2530. “A Special People.”

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No. 2530-43:385. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 6, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, August 15, 1897.

But know that the LORD has set apart him who is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call to him. {Ps 4:3}

1. If you read this Psalm through, you will notice that, when David wrote it, he had been pestered and troubled by certain ungodly men who mocked what was his greatest delight. They had turned his glory into shame, and had proved that they loved folly and falsehood; so he said to them, “Oh you sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing,” — or, “lying?” In order that he might stop them from angering him, he reminded them of two great facts: “But know,” — he said, — understand, do not doubt it, rest assured of it, “know that Jehovah has set apart him who is godly for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call to him.” Why did David want these men to know those two facts?

2. Well, first, so that they might cease to oppose him; for, if they only knew that the man whom they mocked was really a child of God, set apart by the Most High by a divine choice to be his own specially favoured one, surely, they would not go on with their persecution. Those who put Christ to death did it in ignorance, “for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” And we are persuaded that there are many men who now oppose the servant of God, who would not do so if they only really knew that he was a servant of God, and that God looked on him with delight. Therefore David, to stop the cruel mockings of his persecutors, said to them, “Know that Jehovah has set apart him who is godly for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call to him.” He may also have had an even better motive, and I think that he had, — namely, to draw these men towards his God. There is no better way of capturing flies than with honey, and no better way of getting men to Christ than by drawing them to him by a display of the privileges and advantages which belong to a godly life. “Know, then,” he said, “you who are saying, ‘Who will show us any good?’ and who are seeking after mere vanities that never can satisfy you, — know that in true religion there is to be found what will delight you, and what will give you rest and peace. Know this, ‘that Jehovah has set apart him who is godly for himself.’ ” I wish that some to whom we describe the choice privileges of the people of God may be moved to cry, —

    With them numbered may we be,
       Now and through eternity!

3. But, whether this truth has either or both of these effects on the minds of men, or whether it shall have no effect at all, still it is a truth never to be refuted, “that Jehovah has set apart him who is godly for himself.” So, as God may help me at this time, I shall briefly speak, first, on a special character:“ him who is godly”; secondly, on a special honour:“ Jehovah has set apart him who is godly for himself”; and, thirdly, on a special privilege: “Jehovah will hear when I call to him.” Oh, that every one of us may possess the character, receive the honour, and enjoy the privilege of which our text speaks!

4. I. First, then, let us notice A SPECIAL CHARACTER: “him who is godly.”

5. On reading the Psalm, it is very clear that this is a man misunderstood, or, not understood on earth. The ungodly cannot comprehend the godly; they scoff at them, they turn their glory into shame because they themselves love vanity and seek after lying. The godly man is not understood by the people among whom he lives; God has made him to be a stranger and a foreigner in their midst. Those who are born twice have a life which cannot be comprehended by those who are only born once. Those who have received the Spirit of God have a new spirit within them which is so exceptional that the carnal mind cannot perceive what it is. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. When a man has become a new creature in Christ Jesus, the old creatures all around him cannot make head or tail of him. They look at him, they see him stimulated by motives which they cannot understand, they see that he is kept in check by forces which they do not acknowledge, that he is constrained by energies of which they are not partakers, and that he looks for something which they do not desire; so the Christian becomes in a measure like Christ himself, of whom the poet sings, —

    The Jewish world knew not their King,
       God’s everlasting Son.

“Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know him.” “You are a very peculiar person,” someone said to a Christian. “I thank you for that testimony,” answered the Christian; “for that is what I desire to be, as Peter says, ‘You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a particular people.’ ” “Ah!” said the other, “but there is a strangeness about you that I do not like; I feel sometimes that I cannot endure your company.” “I thank you again,” replied the Christian, “for you only fulfil our Lord’s words, ‘Because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.’ ” Yes, dear friends, it is so; and if you never strike the worldling as being a strange person, if you never get the mocking laughter of the ungodly, if they never slander you, if you never detect any difference between yourself and them, and they never discover any between themselves and you, it must be because you are not a genuine child of God. Ishmael will mock Isaac; it is not possible that the two seeds — the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, — should agree together if they act according to their nature. Do not wonder, therefore, if you, like David, have to bear persecution from those who cannot comprehend your new life, “for you are dead,” and the world says, “Bury the dead out of sight.” “You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren”; but the worldling does not understand the special character of the godly, or delight in it.

