2435. The Everlasting Arms

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No. 2435-41:493. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, October 6, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 20, 1895.

Underneath are the everlasting arms. {De 33:27}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 624, “Present Privilege and Future Favour” 615}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 803, “Israel’s God God’s Israel” 794}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1413, “Underneath” 1404}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2435, “Everlasting Arms, The” 2436}
   Exposition on De 33 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3528, “Promise and a Providence, A” 3530 @@ "Exposition"}

1. This short passage is found in the midst of a mass of gold, sentences containing the richest treasures of truth. All this spiritual wealth is the inheritance of the people of God, — not only of his typical people to whom these words were spoken, but to his real people, the true seed of Abraham, those who are the believing children of the father of all believers. If you are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, you may take these precious words home for yourself, and you may live on them; you may eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and rejoice in all the refreshment that they bring to your spirit.

2. In the four verses, from the 26th to the 29th, notice how near God is said to be to his people. He is described as being above us, arching over us with his divine power: “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heaven in your help, and in his excellency in the sky.” Faith can hear the tramp of the celestial cavalry above our heads. We who trust in the Lord are always safe, for the angels of God are looking down on us from the battlements of heaven, ready to show themselves strong on our behalf as soon as their presence is needed by us. Then, our text tells us of God beneath us. Just as he is above us in the heavens, so underneath us are the everlasting arms. The next sentence shows us God before us:“ and he shall thrust out the enemy from before you; and shall say, ‘Destroy them’ ”; and the remaining verses of the chapter represent him as being all around us, so that we are encompassed with God; not only with his presence, with which he fills heaven, and earth, and all deep places, but with the glorious presence of his mighty love. He is above, beneath, before, and all around us; he never forsakes us, for in him we live, and move, and have our being. Let us rejoice, therefore, in our Lord’s nearness.

3. I. Now coming to our text, I want, as God’s Spirit shall help me, to bring to your notice, first, THE QUARTER THAT IS SO HONOURABLY SECURED: “Underneath.”

4. “Underneath.” Well, in the first place, that is the point of mysterious assault. We look for the attacks of the powers of darkness from underneath. They are very remarkable attacks; there are many who are the objects of them, but there are few who fully understand them. There are many of God’s children who are often severely vexed by Satan, yet they do not know that it is the devil who is troubling them. They blame themselves for thoughts that are none of their own, but which come up from the infernal pit, like smoke and sparks from that dread lower world. Oh friends, if Satan has ever grievously tempted and assailed you, you will dread beyond expression any repetition of that temptation or assault. Mr. Bunyan well says that a man had better go over hill and dale, and many miles out of his way, rather than meet this terrible adversary. He not only works through the world, and through the flesh, but he has modes of personal attack, fiery arrows from his own hand, false accusations and foul insinuations, which come only from him. By all these he assails Christians, and brings us to a standstill, so that sometimes we do not know what to do. Just underneath us there seems to yawn the awful pit, out of which Satan rises, with his abandoned fallen angels, to do us mischief. Then comes in this gracious assurance: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” Against this mysterious because incomprehensible foe, whose arrows are so painful and deadly, God has been pleased to set a shield; and he puts underneath you, oh child of God, his everlasting arms! You may be tempted by Satan, but it shall only be in a measure; God will not let him exert all his diabolical strength. When the Lord allowed Satan to tempt Job, there was always a proviso, which said to the devil as to the raging sea, “So far you shall come, but no farther.” The Lord pulled him up short just at the point where he hoped to destroy the good man; and it shall be so with you also, tried believer. Underneath you, in your worst attacks from Satan, shall be the everlasting arms of the Lord himself.

