even trust his Son. You remain as he says, — it is not my word, but his, — “not my people,” and “not beloved,” as long as you are without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: whatever promises he has made to his people, you are without power to plead those promises at the throne of grace, for they do not belong to you.

13. In addition to all this, you are now without any fellowship with God, or with his Son, Jesus Christ. God made this world; but you never speak with the world’s Maker. You are guarded by his providence, and yet you have no fellowship with the God who rules over all. Why, the joy of life to some of us lies mainly in our fellowship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is the very centre of the circle in which we move. He is the height and glory of our manhood; the all in all of our existence. We would not wish to live if it were not for him. He is the sun that makes our heaven bright; all would be dark without him; and yet some of you have no communion with him, perhaps not even any knowledge of him. Oh, my dear friend, you have no Christ, no Saviour, no communion with God, no fellowship with the Most High! “What a terrible condition is yours!”

14. Besides this, you have no hope of heaven. If you were to die as you now are, what could be your eternal portion but to be driven from the presence of God, and from the glory of his power? The Lord Jesus would say of you, “I never knew them, I never knew them. They are not my people. They are not my beloved.” Why, you have never even sought him; you have never cried to him; you have never forsaken the sin which he hates! You have never rested on the atonement which he has made. You have never trusted in his living power to save. Ah, poor creatures that you are, how I pity you! “Do not call us poor,” you say. “We are rich, we are increased in goods, and have need of nothing.” So much the worse is your poverty, because of your imagined wealth. It will be an awful thing to go from your well-spread table to the place where you will be denied a drop of water to cool your burning tongues. It will be a terrible thing if you go from the weakness and sickness of the death-bed at once to stand before your God, to be driven from the pangs of your last moments into that dread position of a culprit, unpardoned, to receive sentence from the great Judge of all. “Not my people,” and “not beloved.” I cannot bear the thought of your doom; and I can say no more on that terrible theme.

15. II. But now, in the second place, I have to speak of THE NEW CONDITION OF GOD’S PEOPLE. Listen, and as you listen, may God make it to be your new condition! There are many in this world to whom my text has been proved to be true: “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved.”

16. Now see the change which God can make. It is God who makes it. The very same people of whom he said, “They are not my people,” he now, calls his people. Indeed, and in the very place where he said that they were not his people, he says they are the people of the living God. Now, what if tonight I have been saying of such and such that they are not God’s people? But what if, before they leave this place, God should say to them, “You are my people?” Oh, what a blessed change would have taken place in them! Let me describe it.

17. If the Lord shall say to us tonight, “You are my people, and you are my beloved,” then we shall know, first, that he thinks upon us, that his mind is towards us, that he has a kindly regard for us, that he takes delight in us, that his heart is set on doing us good. Oh, you who love the Lord, and are his children, think of this, you have the thoughts of God running towards you in streams of ever-abounding tenderness, and mercy, and goodness, and faithfulness!

18. And, as the Lord thinks of us, he speaks to us. Oh, to think that the Lord should speak to those who were not his people once, and speak to them so powerfully as to make his sweet promises enter into their ears, yes, into their hearts, and should become familiar to them, for “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him; and he will show them his covenant!” Oh, how sweetly does God commune with his own children! How he opens up his very heart to them, and makes them to know him, even as Jesus reveals himself to his chosen as he does not do to the world! It is a choice privilege of a child of God to be thought of, and then to be spoken to by the Lord.

19. More than that, God hears us speak. When we are his people, and his beloved, then our accents become sweet to his ears. You know that your dear children often speak very poorly and badly, and other people do not care much to listen to their talk; but to a father’s ear the sound of his own child’s voice is always sweet. You have been away from home for some weeks. I know that you are longing to hear the dear prattlers once again. Well, just as a father loves the voice of his child, so does our heavenly Father love the voices of his beloved whom he calls his people, and he has regard for what they say, he listens to the voice of their cry.

20. Then, beloved, he not only hears us, but he grants us our desire. He will come to our deliverance in the time of trouble. He will bestow upon us all good things: “No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Oh, the privileges of those who are God’s people! The theme is too vast for human language to encompass.

21. One special sign of our new condition is that the Lord forgives our sin. Once we were loaded with sin; but now we do not have a single sin left on us. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, cleanses us from all sin. Paul challenges the whole universe to lay anything to the charge of God’s elect, for God has justified them. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Oh, the heaped-up blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! And that is true of all whom God calls his people, though they once were not his people.