6. But notice that, according to our text, this special character is understood in heaven. God knows what godliness is, for he has created it, he sustains it, he is pledged to perfect it, and his delight is in it. What does it matter whether you are understood by your fellow men or not, as long as you are understood by God? If that secret prayer of yours is known to him, do not seek to have it known to anyone else. If your conscientious motive is discerned in heaven, do not care if it is denounced on earth. If your designs — the great principles that sway you, — are such as you dare plead in the great day of judgment, you need not stop to plead them before a jesting, jeering generation. Be godly, and do not fear; and, if you are misrepresented, remember that, should your character be dead and buried among men, there will be “a resurrection of reputations” as well as of bodies. “Then shall the righteous shine out as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Therefore do not be afraid to possess this special character, for though it is misunderstood on earth, it is well understood in heaven.

7. Let us enquire what this character is which is misunderstood on earth, but understood in heaven. What does the text mean when it mentions “him who is godly?”

8. Well, it means, first, a God-fearing man. This is a common term, “a God-fearing man.” There are many who do not have the fear of God before their eyes. Whether there is a God or not, is a matter of little consideration to them; they do not care which way the discussion ends, for God is not in all their thoughts; and as long as he is not there, it does not matter to them whether he is anywhere. There are some who are not afraid of the terrors of God even with regard to the world to come; at any rate, they flatter themselves that they shall die at ease even if they live in wickedness; and, for the present, they even dare to defy the Most High. They have been heard — and our blood has chilled as we have heard them, — they have been heard to invoke condemnation from his hand as they have blasphemed his holy name. The godly man is one who fears God; he would not take God’s name in vain, he would not wilfully violate God’s law, he would not do anything that would grieve the Most High; and when he does so through infirmity, or sudden temptation, he is himself grieved that he should have grieved his God, for the fear of the Lord is on him. He would not wish to stand at the judgment bar of God, to be judged according to his works, apart from Jesus Christ his Lord; he would dread such a thing. The name of God, — the person of God, — the character of God, — these are matters of holy awe with him, his soul is filled with hallowed trembling while he thinks about it; and everything that has to do with God is sacred to him. Heaven is no trifle, and hell is no trifle to him; the Book of God is no fable to him, the day of God is hallowed by him, and the Church of God is dear to him, for he is a God-fearing man. He would often have done this or that, but he said, with Nehemiah, “I did not do so, because of the fear of God.” When he is severely tempted to evil, he asks, with Joseph, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

9. Now, dear friend, if you go no further than that, and are a God-fearing man, I have great hopes for you, and I ask you to look at my text with hope: “Know that the Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself.”

10. But, advancing another step, a godly man is a God-trusting man. He is one who has learned to entrust his soul into the hands of God as to a faithful Creator, one who has trusted his sin with God, beholding it laid on the Divine Substitute. He has trusted his eternity with God; he believes that he shall die the death of the righteous, and that his last end shall be like his. He is resting in the living God, he trusts God about the present, he takes his troubles to God; indeed, and if the day opens without trouble, he will not begin it without taking his day to God, nor will he fall asleep without committing his night to God. He trusts in God for little things, saying, “Give us today our daily bread.” He trusts in God for great things, saying, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

11. So, dear friend, if you are a God-trusting man, as well as a God-fearing man, take my text, — for it tastes like a wafer made with honey, — lay it on your tongue, and let it dissolve into your soul, and sweeten your whole life: “Know that the Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself.”