5. Note a second meaning of this word “underneath.” That is the place of our daily pilgrimage. To the Israelites, “underneath” was the burning sand of the terrible wilderness; sometimes, “underneath” were the fiery serpents, and all kinds of evil things, so that their march towards Canaan was a continual trial to them. “But,” says God to his people, “though sense sees nothing underneath but ever-burning sands, let faith see underneath the everlasting arms.” Some of you go out to your daily labours, and you find the place of your service to be a real wilderness, full of trial and everything that is unpleasant to you. Yet look again, with eyes touched with heaven’s eyesalve, and instead of seeing the bitter poverty, and the grinding toil, and the daily trial, you will begin to see that God is in it all, and “underneath are the everlasting arms.” You shall go cheerfully home to heaven, borne up by God. He who made you will carry you; he who loves you will bear you all the days of old until you shall come to the Mount of God, and stand in your lot at the end of the days. I think, therefore, that our text applies not only to the point of mysterious assault, but to the place of daily pilgrimage and toil.

6. Do you not think that this word “underneath” also relates to the place of perilous descent? There are times in a man’s life when he has to come down. It is not a very easy matter to go down the hill safely. Some people have proved that it is difficult to grow old gracefully; but to the Christian it ought not to be impossible or unusual to grow old graciously. Still, there are difficulties about that coming down the hill of life, — coming down in a very material sense, perhaps, from competence to real poverty; coming down concerning your mental powers, being conscious of losing your former influence over your fellow men; coming down in general reputation, through no fault of your own, but through circumstances of which you are not the master. All this is very trying to human nature. You know that, on the way to heaven, there are many Hill Difficulties; and brave spirits rather enjoy climbing to the top of them. We like a craggy path, hard and rough, where we can keep on looking upward all the way even if we have to scramble on our hands and knees. There is something pleasant in going up in that way; but it happens when going down into the Valley of Humiliation that we are apt to slip. We do not like going down; and, just as many horses fall at the bottom of the hill, so I believe that many people trip at the end of a trial when they think it is nearly over, and they have no need to look so carefully at their feet. Well now, dear friends, if any of you are going down the hill, I think the text comes in very sweetly: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” You cannot go so low that God’s arms of love are not lower still. You get poorer and poorer; but “underneath are the everlasting arms.” You get older and feebler; your ears are failing, your eyes are growing dim; but “underneath are the everlasting arms.” Eventually, unless the Lord speedily returns, you will have to die, and you will come down very low then; but still it will be true “underneath are the everlasting arms.”

7. Further, I think that we may use the text as referring to a matter of intense concern. Sometimes, we say to each other, “Is our religion real? We trust we love the Lord; but do we love him? We think we are reposing in Christ; but are we really doing so? We have a measure of joy and peace; does it come really through believing in Jesus, or is it a delusion of the flesh or of the devil? We have advanced so far in the heavenly way; but are we really going towards heaven, or is it all a mistake?” It is a good thing, occasionally, brothers and sisters, to look underneath; he who never sees what is under him may have good reason to do so. Examine your foundations, see what your corner-stones are, for if you should be building on the sand, then, in the time of storm, your fine building will be all swept away. It is a grand thing if we can find this text to be true: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” I dig through my experience, and “underneath are the everlasting arms.” I question my joys, I examine myself about my sorrows; but do I come down to the purposes of God, the immutable faithfulness of the Most High, the eternal verities revealed in Scripture; do I come down to the everlasting arms? If so, I am resting where the whole universe may rest; I am resting on a faithful God, and I need not be afraid. Do not fear to examine yourself; if you do, there is perhaps all the graver need for the testing and trying. Search and look, and go to the bottom of these matters. You shall be happy if, diving to the very depths, you can say, “Yes, underneath are the everlasting arms.”

