2389. Guidance To Grace And Glory

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No. 2389-40:565. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, October 4, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, December 2, 1894.

You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. {Ps 73:24}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 467, “Flesh and Spirit — a Riddle” 458}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2389, “Guidance to Grace and Glory” 2390}
   Exposition on Ps 73; 37:1-10 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3368, “Fathomless” 3370 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 73 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2387, “Good Advice for Troublous Times” 2388 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 73 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3055, “Accomplices in Sin” 3056 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 73 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3346, “Resurrection for the Just and the Unjust” 3348 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The psalmist here evidently perceives that his Lord is near; he does not so much speak of God as to him: “You shall guide me with your counsel.” You know what the French call, tutoyage, — thou-ing and thee-ing; there is something of that kind of language in the text, a speaking in tones of hallowed familiarity with God. As if the Lord were just close by, the psalmist says to him, “You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory”; not in the way of prayer asking God to do so, but in childlike confidence expressing the conviction that it shall be so, and rejoicing in the blessed assurance of it. “You shall, — I know you will, I am sure of it, I have firm reliance on it, and I bless you for it, — ‘You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.’ ” It is not every man who can talk like that, and it is not every believing man who has yet attained confidence enough to dare to speak like that. It is good if you can only pray that this may be the case with you; but the sweetness lies in grasping this truth with a childlike delight, and with unfaltering faith believing it to be yours: “You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.”

2. The psalmist had been, to some extent, finding fault with the providence of God. There had been, in his mind, a quarrel with God’s proceedings. He saw the wicked in great power, having all their wishes and desires gratified in every way, while he himself was severely plagued and chastened, and he could not quite understand it; but now, even though he does not comprehend it, he yields to God’s superior judgment, he lays aside his own logic, and his arguments, and he says, “No, Lord, I will no longer be a debater, but you shall guide me; I will no longer look for present joy, I will look for what is to come afterwards. You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards shall come my brilliant days, my times of joy, afterwards you will receive me to glory.” You see that, after drifting around for a while, the psalmist has come to a good anchorage. He has found a resting-place, as the birds do, when, after wandering away, they fly back to their nest; and he sings, “Return to your rest, oh my soul; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Sitting down once more at the feet of his Lord, he looks up into those dear, tender, loving, watchful eyes, and he says, “You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. My discussions are all over now; my questions are at an end; I will rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him, and my soul shall be satisfied with his will whatever it is.” I pray that what the Holy Spirit may lead me to say on my text may have an effect something like that on any tempest-tossed spirits here. May they also be brought to rest in the Lord!

3. First, dear friends, I will speak concerning the conviction which led the psalmist to take a guide; secondly, I will say a little on the confidence which led him to take God for his Guide; thirdly, I will talk to you about the delightful dealings between the psalmist and his God, which began when God had become his Guide, and continued throughout his life; and then the fourth point, which shall be our conclusion, shall be, the certain result of this guidance:“ You shall afterwards receive me to glory.”

4. I. First, then, concerning THE CONVICTION WHICH LED THE PSALMIST TO TAKE A GUIDE.

5. Happily for him, that conviction came very early. If I am to have a guide on my journey, I should like to have one at the beginning, for it is the starting that has so much to do with all the rest of the way. If I start due south, when I ought to have gone north, I shall have to retrace many a weary step. Dear young friends, if you can have God to be your Guide now, in the morning of life, how happy you will be! It will influence for good your entire future existence, depend on it. Just as the river is coloured by the glacier from which it flows, and never, even when larger and deeper, quite loses the whiteness of its mountain source, so, if you begin with God at the fountain-head and spring of life, there will be a particular charm around your pathway as long as you ever live. Permit me to say that I have found it so myself. I can say to my Lord, and often do say it, “Oh God, you have taught me from my youth: and so far I have declared your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grey-headed, oh God, do not forsake me.” There is a sweet plea when years multiply on you, if you can say to the Lord, —

    In early years thou wast my Guide,
       And of my youth the Friend.

