2321. The Heavenly Singers And Their Song

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No. 2321-39:385. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 14, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, August 13, 1893.

And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, everyone of them having harps, and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and have made us kings and priests to our God: and we shall reign on the earth.” {Re 5:8-10}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1051, “Golden Vials Full of Odours” 1042}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2321, “Heavenly Singers and Their Song, The” 2322}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Re 5:9"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Re 5:10"}

1. This morning we had a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ appearing in heaven in his sacrificial character, being adored in that character, looking like a Lamb who had been slain, and being worshipped under that aspect in the very centre of heaven. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2095, “The Lamb in Glory” 2096} I tried, as far as I ever could, to insist that we must never hide the atoning sacrifice, that Christ, as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, is always to be brought to the forefront, to be put foremost in our preaching and in our practice, too. In this verse, we go a step further. This blessed Lamb appears in heaven as the Mediator between God and men. At God’s right hand was the book of his eternal purposes. No one dared even to look at it; it was hopeless that any creature should be able to open its seven seals. But there came forward this glorious Lamb, who had the marks of his slaughter on him, and he took the book out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. So he acted as Mediator, Interpreter, taking the will of God, and translating it to us, letting us know the meaning of that writing of the right hand of God which we could never have deciphered, but which, when Christ opens the seals, is made clear to us.

2. Jesus Christ, then, is seen as our sacrifice in the capacity of Mediator, and in that capacity he becomes the object of the adoration, first, of the Church, then of all the thousands and ten thousands of angels, and then of every creature that God has made. It would be too large a subject to take in all those hallelujahs; and, therefore, in speaking tonight I select only these three verses to describe the song of the Church, the adoration of the Church of God, rendered to the bleeding Lamb as the Mediator between God and men.

3. I shall have only two divisions. First, behold the worshippers; and, secondly, listen to their song.

4. I. First, BEHOLD THE WORSHIPPERS; for, remember, that we must be like them if we are to be with them. It is a well-known rule that heaven must be in us before we can be in heaven. We must be heavenly if we hope to sit in the heavenly places. We shall not be taken up to join the glorified choir unless we have learned their song, and can join their sacred harmony. Look, then, at the worshippers. You are not yet perfectly like them; but you will be, eventually, if you already have the main points of likeness created in you by the grace of God.

5. The first point about the worshippers is this, they are all full of life. I must confess that I should not like to dogmatize over the meaning of the four living creatures; but still they do seem to me to be an emblem of the Church in its Godward standing, quickened by the life of God. At any rate, they are living creatures; and the elders themselves are living personages. Yet alas, alas, that it should be necessary to say so trite a thing; but the dead cannot praise God! “The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do today.” Yet how many dead people there are in this great assembly tonight! If one, who had sufficient powers of penetration as to be able to detect the actions of the spiritual life of man, were to go around this crowd, “Ah! me,” he would say, “take this one away, take that one away; these are dead souls in the midst of the living in Zion.” I will not dwell on this very solemn thought; but I wish the conscience of some here to dwell on it when the service is over; you are dead people in the midst of life; you joined in the song just now, but there was no living praise in your singing. Prayer was offered by my dear brother Hurditch very fervently; but there was no living prayer in you. Do you know that it is so? If so, then take your right place; and God grant you enough life to know the absence of life, lest he should say of you, “Bury my dead out of my sight,” and you should be taken away to the house appointed to the dead, since you cannot be allowed to pollute the gathering of living saints! Those in heaven are all full of life; there is no dead worshipper there, no dull, cold heart that does not respond to the praise by which it is surrounded; they are all full of life.

6. And note further, that they are all of one mind. Whether they are twenty-four elders, or four living creatures, they all move simultaneously. With perfect unanimity they fall on their faces, or touch their harps, or lift up their golden vials full of sweet incense. I like unanimity in worship here. You remember the lines —

    At once they sing, at once they pray;
    They hear of heaven, and learn the way.