22. And then, dear friends, sin being forgiven, the Lord works all things for our good. Whether we are joyful or depressed, if we are the Lord’s people, all is working for our good. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are the called according to his purpose.” Our losses and our crosses, our bereavements and our bodily pains, as well as our rapturous joys and our highest delights, are all working out the best results for us.

23. More than this, when we are in trouble, God pities us; for “just as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him.” Indeed, and he sends us relief, too, according to that word of David, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” What is better still, God dwells in us, as he said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” And the Holy Spirit has come, and taken up his abode in these mortal bodies, and he dwells there, our Teacher and our Comforter, our Guide and our Friend.

24. Eventually, the Lord Jesus will come again, and receive us to himself, so that where he is there we may be also. I wish I had the tongues of men and of angels so that I might tell you the splendour of the position of those who are the Lord’s own people, the Lord’s own beloved. And who where these people once? I come back to my text again. They were not God’s people, and not beloved: “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved.” Now then, some of you, whom God cannot now look upon except with anger, why should he not look upon you with love tonight through Jesus Christ? He who believes in Christ Jesus may have the blessed assurance that the Lord loves him, and that he is one of the Lord’s people. You may have come in here saying, “I belong to the devil. I am sure I do; I feel within my spirit that I am under his cruel sway. Alas! I do not have a spark of grace, or a thought of goodness. I am as far off from God, and holiness, and heaven, as I ever can be.” Then to you, may God say, “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved!” Oh, the magnificence of this grace that does not wait for man, neither tarries for the sons of men, but works according to the eternal purposes of God, and accomplishes all his sovereign will!

25. III. This brings me, in the third place — going back to the text in Hosea — to notice THE GRAND RESULT OF THIS WONDERFUL CHANGE: “I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people’; and they shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ” Here is a dialogue between the Lord and his people. God says something to them, and they say something to him.

26. Remember that there is no change in God; it is only a change in our relationship to him, because those who have become his people were really his people, in his everlasting purpose, from before the foundation of the world, though they were not actually so concerning their own spiritual condition. But now, when this change comes to pass in their relationship to God, see the grand result of it.

27. First, the Lord says, “You are my people.” Now I pray that the Lord may come tonight, and speak to some who never made mention of his name before, some who never knew him, who never trembled at his Word, never hoped in his mercy, never trusted in his Son, never, indeed, meant to be his people at all. I trust that the Lord will now say to some of them, “You are my people.” Oh, what a wonderful experience it is when the poor lost sinner finds out that he belongs to God, that he has been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, that God intends to save him, that he will not let his Son’s blood be shed for him in vain! I remember the shame and yet the joy that filled my soul when I first woke up to the consciousness of what Christ had done for me. I remember the confusion of face I felt because I had treated such a Saviour so badly; and yet I also felt intense delight in thinking that he loved me, notwithstanding all my sins. This is a text that comforted me, — I pray the Lord to send it home to some other heart, — “I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness”; and this one also, “I have called you by your name; you are mine.” Oh, if the Holy Spirit would apply those words with power to some sinner’s heart tonight, what a running after God, what a seeking after Christ there would be!

28. “I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people.’ ” The Lord does not always say that to his people with equal force. At first, they half hope that it is so. They indistinctly hear his voice saying it; but as faith increases, they hear him say it more distinctly, “You are my people.” I do feel that it is most gracious of God to call those his people who were not his people. You see that he gives them a new name, and that overrides the old one. I think that I hear someone saying, “I have found the Saviour.” “What? What?” says someone who knows you. “You? Not you! we all know what you were.” Perhaps one says, “Ah, you know that you have been as bad as any of us!” Possibly in one case they might say, “You talk about being God’s child? You are a fallen woman,” or, “You have been a thief,” or, “You have been a liar,” or, “You have been a frequenter of places where God is forgotten, a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God.” Yes, but beloved, if the Lord says, “I have called you by your name; you are mine”; you can say to yourself, “They may say what they please about me, and I must admit the truth of it all; but this word of the Lord, ‘You are mine,’ overrides it all.”