8. I shall use this first word of my text in one more way: I think we have here the secret of exceptional discoveries that will yet be made. We do not at present know the reality of things; we judge according to our feelings, and by the sight of our eyes; how else can we judge? But the day will come when things will appear very different from what they do now. There is a huge trouble which has mastered us for years; it has seemed, with its dense shadow, to darken our heavenly way for a great length of time; but the day will come when we shall look through that trouble, and we shall find that “underneath are the everlasting arms.” Perhaps some of us are in severe perplexity; we cannot understand the Lord’s providential dealings with us. He does not always tell us the reason for his actions; we might not understand it if he did, but we may rest assured that he is working out purposes of infinite love. He does not cease to care for us even when things appear to be at their very worst. I bear my willing witness to the faithfulness of God; I am not so old as some, but I am old enough to have gone through fire, and through water, and I am here to testify that I have not been burned by the one, nor drowned by the other. Can many of you not say the same? In your most severe trials, and in your hottest furnaces, has he not been especially present with you, and bestowed great blessings on you? It is even so; then trust him, you saints, for what his Word assures you is gloriously true: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” Go deeper down, look further into the real reason for things than you have been accustomed to do, and you shall find this solid foundation, that God is working out for you infinite and eternal blessedness by these light afflictions which are only for a moment.

9. II. Now, secondly, let us note HOW THIS QUARTER IS SECURED: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

10. The everlasting arms are there; and that means, first of all, that God himself is close to us, guaranteeing the eternal safety of all those who trust in him. Of course, where anyone’s arms are, there he is, and God is not separated from his own arms. This is our joy and comfort that God is with us. What strength it gives to faith to believe that God is present! Even the false prophet, Mohammed, had a strong faith in God, — in Allah, — and when he fled for the first time, and hid in a cave with only one friend, his companion said to him, “Our pursuers are after us, and there are only two of us.” “Stop,” exclaimed Mohammed, “there are three, for Allah is here!” It was the utterance of a brave and grand faith; oh that his whole career had been in harmony with it! Wherever there are two of God’s people, there is Another with them, for God is there. We do not count him in as we ought to do; yet, if we were wise, we should put ourselves down as only ciphers, and say, “No one is there until HE is there; he is the one true, personal number that multiplies all these ciphers indefinitely.” Mr. Wesley said, as he died, “The best of all is, God is with us”; and that is the best of all, is it not? Underneath is God himself. He who made the heavens and the earth cannot forsake those who do not forsake him. If you love him, if you trust in him, he might as soon cease to be as fail anyone who is relying on him. This is the glory of Jehovah that, while the gods of the heathen are worthless idols, our God hears prayer, and answers the cry of his people. Try him, and see if it is not so. Blessed are those who trust in Jehovah, for they shall find in the living God help in every time of need, and strength sufficient for every day of trial. So, then, we see that what might appear to us as the dark abyss, the dreary, mysterious underland, is all guarded by Jehovah himself: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

11. Our text also means that the Lord’s immutable purpose is being fulfilled. Where God’s arms are, he is at work, and he is at work accomplishing his purposes of grace. The text speaks of everlasting arms: that is a strength that never fails, and never turns aside from the purpose to which it has bound itself. Oh child of God, down deep where you cannot see it, the divine power of the Eternal Godhead is always at work for you! The arms of God are busy on your behalf; he has made them bare to show himself strong in your defence. Be sure of this, God has a purpose of love for all who believe in him, and that purpose of love shall stand firm for all eternity. Whatever changes there may be in the appearance of this world, and in the great universe of which it forms a part, there shall be no change in the infinite resolve of God to bless his people, and preserve them even to the end. Therefore, believer, be of good comfort, and say to yourself, “At the bottom of everything that happens to me, there is the immutable purpose of God, and God himself working it out.”

12. Besides the Lord’s immutable purpose, and his infinite power by which God is at work for you at all times, our text means that his inexhaustible patience is waiting its time. “Underneath are the everlasting arms,” bearing up your load, sustaining it with long endurance, while he keeps on working for you, — invisible, yet always active on your behalf. Do you expect to see your God on this side of heaven? If so, you will be disappointed. Are you willing to walk by faith, and not by sight? If so, you shall have a double blessing; for, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” Oh, that the Holy Spirit of God would bring you to this point! Having trusted God in the person of his dear Son, having laid the whole weight of your eternal interests on him whom God has revealed to be your Saviour, you may leave them there in perfect safety, without a moment’s care or anxiety. God’s everlasting arms must carry out God’s eternal purposes. Not one of his promises can fall to the ground, for “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It is God himself who undertakes to bear you up, and bear you through; therefore, rest assured that he will do it.

