2348. The Lord Leading; David Following

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No. 2348-40:73. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, November 14, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 18, 1894.

In anticipation of an Evangelistic Mission to be conducted by Messrs. Fullerton and Smith.

“And let it be, when you hear the sound of a going {marching} in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then you shall bestir yourself: for then the LORD shall go out before you, to strike down the army of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him and strikes down the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer. {2Sa 5:24,25}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 147, “Sound in the Mulberry Trees, The” 141}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2348, “Lord Leading; David Following” 2349}
   Exposition on Ps 144 2Sa 5:17-25 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2348, “Lord Leading; David Following” 2349 @@ "Exposition"}

1. David’s life was a life of war. The Christian life wears other aspects; but still, in very deed and in truth, spiritually, it also is a life of war. Our Lord spoke the truth when he said, “Do not think that I am come to send peace on earth: I did not come to send peace, but a sword.” The end of all his great work will be universal peace, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb; but, for the present, men fight against the principles which Christ brought into the world, and all who become the followers of Christ must expect to be soldiers of One whose life was one great conflict, and who died on the battle-field, indeed, and was crowned on the battle-field, too! Expect, then, to fight a good warfare as long as you are here.

2. David had won one great victory over the Philistines; but he was not permitted to sit down, and congratulate himself on his triumph. The Philistines were on him again. Those Philistines took a great deal of beating; and the powers of evil are not content anywhere with being defeated once or twice. They are up and at us again; they challenge us afresh, they hope to overthrow us sooner or later; and again and again we must be ready to resist them, with this as our war-cry, “They surrounded me; yes, they surrounded me: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.” There must be war even after victory; and we must stand prepared for it.

3. Note well, however, that, before David went to war, in each case, he waited on God: “David enquired of the Lord.” Whenever we have any enterprise on hand, it is wise to wait on God for direction, and for help. David had received divine guidance before; but counsel in one dilemma is not guidance for another. Though David had been led by God the first time to fight the Philistines, he did not consider that the direction then given would apply again, so he went a second time; and it is written, “David enquired of the Lord.” The answers which David received on these two occasions were different. The first time, the Lord said, “Go up.” The second time, he said, “You shall not go up.” Had David been content with his former waiting on God, he would have made a great mistake. What you have to do today you may not have to do tomorrow, and what you did yesterday may have been right enough for yesterday, but it may be as wrong as possible for today. Wait more continually on God, dear friends. Do not be satisfied with what you have received of direction and support; but go to God again and again. If you go to him daily for manna, you may well go to him daily for counsel. David did this, and he acted wisely. I am afraid, dear friends, that many Christians go carelessly blundering on, as we say, “neck or nothing.” They do the first thing that comes to hand, and do not wait, and pause, and consider, as they ought to. I know some friends who seem to me to enter into great speculations which they had much better leave alone, and who venture into various schemes which they would be much wiser to leave to other people. If they would only wait on God, they would find themselves restrained from many things which they attempt now, and impelled to do other things which they neglect now. The old proverb says that “kneeling does not spoil silk stockings.” I am not so sure of that. The silk stockings do not matter; but we may say that kneeling does not hurt a man’s knees. Kneeling makes him strong in the foot, brave in the heart, and often clear in the brain. If a man will only wait on God, it will help his own mind to form a correct judgment, and, besides that, the Lord will give him guidance of which he never dreamed. He may have a sign which shall be to him the very “clue of the maze.” He may get a word from God which will make him wiser than the ancients, and it shall be as though the Urim and the Thummim still spoke out of the sanctuary to guide the saints of the Most High.

4. Tonight, I shall speak about David’s experience, as recorded in this remarkable verse, in the following way. There is, first, a prime necessity promised. God promises that he will be with David; indeed, that he will go before him in this holy war: “Then the Lord shall go out before you, to strike down the army of the Philistines.” But, secondly, here is a subsequent action commanded:“ Then you shall bestir yourself: for then the Lord shall go out before you.” Thirdly, here is a hopeful sign afforded:“ When you hear the sound of a going (or, marching) in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall bestir yourself.” And, lastly, but very briefly, there is a definite result following:“ And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and struck down the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer.”