6. David began to experience divine guidance while he was a shepherd boy, and it was good for him that it was so; but why did he ever feel that he needed a guide? I suppose it was because of a work of grace on his heart; for, naturally, we do not like being guided. The mother’s apron-strings grow irksome to the young man when he finds the down coming on his cheeks; he will have his own way; is it not manly to be one’s own master? Allow me to say that there is no worse master; you had better serve the greatest tyrant than be your own master. But it is often so with the young; at first, they call it liberty to have their own way; and it is only when the grace of God softens and sobers them, when he gives the young men wisdom, knowledge, and discretion, that they begin to dream that they need a guide. I heard a good old man speak, the other day. He was a doctor of divinity, and I introduced him to the children, in a somewhat jovial manner, by telling them that he was a doctor of divinity, and that doctors of divinity knew everything, and a few things besides; but when he began to speak, he said, “My dear children, I do not know everything; but I will tell you one thing that I do know, I do know that I do not know much. I have been a long time learning that; but I have at last learned that I do not know much”; and when he had expounded on that, he said, “and, dear children, I have learned another thing; I know that I am not fit to take care of myself. I wonder,” he added, “whether all the boys and girls here have yet come to that conviction, that they are not fit to take care of themselves, and that they need someone to lead them all the way through life.” It is a fine piece of knowledge when you have learned as much as that. I pray that all who are young may learn that soon, and that others who, by painful experience, begin to see that they are not quite as wise as they thought they were, will come to the conclusion that they are not fit to manage themselves after all, and that they need a higher power, a wiser eye, a keener mind, a mightier hand, a more supreme will, to govern them than any that they have of their own.

7. I suppose that the psalmist said to the Lord, “You shall guide me,” because he had been convinced of his own folly, and therefore felt that it was good to commit himself into wiser hands, and also that he had obtained some knowledge of the difficulties of the way. The way of life is a trying one for most people; to many, it is very difficult. To those who find it easy, it is probably less so than to those who find it difficult. It is a very unfriendly world to live in if you have to fight with poverty, or if you have to work hard to provide sufficient for the day’s needs; but I question whether it is not a worse world for the man who does not have to work, and who has all that heart can wish for. The most perilous position for a young man to be placed in is, very early in life, to have a large income, with no one to check him in spending it, and to be permitted to do just whatever he likes. Oh! those very smooth ways, how many slip in them, who might have stood, perhaps, had the road been rougher! But to none of us is the path of life an easy one, if we desire to be pure, and clean, and upright, and accepted by God. He is indeed a fool who attempts to walk in that way without a guide. Look at yourself, full of folly; look at the way, full of pitfalls and dangers of every kind; and you may well stop, and say, “I must have a guide, I dare not go alone a step farther on such a perilous path.”

8. No doubt the psalmist had seen others set out without a guide, and he had heard of their falls, and of their ruin. You have not lived long, young man; but you have been in the world long enough to have seen or to have heard of many who seemed likely to be great and good, who nevertheless have come to an evil end. That will be your portion, too, as well as theirs, if you dare to walk in this difficult way without a guide.

9. The psalmist’s desire to have a guide, also showed his great anxiety to be right. I wish that all men began life with an earnest desire to act rightly in it; and that each one would say, “I shall never live this life again, I should like to make it a good one so far as I can.” Since you cannot come back to change it; but, as it is, it will have to be presented before the great Judge of all, seek to do what is right each day, and to obey your God every hour you live. If this were the intense desire of every one of us, we should be driven at once to this conclusion, “I must have a guide. I want to live a glorious life; and if I am to do so, I must be helped in it, for I am incompetent for the task by myself.”

10. I am merely giving you the outline of a sermon; I do not have time to fill it up, so now I leave this first point, the conviction which led the psalmist to take a guide.

11. II. Secondly, let us think of THE CONFIDENCE WHICH LED HIM TO TAKE GOD AS HIS GUIDE. If we were only in our right senses, we should all do so.

12. A man, looking around wisely for a guide, will prefer to have the very best; and is not God, who is infinitely wise, the best Guide that we can have? Who questions it? Is not the Lord also the most loving, the most tender, the most considerate, the most fatherly of all beings who can be chosen as a guide? Wisdom, when attended with unfeeling rudeness and roughness, may be shunned by us; but divine wisdom, dressed in robes of love and tenderness, invites us to run into her arms. Please choose God because he knows the way so well, and because he has such a tender love for poor trembling humanity.

13. Choose him also because of his constant, unceasing, infallible care. If I choose a guide who may die on the road, I am likely to be unhappy; but God will never die. If I choose a guide who, being my friend at the beginning, will not care for me when I have advanced halfway on my journey, I am unwise in my choice; but God cannot change, he will always be the same. If I had to ascend the Alps, and I selected a guide who could help me over the easy portions of the road, but would be unable to aid me in the more difficult parts of it, I should again be unhappy. The Lord is a Guide who will never fail, and never alter, and never die. Oh, you are wise indeed if you will say to him, “My God, you shall guide me with your counsel!”