13. III. I must not speak longer on that matter, for I must say just a little on the third point. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THIS TEXT IS VERY PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

14. One of these times happens, I think, when we are very sick and very feeble. The pillows have been fluffed up for you, and made as soft as they can be; and the bed, which is so apt to grow hard, has been tenderly smoothed by kind fingers; yet you sink back as if you were about to die of very exhaustion. Sink back, then; do not be afraid, for “underneath are the everlasting arms.” Perhaps there comes a faintness over you, and you seem to be sinking, sinking, — you do not know where; still, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” You try to rise, but you cannot; you would clutch at something by which you think you might get back to activity, but you fall back into the same state of weary languor and pain. Well, but still, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” It is delightful to feel that our feebleness impinges on Omnipotence; that, just when there is nothing left for us, then God comes in with all his fulness, and bears us up. He is always faithful, and full of compassion; he does not afflict willingly, or grieve the children of men; so, when he must grieve them, it is then that he displays his special power to strengthen and sustain them. Go home to your bed, if it must be so with you; if there are wearisome months of sickness and disease awaiting you, go home, and carry this text with you: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

15. Is this word not very sweet, too, when burdened with severe troubles, or oppressed with heavy labours? You feel that you need double strength, and you say, “I cannot keep on any longer; there is too much for mortal powers to endure, I cannot bear up under these repeated trials. The last time I felt like this, I thought that I had no strength left, and now this feeling comes over me again; what shall I do? I am thrown down, I am crushed, as though men were riding over my head; I seem to be cast out like the mire in the streets.” Yes; but still, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” We sang, just now, —

    “As thy day, thy strength shall be.”

Is that truth or fiction? Ask God’s people about their past experience, and they will affirm that God is true; and you, too, shall find it true. Oh, how wondrously God’s saints have been borne up under persecution, and cheerful and glad under oppression! The sweetest songs that ever were heard on earth, were sung behind prison bars. Perhaps I shall not be wrong when I say that the most wonderful joys that ever were felt by mortal hearts, have been felt by men who, on the next day, were to be burned at the stake; but whose very souls have danced within them, because of the unspeakable delight which the presence of God has given to them. I think it was Socrates who said that “Philosophers could be merry without music.” I take the statement from his mouth, and alter it, and say, Christians can be happy without happy circumstances; they can sometimes, like nightingales, sing best in dark nights. Their joy is not mere outward mirth. Sorrows fall on them; yet, from the depths that lies underneath, wells up even more into very great joy. Yes, “underneath are the everlasting arms”; and when we can no longer stand, it is a blessed thing to lean or fall back on them.

16. I have already told you that another time when this text is very sweet happens when you are going downhill; and some of you may be going downhill pretty fast just now. Never mind; “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” When you come down the hill of old age, you know what lies at the bottom; why, then, you go up again, higher than you ever went before, renewing your youth, and being with the Well-Beloved for ever.

17. So, dear friends, I may change the application of my text, “Underneath are the everlasting arms,” and pass it on to those who are all trembling and shaking. Some of you, perhaps, know what I mean. That young man has begun to preach a little, but he says, “I fear that I shall break down.” Dear brother, if you get a message from God to tell, then tell it, and do not be afraid, for “underneath are the everlasting arms.” You are seeking to gather a few young people together, and you are trying to bless them; but you feel your own weakness so much that you say, “I know I shall make a failure of it.” Do not say so, for “underneath are the everlasting arms.” He who helps us when we go down, down, down, is equally ready to do so when we are going up in his service. When our ardent zeal is bearing us forward to do something more for the Lord than we are quite equal to, then, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” And if you are seeking greater holiness, daring to indulge a loftier joy, if you are trying to sing some of those hymns which, a few months ago, you thought were pitched in too high a key for you, be bold and daring. Your wing-feathers will grow by your very attempt to fly; the possibilities of grace are boundless; leave yourself to them. Do not always be weak and trembling; may God help you to become as a David, and you who are as David to become as an angel of the Lord!