5. I. Well now, to begin with, here is A PRIME NECESSITY PROMISED: “Then the Lord shall go out before you.”

6. This was a necessity to David, for he had long ago learned that all his dependence must be on God. It is also a necessity for us, for if we are to have a single soul converted, it must be the work of God; indeed, and if a single holy thought originates in this place, or any other, and fires the heart of any saint, and leads to holy service, it must be the work of God’s grace. Without him we can do nothing, and we shall be nothing. What we want just now especially is for the Lord to go before us in our contemplated mission. In what way?

7. Well, first, the Holy Spirit must go before us to prepare the minds of the people. When our Lord came into the world, the world was prepared for his coming. There had been certain things done, all over the globe, that made the time of his coming the best time at which he could come. But it has also been noticed by our missionaries, especially in the South Sea islands, that before they arrived there, certain changes had taken place, and certain movements in the minds of the people, that made the missionaries feel that they had come just in the nick of time. God had gone before them in providence and in grace, making ready a people prepared for the Word. Now, I want you to pray the Lord to do so with all the congregations that shall be gathered in this place, and, indeed, with all congregations. What can a preacher do, if his hearers should come, and God has left them to themselves? He would have to plough an iron soil, that would break his ploughshare, and break his heart. How different it is where God has been at work with the hearers! A child has been taken to heaven, the mother’s heart is breaking with sorrow, and she is tender and ready to hear about Jesus and the heaven to which her babe has gone. There, a man has been ill; he had been a thoughtless, careless man, but in his sickness he has peered into eternity, and he is now thoughtful, and prepared for the preacher’s message. Often I have said to myself, as I have come along to this place, “I shall have a selected congregation.” The Lord has an election of grace, and he also has an election of hearers.

8. You cannot tell, dear friends, how much the conversion of sinners is due to antecedent action on the part of God before the saving moment came. There is a fire, and you say that the fire was made when the match was struck, and applied to the wood. Well, that is true; but long before that moment, he who split the wood and he who made the match had something to do with preparing for the fire, had they not? Where would your fire have been if the wood had not been dried, and ready for the kindling, and deftly laid in its place? And where would your light have been if it had not been for the phosphorus, and everything else that was used to make the match? So the Lord prepares for the fire of holy service. God is at work, dear friends, in London as well as elsewhere. Sad is the poverty in this great Babylon; but, oh, if men could all be rich and wicked, how would they ever be saved? Grievous is the disease that follows sin; but if men could sin and never smart for it, what evil we should see! God is at work in providence, and with tender touches here and there he is making men thoughtful, constraining them to feel, in a word, making them ready before the time of the preaching comes.

9. And then the Holy Spirit must go before us to prepare the preacher. Preachers may think themselves thoroughly prepared for their work; but the smallest thing may put them out, — some little disarrangement of their dress, something in the pulpit not quite right, or someone dropping an umbrella in the aisle (as is so common here on Thursday nights), or some one person in the congregation who does not seem in the least impressed. Oh, shame on us that we, who have such a message to deliver, should be affected by such very little things! Yet preachers are so affected, and often they cannot help it. Even before the preacher enters his pulpit, he may get out of order for preaching. Poor man that he is, something may happen to him that may quite put him out of harmony with the truth he has to deliver. Pray God to make our brethren, Fullerton and Smith, preachers fit for their work, and the best preparation will be the Lord going before them. May the prophet have his vision before he speaks! May the hand of the Lord press heavily on him before he lifts his hand up to point men to the Lamb of God! May his lip be blistered with the live coal from off God’s altar before he opens his mouth to speak words of flame in the name of the Lord!

10. Pray, brethren, pray; pray much, that the Lord may go before to prepare the hearers, but equally that he may go before to prepare the preachers.

11. I will suppose that the hearers are present; in doing so, I only anticipate a few days. I hope that this house will be very full. The speakers are also here and ready for their work; they have come forward attended by your prayers. Now is the moment when we want the Spirit of God to go before us to deal with men. A single word, spoken in the strength of God, will accomplish far more than ten thousand words uttered in the power of mere reasoning, or eloquence, or even earnestness. When God goes before us, wonders are accomplished by sentences that seem very simple and trite; you have heard them many times before, but now you hear them in a very different way. They fell before like flakes of snow; but now they come like flashes of fire. They burn into your bosom; they set your heart ablaze. What is the secret of this power? God is in it, God is working with it; he is proving his presence with his people. It is a strange thing, but it is strangely true, that by the foolishness of preaching it pleases God to save those who believe; and, while his power is never promised to go with the most gorgeous sermon, or with the most beautifully artistic effect, it is pledged to go with the simple declaration of the gospel of Christ, and the preaching of his holy Word. It is the gospel of Christ that is “the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes.” Though I have said this ten thousand times before, and you are always hearing it, and do not doubt it, yet for that very reason I say it again with all the emphasis with which I can say it; — the prime necessity for every holy work is for God to go before, for the Lord to make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the people; and if we do not have that Divine Leader, we have nothing at all that is of real value in holy work.

