2503. The Question Between The Plagues

by on

No. 2503-43:61. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, May 24, 1885, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 7, 1897.

How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? {Ex 10:3}

1. Pharaoh is the type and image of proud men. God permitted him to be left to the natural hardness of his heart, and he defied Jehovah in a very remarkable way. Those who are students of the ancient history of Egypt, those especially who have seen the remains of the colossal statues of the kings, and those tremendous pyramids which probably were the places of their sepulchre, will know that man-worship was carried on to the very highest degree in connection with the ancient kingdom of Egypt. Our modern civilization has deprived kings of much of the dignity which once hedged them around, we have grown amazingly familiar with our fellow men in the very highest places of the earth; but in those olden monarchies, when the king was absolute and supreme, when his wish — even though he was little better than a maniac, — was the law that governed the people, — when not a dog dared move his tongue against the despot, then kings seemed to be like little gods, and they lorded it over their subjects with a vengeance. No doubt they grew intoxicated with the fumes of the incense which their subjects willingly offered to them, and so came to think themselves almost, if not quite, divine, and assumed the position and honours of God himself. It is not so very amazing, therefore, that Pharaoh should have thought that, in the God of the Hebrews, he had merely met just another one of the same stamp as himself, against whom he could carry on war, and whom he might even subdue. He said within himself, “Who are these Hebrews? Their forefathers were a company of shepherds, who came and settled in Egypt; and as for these people, they are my slaves. I have built cities with their unpaid labour, and I still intend to hold them in captivity. They talk about their God, their ‘Jehovah.’ Who is Jehovah that I should obey his voice? Let it be a battle of Pharaoh against Jehovah, and let it be fought out to the bitter end. I will show these people that I do not care for them, or their prophets, or their God.”

2. That same pride which grew so strong in Pharaoh — growing on what it fed on until it came to a colossal form, — that same kind of pride is in the hearts of men even to this day. They do not take on themselves the same high and mighty airs; but, as far as their circumstances will allow, it is still a duel between man and his Maker, between the sinner and his Judge. In the case of some present here, there is now going on a battle between yourselves and your God. Oh, that you would consider this matter in the right light, that you would look at it with calm, and steady, and reasonable consideration; for then, I think, you would at once throw down your weapons, and sue for peace on gospel terms; and this would be the happiest hour that you have ever lived! May God grant that it may be so! I am going to make a running application of my text all through my discourse, and I pray that the Holy Spirit himself may make a direct application of it to anyone whom it may concern.

3. I. To aid your memory, let me say, first of all, that THIS QUESTION HAS ABOUT IT AN AIR OF ASTONISHMENT: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” I have no doubt that, as Moses and Aaron uttered this question, they put it in tones indicative of surprise: “How long is it to be that you, proud Pharaoh, will refuse to humble yourself before the only living and true God?”

4. And, surely, that astonishment must have arisen partly from the judgment which God had inflicted on Pharaoh. You know what Jehovah had already done. He had turned the water into blood, and destroyed the fish; he had made frogs to come even into the king’s bedroom; he had brought innumerable lice and flies throughout all the land; he had sent the murrain on the cattle, boils and blains on man and beast, storms of hail and rain, and mighty thunderings. With stroke after stroke, almost without a pause, Jehovah had struck the proud king; yet still, after seven plagues, Pharaoh remained as proud and obstinate as ever, and therefore the Lord sent to him the question of our text, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”

5. I think I know some cases that are almost parallel with that of Pharaoh. Here is a man who has been very lofty and proud, but already he has been brought from wealth to poverty; at this moment, he scarcely knows where to lay his head, yet in his poverty he has not turned to God. He has been struck with sickness, and that not merely once or twice, but many times. Turning over the pages of his diary, he can note on such a day a fever, on such a day some other deadly disease; and these strokes have followed one after another; yet, on being able to creep out again, and to come into the place of public worship, he is still found as hardened in heart as he ever was. How long will it be, my friend, before you humble yourself before God? The prophet Isaiah might well ask concerning you the question he asked in his day, “Why should you be struck any more?” The rod seems to be wasted on you; you have been struck until “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint,” and you are covered with “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores”; yet you do not turn to the God who strikes you, but you grow prouder and even prouder still notwithstanding all his chastisements and judgments. What shall God do next with you? Where shall the next arrow be aimed? An eye, a hand, a foot, — shall these be struck? Or shall the Lord lay the cold hand of death on your heart? Shall “the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern?” I cannot tell how or when the summons may come for you; but I would very earnestly say to any of you who have been the subjects of many providential trials and divine judgments, “How long will it be before you humble yourselves before God?”