12. Then advance still further, and understand the word “godly” as meaning a God-loving man. A godly man loves God; he is one whose heart has gone out after God. He loves his dear ones here below; but he loves his God more than all of them. He loves them in God, and loves God all the more for giving them to him; but God himself has become his great object of delight. I am sure that he is a saved man who can follow David in saying, “God my very great joy.” When one comes to rejoice in God, it is a sure evidence of godliness. The hypocrite has no delight in God; he may have a delight in the outward parade of religion, or in the name of godliness, possibly he has a delight in the bliss of heaven which he sometimes hopes that he may enjoy; but in God himself he has no delight; whereas, to the true believer, God is heaven.

    Were I in heaven without my God,
       ’Twould be no heaven to me.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord,” says David; and the genuine believer does so. He can say of his God, —

    Thou art the sea of love,
       Where all my pleasures roll;
    The circle where my passions move,
       The centre of my soul.

So that he is a godly man who is a God-loving man.

13. And, assuredly, he is a godly man who is a God-knowing man. He does not merely fear and trust and love God but he has come into personal acquaintance with God. The other day, I saw a book entitled, “Is God knowable?” Well, dear friends, that is a question that can be answered by some of us; we can say, “We know him; we have spoken to him, and he has spoken to us. Our spirit has come into actual contact with the Divine Spirit. We do not need anyone to prove this truth to us, for it is a matter of faith, indeed, of joyful, ecstatic, delightful experience.

    My God, the spring of all my joys,
       The life of my delights,
    The glory of my brightest days,
       And comfort of my nights.”

14. “My God, it is a fact that I have touched you, and that you have touched me, — that I have spoken to you, and that you have spoken to me, — and it is that fact which has for ever made me glad.” Oh beloved, if you do not know God, what do you know? How are you a child of God if you do not know your Father? How are you saved if you do not know your Saviour? How can you come to the table to remember him whom you never knew? And must you not expect to hear him say on the last day, “Depart from me; I never knew you?” If we know him, we are known by him; the two things go together, and are much the same; but, if we do not know him, then he does not know us in the sense of acquaintance and of love.

15. Once more, a godly man is a Godlike man. We reach this point, you see, by steps, — the man is God-fearing, God-trusting, God-loving, God-knowing, and then Godlike. Can a man be like God? Ah, me! what a wide discrepancy there must always be between God and the best of men! We are unlike God even in our likeness to him; he who is most like God is only like him as a dewdrop is like the sea, or as a glow-worm is like the sun. Yet grace makes us like God in righteousness, and true holiness, and especially in love. Has the Holy Spirit taught you, my dear friend, to love even those who hate you? Do you have a love that leaps out, like the waters from the struck rock, that every thirsty one may drink? Would you gladly love the poorest and the most depraved into the wealth and glory of your Master’s love? Do you love even those who render you no love in return, as he did who gave his life for his enemies? Then you are to that extent made like God. And do you choose what is good? Do you delight yourself in peace? Do you seek after what is pure? Are you ever cheered with what is kind and just? Then you are like your Father who is in heaven, you are a godly man, and this text is for you: “Know that the Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself.”

16. II. This leads me to dwell with pleasure on A SPECIAL HONOUR which has been conferred on this special character: “The Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself.”

17. You see, then, that God discerns godliness in men. There is a great deal of dross in all of us, but God sees whatever gold there may be; if there is any gold in the ore, God preserves the lump because of the precious metal that is in it. I know, my dear brother, that you are not perfect. Perhaps you are at this moment grieving over a great fault; if so, I am glad you have the godliness that makes you grieve over sin. I know, my dear friend, that you are not what you want to be, or wish to be, or ought to be. Still, you do fear the Lord, and you do trust him, and you do love him. Now, the Lord can see all that, and he knows about the good that is in you. He casts your sin behind his back, but what is from his own grace he sets apart for himself, and he sets you apart for himself because of the good which is in you. I like to notice, in Scripture, that, although God’s people are described as a very faulty people, and although the Lord is never tender towards sin, yet he is always very gentle towards them. If there is any good point about them, he brings it out, and he is most gracious to them; and his love casts a mantle over a thousand of their mistakes and errors. If God’s people mentioned in the Old and New Testaments had all been perfect, I should have despaired; but, because they seem to have just the kind of faults that I grieve over in myself, I do not feel any more lenient towards my faults, but I do have all the more hope that I also am among those whom the Lord sets apart for himself because they are godly.