We used to sing that song when we were children; but is there always real unanimity in our assembly? While one is praising, is not another murmuring? While one is earnest, is not another indifferent? While one is believing, is not another an infidel? Oh God, grant to our assemblies here below the unanimity that comes from the One Spirit working in us the same result, for so we must be in heaven; and if we are not of one mind here below, we are not like the heavenly beings above! When little bickerings come in, when sectarian differences prevent our joining in the common adoration, it is a great pity. God heal his one Church of all her unhappy divisions, and any one church of any latent differences that there may be, that our unity on earth may be an anticipation of the unanimity of heaven!

7. Note, next, that just as the heavenly worshippers are full of life, and full of unity, so they are all full of holy reverence. “When he had taken the book, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb,” all reverently fell down before the Lamb. And in the fourteenth verse, after their song was over, and after the angels and the whole creation had taken their turn in the celestial music, we read, “And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen.’ ” It was all that they could say; they were overawed with the majestic presence of God and the Lamb. “And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped him who lives for ever and ever.” They did not say anything then; they simply fell down and worshipped. It is a grand thing when, at last, we have broken the backs of words with the weight of our feelings, when expressive silence must come in to prove the praises which we cannot utter. It is glorious to be in this reverent state of mind. We are not always so; but they are so in heaven; they are all ready to fall down before the Lord. Do you not think that we often come into our places of worship with a great deal of carelessness? And while the service is going on, are we not thinking of a thousand things? Or if we are attentive, is there enough lowly worship about us? In heaven, they fall down before the Lamb; brothers, sisters, should we not serve God better if we did more of this falling down to worship the Lamb?

8. Note, next, that while they are all full of reverence, they are all in a praising condition:“ Every one of them having harps.” They did not pass one harp around, and take turns in playing it; nor was there one who had to sit still because he had forgotten his harp; but every one of them had his harp. I am afraid those words do not describe all God’s people here tonight. My dear sister, where is your harp? It is gone to be repaired, is it not? My dear brother, where is your harp? You have left it on the willow tree, by the waters of Babylon, so you do not have one here. I must confess that sometimes I do not have a harp; I could preach a solemn sermon, but I could not so well render the praise. Our dear friend Hurditch seemed to have brought his harp with him tonight; I am glad he praised the Lord so many times for so many mercies. We do not always have our harps with us; but all of the living creatures and the elders had the instruments for the expression of their holy joy, “every one of them having harps.” Try to be like the spirits above.

9. But this is not all; they are all ready for prayer. In heaven there is prayer, we must correct the common mistake about that matter; and there is something to pray for. Although we do not enquire concerning the intercession of saints and angels, — that would be far from scriptural, — still, we believe that the saints do pray. Are they not crying, “Oh Lord, how long?” Why should they not pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven”? They would understand that prayer better than we do. We know how God’s will is not done on earth, but they know how it is done in heaven; and they could pray, “Your kingdom come, for yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.” How sweetly could their lips move over such words as those! Well, all of them had “golden vials full of incense.” Are we always furnished and prepared for prayer? This ought to be more easy than always to have a harp; but I am afraid that we do not always have our golden vials full of incense; I do not know that they are golden vials at all, I am afraid that ours are of the earth, earthy. But in heaven they have golden vials, pure and precious, and they are full of incense. Sometimes, when you look into your prayer box, my brother, you have to scrape the bottom to find enough incense to make even a little perfume; but to have our vials full of sweet incense, this is the state of mind in which we should always be. May God bring us to that! We shall be getting near heaven, when we can always pray, and certainly near heaven when we can always praise.

    Prayer and praise, with sins forgiven,
    Bring to earth the bliss of heaven,

and make us ready to go up and share that bliss.