12. II. Secondly, there is, in the text, A SUBSEQUENT ACTION COMMANDED: “Then you shall bestir yourself: for then the Lord shall go out before you.”

13. God could do without us if he chose to do so; but God is pleased not to do without us. What a mercy it is that God condescends to use us! What a happiness for us! God might have gone out, with thunder and lightning, against the Philistines, and scattered them in a moment; but that was not his way of winning the victory. It was to be a fight between David and the Philistines; and therefore God went before him to be the source of David’s strength.

14. But David must follow after. When will some of our brethren learn the fact that God’s working is not a reason for our sitting still? It is not written, “The Lord will go before you, and then you shall rest,” or, “The Lord shall go before you, and then you shall sit still, and be grateful.” No, no; “Then you shall bestir yourself.” Now, David, if you ever did move quickly, bestir yourself now that God has gone before you. If you ever did use a sword with all your heart, and soul, and strength, do it now. “Then you shall bestir yourself.” “Look sharp.” That would be a very good translation, indeed. “Then you shall be all awake, and all alive; then you shall rush on the Philistines, and destroy them. God has gone before you; will you not follow?” What a mercy, what a privilege, what a blessing, God confers on his people that, though he could do very well without them, he is not pleased to do so; but where he goes as the Leader, he tells them at once heartily and earnestly to follow him!

15. Now, the doctrine that “Salvation is from the Lord,” — that glorious doctrine which I believe with all my heart, and which I desire to preach all my days, — the doctrine that salvation is from God, and God alone, from first to last, in every point of the compass, was never intended to induce drowsiness, and to discourage the action of man. The fact that God goes before us does not encourage us in sloth. Yet some talk as if it did. Take the doctrine of election, for example. “God has a chosen people; therefore I need not preach to them.” No, no, sir; God has a chosen people; therefore I do preach to them. It would not be of any use for me to preach if he had not ordained any to eternal life; but since he has a people who shall assuredly be saved, I will thrust the gospel magnet in among the mass, and these people whom the Lord has chosen shall be attracted by it. The Lord Jesus Christ will not die in vain. Precisely so; therefore I need not preach him, I suppose! But the very reason why I do preach him is because he did not die in vain. The death of Christ that does not accomplish its purpose, is not worth preaching; but the death of Christ that is effective for the purpose for which it was intended, is worth preaching, and more and more we rejoice to preach it. The grand doctrines of the gospel are not doctrines that lead men to slumber. There are some who pervert them, as they do the other Scriptures, and it will be so throughout all time; for men will turn the holiest things into reasons for sloth and sin; we cannot help that, but there is nothing in the truths themselves that should produce such effects. Our forefathers, of the olden time, who went everywhere preaching the Word, the Calvinists of France who, in the desert and wherever they went, risked their lives to the death, the Huguenots, who could bravely do and dare and die for Christ, were, to a man, believers in these principles, which are supposed by some to send men to sleep. The most energetic Christianity that ever was on the face of the earth has been just this form of Christianity; and therefore it cannot possibly be that the doctrine properly used will encourage idleness or sloth. How can it? If you yourself were told tonight, “Proceed on such an errand, and your God will go with you,” would that be a reason why you should not go? If you were told to fight a battle, and you were told, “God will be with you in the battle,” would the fact that God would be with you, and would win the victory, be a reason why you should not fight? You must be made of strange material if that were to be the result of the promise of victory and the assurance of the divine presence. Nothing makes man labour so energetically as the expectation of success; and the certainty of succeeding, because God is with them, nerves their arm, and makes them do what otherwise would be impossible.

16. No, dear friends, we are not among these who say, “God will have his own, and therefore I shall not pray or do anything.” Listen, friend, if that is your language: God will have his own, but he will never have you, for you are clearly not one of them. God’s own never talk in such a manner as that; God’s own have a very different kind of voice. You are not of his sheep, for you do not follow him. The Christ — to what did he go? To slumber and idleness? No, but to incessant service.