18. Once more, the hour will come when everything will begin to melt away beneath your feet. Earthly comforts will fail you, friends will be unable to help you; they can wipe the clammy sweat from your brow, and moisten your lips with a drop of water, but they cannot go with you on the great voyage on which you are about to be launched. When heart and flesh fail, then may the Lord speak to you the sweet words before us, “Underneath are the everlasting arms!” It will be a sinking to the flesh, but a rising to the spirit. Underneath dying saints there is the living God. Do not be afraid, therefore, even to die; for, to the Christian, “to die is gain.” I remember, at a funeral, when we laid the body of one of God’s saints in the grave, a dear minister prayed, “Lord, we thank you that, though our dear friend has come so low as to be in his grave, he cannot go any lower, for ‘underneath are the everlasting arms,’ and in due time you will bring him up again in those everlasting arms, raised in the likeness of his Lord.” That is true of all believers; therefore, let this text come sweetly home to your heart: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

19. I must conclude with just this remark. There are some here who are not yet saved. I would illustrate the way of salvation to you by this text. You are hoping to save yourself, you are depending on something that you have done, or that you have felt; I want you to let all that go, to give up every hope you have that comes from yourself. “Oh!” you say, “but I shall fall.” Yes, you will; and that falling shall be your salvation, for, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” There you are, up at that window, and the flames are raging behind you, so that you cannot escape; but one stands below, he is strong enough to catch you in his arms, and he says, “Drop into my arms. Do not hesitate.” Jesus Christ never yet allowed any soul to be injured that dropped into his arms. Let go, man, let go! Let go of everything, and drop into the arms of Jesus. That is the saving thing, — to let everything else go, and trust only in Jesus, entirely depending on him who lived, and died, and rose again, and is the ever-living Saviour of sinners. Drop into his arms; they are everlasting arms, as strong to save now as they were nearly two millennia ago. Drop into his arms. May God help you to do so, for his name’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {De 8}

1. All the commands which I command you today you shall observe to do, so that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your forefathers.

Every word here seems emphatic. Like the children of Israel, we are to observe all the commands of the Lord our God; not merely some of them, picking and choosing as we please. It is a very bad conscience, which regards some of God’s statutes, and pays no attention to the others; in fact, the very act of making a selection concerning what commands we will observe is gross disobedience.

“All the commands which I command you today you shall observe to do.” Notice that we are not only to do as we are told, but to do it with care: “you shall observe to do.” God would not have a thoughtless, careless, blind service; but we must bow our mind and heart as well as our will to his service. Remember also that it is not sufficient to “observe” the commands so as to note what they are, but we are to “observe to do” them. That observation which does not end in right practice is like a promising blossom on a tree, which never knits, {is pollinated} and therefore produces no fruit.

Further notice that, to walk in the ways of God, is for our own benefit as well as for his glory: “So that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers.” There are, doubtless, many good things which we miss because we are not careful in our walking. I am sure that the happiest life will be found to be what is most carefully conducted on the principles of holy obedience to God’s commands. There are certain blessings which God will not give to us while we are disobedient to him. Many a father feels that he cannot indulge his child as he would wish to indulge him when he finds the child negligent concerning his father’s will. So, if we please God, God will please us; but, if we walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to us. Let me read this most instructive verse again, so that it may be further impressed on your memories and your hearts: “All the commands which I command you today you shall observe to do, so that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers.”