6. The question of our text may have been expressed in astonishment from another point of view, namely, because of the many false pretences of humility which Pharaoh had made. When he was struck, he sent for Moses and Aaron again and again, and he cried out to them, “I have sinned, pray for me. Forgive me just this once.” Then, when his prayer had been heard, and the plague had been removed, Pharaoh went back again to his old natural hardness, and said, “I will not let the people go.” Therefore the Lord sent to him the question, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” Is it not much the same with some of you, my hearers? I want to speak right home to your hearts and consciences; have you ever, in the time of your sickness, promised God that, if you should get better, your life should be altogether different? Yet, though the Lord spared you, there has not been any true change in you. Did you not say, “Please God if I am delivered this time, I will be a better man in all respects?” Yet you are not any better than you used to be. Remember that those resolves of yours are all preserved in God’s file in heaven; you have the copies of those resolutions in your memory; but the resolutions themselves are registered in the Court of King’s Bench above; and one of these days you shall see those broken resolutions again, and as you hear them read, you shall have to answer for having acted falsely towards the Omniscient God, and for having lied to him. May God deliver you from the great sin of making a mockery of him! Meanwhile, I press this question on the heart and conscience of any to whom it applies, “How long will it be before you humble yourselves before the Lord? Will you go on all your lifetime with the mimicry of repentance, with the mere pretence of faith? Will you always be trying to play fast and loose with God? Will you never shake yourselves clear of this shameful play-acting, and come to downright earnest repentance before your God? Will you play yourselves into hell? Will you go on sporting with eternal realities, as if they were only a child’s game?” Oh, let it not be so! Let this question of the Lord himself come rolling, like a peal of thunder, into your heart and conscience, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”

7. Do you not think, too, that this question came from Moses with surprise as he remembered the many mercies of God to Pharaoh? God had heard the prayers of Moses on behalf of Pharaoh. The proud king might think it a little matter; but he who had prayed for him, and obtained the answer to his petitions, did not think it a little thing. When the frogs were in all the land, by the prayer of Moses they were all killed; when the swarms of flies came, and defiled the whole country, it was the prayer of Moses that removed the plague, so that there remained not one. It might be a little matter to Pharaoh, — for men who receive favours often think very little of them, — but those who win favours from God by prayer always highly esteem them. So Moses seems to be astonished as he says to Pharaoh, “Has God done all this for you? Has he removed his rod from you? Has he said to the executioner, ‘Put back the axe’? Has he brought you out of the prison-house of his judgments, taken the chains from off your wrists, and set you free, and do you still defy him? How long will you refuse to humble yourself before him?”

8. Let me ask this question of some who are here. God has been very gracious to you, my friend, in delivering you from many accidents and diseases, and you are spared until your hair is turning grey. It would have been easy enough for your life to have come to an end long ago, yet here you are still spared by God’s mercy. You are not a pauper, as you once thought you would be; you are still living in comfortable circumstances, and that great trial which, at one time, darkened your life like a heavy cloud, has passed away; and you can now look up with a cheerful countenance, and remember times of great despondency and threatened distress. Will you not then — won by this mercy, subdued by this great love, — humble yourself before your God? What more can he do for you than he has already done? See how he has made you the special object of exceptional providential care. I refer you to your diary, and ask you to remember how kindly and tenderly and graciously God has dealt with you these many years. Oh sirs, if terrors will not move you, let love subdue you! Oh! that the grace of God might reveal the secret spring of your heart, and bring you now, at once, to humble yourselves before the Lord!

9. So I think I am right in saying, in the first place, that there is an air of surprise about this question to Pharaoh, because of wasted judgments, forgotten promises, and neglected mercies: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”

10. II. Now, in the second place, to change the strain a little, and only a little, let me add that THE QUESTION BREATHES A SPIRIT OF KINDNESS.