    Cold mountains, and the midnight air,
    Witnessed the fervour of his prayer.

He knew that the Lord would give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and therefore he prayed for all who had been given to him by his Father. His life was a consecrated one, spent in burning zeal and constant devotion to his great Father’s cause; and if you are one of the Lord’s own, it will be your mission to follow the Christ in this; and as he was, so will you be in this world. Come, brothers, God is going to bless you. Do you draw back because of that fact? If so, surely there are more lunatics than these in Bethlehem Hospital. No, no; because God is going to be with you, therefore every man says, “I will follow where God leads. I will take my share in this grand fight, since the Lord himself leads the vanguard.”

17. III. Well now, thirdly, in our text there is A HOPEFUL SIGN AFFORDED: “When you hear the sound of a going {marching} in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall bestir yourself.”

18. Whether these were mulberry trees or balsams, I do not know; it is very difficult to discover what trees they were. It does not matter much, but David was to circle around to the back of the Philistines instead of attacking them in front, and he was to lie quietly in ambush until he heard a rustling in the tops of the trees when there was no wind, as though they were trodden by the foot of angels, and God’s host was hurrying to the fray. Perhaps this sign, while it was intended to encourage David and his people, was meant to intimidate the Philistines. They would say to each other, “What is that noise? What is that rustling? There is a sound of something travelling along the tops of those trees. There is not a breath of wind, but you can hear the leaves moving. Listen to the rustling; something strange is happening.” The Philistines were most superstitious, and would be ready very speedily to take to their heels. However, whatever it was to them, to David it was to be the signal for attacking them. “Now, up and at them, with sword and spear, and bow and arrow. Strike down the Philistines when you hear the sound of the mysterious marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.”

19. Now, what are our signs that we ought to be up and doing for Christ? Well, we ought to be up and doing for him without any signs. Every minute men are dying, every hour their souls are passing into eternity unsaved, every day Christ is pleading that he may be rewarded for his passion. Christians should always be striking the Philistines of sin; but there are certain times that call us to unusual action. And what are they?

20. To me they are, first, when we see earnestness among God’s people. When we hear them say, to each other, “Oh, I wish we had a great blessing!” When we hear them talk, as one did to me the other day, “God is with us, we do have souls converted; but we do not see the great work that we long for, the hundreds of thousands brought in, the whole nation struck to the heart by a sight of the power of God. Oh, that we could see better days, brighter days!” I know many here whom I am now looking at, and I remember what they have said to me of their own groaning before God for a greater display of his saving power. That is to me the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.

21. Again, it is a hopeful sign, when God gives us useful preachers. Oh, what a blessing a true gospel minister is! A man whom God has made for himself is one of the ascension gifts of Christ; and when you see, as you do in our two brethren, Fullerton and Smith, men who seem made by God on purpose for their work, suiting each other exactly, and during those many years God has made them to be like a great cloud scattering showers of blessing wherever they go, I think, when I see these good men and others being prepared by the Lord, my heart says, “That is the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees. God is going to bless us.” There was no better proof of the Reformation having begun than when Luther began to speak out against the abominations of Rome, and Zwingli lifted up his voice, and Farel proclaimed the old faith, and Calvin came out to declare the truth of God, and Beza and multitudes of others gave their testimony. Those were the birds that sang because the sun was rising; and when God gives us useful preachers, they are among the signs that he is coming near us to bless the people.

22. Well, when the preachers are there, with a praying people behind them, then, when you see crowds come together to hear the Word, do you not think that there is the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees? Oh, what would some preachers do to get the people to hear them at all? Ah, what are they not doing, dear friends? As things now go, I should not wonder at all if we were to have, in some of our places of worship, a part of Mr. Barnum’s show, in order to attract a congregation! We have all kinds of fiddling, and tinkering, and I do not know what, going on to get people to come and hear what is called the gospel. “Oh,” one said, “but he brought so many to the place!” Yes, if they had had a clown out of the theatre, he would, no doubt have brought even more. If that is all that you want, — simply to gather a crowd together, — it is not so very difficult if you are not squeamish about the means you employ. But, oh! when God sends the people to hear the gospel and nothing else, and they come and listen to what a man has to say to them about heaven and hell, life and death, the cross of Christ and the way of salvation, that is the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.