10. Now you see something of what these worshippers were. I only pause a moment to ask whether we are prepared to go there, whether we are like those who are there. Remember that there is only one place for us besides; if we do not enter heaven, to praise with those perfect spirits, we must be driven from the divine presence to suffer with the condemned. You are not willing to go to hell; will you not be in earnest to go to heaven? You recoil at the idea of “Depart, you cursed!” Oh, why not even now accept “Come, you blessed,” while Jesus repeats his gracious invitation, “Come to me all you who labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”? I wish that I were able to press this invitation on you; but I put it before you. In the name of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, I invite you to trust in him, and find your sins forgiven; and in doing so, you shall be prepared to meet the Lamb who sits on the throne, and there for ever to adore his sacrifice, while you enjoy the blessings that flow from it. May we all meet in heaven! It would be a dreadful thing if we could know the destiny of everyone here, and find, among other things, that some here will never see the gate of pearl except from an awful distance, with a great gulf fixed, of which gulf it is said, “Those who would come from there to you, cannot; neither can they come to us, who would come from there.” May we be on the right side of that gulf! Be on the right side of it tonight, for Jesus’ sake!

11. II. Now, so having spoken of the worshippers, I want you to LISTEN TO THEIR SONGS. We must do our best to listen in the short time that we have left. “They sang a new song, saying, ‘You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and have made us kings and priests to our God: and we shall reign on the earth.’ ”

12. It is rather an unusual thing to take a hymn, and treat it doctrinally but, for your instruction, I must take away the poetry for a moment, and just deal with the doctrines of this heavenly hymn.

13. The first doctrine is, Christ is put in the forefront, the deity of Christ, as I hold. They sing, “You are worthy, you are worthy.” A strong-winged angel sped his way over earth and heaven, and down the deep places of the universe, crying with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book?” but no answer came, for no creature was worthy. Then came One, of whom the Church cries in its song, “You are worthy, you are worthy.” Yes, beloved, he is worthy of all the praise and honour that we can bring to him. He is worthy to be called equal with God, indeed, he is himself God, very God of very God; and no man can sing this song, or ever will sing it, unless he believes Christ to be divine, and accepts him as his Lord and God.

14. Next, the doctrine of this hymn is that the whole Church delights in the mediation of Christ. Notice, it happened when he had taken the book that they said, “You are worthy to take the book.” To have Christ standing between God and man, is the joy of every believing heart. We could never reach up to God; but Christ has come to bridge the distance between us. He places one hand on man and the other on God; he is the Daysman, who can lay his hand on both; and the Church greatly rejoices in this. Remember that even the working of providence is not apart from the mediation of Christ. I rejoice in this, that if the thunders are let loose, if plagues and deaths fly around us, the child of God is still under the Mediator’s protection, and no harm shall happen to the chosen, for Jesus always guards us. All power is given to him in heaven and in earth, and the Church rejoices in his mediatorship.

15. But now, notice, in the Church’s song, what is her reason for believing that Christ is worthy to be a Mediator. She says, “You are worthy, for you were slain.” Ah, beloved, when Christ undertook to be her Mediator, this was the extreme point to which suretyship could carry him, to be slain! And he has gone to the extreme point, and he has paid life for life. “In the day that you eat from it you shall surely die,” was the sentence pronounced on Adam. The second Adam has died; he has bowed his head to the sentence, he has vindicated the law of God, he has gone to the extreme length of all that his mediatorship could possibly demand of him, and this makes the redeemed lift up the song higher and higher and higher: “You are worthy, for you were slain.” Jesus is never more glorious than in his death; his propitiation is the culmination of his glory, after all, just as it was the very utmost depth of his shame. Beloved, we rejoice in our Mediator because he died.

16. Well then, notice, that they sing of the redemption which his death accomplished, and they do not sing of the redemption of the world. No, not at all: “You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” I am not going into a doctrinal discussion tonight. I believe in the infinite value of the atoning sacrifice; I believe that, if God had ordained it to be effective for the salvation of many more, it was quite sufficient for the divine purpose; but those whom Christ redeemed to God by his blood are not all mankind. All mankind will not sing this song; all mankind will not be made kings and priests to God; and all mankind are not redeemed in the sense in which this song is lifted up to God. I want to know, not so much about general redemption, of which you may believe what you like, but about particular redemption, personal redemption: “You have redeemed us.” “Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it.” “You have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” My dear hearer, can you join in this song? It is all very well to say, “Oh, yes! we are all sinners; we are all redeemed.” Stop, stop; are you a sinner? Do you know it? Sinners are very scarce in London. “Why, there are millions of them!” you say? Yes, yes, yes; nominally, they will say so; but the bona fide sinner, who knows his guilt, is a scarce article.