14. But will God guide us? Well, it would be in vain to choose him if he would not; but of all beings God is most easily accessed. You know how it is with some of us who are very, very, very busy, and who scarcely ever have a moment’s rest at all from the rising of the sun until far into the night. There is a knock at the door; there is another knock at the door; there is another; and at last, if we are to be prepared for our public duties, we are obliged to say that we cannot be seen, we must have a little time for ourselves. But there is never an hour when God cannot be seen, never a moment when his door will not open to any who come to ask advice from him; and God is everywhere, so that, wherever you are, you can find him; not only in the place where you bow the knee in private prayer, but out on the exchange, amid the throng of men, or in the streets, or on the coach, or in the ship at sea, or in the passenger train, anywhere, and everywhere. A breath, an aspiration will find him; or —

    “The upward glancing of an eye,”

a sigh, an unexpressed desire, and you have come to him at once; and he has servants everywhere to do the bidding of his love when we have sought his help.

15. The psalmist was truly wise in saying to the Lord, “You shall guide me with your counsel.” Dear friends, are you equally wise in that way? I see young men and young women here in considerable numbers; will not each of you say, “Yes, Lord, it is even so; from this time on, my heart says to you, ‘You shall guide me with your counsel?’ ”

16. III. Now I must pass on to my third point, only skimming the surface of the subject. Think of THE HEAVENLY DEALINGS WHICH NOW BEGIN BETWEEN THE SOUL AND ITS GUIDE.

17. How does God guide men? Here let me warn you against the superstitions which some people use with the idea that God will guide them in that way. Above all, avoid the superstition which some practise by opening the Bible at random in the hope of being guided by the text which first comes to sight. You will be often misled if you act like this. The heathen acted so with Virgil, and I think the heathen were, in that respect, better than Christians, because, when they played the fool, they did it with Virgil, and not with God’s Book. Please do not do that. One of these days you may open at this text, “He went and hung himself,” and if you are not satisfied with that passage, you may open the Bible at another place, and find it written, “Go, and do likewise”; but that will not excuse you if you commit suicide. Nothing can be more wicked and absurd than such a practice as that.

18. How, then, does God guide us? First, by the general directions of his Word. You want to know what God would have you to do. Nine times out of ten, look at the Ten Commandments, and you will at least know what you must not do; and knowing what you must not do, you will be able to conclude what you may do. There are some wonderfully plain directions in God’s Word concerning all manner of circumstances and conditions. You may often imitate the saints of old, and you may always imitate their Master; and in imitating Christ, you will know what to do. This is the question that will guide you concerning your course of action, — What would Jesus Christ have done if he had been in my circumstances? Apart from his Godhead, in which you cannot copy him, what would the Man Christ Jesus have done? Do that; for it is sure to be the wisest thing. So, first, be guided by the general directions given in God’s Word.

19. The next way of guidance is, that there are great principles infused in every man who takes God for his Guide. Among the rest, there are principles like this: avoid everything that is evil. That one guide-post will often stop you, and show you which way you ought not to go, because, if there is anything wrong about the road, however profitable it may seem to be, however easy and pleasant it is, and, above all, however customary it is for others to go that way, you must not travel along it. There are many in the broad road, but you must not make one more. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there are who find it.” If you keep to the narrow way, then you will be on the right road.

20. The next general principle of our holy religion is, that we ought to live for the glory of God alone. You could not have a much better guide than such questions as these: “What action would reflect most honour on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Which course would be most creditable to my religious profession? Which would be likely to do most good?” Follow that rule; it is almost equal to the Urim and Thummim of the high priest if you have these questions to guide you.

21. You are told also to show love to your fellow men. If you are in a difficulty about two courses of action, do the more loving of the two, that by which you can most deny yourself, and most benefit your fellow creatures, especially with reference to their salvation. So, by infusing principles of unselfishness, principles of faith in God, principles of humility and contentment, the Word of God and the Spirit of God supply us with directions on the road we are to travel.

22. Next to this, God guides his people on the way of life by giving a certain balance of the faculties. When we come to God in penitence, when we are born again by the Spirit, and live by faith in Christ, then, first of all, fear is banished, and faith takes its place. We are then better able to judge which is the right road. “There were they in great fear, where no fear was.” Many a man has done wrong because he did not have the courage to do right; but you who have been born again do not have the spirit of fear, but the spirit of love, and courage, and faith, and you have a sound mind, so that by this you are guided properly. By your faculties being left undisturbed by fear, your mental balance is maintained.