11. You know that, when a person does not intend another’s good, he strikes the fatal blow at once without a word of warning; but he who is a father, though he must use the rod, speaks many times, and pleads, and admonishes, and persuades before he gives a stroke. This is just what God did with Pharaoh by his servants Moses and Aaron; he said, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”

12. In Pharaoh’s case, what God required of him was right. It was humbling to his pride, but it was right. What right had Pharaoh to hold the Israelites as his slaves? They were not his people; they had been admitted into the kingdom as honoured guests. One of the Israelites had saved the nation in the time of famine; Joseph had preserved Egypt, and made the king strong in the midst of his people. Gratitude to Joseph ought to have caused the Israelites to be treated in a very different way; at any rate, if Pharaoh did not wish to have them in Egypt, he ought at least to have permitted them to go in peace, and not to have held them in bondage. This was all that God asked of him: “Let my people go. They are not yours, they are mine; let them go, so that they may serve me.”

13. And, brethren, what God requires of a sinner is a right thing. He asks you to leave your sin; is that not right? He asks you to quit your sins by righteousness; is that not right? He has provided a way of salvation through the atonement of his Son, Jesus Christ, and he invites you to accept it; is that not right? All that he asks you to do is to confess and forsake your sin; is that not right? If you cannot undo your sin, the least you can do is to admit it like a man; and that is what God asks of you. He invites you to trust his dear Son. Is that a hard thing, an unreasonable thing? If he has appointed a Saviour, and equipped him for the service of salvation, and has told you, who need salvation, to trust him to save you, and never think of self-salvation, but to take Jesus Christ to be the beginning and the end of salvation for you, — is that not a right thing? Well, then, how long will it be that you will still refuse to humble yourself before him? A right-minded man never desires to postpone a right action; if it is just and right, he wishes to let it be done at once. And, oh, dear friends, it is the most just and right thing that can be conceived of, that a sinner, guilty against the God of love, should confess his guilt, seek mercy, and accept pardon in the way in which God provides it for men!

14. This question is framed in a spirit of kindness, and I desire to frame it very kindly to any one of you who have not yet yielded to the Lord: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before God?” Dear friend, you say that you intend one day to humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God; do you think it will grow any easier while you delay? Is it hard now to yield yourself to the Lord? It will be harder in a year’s time, even if you are spared until then, for a man’s habits harden every day that he lives. They spin new webs around him, they hold him firmly, poor fly that he is, every hour that he lives. If it ever is an easy matter to bow before the Lord, it is easier at this moment than it will be tomorrow. Do not say, therefore, “I am waiting for a more convenient time”; for the most convenient time that ever can come is now. There will be greater inconveniences tomorrow than there are tonight, and so it will be ad infinitum. If you would be free from your bondage, break loose at once. You have waited for too long already, and you do not find it easier from day to day, neither will you if you still delay to submit to the Lord; therefore, yield to him at once. May God help you to do so!

15. Do you not know that, if God intends to save you, he will send heavier plagues on you than any you have felt as yet? If you will not come to him with one blow, you shall have two; and if two will not suffice, you shall have twenty, for he will have you. It would be better to yield at once; there is no greater wisdom than, the moment the Lord says, “Seek my face,” to answer, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” “Do not be as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding,” which must be driven to their work, and goaded on in their labour. There are some who come to Christ like vessels towed into port, all but wrecked, with torn sails, and broken timbers; it is better by far that you are gently wafted into the haven by the soft south wind of love, or that you spread your canvas to a favouring wind, and fly before the breeze into the Fair Havens of salvation by Christ. I would ask it of you, dear friend, — Why do you want to be beaten, and bruised, and cut, and wounded? Why not, as you are, say tonight, —

    Just as I am — without one plea
    But that thy blood was shed for me,
    And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
       Oh Lamb of God, I come?