    A sinner is a sacred thing,
    The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

If there is a real sinner in this house tonight, she will be weeping at my Master’s feet, washing those blessed feet with her tears. But as for your sham sinners — they are sinners enough, God knows; but they do not really believe that they are sinners. They have never done anything very wrong, nothing very particular, nothing very important, nothing to break their hearts about. Oh! you — why, you cannot even claim to come in among the sinners, you are a sham even there! But as for redemption, that redemption that redeemed everyone will not do you any good, for it redeemed Judas, it redeemed the myriads that are now in hell. That is a poor redemption! The redemption that you need is the redemption that would take you right out from your fellow sinners, so that you would be separated to God, according to that word, “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and do not touch the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.’ ”

17. A thing that is redeemed belonged originally to the person who redeems it; and the redeemed of the Lord always were his: “Yours they were,” says Christ, “and you gave them to me.” They always were God’s. You cannot go and redeem a thing that does not belong to you. You may buy it, but you cannot redeem it. Now, what belonged originally to God came under a mortgage through sin. We, having sinned, came under the curse of the Law; and though God still held to it that we were his, yet we were under this embargo, sin had a lien on us. Christ came, and saw his own, and he knew that they were his own. He asked what there was to pay to redeem them, to take them out of pawn. It was his heart’s blood, his life, himself, that was required; he paid the price, and redeemed them; and tonight we sing, “You have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” He has, by redeeming us, separated us to himself, and made us a special people, bought with blood in a special sense out of all the rest of mankind.

18. I could tell you a great deal about the universal bearings of Christ’s redemption, in which I believe, and in the infinite value of that redemption, in which I believe; but I also say that there was, in the design of God, and in the work of Christ, a particular form of redemption, which was only for his own people, even as his intercession is, for he says, “I pray for them, I do not pray for the world: but for those whom you have given to me, for they are yours.” Whatever some may think about it, there is a speciality and selectivity about the redemption of Christ; and this makes the very highest note of the song of heaven, “You have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

19. So much about the heavenly hymn doctrinally.

20. Now about it practically:“ You have redeemed us to God.” I have said, dear friends, that you cannot sing this song unless you know something about it now. Have you been redeemed? Has the embargo that was on you through sin been taken off you? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? For, every man who believes in Jesus Christ has the evidence of his eternal redemption. You have been bought back with a countless price if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, and you are trusting only in him. That was their experience: “You have redeemed us.” They felt free; they remembered when they wore their fetters, but they saw them all broken by Christ. Have you been set free? Have you had your fetters broken? Ask the question, and then let us pass on.

21. This redemption is the basis of their distinction: “You have redeemed us to God by your blood.” I heard one, the other day, say of a certain minister, “Oh! we want another minister, we are tired of this man; he is always talking so much about the blood.” In the last great day, God will be tired of the man who made that speech. God never wearies of the precious blood, nor will his people who know where their salvation lies. They do not, even in heaven, say that it is a dreadful word to mention. “Oh, but I do not like the word!” says some delicate gentleman. Your lordship will not be bothered with it, for you will not go to heaven. Do not trouble yourself; you shall not go where they sing about the blood. But, notice that, if you ever do go there, you will hear it over and over and over again: “You have redeemed us to God by your blood.” How they will ring it out! “You, you, you have redeemed us to God by your blood.” How they will emphasize that pronoun, “You, ” and address the praise entirely to Jesus, and sound out that word with the full music of their harps, “You have redeemed us to God by your blood.” They are not ashamed of the blood of Jesus up there.