23. Obstinacy is a shocking thing as a guide in life; young men have resolved that they will do such and such if they die for it. Yes, but the grace of God dethrones obstinancy, and gives us in its place acquiescence to the divine will. Bowing with submission to the will of God, by that very fact we are furnished with unerring guidance.

24. Haste, too, is the author of a great deal of mischief in human life. Men are in such a hurry that they make all kinds of mistakes; but the habit of praying about everything is in itself a great guide. You have to stop for a while, and the very act of stopping lets you see more than you would have seen in your hurry. The habit of praying before you leap leads to the habit of looking before you leap; and then, when you perceive that you cannot leap, prayer gives you enough of prudence to resolve that you will go around some other way. So you are wisely guided in life.

25. Above all, the grace of God guides us very much by the dethroning of self as the traitorous lord of our being, and makes us loyal to Christ. When a man acts out of loyalty to Christ, he is pretty sure to act very wisely and rightly. On this point alone I should have liked to have had an hour’s talk with you, but I must draw my remarks to a close.

26. I believe that, over and above this infusion of right principles, and balancing of the faculties, there is a special illumination of mind which comes from dwelling near to God. Everyone knows how near akin sin is to insanity. Well, now, remember that holiness is as near akin to perfect wisdom as sin is to insanity; and when you yield yourself to the holy influences of God’s presence, you shall have given to you what men call “shrewd common sense,” but what is really an illumination produced in your mind by getting near to God, and being made like him.

27. And, lastly, I believe that, at the very worst times, when all these things will fail you as a guide, you may expect mysterious impulses, for which you can never account, which will come to you, and guide you properly. There are many stories, which I should like to have told, relating to cases in which men of God have been directed, by some strange impulse on their minds, to do things which they had never thought of doing; and what they have done has turned out to be for the saving of life, or for deliverance from great evils. Oh, yes! if you live near to God, he will say to you things that he will not tell to anyone else. There are admonitions of the Spirit, which come to men who deal intimately with the Invisible, that do not come to everyone; only do not let every fool who gets a silly notion into his head run away with the idea that it came from God. Only this week, a young man said to me, “Do you believe the Bible, sir?” “Yes, I believe the Bible, certainly.” “Do you believe what God says?” “Certainly I do.” “Well,” he said, “I had a revelation, the other night, and a voice said to me, ‘Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.’ ” “All right,” I said; and he then said to me, “That door leads into your College, and you are to take me in.” I replied, “So I will when I get a revelation that I am to do so; but, you see, the revelation, whatever it is worth, has only come to you, and I shall not let you in until I have one to the same effect.” I have a notion that I shall never have that revelation, and that he himself received it, not from God’s Word, but through a slight aperture in his cracked brain. There are many people who get revelations of that kind, to which we pay no kind of attention. The mysterious impulses that I mean come only to those who are really serving God, and who, in closely waiting on him, find that “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him; and he will show them his covenant.”

28. IV. But I must finish my discourse. The conclusion was to be, THE CERTAIN RESULT OF THIS GUIDANCE: “You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.”

29. On earth, there is no real glory for us unless we are guided by God’s counsel. There is no true glory for any man who takes his own course; but glory is for those of you who put your hand into the hand of the great Father, and pray him to forgive all your iniquities for Christ’s sake, and to lead you in the way everlasting. Afterwards, he will receive you to glory.

30. This is a delightful thought, but I can now only answer this one question. When we die, who will receive us into glory? Well, I do not doubt that the angels will. John Bunyan’s description of the shining ones, who come down to the brink of the river to help the pilgrims up on the other side of the cold stream, I do not doubt is all true; but the text tells us of someone better than the angels who will come and receive us. Our dying prayer to our Lord will be, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” and his answer will be, “I receive you to glory.” Our heavenly Father stands watching for the moment when our redeemed spirit shall pass into his hands so that he may receive it. Our Saviour, who bought us with his precious blood, stands waiting to receive the jewel for which he paid so dear a price. The Spirit of God, who dwells in us, is also waiting to perfect the work which he has carried on for so long, and to lift us up into the blessedness of the eternal city.

31. Oh, how I wish that every person here, who has not yet yielded himself or herself to Christ, would do so now! Breathe silently these words before you leave the pew; I will give you a second or two in which to do it: “You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.” Bow your heads, and let that prayer be offered.