16. At any rate, there is one other thing I will say to you, a time for decision should be set. I would like to press the question of the text, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” I remember a man of God, who was talking with a young lady to whom he had spoken many times about her soul. At last he said to her, “Well, Hannah, do you intend to come to Christ one day?” “Yes, sir,” she replied, “I do intend to.” “Well, now,” he said, “will you give me a date when you will come to Christ? You are twenty now, will you come to the Lord Jesus Christ when you are thirty? Will you put that down as a definite promise?” The young lady answered, “Well, sir, I should not like to promise that, because I might be dead before I was thirty. Ten years is a long time, and I might be dead and gone before that time, I hope I shall know the Lord before that.” “Well, Hannah,” the good man said, “we will say nine years, then; that is to be the time that you determine when you will yield to the mercy of God.” “Well, sir,” she said, “I hope it will be before then.” “No,” he said, “the bargain is made; you will have to run risks for nine years, you know. You make the bargain that you will come to Christ in nine years’ time; let it stand so, and you must run the risk.” “Oh, sir!” she exclaimed, “it would be an awful thing, a dreadful thing, for me to say that I would wait nine years, because I might be lost in that time.” The friend then said, “Well, suppose we say that you will serve the Lord in twelve months’ time; will you just take this year, and spend it in the service of Satan, and then, when you have enjoyed yourself that way, give your heart to Christ?” Somehow, the young woman felt that it was a long time, and a very dangerous time, so she answered, “I should not like to be hung over an awful chasm, and for someone to say, ‘I will pull you up at the end of a year, and set your feet on a rock.’ ” No, she could not bear that thought; and as her minister pressed her to set a time, and brought it down little by little, at last she said, “Oh, sir, it had better be tonight; it had better be tonight! Pray to God that I may now give my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is such a dreadful thing to be without a Saviour. I would have Christ as mine this very night.” So I ask it of you, yield to Christ at once, and do not keep on saying, “I hope it will not be long before I become a child of God.”

17. You know how people often talk when they owe you money, — they promise to pay you “next Monday.” Then, when next Monday comes, they say that, unfortunately, there was a remittance which they fully expected on the Saturday, but it did not come; they feel quite certain it will come on Wednesday morning, and they will be around at your house with it, or, would you mind calling on them at noon on Wednesday? When you call on Wednesday, they are so sorry, — such a thing never happened to them before, but they lost their purse when they were out in the street, so could you allow them another month’s credit? That is how they go on, until at last you say, “Well now, look here, will you tell me once and for all when you will pay me? Do set a day.” And you think you have done something when you get a day for payment set at last. So I shall think that there is something gained — though, notice that, I do not have much confidence in such an arrangement, — if there is a deliberate attempt made to set some kind of time when you will yield yourself to Christ; and, of all the times that I can think of, — if I may for once be your solicitor, and sit down quietly, and give you my best advice, — my experience suggests to me that I had better quote to you this passage of Scripture, “Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Today is in your power, it is here at present; it has almost gone, flying with the setting sun, but you have today at present, therefore use it, for tomorrow is not yours, and tomorrow may never come for you.

18. The question of our text is asked, then, not only with an air of surprise, but also with a great measure of kindliness; and in that kindly spirit I wish you to suppose that I am walking around the front of this lower gallery, and shaking hands with every unconverted person, and saying, “How long will it be before you trust in Jesus?” and then mounting the stairs to get to you who are in the upper gallery, that I may ask you the same question, and, after making the round of the whole building, threading my way as best I can through these crowded aisles, and taking each one by the hand, giving a hearty grip, and saying, “How long is it to be? How long is it to be?” and “Had it not better be now?” May God grant that it may be now that you will humble yourself before the Lord, for Jesus’ sake!

19. III. In the third place, I will deal with the text in rather a different way, yet still keeping to the same object though I change the line of argument. THIS QUESTION IS ASKED IN A TONE OF POWER.

20. If I could speak it as Jehovah would speak it by his servant Moses, I think it would run like this: “Thus says Jehovah, God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may serve me.’ ” God as God says to Pharaoh, “It is no use for you to defy me; as well might a moth contend with the furnace. It is of no use for you to lift your puny hand against me. You do not know how great my power is; I have given you a taste of it, but I have even more terrible plagues in store which I will bring, and you will have to bow before me.” And you know, brethren, how Pharaoh did at last have to bow before Jehovah. The firstborn of his strength was cut off in the dead of night, and there was wailing in the palace and in all the land; and then, when Pharaoh said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied on them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them”; — he dashed forward to pursue the hosts of the Lord, and you know what followed: “For the horses of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea over them.” Then was heard the song of Miriam, “Sing to Jehovah, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has thrown into the sea the horse and his rider.” As the rushing waters bore him away, proud Pharaoh learned when it was too late how great a fool he had been to contend against the infinite majesty of Almighty God.