22. It is this redemption that has made them kings. We cannot experience our kingship to the full here below; though we do in a measure. There is a poor man here, who has only one room to live in; he has no money in his pocket tonight, yet he is a king in the sight of God. There is one here, perhaps, who used to be a drunkard. He could not overcome the evil in any way; he signed the pledge, wore the blue ribbon, {a} and so on; but still he went back to the drink. By the grace of God he has gotten the victory over it now, for he has a new heart and a right spirit. That man is a king; he is a king over his drunken habits. There is one here who used to have a very fierce temper. It was hard to live with him; but Christ has made him a changed man, and now he is a king, ruling over his temper. It is a grand thing to be made a king over yourself. There are some, who have dominion over millions of others, who have never ruled themselves. Poor creatures! Poor creatures! Thank God, if he has given you the mastery of your own nature; that is a glorious conquest; yet this is only the beginning of what is in this song of heaven.

23. And then they say, “You have made us priests.” Oh, the poor creatures we have nowadays in the world, who cannot go to Christ except by a priest! They must go to a priest to confess their sins, and go to a priest to get absolution. We have priests not only in the Church of Rome, but elsewhere; we are sorry to see this accursed priestcraft coming in everywhere. Why, some of you people would like your minister to do all your religion for you, would you not? You take a sitting, and leave your religion to your minister. Christ has made every one of his people a priest, and every child of God is as much a priest as I am; and I am a priest certainly, a priest to God to offer the spiritual sacrifice of prayer, and praise, and the ministry of the Word. But here is the special joy of all Christians, that God has made them priests. If they do not use their priesthood here, I am afraid that they will never be able to use their priesthood before the throne of God with their fellow priests. This is the melody of the heavenly song, “Washed in the precious blood, redeemed by that matchless price, we are now made kings and priests to our God.” Even on earth each saint can sing, —

    I would not change my blest estate,
    For all that earth calls good or great;
    And while my faith can keep her hold,
    I envy not the sinner’s gold.

24. So I have spoken of the song doctrinally, and practically; now let me speak of it expectantly.

25. There is something to be expected: “And we shall reign on the earth.” When John heard that song, the resurrection day had not yet come. These are the spirits before the throne, disembodied; they are expecting the day of the resurrection. When that day will come, who can tell? But when it comes, the dead in Christ shall rise first. Springing up at the midnight cry, they shall leave their beds of dust and silent clay, and the saints who are alive and remain shall join them. I will not go into the details of that time; but then shall come a period of halcyon bliss. “The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” Then shall be a time of the saints’ reigning on the earth. Their life shall be regal; their delights, their joys, and their honours, shall be equal to those of kings and princes, indeed, they shall far exceed them. Do you and I expect to reign on the earth? It will seem very odd to one who is very poor, obscure, perhaps ignorant, but who knows his Lord, to find that Christ has made him a priest and a king, and that he shall reign even on the earth with him, and then reign for ever with him in glory; but it would be more exceptional, it would be perfectly monstrous, if we were to assert concerning some people, and of some here present, that they would reign on the earth. The man who lives for himself shall never reign on the earth. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”; not the men who, in their selfishness, trample down everyone else with an iron heel. You shall not reign on the earth; you have lived here simply to hoard money, or to make a name for yourself, or to indulge your passions, or to revenge yourselves on your fellow men. You reign, Sir? You? God’s prison-house is the place for you, not a throne. But when he has made us meek, and humble, and lowly, and reverent, and pure, then we shall become fit to be promoted to this high calling of being priests and kings for Christ to God in glory, and even here on earth in the day that is coming.

26. I wish that everyone here would search himself concerning whether he is likely to be in that blessed number. Do you with joy accept Christ as your Mediator? Do you see clearly how worthy he is to be the Mediator? Have you been redeemed from among men? Have you been taken away from old associations? Have you broken loose from habits that held you a slave among the Egyptians? Have you come into a new society? Has God brought you into a new heaven and a new earth? Has he given you any measure of reigning power over yourself? Do you live as a priest, serving God continually? If you are obliged to keep on saying, “No, no, no,” to all these questions, then what shall I say but “Come to Christ?” May you come to him tonight! May he tonight begin in you that blessed process that shall make you fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{a} Blue Ribbon: A small strip of blue ribbon worn by certain abstainers from alcoholic beverages, as a means of mutual recognition, and as a public indication of their principles; hence to take the blue ribbon. Blue Ribbon Army: the association of such Total Abstainers. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 136}

When the chorus was taken up by all of the people, accompanied by a blast of trumpets, this must have been a magnificent hymn of praise.