* * * * * * *

32. Lord, you shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory! For Jesus’ sake, accept this resolve! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 39}

To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.

Jeduthun was one of those who led the sacred song in the house of God in David’s day; and, long afterwards, we find the son of Jeduthun still engaged in this holy service. What a blessing it is to be succeeded in the work of God by your children from generation to generation! May that be your privilege, my dear brethren! May your families never lack a man to stand before the Lord God of Israel to sing his praises!

This is called, “A Psalm of David.” His life was a very chequered one; sometimes he was very joyful, and then he wrote bright and happy Psalms. But he was a man of strong passions and deep feelings; so at times he was very sad, and then he touched the mournful strings. This is a very sorrowful Psalm, but it is full of teaching. How grateful we ought to be that such a man as David ever lived, and that he had such a wonderful experience! It may be said of him that he was —

    A man so various, that he seemed to be
    Not one, but all mankind’s epitome.

Well was he made the type of Christ, in whose great heart the joys and sorrows of humanity met to the full. So the psalmist sings, —

1. I said, ‘‘I will take heed to my ways,

It is not everyone who would like to remember what he has uttered; but David could remember and dwell on what he had formerly said: “I said, ‘I will take heed to my ways.’ ” That is a good thing to do. He who does not take heed to his ways had need do so. Heedless and careless, and heedless and graceless, are much the same thing. He who does not take heed what he does will be sure to do wrong.

1. That I do not sin with my tongue:

He who does not sin with his tongue usually has his whole nature under government. The tongue is the rudder of the vessel, and if that is managed well, the ship will be properly steered. “I said, I resolved, I determined and I uttered my determination, I will take heed to my ways, that I do not sin with my tongue.” Just then David was sinning in his heart, for it was in a great state of ferment, but he said, “I will not sin with my tongue.” It was with him as it sometimes is with the captain of a vessel; if someone on board is suffering from yellow fever, the captain will not send a boat to the shore for fear of spreading infection, his vessel will be in quarantine until all danger is past. It was so with David; while all within him was seething and boiling in feverish impatience, he said, “I shall not speak for the present, I will take heed to my ways, that I do not sin with my tongue.”

1. I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked are before me.”

The marginal reading is, “with a muzzle for my mouth.” David would not speak at all, and herein he was not right. If he had said, “I will keep my mouth with a bridle,” as our translation has it, that would have been perfectly proper. We ought never to stop bridling our tongue, but David muzzled his. He would not speak at all while the wicked were before him, he knew that they would misconstrue his words, that they would make mischief of whatever he said, so he muzzled himself when in their company.

2. I was dumb with silence,

“I did not speak, I could not speak: ‘I was dumb with silence.’ ”

2. I held my peace, even from good;

David’s conduct proves that, even when we are doing something which is right, we are apt to overdo it, and so we stray into a vice while pursuing a virtue. You can run so close to the heels of a virtue that they may knock out your teeth; you may be so ardent for one good thing that you may miss another: “I held my peace, even from good.”

2. And my sorrow was stirred.

Not giving it vent, it boiled and seethed: “My sorrow was stirred.” Sometimes, a little talk is a great relief for a troubled spirit; but, since David was dumb, his sorrow was not still.

3. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned:

There was an inward friction, his griefs kept revolving until his heart grew hot; this heat generated fire, which burned so vehemently that, at last, the psalmist could not help himself, and he was obliged to speak.

3. Then I spoke with my tongue,

Whether rightly or wrongly, he must say something, he could not hold himself in any longer: “Then I spoke with my tongue.”

4. “LORD,

If you must speak, address your words to the Lord. So David does, he does not speak to the wicked, but he prays to God most holy.

4. Make me to know my end,

Did he wish to die? Perhaps so; you remember that one of the two men who never died once prayed that he might die. Elijah did so; and David does so here, I think, if I put a hard construction on his speech: “Lord, make me to know my end.” But if I read it more tenderly, I may make it to mean, “Lord, help me to remember that my sorrows will not last for ever! That thought will tone them down, and keep them in check. ‘Make me to know my end.’ ”

4-5. And the measure of my days, what it is; so that I may know how frail I am. Behold, you have made my days as a handbreadth;

That is, the breadth of your four fingers; all the length of life is to be measured by a span.

5. And my age is as nothing before you:

All that exists is as nothing before God. What are even the oldest angels but the infants of an hour in contrast with the ages of eternity? The world itself is only like a bubble blown yesterday, the sun is like a spark struck from the anvil of omnipotence only a few days ago; and as for man, compared with the eternal God, he is “as nothing.”