To help you in obeying these commands, it is added, —

2. And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commands, or not.

Look back, and derive from your past experience a motive for more careful obedience in the future. He does not read his own life properly who does not see in it abundant reasons for gratitude; and how can gratitude express itself better than by a cheerful, hearty obedience in the present and the future?

3. And he humbled you, and permitted you to be hungry, and fed you with manna,

These two sentences come very closely together: “Permitted you to be hungry, and fed you with manna.” I suppose we are not fit to eat heavenly bread until first of all we begin to hunger for it. God loves to give to men who will eat with an appetite: “He permitted you to be hungry, and fed you with manna.”

3. Which you did not know, neither did your forefathers know;

It was a new kind of food; and even in the day when they ate it, they did not fully know what it was. They saw that it came by a miracle, and it remained a mystery; and I think we can say that, though we have fed on the Bread of heaven, some of us, for almost forty years, yet we hardly know, nor dare to think that we know, what it is made of, nor can we tell all the sweetness that is in it. We know the love of Christ, but it still surpasses our knowledge. It is true of us, as of Israel in the wilderness, “He humbled you, and permitted you to be hungry, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did your forefathers know.”

3. So that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

It is a grand thing to be delivered from materialism, to be freed from the notion that the outward means are absolutely essential for the accomplishment of the divine purpose. If God had so willed it, we could have lived on air, if the air had been sanctified by the Word of God and prayer for such a use. The Lord has, however, chosen to feed us on bread; yet our highest life, our real life, does not live on bread, but it lives on the Word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. This is one of the passages with which our Lord fought Satan in the desert, and overcame him. Happy is that servant of God who will arm himself with this same truth, and feel, “I am not to be provided for merely by money, or by anything else that is visible. God will provide for me somehow, and I can leave all care about the means if the means fail, and get away to the God of the means, and lean, not on what I see, but on that arm which is invisible.” What you can see may fail you, for it is, like yourself, a shadow; but he whom you cannot see will never fail you. The strongest sinew in an arm of flesh will crack, but the eternal arm never fails, and never is shortened. Lean on that arm, and you shall never be ashamed, nor confounded, world without end. It takes forty years to teach some people that lesson, and some, alas! have not learned it even at the end of eighty years.

4. Your clothing did not wear out on you, neither did your foot swell, these forty years.

See how God not only cares for his people’s food, but for their clothing also. We may, therefore, well take heed to Paul’s injunction: “Having food and clothing let us be content with it.” Whether it was by a miracle that the Israelites’ clothing did not wear out, or whether it came to pass, in the order of providence, that they were able to get fresh clothing when it did wear out, does not matter at all; it made no difference to them how it was arranged, for it was equal kindness on the part of God who provided for them.

“Neither did your foot swell.” We call the Arab, sometimes, “The pilgrim of the weary foot”; but the Israelites’ feet were not weary. They traversed a stony, hard wilderness, yet God kept them in such health and strength that their feet did not swell even after forty years of journeying. You and I often get worn out in forty hours; forty days are as long as we can hope to go; but God enabled his ancient people to go on for forty years, and still their feet did not swell. Dr. Watts sweetly sang, —

    Mere mortal power shall fade and die,
       And youthful vigour cease;
    But we that wait upon the Lord
       Shall feel our strength increase.
    The saints shall mount on eagles’ wings,
       And taste the promised bliss,
    Till their unwearied feet arrive
       Where perfect pleasure is.

5. You shall also consider in your heart, that, just as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.

We sometimes think that we could do without the Lord’s chastening. If he will give us food and clothing, and keep our foot from swelling, we will not crave the rod. No; but though we do not ask for it, the rod is one of the choicest blessings of the covenant; and if we are the Lord’s children, we shall not go without it. To come under divine discipline, is one of the greatest mercies we can ever have. Many of us, who are now men and women, thank God for earthly parents who have corrected us; we wonder what we should have been if there had been no discipline in our father’s house. So, truly, it is with all of us who are God’s children; in years to come, we shall prize the chastisement which now makes us grieve. Even now, it is good if, by faith, we can apply this text to our own heart: “just as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.”