1. Oh give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.

The Psalm begins with the august name, the incommunicable title of the one living and true God, Jah, Jehovah. The Jews had a high respect for this name which degenerated into superstition, for they would not write it in their Bibles, and put another word instead, in which our translators have imitated them, not to the improvement of the version. Surely, if it is “Jehovah” in the original, we should have it “Jehovah” here. The name is a very wonderful one, “Je-ho-vah.” No man knows exactly how it should be pronounced; it is said to consist of a succession of breathings, therefore is it written, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord,” whose name is a breathing, and in whom dwells the life of all who breathe.

Let us take care that we never trifle with the name of God. I think that the common use of the word “Hallelujah,” or, “Praise the Lord,” is simply profane. Surely, this is not a word to be dragged in the mire; it should be pronounced with solemn awe and sacred joy.

2. Oh give thanks to the God of gods: for his mercy endures for ever.

If there is any other god, if there can be imagined to be any, our God is infinitely above them all. The gods of the heathen are idols, but our God made the heavens. If there is any reverence due to magistrates, of whom we read in Psalm 82, “I have said, ‘You are gods,’ ” yet they are nothing at all compared with Jehovah, “the God of gods.”

3. Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endures for ever.

Whatever there is of authority, or lordship, or kingship of any kind, in the world, it is all in subjection to him who is “the Lord of lords.” I think I hear the trumpets sounding it out, and all the people joining in chorus, “Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endures for ever.” It is always the same strain, the enduring mercy of God, that bore the strain of Israel’s sin, and Israel’s need, and Israel’s wandering.

4. To him who alone does great wonders: for his mercy endures for ever.

No one does wonders that can be compared with Jehovah’s wonders. No one helps him in the doing of his wonders; he asks no aid from any of his creatures.

5. To him who by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endures for ever.

Every time you lift up your eyes to that one great arch which spans all mankind, praise the name of the great Builder who made that one enormous span, unbuttressed and unpropped. What a work it was! And it was made by mercy as well as by wisdom. If we go into the scientific account of the atmosphere, of the firmament, and of the stellar heavens, we see that the hand of mercy was behind wisdom in the making of it all: “for his mercy endures for ever.”

6. To him who stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endures for ever.

We ought to praise him for the making of every country, especially, I think, we who dwell on these favoured islands, because he has placed our lot on an island.

    He bade the waters round thee flow;
    Not bars of brass could guard thee so.

We might have been beneath the tyrant’s foot, if it had not been for “the silver streak” that gives us liberty. The whole earth, wherever men dwell, will afford some special reason for their praise to Jehovah.

7-9. To him who made great lights: for his mercy endures for ever: the sun to rule by day: for his mercy endures for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endures for ever.

Why three verses about one thing? Because we are not accustomed to dwell on God’s goodness as we should. Therefore we are told, first, to remember light in general, and then the sun, the moon, the stars, each one in particular; and each time we do so, we may say, “His mercy endures for ever.” We are not left in the daytime without the sun; and, when the day is over, the darkness of the night is cheered either by the moon or by the stars, which show us that, not only day to day, but night to night, he thinks about us, “for his mercy endures for ever.” Praise him, praise him, whether it is high noon or midnight, when the day is renewed or when the curtains of your rest are drawn, still praise him, “for his mercy endures for ever.”

10. To him who struck Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endures for ever:

It is not a common mercy of which we have to sing, but a particular theme for thanksgiving, he “struck Egypt in their firstborn.”