21. And I say to you, sirs, who are fighting against God, you must either bend or break. As God lives, you must bow before him in repentance, or you shall be crushed beneath him in the day of his anger. Do not think, when we talk to you about God’s mercy, that we come to you as your equal might come, and reason with you as though God were afraid of you. Do you talk about your great strength? He is almighty! As for you, your breath is in your nostrils; and the Lord could cause you in a moment to fall dead in a fit, as many have done before you! If you will not yield to him, he is infinitely glorious without you; and if you rebel against him, in what way can you affect the supremacy of his empire? As well might a drop of spray hope to shake the cliffs of Albion as for you to contend against the majesty of God. Oh sirs, do not fight against your God! What profit can there be for you in this rebellion? Already you have found no profit in it; therefore, do not be so mad as to continue warring against your God. “ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord: ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ ” He is a God ready to forgive; “He delights in mercy.” He does not wish the death of any, but that they turn to him and live. Still, if you will persist in contending against him, see what your end will be: “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Jesus himself put the final outcome like this, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into eternal life.”

22. IV. I conclude my sermon by trying to show that THE QUESTION OF OUR TEXT IS OF WIDE APPLICATION.

23. Let me try to present the case to you who are here. Forget Pharaoh, and only think of yourself; let the Lord Jesus Christ himself, with the thorn-crowned head and the pierced hand, stand by your pew, and looking right down into your soul, say in his matchless tone of music, — the music of the heart of love, — “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”

24. What is your difficulty, dear friend? What is the cause of your quarrel with your Lord? Do you refuse even to think about religion? I know that many do; they get up late on Sunday morning, and loiter around the house all day, with no care to go to what they call these “preaching shops.” They would rather go for a walk. The Bible is never read by them; they say that it is such a dreary book, which shows how unacquainted they are with its contents. They regard religion as a mere creation of priests, though they have never fairly examined its claims. Well, friend, will you not at least give the gospel a hearing before you condemn it? Will you not listen to God’s message of salvation, so that you may form a sober judgment concerning it? Will you not, at any rate, read that Book which you have so far despised, so that you may find out whether it really is the Book of God? Oh, no! you know too much to read the Bible, you are far too cultured to listen to the commonplace preaching of such poor folk as we are. That is how you talk, but are you not ashamed to speak like that? Do you not yourself judge that, when a man thinks he knows everything, he really knows very little, and that, when he assumes airs that he is such a very superior person, he is not so high and mighty as he thinks himself to be? Humble yourself enough at least to be wise, humble yourself enough to listen to this question of Nicodemus, “Does our law judge any man, before it hears him, and knows what he does?” Hear the account of Christ, and examine and weigh the evidence of his Messiahship. Consider the claims of Christ, and confess that you have not met them; and then give your whole heart and soul to seek to know the way of salvation.

25. But, suppose you have thought of religion, what is your trouble? You say, “Well, I understand that I cannot be saved except by confessing myself a sinner.” You would not need salvation, would you, if you were not a sinner? Surely, there is no hardship in refusing to you what you profess you do not want. If I opened a doctor’s office, and posted in the window a notice stating that I would give away no pills or medications to men who were perfectly well, no one would accuse me of a lack of humanity because I acted like that. Those who are well have no need of a physician. So, to qualify yourself for being saved, you must first confess that you need to be saved. Come, friend, have you always been perfect? I should like to see you stand in the middle of the congregation, and let us all look you up and down; if you did not blush, I should know that you were not perfect, and if you did blush, it would be a confession that you were imperfect. We have all transgressed the law of our God; some in one way, and some in another, but “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and we must confess that it is even so. When we have done this, then will be fulfilled for us the ancient promise, “Whoever confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy.”

26. If you have made a confession of sin, what more is the matter with you? “Why,” you say, “I am told that I must be saved by grace.” Yes, and how else would you like to be saved? Do you wish to be saved by your own merits? You do not have any; you would like to set up some merit of your own, but why try to set up a lie? God is the God of truth, and he cannot endure what is false. If ever any one of us gets to heaven, it will be by the free and undeserved mercy of God; but why should you quarrel with such terms as these? When a thing is to be given away for nothing, I would be the last man to try to run it up in price; the richest man can have it for nothing, and that is a price which exactly suits the poorest. Blessed be God that salvation is all of grace from first to last! Humble yourself to accept it “without money and without price.”