6, 7. Therefore you shall keep the commands of the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;

There are changes in our condition. Israel was not always in the wilderness; the chosen people were brought into a good land, into a place of rest from their weary wanderings. So it may happen to you and to me that, even in temporal circumstances, God may work a great change for us, and he will do this especially in spiritual matters. After a time of wilderness travelling, we who have believed enter into rest; we come to understand the gospel, and he who understands the gospel is not in the wilderness any longer. In a certain sense, he has come into the land of promise, where he already enjoys covenant mercies. It is true that the Canaanite is still even in that land, and we have to drive him out; but it is a good land to which God has brought us, “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills.” The Lord makes us drink of the river of his good pleasure, he satisfies us with the cooling streams of his covenant love.

8. A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and honey;

I will not go into a spiritualizing of all this; but I know that you, who have come to believe in Christ, and have entered by faith into his rest, know what sweet things God has provided for you; not merely bare necessities, but choice delights. He gives you to eat from the sweetnesses, he gives you the fatnesses, — the wines on the lees, well refined, and the fat things full of marrow. I trust that there are many here who know the blessed experience of joy and peace in believing. You have entered into a fair region, you have passed through the belt of storms, you have come where the trade-winds blow heavenward, your sails are filled, your vessel skips along before the breeze, you are making good way towards the Fair Havens of eternal felicity.

9. A land where you shall eat bread without scarcity, you shall not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig copper ore.

There are deep things hidden away in the gospel treasuries. Silver and gold there may be none; but then, iron and copper are much more useful things, and the most useful things we shall ever want in this life lie hidden beneath the surface of the gospel. If we know how to dig deeply, we shall be abundantly rewarded by the treasures which we shall discover.

Well now, if your experience has so changed, if you have left the fiery serpents and the howling wilderness behind you, and have come into a place of peace and enjoyment, what follows?

10. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which he has given you.

He permits you to eat, — not to satiety, but you may eat and be full; only not so full that you cannot always bless his name. Do not be afraid of holy joy. Eat and be full of it, only let it never detract your heart from him who gives you the joy. On the contrary, bless your God for the good land, which he has given you. It is said that, in the olden time, pious Jews always blessed God before they ate, and always blessed God after they ate. They blessed God for the fragrance of the flower whenever they smelled it. Whenever they drank a cup of water, they blessed the Lord who gave them drink out of the rock in the desert. Oh, that we were always full of the praises for God! Then it would not harm us to be full of food; but if we get full of food, and are empty of praises, this is mischievous indeed.

11. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God, in not keeping his commands, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command you today;

That would be practical atheism; not keeping the commands of God, is one of the most vivid ways of forgetting him.

12-14. Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and live in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; then your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

The other day, a friend asked me this question, “From where does God get his princes?” and the answer I gave was, “He often picks them off dunghills.” Oh, but they sometimes forget the dunghills where they grew, and think themselves wonderfully important individuals! Then there is a time of pulling down for them. We cannot eat and be full without having the temptation of getting our heart lifted up. It is a great blessing to have the heart lifted up in one way, that is, in God’s ways; but to be lifted up by bread, to be lifted up by silver, to be lifted up by flocks and herds, is such a bad way of being lifted up that evil and sorrow must come from it.

See, the Lord does not forbid his people to build a house, or to eat and to enjoy what he gives them; but he does charge them not to forget the God who gave them these mercies, nor to forget where they used to be in slavery: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”

16. Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought you water out of the rock of flint;

I can only pause as I remember my own passage through “that great and terrible wilderness, where there was no water.” When a soul is under conviction of sin, “fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought” are very feeble images of the pains and miseries that come from unforgiven guilt.