23. And, beloved, we may say the same as soon as there is interest felt in the Lord’s work, as soon as people begin to talk about it, and say, to each other, “What did you hear there?” or, “What did the preacher say about the way of salvation?” Better still, when some begin to be impressed, when you find, in the after-meeting, some in tears who do not know much about the gospel yet, but who want to know; and when, here and there, you see signs of deep repentance for sin, and a humble trembling, about which perhaps you hardly dare say much, but you rejoice that it is there; — all these are signs for good. What a comfort it is to see, in boys and girls, even in little children, some desire towards God! This is the going in the tops, the green shoots of the trees, this is the treading of angel’s footsteps where one would think footsteps could never be. This is what we want; and since we have seen a good deal of it recently, we are looking for more of it.

24. And whenever you Christian people begin to see that there is some impression made on the person sitting with you in the pew, edge up to that individual, and begin to speak to him quietly but earnestly about his soul. Do not let anyone go away from the services without having a personal application of the truth made to them. Here I stand in the pulpit, and fire my guns, yet the shot may hit no one; but if each one of you would carry his own private pocket pistol, and just apply it to the ear of every hearer before he goes away, there would be a good deal more execution done. There is many a man who is not startled by the firing of the Woolwich Infant, {a} one of the biggest guns in the world; but he would be very much astonished if he had that kind of private, personal dealing with his own soul, here from you, man to man, and hand to hand. Try that plan during the special services, ask the Lord to enable you to summon up courage enough to do it. And you, good sisters, who are too timid as yet to attempt that good work, break the ice once, and there will not be much difficulty after that. You will find it to be a happy thing to speak about Jesus to souls that come in your way. “When you hear the sound of a going, then you shall bestir yourself.” My aged brother, you have been attending here for many years, and you are rather an old saint, but you are also rather an old sinner for never having spoken to other people about their souls. I want to urge even you to begin, you who know most, and say least, you who actually have had a long experience of the things of God, but have pocketed it, and kept it to yourself. Now I earnestly say to you, as God did to David, “When you hear the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall bestir yourself.”

25. “That is right, Mr. Spurgeon,” one says; “stir them up.” I did not say “them.” I said, and my text says, “Then you shall bestir yourself.” Dear friends, it is all very well to say, “I like to see an earnest church.” So do I; but it is better to have every member zealously seeking the souls of others, for that is the way to have an earnest church, and that is the way the blessing comes. David, you must bestir yourself; then the soldiers who are with you will catch the fire from their leader, and they will bestir themselves.

26. IV. Now I finish by saying just a little, in the fourth place, about A DEFINITE RESULT FOLLOWING: “And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and struck down the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer.”

27. The result was all that David could have expected, and more. Obedient action secured it. David simply “did so, as the Lord had commanded him”; but he “struck down the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer.” They could not stand before him; he won an overwhelming victory, and you do not hear much more about the Philistines after this. That final stroke had crushed them down. So, beloved, may the Lord send us a great victory this next week if it so pleases him! Cry to him for it, pray for it believingly, and it must be granted to us.

28. “David did so, as the Lord had commanded him.” I wonder of how many of my dear friends it may be said as of David, he “did so, as the Lord had commanded him.” I know that it will be said of many, that you have thought about it. But David did so, not merely thought about it. He probably thought; but he also “did so.” He came to the practical point. “I shall try and do a little something to help the mission,” someone says; “I gave away one handbill the other night.” Yes, yes, that is all right; but “David did so,” that is, he did bestir himself, and he did bestir himself most when he saw the signs and tokens of the divine power being displayed. “David did so, as the Lord had commanded him.”

29. If I habitually look after others, and speak individually to them about their souls, and if I bring the gospel before them, either in a printed form or in person, if I keep on testifying of Christ to everyone who will give me a hearing, I shall have conversions as surely as I am a living man; it cannot be otherwise. If you continue looking to God to go before you, and follow after him with that part of the work which he has put into your hands, and which is a great privilege to be engaged in, you shall not labour in vain, nor spend your strength for nothing. “Paul planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” How many times I have heard that text mangled and destroyed by being misquoted, “Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but unless God gives the increase, all the labour is in vain.” There is no such text in the Bible, although the statement happens to be true for all that; the other truth, which is in the Bible, is Paul’s declaration, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” You, Paul, go on planting; you, Apollos, go on watering; and if God does not give the increase, let us know. What will we do when we hear it? Why, we will seek to learn the reason why; and we will go to his throne with tears and cries, and say, “Lord, you have changed the whole business. It used to be, ‘Paul planted, Apollos watered; and God gave the increase’; but now Paul plants, and Apollos waters, and there is no increase. Lord, what hinders the blessing?” And we will keep on crying to him, and never let him go until he does bless us.