27. “But I understand,” one says, “that I am to be saved simply by believing in Christ, and I do not like that way of salvation.” Why do you not like it? Salvation by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, through the sinner simply trusting in Christ, will greatly glorify him. This makes the way of salvation possible for lame feet, and blind eyes, and deaf ears, and enables poor guilty souls to find perfect righteousness, which they could never find in any other way. Humble yourself, therefore, and submit to God’s plan of salvation. Really, it seems to me that, if a man gives anything away, he has a right to give it in his own way; and if God gives salvation, surely he has the right to give it in his own way; and if he will give it to all who confess their need of it, and come and freely accept it because Christ has worked it out, who shall quarrel with such terms as these?

28. In closing, I would very affectionately press home this passage on all whom it concerns; listen to the Lord himself, as he asks you this solemn question, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” Here are many of us who, long ago, came to Jesus, and humbled ourselves before him, and we did not think it any degradation. I would sooner have some men to put their foot on my neck than I would have the best words of certain other men; one might be willing to sit still, and be abused by some men, and then say, “It is a pleasure even to be noticed by such people”; while, if certain others were to praise you, you might ask as the philosopher did of old, “What have I been doing amiss that this wretch should speak well of me?” Ah, poor sinner! if you once get a view of the Lord Jesus Christ, and know who he is, and what he is, if you can by faith perceive his beauties, you will say, “To fall at his feet, is a high privilege; to submit myself to such a one as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is a higher honour than to receive a peerage from an earthly sovereign.” Therefore, let us go together, — you who never went, and some of us who have often been, — let us go together, and let us cry to Christ, “Lord, receive us! We are nothing but a mass of sin and misery; receive us, and save us, for your mercy’s sake; and to your name shall be the glory for ever and ever!” Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ex 10:1-20 Ps 105:26-38}

10:1, 2. And the LORD said to Moses, “Go into Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these signs before him: and that you may tell in the ears of your son, and of your son’s son, what things I have done in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; so that you may know that I am the LORD.”

God would stamp the early history of Israel with the deep impression of his Godhead. His overthrow of the proud Egyptian king should let Israel know in the very beginning how great a God had chosen her to be his own special portion.

3. And Moses and Aaron came into Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may serve me.

Can you imagine these humble individuals, Moses and Aaron, defying the great king like this whose word could make their heads to roll on the sword? They were not afraid, for God was with them; and those who speak in God’s place are traitors if they are not brave. The ambassadors of so great a King must not demean themselves by fear, therefore very boldly they said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may serve me.’ ”

4-6. Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring the locusts into your land: and they shall cover the face of the earth, so that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the rest of what is escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field: and they shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither your fathers, nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.’ ” And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

Moses had delivered his message, he had uttered his solemn warning, so he waited no longer in the tyrant’s presence.

7. And Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, so that they may serve the LORD their God; do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”

The seven former heavy judgments had so effectively battered Egypt that the people began to cry against their king for his obstinacy in still further resisting God.

8, 9. And Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh: and he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are those who shall go?” And Moses said, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds we will go; for we must hold a feast to the LORD.”

Pharaoh was inclined to make terms with Moses, but God will have no conditions with men who are rebelling against him. An unconditional surrender is all that God will accept.

10, 11. And he said to them, “Let the LORD be so with you, when I will let you go, and your little ones: see to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now you who are men, and serve the LORD; for that is what you desired.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

See how proud, how stout-hearted towards evil is this wicked and foolish king. When his people appeal to him to yield, he only does so for a moment, and then he drives out the messengers of God in anger.

12-17. And the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt, and eat every plant of the land, even all that the hail has left.” And Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the territory of Egypt: they were very grievous; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remain not any green thing in the trees, or in the plants of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that he may only take away from me this death.”

See how he is obliged to come to his knees at length. He will be up again soon, for his heart is not humbled, though he is eating his own words. A proud heart is not subdued by judgments; it only appears to be so, but really it is still a heart of stone.

18-20. And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

God kept his grace back from him, so that he relapsed into his natural state of obduracy. Pharaoh is the great mirror of pride and obstinacy; I wonder whether we have a Pharaoh here.