29. What a blessed text this is for one who has lost his character, for one who has lost all repute! If you come to Christ, and believe in him, here is a text that applies to you. God says, “Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honourable, and I have loved you.” God can make “right-honourables” out of those who are in themselves most dishonourable, and he can give them a name and a place among his people. Yet I can imagine God looking at someone here tonight, and saying of such a one, “How can I put him among the children? What! put such a sinner among my children?” I can imagine there is someone here who is so extremely sinful that, if I were to propose to God’s people that he should be received among them, they would say, “We should not like to receive that man into the church.” Ah, but when our heavenly Father welcomes home his prodigal son, he will not have the elder brother talk like that. He comes out, and reasons with him, and says, “It was fitting that we should make merry, and be glad: for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Jesus would have us receive the very chief of sinners, the jail-birds, the hell-birds, the men who have gone farthest astray, the men who have lost all hope, the most forlorn and self-condemned, the most dejected, distressed, devil-haunted men and women outside of hell. These are just the people in whom the grace of God triumphs over all sin. “I will call them my people, who were not my people; and her beloved, who was not beloved”; “and I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people.’ ”

30. When the Lord says this to any, their sin is put away. My Lord is a great Forgiver! My Lord, whom I preach to you tonight, who was once nailed to the cross, is able to save to the uttermost all those who come to God by him. “He delights in mercy,” it is his right-hand attribute, his last-born, his Benjamin. Never does he display his mercy more than when, like the mighty sea, his love rolls over the very tops of the mountains of iniquity, and covers them.

31. I close by noticing what the Lord’s people say to him, “They shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ” That is the right saying for every one of the Lord’s people, “You are my God.” Poor sinner, may God the Holy Spirit help you to begin to say that, “You are my God!” Here is a text that should help you to say it, even as it helped me in the hour of my conversion, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else.” Will you look to God, sinner? Will you say to the Lord, “You are my God?” “My God, I have long forgotten you, I have blasphemed you, I have rebelled against you, I have desecrated your Sabbath, I have decried your gospel, I have ridiculed your servants! But, behold, I look to you, for I have sinned; have mercy upon me, for your dear Son’s sake!”

32. That is a good beginning; but may you have grace to advance beyond that experience, so that you may come and lay your hand on Christ the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, saying “This Saviour is my Saviour. I accept him as my Substitute, to stand in my room, and place, and stead!” When you have once honestly uttered this blessed sentence, “You are my God,” God’s grace will help you to keep on saying it. There is no getting further than this, “You are my God.” That is the result of all good things. What more does a man want? What more can a man desire? There is not a good thing anywhere outside of Christ. One of the old Puritans, in the days when no one much liked going to sea, said, “When a man is in a ship, and in his own little cabin, if he looks all around, and sees nothing but the wild waste of waters, without a sign of land anywhere, nothing but angry billows tossing the vessel up and down, if anyone says to him, ‘Will you leave your little cabin? Will you leave your little ship?’ ‘No,’ he says, ‘where else can I go? There is nowhere else to go.’ ” That is just how I feel tonight about my Lord. My cabin, my ship, my Christ, my faith in him, gives me rest and peace. I cannot see anywhere else that I can go except to destruction and despair; so my soul says over again, “You are my God, you are my God. Others may have what they wish; but I will have my God. They may have whatever god they like; but you, Triune Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are my God, and on you my soul rests, seeking no other confidence.”

33. Will you say that tonight, my dear hearers? I do not know your cases; but I know that, if I want to get sheep into a fold, a good way is to open the gate as widely as I ever can; and then another good way to entice the sheep in is to have rich pasture inside. Well, I have tried to set before you the rich, free grace of God to the very chief of sinners, and I have pointed to the opened door, that is wide enough to let the biggest sinner come through. Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Now, if Noah’s ark had a door that was big enough to let an elephant through, then it was big enough to let a dog through, or a fox, or a cat, or a mouse. You may come if you are the biggest sinner in the world; and I do not suppose that you are, for the biggest sinner died and went to heaven long ago. Paul says that he was the biggest sinner, the chief of sinners; and I believe that he knew what size of sinner he was. If there was room for him to go through the gate of salvation, there is room for you. May God’s grace draw you this very night; and to the God of all grace shall be the praise for ever and ever! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ho 2:5-23}

In this chapter God compares Israel to a woman who had been unfaithful to her husband in the very worst and most wicked manner.

5. “For their mother has played the prostitute: she who conceived them has acted shamefully: for she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’

She attributed to false gods the gifts which God had given to her. This was great ingratitude to God, and a high insult to his holy majesty.

6. Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and make a wall, so that she shall not find her paths.