11. And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endures for ever:

Sing of his goodness to his chosen, even though it involved a terrible stroke on his proud adversary. There are some who cannot praise God’s left hand, but we can; not only the right hand that helps his people out, but the left hand that strikes the Egyptians. We still praise him with unabated joy in him. What he does, must be right; and in his vengeance there is justice, and justice is mercy to mankind.

12. With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endures for ever.

In all God’s acts there is some peculiarity which commands special attention. He “brought out Israel,” praise him for that. He did it “with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm,” therefore praise him again. The ring is precious, but the diamond in the ring is what you are told to look at in this verse, namely, Jehovah’s strong hand, and stretched out arm.

13, 14. To him who divided the Red Sea into parts: for his mercy endures for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endures for ever:

And when you, too, come to the Red Sea on your way to the heavenly Canaan, when your path is blocked, God will divide it for you; and as he gently leads you through the very depths, he will have you sing, “His mercy endures for ever.” No floods can drown his love, nor separate you from it. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Jehovah will split seas in two to make a passage for his people, “for his mercy endures for ever.”

15. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea: for his mercy endures for ever.

This is the deep bass of the hymn, he “overthrew Pharaoh.” “He has thrown the horse and his rider into the sea.” We cannot give up that verse; we cannot refuse to sing the song of Moses; we must praise and bless God for all that he did at the Red Sea, even though terrible were his deeds of righteousness, when the chivalry of Egypt sank to the bottom of the sea like a stone.

16. To him who led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endures for ever.

Here is another point where you can join with Israel. This world is a wilderness to you; but the Lord leads you through it. By his fiery-cloudy pillar, he conducts you all your journey through. By his manna, gently dropping from heaven, he still feeds you; and he will guide you until he brings you over “Jordan’s stormy banks” —

    “To Canaan’s fair and happy land.”

17-20. To him who struck great kings: for his mercy endures for ever: and killed famous kings: for his mercy endures for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endures for ever: and Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endures for ever:

Here you have the repetitions of God. I have sometimes said that I like the tunes which allow us to repeat the line of a hymn; and, certainly, one likes a Psalm which turns over some great mercy of God, and makes us see the various facets of the wonderful jewel. The psalmist does not merely say that Jehovah killed great kings; but these kings were famous in battle, which rendered their greatness or power all the more formidable; but whether men are great, or whether they are valorous, or both, they cannot prevent God’s mercy to his people. He will push a way for them against the horns of their adversaries, and they shall be victorious. As if to show the depth of his gratitude, the psalmist gives the names of these kings, and of the countries over which they ruled; and he dwells with emphasis on these points of the mercy of God towards his people, in that he killed famous kings, Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan.

21, 22. And gave their land for an inheritance: for his mercy endures for ever: even an inheritance to Israel his servant: for his mercy endures for ever.

He gave them those countries which were beyond the land of promise, because these foes tried to stop their way. He did not limit Palestine; but, on the contrary, he stretched the ordained bounds of it, and enclosed the land of the Amorites and Bashan within the territory he gave to his people.

Now comes a soft sweet verse; I think I hear the harps leading the singing: —

23. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endures for ever:

Can you not sing this tonight? Some of you, who were very poor, very sad, despairing, abhorred by men, slandered, persecuted, very low, perhaps some here, who once were in the slums of this city, now can sing, “Who remembered us in our low estate.” Spiritually, our estate was low enough; it had ebbed out, until we had no comfort nor hope left; but the Lord remembered us. That is a blessed prayer, “Lord, remember me.” That prayer has been answered for many here; indeed, even before we prayed it. He remembered us in our low estate, “for his mercy endures for ever.” Dear heart, are you in a very low estate tonight? Do you feel as if you were at death’s dark door, and at hell’s dread brink, by reason of the greatness and blackness of your sin? “His mercy endures for ever.” Catch at that rope. Drowning men clutch at straws; but this is no straw. Cling to it; it will bear your weight. It has been a means of salvation to myriads before you. Trust God’s mercy in Christ, and you are saved, “for his mercy endures for ever.” “Who remembered us” — what next?