Now let us turn to the 105th Psalm, and see further what God did against this proud Pharaoh.

105:26-28. He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen. They showed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they did not rebel against his word.

So cowed were they by that awful darkness, that for a time they seemed to repent of their rebellion against the Lord.

29, 30. He turned their waters into blood, and killed their fish. Their land produced frogs in abundance, in the bedrooms of their kings.

Though the fish could not live, the frogs could. When good was taken away, evil came. What a strange succession of miracles was this, — the fish killed, but the frogs multiplied!

31-34. He spoke, and there came various kinds of flies, and lice in all their territory. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. He struck their vines also and their fig trees; and broke the trees of their territory. He spoke, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and those without number.

There is great sublimity in this expression. God only had to speak, and whole battalions of devouring locusts and caterpillars seemed to leap out of the earth, or to drop from the clouds: “He spoke, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and those without number.”

35-37. And ate up all the plants in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground. He also struck all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength. He brought them out also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

It was a notable miracle that, after all the oppression they had endured, they should be in such a state of health that “there was not one feeble person among their tribes.” When God makes his people march, he puts them into marching trim.

38. Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell on them.

Yet this was the mighty nation whose proud king had defied the Lord. At last, they had had enough of the combat; they were glad that the people of God should leave their land, and they themselves bowed low before him.

May we be taught humility of heart, so that we can sing the hymn I have chosen!

    Sovereign Ruler, Lord of all,
    Prostrate at your feet I fall;
    Hear, oh, hear my earnest cry;
    Frown not, lest I faint and die!
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Let Us Return’ ” 605}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Confession Of Sin” 597}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Love Us Freely’ ” 596}

The Christian, Contrite Cries
605 — “Let Us Return”
1 Come, let us to the Lord our God
      With contrite hearts return;
   Our God is gracious, nor will leave
      The desolate to mourn.
2 His voice commands the tempest forth,
      And stills the stormy wave;
   And though his arm be strong to smite,
      ‘Tis also strong to save.
3 Long hath the night of sorrow reign’d;
      The dawn shall bring us light;
   God shall appear, and we shall rise
      With gladness in his sight.
4 Our hearts, if God we seek to know,
      Shall know him and rejoice;
   His coming like the morn shall be,
      Like morning songs his voice.
5 As dew upon the tender herb,
      Diffusing fragrance round;
   As showers that usher in the spring,
      And cheer the thirsty ground.
6 So shall his presence bless our souls,
      And shed a joyful light;
   That hallow’d morn shall chase away
      The sorrows of the night.
                     John Morrison, 1781.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
597 — Confession Of Sin <7s.>
1 Sovereign Ruler, Lord of all,
   Prostrate at thy feet I fall;
   Hear, oh, hear my earnest cry;
   Frown not, lest I faint and die.
2 Vilest of the sons of men,
   Chief of sinners I have been;
   Oft have sinn’d before thy face,
   Trampled on thy richest grace.
3 Justly might thy fatal dart
   Pierce this bleeding, broken heart;
   Justly might thy angry breath
   Blast me in eternal death.
4 Jesus, save my dying soul;
   Make my broken spirit whole;
   Humbled in the dust I lie;
   Saviour, leave me not to die.
                  Thomas Raffies, 1812, a.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
596 — “Love Us Freely” <8.7.>
1 Love us freely, blessed Jesus,
      For we have not aught to pay;
   Saviour thou, and we poor sinners,
      Is alone what we can say;
   Love us freely, blessed Jesus,
      For we have not aught to pay.
2 Love us ever, blessed Jesus,
      We are changing as the wind;
   If thy love on us depended,
      We should ne’er salvation find;
   Love us ever, blessed Jesus,
      We are changing as the wind;
3 Love and help us, blessed Jesus,
      Help us to be wholly thine;
   Every idol and enchantment,
      For thy glory to resign;
   Love and help us, blessed Jesus,
      Help us to be wholly thine.
4 Love and keep us, blessed Jesus,
      Keep us from denying thee;
   Keep our wayward feet from straying
      Into paths of vanity;
   Love and keep us, blessed Jesus,
      Keep us from denying thee.
                        Albert Midlane, 1865.

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).

Terms of Use

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.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390