That is what God does to sinners whom he intends to save. He will not let them take their own course. He gives them thorny trials which hedge up their way. He puts an obstacle in their path; perhaps some sickness or poverty. When men are desperate in wickedness, God has a way of stopping them. Even in their mad career, his mighty grace comes in, and says, “You shall go so far, but no farther.”

7. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them:

So sinners go after the pleasures of the world, and the pleasures run away from them. They make one thing their god, and then another; and they exert all their strength to attain the object of their ambition; and God thwarts them. In infinite love, he baffles all their endeavours because he intends to bring them to himself.

7. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband; for then it was better with me than now.’

That is what he brings us to; weary of the world, indeed, weary of life itself, we get worn out in the ways of evil, and then we say, “I will go to God.” What a blessed conclusion to come to! However terrible the whip with which he scourges us, it does us good. The fierce billow that washes the mariner upon the rock of safety, is a blessing to him.

8, 9. For she did not know that I gave her grain, and wine, and olive oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore I will return, and take away my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.

God claims the blessings of providence as his own; and when he sees his people misuse them, he says, “I will recover them. She is giving them to Baal, she is using them for an evil purpose; I will take them away.”

10, 11. And now I will expose her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her out of my hand. I will also make all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.

When God deals with men, he uses no half measures. If they have been very happy in the ways of sin, and he intends to save them from their evil courses; he will take away all their joy. They shall henceforth have none of the merriment in which they indulged. He will give them better happiness eventually; but for the time being it shall be true, “I will make all her mirth to cease.”

12. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, of which she has said, ‘These are my rewards that my lovers have given me’: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.

Her most precious things shall be destroyed; or, if they are allowed to exist, they shall become the cause of fear and trouble. Oh, how often have I seen this verified in the experience of men and women whom God has saved by his almighty grace!

13. And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, when she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me,” says the LORD.

They burned no incense at Jerusalem; they refused to offer sacrifice there; but they went to this hill and to that, to worship the different images of Baal, and said, “These are our gods.” Therefore, God says that he will make them sick of their idolatry. They shall grow tired of polluting his holy name, and degrading themselves by worshipping things made of wood and stone.

14. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortingly to her.

Oh, glorious verse! She who went so far astray, God will come, and draw her back from the path of sin. He will get her alone; he will bring her into a place of grief and sorrow, a wilderness; and then he will come near, and speak sweet words of comfort into her ear. “I will allure her,” as the bird-catchers whistle to the birds, and draw them to the net, so I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, the place of loneliness, the place of poverty; and “I will speak to her heart,” so the Hebrew has it, for God knows how to speak, not only into the ear, but into the heart.

15. And I will give her her vineyards from there,

He will give back what he took away. He will seal with lovingkindness the real kindness which made him deal roughly with her at first.

15. And the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Oh, backslider God can give you back your early joy, your early love, indeed, and your early purity; and he can make you sing as at the beginning! Therefore, be of good comfort, and come to your Lord; come even now, with all your sins on you, and he will receive you.

16. And it shall be at that day,” says the LORD, “that you shall call me ‘Ishi’; and shall call me no more ‘Baali.’

“Baali” means “my lord” in the sense of domination; but God will not seem to us any more like a domineering governor, as we once thought him to be; but we shall call him “Ishi,” “my husband.” There shall be such nearness of love, such confidence of hope, between the restored soul and her God, that she shall call him no more Baali, but Ishi.

17. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

Oh, the love of God! He does not want us to remember our old ways. I do not like to hear people talk about their old habits, unless they do it very tenderly, with many a tear and many a sigh, and tell the story to the praise and glory of divine grace. God takes the old names out of our lips; we forget them, we have finished with them, we bury the dead past, and we live in newness of life.

18. And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground:

So that the insects should not devour the crops, and the foxes should not spoil the vines, and the birds should not steal the seed. So God will still take care of his people. It does seem that, when we once get right with God, we get right with everything; when we are at peace with him, then neither beast, nor fowl, nor creeping thing can do us harm.

18. And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.

They had been much troubled by war. It had killed their children, destroyed their homes, and made them poor and wretched. Now God says, “I will break the bow and the sword and the battle.” How often God gives a heavenly calm to us when we are once washed in the blood of Christ, and covered with his righteousness! I remember how the storm within my heart was hushed into a deep calm as soon as I had seen my Lord, and had yielded my heart to him. Oh, you who are in storms tonight, I pray that God may bring you to himself, and give you “peace, perfect peace!” And then what more will the Lord do?