5. Truly, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Or, as the Hebrew has it, every Adam is all Abel. Was not Abel the child of Adam, and was he not soon cut off? Every man even at his best state is altogether vanity. What poor creatures we are! Our breath is not more airy than we ourselves are; our lives are only as a mist that is blown away by the wind.

“Selah.” When the psalmist had come so far, he stopped for a while, to tighten up the strings of his harp; such pressure as he had given it had taken away its melodious tones, and it needed to be brought again up to concert pitch.

6. Surely every man walks in a vain show:

Like players, or actors, all of us are walking in a phantom show; which is not really anything, but only seems to be.

6. Surely they are disquieted in vain:

They make a dreadful noise in the tumult of the battle, the din of the exchange, the hum of the streets, the fret and worry of the office; but it is all in vain.

6. He heaps up riches, and does not know who shall gather them.

If a man succeeds in amassing wealth, it is a poor success; the muck-rake gathers, and then comes the fork that scatters. One man hoards it up, and another takes as much delight in squandering it. They think that they have permanently secured their estate, and that their name and house will continue as long as the sun, but it all comes to nothing. “Vanity of vanities,” said the son of David, “all is vanity,” and his father had said so before him.

7. And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.

There is no vanity in that declaration. Now we are on the rock, now we have come to something real. When a man trusts in the unchanging God, and hopes in the ever-blessed Saviour, he has come out of his state of vanity: “My hope is in you.”

8. Deliver me from all my transgressions:

We had not expected David to offer that prayer, we might have thought that he would say, “Deliver me from all my troubles, and from my many vexing thoughts.” But no, he lays the axe at the root of the evil: “Deliver me from all my transgressions.” There is only One who can do that, even the glorious Son of God, who lived and died to save his people from their sins.

8. Do not make me the reproach of the foolish.

“The wicked will be ready enough to catch me up, and pour scorn on me. Lord, keep me so right with you, and so near to yourself, that they may never be able to reproach me!”

9. I was dumb, I did not open my mouth, because you did it.

This verse should read, “I will be dumb, I will not open my mouth, because you have done it.” That is a better silence than the first, for the psalmist is getting into a right state. This is the proper silence, the other was brazen, this is golden. May God help us to know how and when to practise it! Never speak against God whatever he does, do not open your mouth when he chastens because whatever he does must be right.

10. Remove your stroke away from me:

Having come to complete submission, he dares pray for deliverance from his sorrow. You may pray very boldly, and very freely, when you can truly say, “Your will be done.” David had said that he would not open his mouth against his God, and now he begins to plead, “Remove your stroke away from me.”

10. I am consumed by the blow of your hand.

When God does strike, it is no light thing; a blow of his hand consumes us.

11. When you do correct man with rebukes for iniquity, you make his beauty to consume away like a moth:

Just as a moth eats up the fur or the cloth, and spoils it, so, when God’s corrections happen to us, our beauty is soon gone. Poor beauty it must be that can so soon go. Lord, let your beauty be on us, for no moth can ever eat into that!

11. Surely every man is vanity. Selah.

In the fifth verse, you see that, when the psalmist reached that point, he stopped, and said, “Selah,” and he does so again here. Striking his lyre with a heavy hand, he has put it out of tune again, so he pauses, and begin to tighten up the strings once more. You and I often need to be tightened up like the strings of a harp, to put us in right order before we go on to praise or to pray.

12. Hear my prayer, oh LORD, and give ear to my cry;

See how David’s “prayer” grows into a “cry.” It deepens in intensity; there is more power in a cry than in an ordinary prayer, it shows more earnestness, and implies greater urgency: “Hear my prayer, oh Lord, and give ear to my cry.”

12. Do not hold your peace at my tears:

That is a still more powerful mode of pleading. Tears are the irresistible weapons of weakness. Women, children, beggars, and sinners, can all conquer by tears: when they can win by nothing else, if they will take to these pearly drops, and especially if they can look through them to the crimson drops of a Saviour’s blood, they can win what they wish from God: “Do not hold your peace at my tears.”

12. For I am a stranger with you,

The believer is a stranger in this world, just as God is. The Lord made the world, but the world does not know its Maker, and it does not know his people.

       ’Tis no surprising thing,
       That we should be unknown:
    The Jewish world knew not their King,
       God’s everlasting Son.