30. My dear hearers, you who are unconverted, if you feel any spiritual emotions in your hearts, if you feel any desires towards God, if you feel any softening, if you feel any quickening, then bestir yourselves; and if ever, on brighter days than usual, you get just a little hope of salvation, then bestir yourselves. Oh, please, you who are seeking the Lord, when there is any encouragement given to you, — and how often encouragement does come! — do not miss it. Take the tide at the flood. Come to Jesus just as you are. Trust him, and find in him eternal life. May his blessing be with you all for his dear name’s sake! Amen.

{a} Woolwich Infant: An 81-ton gun, destined for one of the Royal Navy’s new fleet of ironclads, HMS Inflexible. Ironclads were the spearhead of the arms race of the day: immense warships, housing heavily armoured “citadels” in their centres and carrying the largest guns that could be made at the time. See Explore "http://www.theengineer.co.uk/archive/april-1874-the-81-ton-gun/1018448.article"

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 144 2Sa 5:17-25}

Psalm 144. A Psalm of David.

No doubt written after some great victory, and also before another severe struggle. The Christian man seldom escapes from one difficulty without falling into another. Thanks be to God, he who is with us in six troubles will not forsake us in the seventh!

1. Blessed be the LORD my strength, who teaches my hand to war, and my fingers to fight:

David does not ascribe any honour to himself. Human strength is from within, from the nerves, and sinews, and muscles; but the believer’s strength is from without: “Blessed be Jehovah my strength.” Now, if Jehovah is our strength, then nothing can be too difficult for us, for he whose strength is the omnipotence of God can do all things. “Who teaches my hands to war”: just as the young soldier was, as it were, bound apprentice to the old warrior, went out to learn the drill, and afterwards was taken by him into the battle, so the Lord by providence and by experience trains his people’s hands to war, and their fingers to fight.

2. My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust;

Here are six names, or rather, five titles of God, and then an inference from them: “He in whom I trust.” Oh! I know, you people of God, you can say of Jehovah, “He is the One in whom I trust.” Rely on anyone else, and your hopes are doomed to disappointment, he shall be as a leaning wall, and as a tottering fence. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his refuge! Take care that you stand by this, and never depart from it.

2. Who subdues my people under me.

Probably this Psalm was written after the crushing out of the great revolt under Absalom, and well might David ascribe to the divine hand his deliverance from that trial. It seemed as if the kingdom had gone from him; his ungrateful son had stolen the people’s hearts, and yet God was pleased to give him back his kingdom, and to set him on his throne even more firmly than before: “Who subdues my people under me.” Christian, say that it is God who subdues your troubles, God who conquers your sins, God who enlightens your darkness, God who does all things for you; give him all the praise for every deliverance.

3. LORD, what is man that you take knowledge of him? or the son of man, that you make account of him?

Have you not often felt like this? You have said, “Lord, how could you have bestowed such favours on me, so utterly unworthy, so insignificant, so unknown, so worthless?” “What is man, that you take knowledge of him?”

4. Man is like vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.

You know that a shadow is nothing; it is rather the absence of something than anything in itself. Shadow is the absence of light; and what is man but, as it were, the absence of light, the absence of anything that is substantial? He is only the fleeting shadow of some earthly object, which soon passes away.

So having magnified God for the past, and marvelled at his lovingkindness, the psalmist now turns to prayer: —

5. Bow your heavens, oh LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

God only set one foot on Mount Sinai, and it became altogether shrouded in smoke. “The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord.” Well, believer, you have many mountains; but you can ask God to “touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.” No matter what the mountains may be; your troubles may ascend as high as the heavens, until they even seem to block your pathway to the skies, yet one touch of the divine finger shall make them melt away, like wax before the fire, and you shall march on triumphantly to your God.