24. And has redeemed us —

This song is climbing up; it begins to ascend the heavenly ladder; it has already reached redemption.

24, 25. From our enemies: for his mercy endures for ever. Who gives food to all flesh: for his mercy endures for ever.

God is the great Feeder of the world. What a commissariat {b} is that of the universe! One cannot think of the needs of the five million in London without shuddering lest, some day, there should not be food enough for them; but there always is. I will not trace it to the mere fact that trade and commerce supply us. No, there is an overruling power behind it all, depend on it. All the world seems eager to supply our markets, and to make the loaf for the labourer; but it is God who has planned it all. Let us praise him “who gives food to all flesh.” As for spiritual food, he will give us that; I trust we shall all have a portion of food in due season tonight. If any shall be hungry at the end of the service, it shall be surely from lack of willingness to be fed rather than lack of suitability in the Word of God to sustain the spirit, and bless the soul.

26. Oh give thanks to the God of heaven: for his mercy endures for ever.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Heaven — The White Robed Band” 873}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Worthy The Lamb” 413}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — ‘Worthy Is The Lamb’ ” 416}

{b} Commissariat: Any non-military department or organization for the supply of provisions. OED.

The Christian, Heaven
873 — The White Robed Band
1 Oh happy saints, who dwell in light,
   And walk with Jesus, clothed in white
   Safe landed on that peaceful shore,
   Where pilgrims meet to part no more.
2 Released from sin, and toil and grief,
   Death was their gate to endless life;
   And open’d cage to let them fly,
   And build their happy nest on high.
3 And now they range the heavenly plains,
   And sing their hymns in melting strains;
   And now their souls begin to prove
   The heights and depths of Jesus’ love.
4 He cheers them with eternal smile,
   They sing hosannas all the while;
   Or, overwhelm’d with rapture sweet,
   Sink down adoring at his feet.
5 Ah! Lord, with tardy steps I creep,
   And sometimes sing, and sometimes weep;
   Yet strip me of this house of clay,
   And I will sing as loud as they.
                        John Berridge, 1785.

Jesus Christ, His Praise
413 — Worthy The Lamb
1 Come, let us join our cheerful songs
      With angels round the throne;
   Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
      But all their joys are one.
2 “Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,
      “To be exalted thus”;
   “Worthy the Lamb,” our lips reply,
      “For he was slain for us.”
3 Jesus is worthy to receive
      Honour and power divine;
   And blessings more than we can give,
      Be, Lord, for ever thine.
4 Let all that dwell above the sky,
      And air, and earth, and seas,
   Conspire to lift thy glories high,
      And speak thine endless praise.
5 The whole creation join in one,
      To bless the sacred name
   Of him that sits upon the throne,
      And to adore the Lamb.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

Jesus Christ, His Praise
416 — “Worthy Is The Lamb” <>
1 Glory to God on high!
      Let earth and skies reply,
      Praise ye his name:
   His love and grace adore,
   Who all our sorrows bore,
   Sing aloud evermore,
      Worthy the Lamb!
2 Jesus, our Lord and God,
   Bore sin’s tremendous load,
      Praise ye his name:
   Tell what his arm hath done,
   What spoils from death he won:
   Sing his great name alone:
      Worthy the Lamb!
3 While they around the throne
   Cheerfully join in one,
      Praising his name:
   Those who have felt his blood
   Sealing their peace with God,
   Sound his dear fame abroad:
      Worthy the Lamb!
4 Join all ye ransomed race,
   Our holy Lord to bless;
      Praise ye his name:
   In him we will rejoice,
   And make a joyful noise,
   Shouting with heart and voice,
      Worthy the Lamb!
5 What though we change our place,
   Yet we shall never cease
      Praise his dear name;
   To him our songs we bring,
   Hail him our gracious, King.
   And, without ceasing sing,
      Worthy the Lamb!
6 Then let the hosts above,
   In realms of endless love,
      Praise his dear name;
   To him ascribed be
   Honour and majesty;
   Through all eternity:
      Worthy the Lamb!
                  James Allen, 1761, 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).

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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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