“I am a stranger,” not to you, but “with you, a stranger even as you are.” There is another very beautiful meaning to this expression. You know how the Orientals exercise hospitality to strangers; when they once take them into their tent, they supply them liberally, and treat them honourably. “I am a stranger with you”: I am a poor alien who has come into God’s house, to stay for a while with him, I have eaten some of his salt, I have cast myself on his protection, so he will certainly take care of me: “I am a stranger with you.”

12. And a sojourner, as all my forefathers were.

“They did not remain here.” My forefathers used this world merely as an inn, at which they stayed for a night; in the morning, they hurried on to the city that has foundations, on the other side of Jordan, —

    To the islands of the Blessed,
    To the land of the Hereafter,

where the saints dwell for ever with their Lord.

13. Oh spare me, —

“Deal gently with me; do not break me in pieces. If you need to strike me, yet do not altogether crush me. Oh spare me,” —

13. That I may recover strength, before I go from here, and be no more.

“Let me be able to take a little nourishment, and to gather my faculties together yet again, so that I may sing to you some sweeter hymn before I cease to be in the land of the living, and leave this world.” So, you see, this is a sweet Psalm after all, it is a bitter-sweet, a sweet-bitter a Psalm that tends towards our spiritual health. Many of us understand what David meant by it. May others, who as yet do not, soon be taught its gracious lessons! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 23” 23 @@ "(Version 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 73” 73 @@ "(Part 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Seeking to Persevere — Let Us Not Fall” 668}
 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, December, 1894.
 Obstacles to Soul-Winning. An Address to the Students of the Pastors’ College. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 The “First Things” of the Bible. Devotional Meditations, by Walter J. Mayers. XII. The First Evangel.
 Mr. Spurgeon’s Monument, Norwood Cemetery. Verses by Pastor Thomas Spurgeon. (With full-page Illustration.)
 Pastor Charles Spurgeon. Account of his 15½ years’ work at Greenwich, and notice of his approaching departure to South Africa.
 Hints and Helps from the Margin of my Bible. By Pastor John D. Gilmore, Brannoxtown. (Concluded.)
 “Our Own Men” and their Work. XII. Pastor John Wilson, of Woolwich. (With new Portrait.)
 “Gumption.” By Pastor James Briggs, Longton.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. (Presentation portrait of Pastor Thomas Spurgeon. Our programme for 1895. Mrs. Spurgeon’s “Protest against Bazaars.” The Spurgeon Memorial Sermon Society. Metropolitan Tabernacle elders and new members. Metropolitan Tabernacle Loan Tract Society. Mr. Ford’s Bible-class. Mr. Dunn’s Bible-class. College. College Missionary Association. Pastors’ College Evangelists. C. H. Spurgeon’s Evangelists. Orphanage. Colportage. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle and Haddon Hall. Personal Notes, By Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.)
 Lists of Contributions.
 Index of Texts of Sermons, Outlines, &c., by C. H. Spurgeon, in The Sword and the Trowel, Vols I-XXX.
 Title-page, Preface, and General Index to Vol. XXX.
 Frontispiece, — New Portrait of Pastor Charles Spurgeon.

 Price 3d. Post free, 4d.
 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.


Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 23 (Version 1)
1 My Shepherd will supply my need,
   Jehovah is his name;
   In pastures fresh he mikes me feed,
   Beside the living stream.
2 He brings my wandering spirit back
   When I forsake his ways:
   And leads me, for his mercy’s sake,
   In paths of truth and grace.
3 When I walk through the shades of death,
   Thy presence is my stay;
   A word of thy supporting breath
   Drives all my fears away.
4 Thy hand, in spite of all my foes,
   Doth still my table spread;
   My cup with blessings overflows;
   Thine oil anoints my head.
5 The sure provisions of my God
   Attend me all my days;
   Oh may thy house be mine abode,
   And all my work be praise!
6 There would I find a settled rest,
   While others go and come;
   No more a stranger, or a guest,
   But like a child at home.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719


Psalm 23 (Version 2)
1 The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want
   He makes me down to lie
   In pastures green: he leadeth me
   The quiet waters by.
2 My soul he doth restore again,
   And me to walk doth make
   Within the paths of righteousness,
   E’en for his own name’s sake.
3 Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
   Yet will I fear no ill;
   For thou art with me, and thy rod
   And staff me comfort still.
4 My table thou hast furnished
   In presence of my foes;
   My head thou dost with oil anoint,
   And my cup overflows.
5 Goodness and mercy all my life
   Shall surely follow me;
   And in God’s house for ever more
   My dwelling place shall be.
                        Scotch Version, 1641.