19. And I will betroth you to me for ever;

What, this woman who had gone so far into evil? Can a man receive such a one back? No; but God can. He says there shall be a new betrothal, a new marriage: “I will betroth you to me for ever.” Blessed word!

19, 20. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness: and you shall know the LORD.

You shall know Jehovah; you shall know that there is no one like him, passing by iniquity, transgression, and sin; and faithful to his people even when they are unfaithful to him. Is there any god like our God? Have you ever tasted his grace? Do you know his pardoning love? Have you ever been brought back to him? Have you been restored to his favour? Then I am sure you can say, “There is no one like Jehovah.”

21, 22. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear,” says the LORD, “I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the grain, and the wine, and the olive oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.

God would send rain when it was needed. He would be all ear to hear on behalf of his people. He would not only hear them, but hear the very earth they tilled, and the heavens above their heads, as if nature itself began to pray when the child of God learned that holy art.

23. And I will sow her for me in the earth;

He would make the people to be like the seed which he himself would sow, and cause to spring up, and remain.

23. And I will have mercy upon her who had not obtained mercy;

I would like to read that again. Someone has, perhaps, come in here tonight, who has never obtained mercy. Perhaps you have been seeking it, and you have not found it. Hear God’s promise, and lay hold upon it: “I will have mercy upon her who had not obtained mercy.”

23. And I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people’; and they shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ”

See, it is all in “shalls” and “wills.” God is speaking, God omnipotent, omnipotent over men’s hearts. He is not saying, “I will if they will,” but “I will, and they shall,” for he has the key of free-agency; and when he turns it in the lock, without violating the free will of man, he makes him willing in the day of his power to the praise of his divine supremacy, for God is God when he saves as much as when he reigns; yes, his reigning grace is the very glory of his nature, and we love and adore this. May God grant us a taste of it! Amen.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — ‘Grace Reigns’ ” 233}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — ‘We Have Peace With God’ ” 565}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — The Longsuffering Of God” 569}

The Work of Grace as a Whole
233 — “Grace Reigns”
1 Grace! ‘tis a charming sound!
      Harmonious to the ear!
   Heaven with the echo shall resound,
      And all the earth shall hear.
2 Grace first contrived the way
      To save rebellious man;
   And all the steps that grace display
      Which drew the wondrous plan.
3 Grace first inscribed my name
      In God’s eternal book:
   ‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
      Who all my sorrows took.
4 Grace led my roving feet
      To tread the heavenly road;
   And new supplies each hour I meet
      While pressing on to God.
5 Grace taught my soul to pray,
      And made my eyes o’erflow;
   ‘Twas grace that kept me to this day,
      And will not let me go.
6 Grace all the work shall crown,
      Through everlasting days;
   It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
      And well deserves the praise.
                  Philip Doddridge, 1755;
                  Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.

Gospel, Received by Faith
565 — “We Have Peace With God”
1 In Christ I have believed,
      And through the spotless Lamb
   Grace and salvation have received;
      In him complete I am.
2 This hope divine uplifts
      My soul amid distress;
   “Without repentance” are his gifts
      Who thus vouchsafes to bless.
3 My sins, my crimson stains,
      Are blotted out, each one;
   No condemnation now remains!
      God views me in his Son.
4 Then come what may to me,
      It will, it must be blest!
   Home in the distance I can see;
      There I shall be at rest.
                  Charlotte Elliott, 1854.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
569 — The Longsuffering Of God <7s.>
1 Lord, and am I yet alive,
   Not in torments, not in hell!
   Still doth thy good Spirit strive —
   With the chief of sinners dwell?
      Tell it unto sinners, tell,
      I am, I am out of hell!
2 Yes, I still lift up mine eyes,
   Will not of thy love despair;
   Still in spite of sin I rise,
   Still I bow to thee in prayer.
      Till it unto sinners, tell,
      I am, I am out of hell!
3 Oh the length and breadth of love!
   Jesus, Saviour, can it be?
   All thy mercy’s height I prove,
   All the depth is seen in me.
      Tell it unto sinners, tell,
      I am, I am out of hell!
4 See a bush that burns with fire,
   Unconsumed amidst the flame!
   Turn aside the sight to admire,
   I the living wonder am.
      Tell it unto sinners, tell,
      I am, I am out of hell!
                     Charles Wesley, 1743.

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).

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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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