“Where there was no water.” Oh! what would we not have given then to have understood a little of that gospel which, perhaps, we now despise? Oh! what would we not have given then just to have moistened our burning lips with the living water of the precious Word in which, possibly, now we see no refreshing? May God have mercy on us for our forgetfulness of his great mercy! Let us, with deep gratitude, think of him again: “Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought you water out of the rock of flint.” “More likely,” one says, “to bring fire rather than water out of a rock of flint”; and it did seem as if the cross of the curse must have cursed us, yet it blessed us. The Lord brought living water out of that Rock which was struck for guilty man.

16, 17. Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your forefathers did not know, that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end; and you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.”

We must not say this either about temporal or spiritual wealth. If we have grown in grace, and have become useful, and are spiritually a blessing to others, we must not take any credit for it ourselves; or else down we shall go before long. God did not enrich you so that you might set yourself up for a god in opposition to him. Christ did not love you that you might make yourself a rival to him. Oh, that must not be! We must never say in our heart, “My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.”

18, 19. But you shall remember the LORD your God: for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. And it shall be, if you at all forget the LORD your God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish.

If you live like sinners, you will die like sinners. “Where, then, is the perseverance of the saints?” one asks. Why, in this, that they shall not live like sinners! God’s grace will not let them go wandering after idols, to worship and to serve them. He will keep us faithful to himself; but if we will wander after idol-gods, it proves that we are not the Lord’s true Israel, and we must expect to be served as others have been who have turned aside to worship idols, —

20. As the nations which the LORD destroys before your face, so you shall perish; because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love — Begone, Unbelief” 734}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — Safety And Consecration” 664}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Support in Affliction — None Shall Pluck Me From Thy Hand” 754}


The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love
734 — Begone, Unbelief <10.10.11.11.>
1 Begone, unbelief, my Saviour is near,
   And for my relief will surely appear;
   By prayer let me wrestle, and he will perform,
   With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
2 Though dark be my way, since he is my guide,
   ‘Tis mine to obey, ‘tis his to provide;
   Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
   The word he has spoken shall surely prevail.
3 His love in time past forbids me to think
   He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
   Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
   Confirms his good pleasure to help me quite through.
4 Determined to save, he watch’d o’er my path
   When, Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death:
   And can He have taught me to trust in his name,
   And thus far have brought me to put me to shame?
5 Why should I complain of want or distress,
   Temptation or pain? he told me no less;
   The heirs of salvation, I know from his word,
   Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.
6 How bitter that cup no heart can conceive,
   Which he drank quite up, that sinners might live!
   His way was much rougher and darker than mine;
   Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?
7 Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
   The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
   Though painful at present ‘twill cease before long,
   And then, oh how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!
                        John Newton, 1779.


The Christian, Dedication To God
664 — Safety And Consecration
1 How can I sink with such a prop
      As my eternal God,
   Who bears the earth’s huge pillars up,
      And spreads the heavens abroad?
2 How can I die while Jesus lives,
      Who rose and left the dead?
   Pardon and grace my soul receives
      From mine exalted Head.
3 All that I am, and all I have,
      Shall be for ever thine;
   Whate’er my duty bids me give,
      My cheerful hands resign.
4 Yet if I might make some reserve,
      And duty did not call,
   I love my God with zeal so great,
      That I should give him all.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.


The Christian, Privileges, Support in Affliction
754 — None Shall Pluck Me From Thy Hand <8.7.7.7.>
1 Clouds and darkness round about thee
      For a season veil thy face,
   Still I trust, and cannot doubt thee,
      Jesus full of truth and grace;
   Resting on thy words I stand,
   None shall pluck me from thy hand.
2 Oh, rebuke me not in anger!
      Suffer not my faith to fail!
   Let not pain, temptation, languor,
      O’er my struggling heart prevail!
   Holding fast thy word I stand,
   None shall pluck me from thy hand.
3 In my heart thy words I cherish,
      Though unseen thou still art near;
   Since thy sheep shall never perish,
      What have I to do with fear?
   Trusting in thy word I stand,
   None shall pluck me from thy hand.
                     Charlotte Elliott, 1834.

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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