6, 7. Send out lightning, and scatter them: shoot out your arrows, and destroy them. Send your hand from above; rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of foreigners;

Moses, you know, was called “one drawn out of the water,” so are all God’s people, they are drawn out of floods of tribulation. They are surrounded by those floods as though deserted, and left there to perish; but keen is the eye that watches over them, strong is the hand that preserves them, and sure is the arm that delivers them.

8. Whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

They swear, but they perjure themselves; they lift up the right hand but they lie all the while. Rid me, oh God, from such men; for, of all enemies, those who can lie are the worst, for you never know where you are with such people. Snakes in the grass are the most dangerous reptiles, and enemies who will do any evil thing in order to ruin you, and who will tell any lie in the world in order to injure you, are just the hardest to overthrow.

9-11. I will sing a new song to you, oh God: on a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings I will sing praises to you. It is he who gives salvation to kings: who delivers David his servant from the harmful sword. Rescue me, and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

You see, good men sometimes repeat their prayers; they present the same petition over again, and so they follow the example of Christ, who prayed three times, “saying the same words.”

12. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, that our daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

Or, rather, “of a temple.” This should be the prayer of every parent, that his sons may be producing fruit for God, that his daughters may be fixed as polished stones in the Church of God, to form a part of the great spiritual temple.

13. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of produce:

When this is the case spiritually, when there is milk for babes, food for strong men, and not a little of each, but more than enough for all, then we are very happy.

13. That our sheep may produce thousands and ten thousands in our streets:

Spiritual fertility is a blessed thing, when each Christian, each of the Lord’s sheep, becomes prolific in increasing Christ’s flock.

14. That our oxen may be strong to labour;

That the ministers of God may be mighty; that Sunday School teachers, and all earnest labourers, may have strength given to them.

14. That there is no breaking in, nor going out;

That there are no wolves to destroy by breaking in; and that there are no sheep to suffer injury by going astray.

14, 15. That there is no complaining in our street. Happy are those people, that are in such a case: yes, happy are those people, whose God is the LORD.

May this be our case! And if it is our case, then the Lord is our God even at this day.

Now let us read about two interesting incidents in David’s warrior life.

2Sa 5:17. But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David,

To thrust him down, and kill him if they could, and so put an end to his prosperous reign.

17-20. And David heard of it, and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.” And David came to Baalperazim, and David defeated them there, and said, “The LORD has broken out on my enemies before me, as the breach of waters.”

As a flood breaks out, and carries all before it.

20, 21. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim. And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.

The Philistines brought their gods with them, in the hope of being defended by them; but “David and his men burned them.” That was the very best thing to do with them. What a pity they did not save them for aesthetic purposes! Men do this with fine old works of art, like pictures of the Virgin Mary. No, no, burn them; for that is the very best thing to do with anything that ever has been worshipped by mortal man. If they have ever been set up in the place of God, they are cursed from that moment; let them be burned, or dashed in pieces, or destroyed in some way. “They left their images there, and David and his men burned them.”

22-24. And the Philistines came up once again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, “You shall not go up; but circle around behind them, and come on them opposite the mulberry trees. And let it be, when you hear the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then you shall bestir yourself:

Or get up, and attack them.

24, 25. For then the LORD shall go out before you, to strike down the host of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him:

I hope that may be said of you and me all our lives long.

25. And struck down the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gazer.

That is, he utterly overthrew them, and drove them away.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — Waiting For The Promise Of The Father” 450}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Sin Removed By The Cross” 298}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 45” 45 @@ "(Version 1)"}