Psalm 23. (Version 3)
1 The Lord my Shepherd is,
   I shall be well supplied;
   Since he is mine, and I am his,
   What can I want beside?
2 He leads me to the place
   Where heavenly pasture grows,
   Where living waters gently pass,
   And full salvation flows.
3 If e’er I go astray,
   He doth my soul reclaim;
   And guides me in his own right way,
   For his most holy name.
4 While he affords his aid,
   I cannot yield to fear;
   Though I should walk through death’s dark shade,
   My Shepherd’s with me there.
5 In spite of all my foes,
   Thou dost my table spread;
   My cup with blessings overflows,
   And joy exalts my head.
6 The bounties of thy love
   Shall crown my following days;
   Nor from thy house will I remove,
   Nor cease to speak thy praise.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


Psalm 23 (Version 4)
1 The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
   And feed me with a Shepherd’s care;
   His presence shall my wants supply,
   And guard me with a watchful eye;
   My noonday walks he will attend,
   And all my midnight hours defend.
2 Though in the paths of death I tread,
   With gloomy horrors overspread,
   My stedfast heart shall fear no ill,
   For thou, Oh Lord! are with me still:
   Thy friendly crook shall give me aid,
   And guide me through the dreadful shade.
                     Joseph Addison, 1712.


Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 73 (Part 1)
1 Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I,
   To mourn, and murmur, and repine,
   To see the wicked placed on high,
   In pride and robes of honour shine.
2 But, oh their end! their dreadful end!
   Thy sanctuary taught me so:
   On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand,
   And fiery billows roll below.
3 Now let them boast how tall they rise,
   I’ll never envy them again;
   There they may stand with haughty eyes,
   Till they plunge deep in endless pain.
4 Their fancied joys, how fast they flee!
   Just like a dream when man awakes:
   Their songs of softest harmony
   Are but a preface to their plagues.
5 Now I esteem their mirth and wine
   Too dear to purchase with my blood;
   Lord, ‘tis enough that thou art mine;
   My life, my portion, and my God.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719.


Psalm 73 (Part 2)
1 God, my supporter and my hope,
   My help for ever near,
   Thine arm of mercy held me up,
   When sinking in despair.
2 Thy counsels, LOrd, shall guide my feet
   Through this dark wilderness;
   Thy hand conduct me near thy seat,
   To dwell before thy face.
3 Were I in heaven without my God
   ‘Twould be no joy to me;
   And whilst this earth is mine abode,
   I long for none but thee.
4 What if the springs of life were broke,
   And flesh and heart should faint?
   God is my soul’s eternal rock,
   The strength of every saint.
5 Still to draw near to thee, my God,
   Shall be my sweet employ;
   My tongue shall sound thy works abroad,
   And tell the world my joy.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


Psalm 73 (Part 3)
1 Whom have we, Lord, in heaven but thee,
   And whom on earth beside;
   Where else for succour shall we flee,
   Or in whose strength confide?
2 Thou art our portion here below,
   Our promised bliss above;
   Ne’er can our souls an object know
   So precious as thy love.
3 When heart and flesh, oh Lord, shall fail,
   Thou wilt our spirits cheer;
   Support us through life’s thorny vale,
   And calm each anxious fear.
4 Yes, thou, our only guide through life,
   Shalt help and strength supply;
   Support us in death’s fearful strife,
   Then welcome us on high.
                     Harriett Auber, 1829.


The Christian, Seeking to Persevere
668 — Let Us Not Fall
1 Lord, through the desert drear and wide
   Our erring footsteps need a guide;
   Keep us, oh keep us near thy side.
   Let us not fall. Let us not fall.
2 We have no fear that thou shouldest lose
   One whom eternal love could choose;
   But we would ne’er this grace abuse.
   Let us not fall. Let us not fall.
3 Lord, we are blind, and halt, and lame,
   We have no strong hold but thy name:
   Great is our fear to bring it shame.
   Let us not fall. Let us not fall.
4 Lord, evermore thy face we seek:
   Tempted we are, and poor, and weak;
   Keep us with lowly hearts, and meek.
   Let us not fall. Let us not fall.
5 All thy good work in us complete,
   And seat us daily at thy feet;
   Thy love, thy words, thy name, how sweet!
   Let us not fall. Let us not fall.
                           Mary Bowly. 1847.

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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