Holy Spirit
450 — Waiting For The Promise Of The Father
1 Lord God, the Holy Ghost,
      In this accepted hour,
   As on the day of Pentecost,
      Descend in all thy power.
2 We meet with one accord
      In one appointed place,
   And wait the promise of our Lord,
      The Spirit of all grace.
3 Like mighty rushing wind
      Upon the waves beneath,
   Move with one impulse every mind;
      One soul, one feeling breathe.
4 The young, the old inspire
      With wisdom from above;
   And give us hearts and tongues of fire,
      To pray, and praise, and love.
5 Spirit of Light, explore
      And chase our gloom away,
   With lustre shining more and more,
      Unto the perfect day.
6 Spirit of Truth, be thou
      In life and death our Guide:
   Oh Spirit of Adoption, now
      May we be sanctified!
                     James Montgomery, 1819.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
298 — Sin Removed By The Cross <7s.>
1 Sons of peace redeem’d by blood,
   Raise your songs to Zion’s God;
   Made from condemnation free
   Grace triumphant sing with me.
2 Calvary’s wonders let us trace,
   Justice magnified in grace;
   Mark the purple streams, and say,
   Thus my sins were washed away.
3 Wrath divine no more we dread,
   Vengeance smote our Surety’s head;
   Legal claims are fully met,
   Jesus paid the dreadful debt.
4 Sin is lost beneath the flood,
   Drown’d in the Redeemer’s blood,
   Zion, oh! how blest art thou,
   Justified from all things now.
                        John Kent, 1803, a.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 45 (Version 1)
1 Oh thou that art the mighty One,
   Thy sword gird on thy thigh;
   Ev’n with thy glory excellent,
   And with thy majesty.
2 For meekness, truth and righteousness,
   In state ride prosp’rously;
   And thy right hand shall thee instruct
   In things that fearful be.
3 Thine arrows sharply pierce the heart
   Of foemen of the King;
   And under thy dominion’s rule
   The people down do bring.
4 For ever and for ever is,
   Oh God, thy throne of might;
   The sceptre of thy kingdom is
   A sceptre that is right.
5 Thou lovest right, and hates ill;
   For God, thy God, is he,
   Above thy fellows hath sith oil
   Of joy anointed thee.
6 Of aloes, myrrh, and cassia,
   A smell thy garments had,
   Out of the ivory palaces
   Whereby they made thee glad.
                  Scotch Version, 1641, a.

Psalm 45 (Version 2) <7.6.>
1 With hearts in love abounding,
   Prepare we now to sing
   A lofty theme, resounding
   Thy praise, Almighty King;
   Whose love, rich gifts bestowing,
   Redeem’d the human race;
   Whose lips, with zeal o’erflowing,
   Breathe words of truth and grace.
2 In majesty transcendent,
   Gird on thy conquering sword;
   In righteousness resplendent,
   Ride on, Incarnate Word.
   Ride on, oh King Messiah!
   To glory and renown;
   Pierced by thy darts of fire,
   Be every foe o’erthrown.
3 So reign, oh God, in heaven,
   Eternally the same,
   And endless praise be given
   To thy almighty name.
   Clothed in thy dazzling brightness,
   Thy church on earth behold;
   In robe of purest whiteness,
   In raiment wrought in gold.
4 And let each Gentile nation
   Come gladly in thy train,
   To share her great salvation,
   And join her grateful strain:
   Then ne’er shall note of sadness
   Awake the trembling string;
   One song of joy and gladness
   The ransom’d world shall sing.
                     Harriett Auber, 1829.

Psalm 45 (Version 3) <8.7.4.>
1 Warm with love, my heart’s inditing
   Cherish’d thoughts on sacred things;
   With my tongue like ready writing,
   I’ll extol the King of kings;
         Of whose glory
   Ev’ry saint and angel sings.
2 Thou of all the sons art fairest,
   Yea, thy lips are fill’d with grace;
   All thy fulness, Lord, thou sharest
   ‘Mongst thy chosen, ransomed race;
      And in glory
   They shall see thee face to face.
3 Oh most mighty, oh most blessed,
   Gird thy sword upon thy thigh;
   Be thy Majesty confessed,
   Bring thy blood-bought trophies nigh;
      Let thy glory
   All thy stubborn foes defy.
4 Truth and righteousness, and meekness,
   Are the weapons of thy hand;
   All thy foes shall know their weakness,
   None can Jesus’ power withstand;
      ‘Tis thy glory,
   Rebels bow at thy command.
                     Joseph Irons, 1847, a.

Psalm 45 (Version 4)
1 Hail, mighty Jesus! how divine
   Is thy victorious sword!
   The stoutest rebel must resign
   At thy commanding word.
2 Deep are the wounds thy arrows give,
   They pierce the hardest heart;
   Thy smiles of grace the slain revive,
   And joy succeeds to smart.
3 Still gird thy sword upon thy thigh,
   Ride with majestic sway,
   Go forth, sweet Prince, triumphantly,
   And make thy foes obey.
4 And when thy victories are complete,
   When all the chosen race
   Shall round the throne of glory meet,
   To sing thy conquering grace,
5 Oh may my humble soul be found
   Among that favour’d band!
   And I with them thy praise will sound
   Throughout Immanuel’s land.
               Benjamin Wallin, 1750.
               Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.

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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