18. And further, dear friends, know that God makes those who are really godly to differ from the world. He will not let them be like the world. Some of them try to be so, but they must not. And the world sometimes gets the victory over them for a time, and makes them like itself; but they soon escape from its power. Poor Samson told the secret of his great strength, and the Philistines cut off all that long hair of his which used to hang down his back until he seemed to be like a wild man of the woods. The Nazarite told his secret, and then they clipped away his hair, and set him to grind in the mill when they had put out his eyes. They should have shaved his head every morning, but they forgot to do that; and when his hair had grown again, he pulled the temple down on his enemies, and in his last moments won a glorious victory for his nation. If the devil ever does cut the Nazarite locks of a true child of God, they will grow again in time; they must grow again, and they grow when the devil is not noticing them, and then the old strength of grace comes back again. I have known a child of God to fall, like Peter did, when he denied his Master. Yet, when the locks of his consecration had grown again, in a short time there was Peter preaching a sermon that brought three thousand to Christ; and the devil had not made much of a gain of Peter after all, when once he came back to his Lord. But, oh, what a mercy it is to be kept so as never to lose those locks of consecration! Oh, that we may differ from the world in a thousand respects, so that we may go through it as Mr. Bunyan pictures his pilgrim going through Vanity Fair! “Buy, buy, buy,” the merchants cried, but he did not buy any of their wares; and when they pressed him very hard, he said, “We buy the truth, and do not sell it.” All he had to do was to go through the fair; and that is what you and I have to do. Let us go through the world as those who are in it but not of it, the Lord always, by his grace, making us to differ from other men. There is no need to take off the collar of your coat, or to talk differently or to dress differently from ordinary folk. Dress and talk like other people who act as they should; but let your difference from the world be spiritual, real, true, not merely indicated by some outward emblem or badge, but seen in the deportment and carriage of your entire life.

19. Further, the Lord sets apart him who is godly for himself, by dealing with his people differently from others. I imagine that I hear someone say, “I stoutly deny that.” Well, deny away, brother, if you like, for, apparently, the Lord does not deal with his people differently from what he does with others, and it says, even in Scripture, “All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and the wicked.” Here is a man of God, but the Sabeans steal his oxen and his donkeys, the Chaldeans carry away his camels, the fire of God burns up his sheep and his servants, and his children are destroyed by a great wind from the wilderness. Yes, yes, yes; but read all of Job’s story, and see that, when God turns again his captivity, and gives him twice as much as he had before, and enables him to gain a great victory over the devil, after all, God did not deal with Job as he dealt with others. “Oh!” says another, “but whom the Lord loves, he chastens.” Yes, and that is one of the ways in which he differs in his dealings with them and with others; for, sometimes, he does not chasten the ungodly, but lets them have no trouble in their lives, and no pangs in their death. He lets them have as much pleasure as they can have, for what they get here is all they ever will have; whereas he chastens his own people for their present and eternal good. My dear friend, there is never exactly the same providence for the ungodly as for the godly. There is a difference somewhere, there is a difference in the end if nowhere else, for to you and to me, as God’s people, “all things work together for good”; but they do not work together for good for the ungodly. There may, apparently, be the same causes at work, but they do not produce the same results.

20. So God does make a difference between the godly and the rest of mankind; and there is one special point of difference, he has set them apart for himself. For what purpose? That they may be his friends, and that he may converse with them. God does not usually come to this earth to talk with kings and princes; — the greatest king is only a brother-worm like the rest of us; — but God has often been here to converse and commune with his poor people. If men are godly, whether they are rich or poor, God has fellowship with them. It does seem amazing to me that God should so often be unknown in his own world. The great majority of his creatures never hear his voice, and never give a response to his call; but the godly, when they hear the voice of their God saying to them, “Seek my face,” cry out at once, “Your face, Lord, we will seek.” There are thousands at this moment speaking with God, but all of them are godly people; and God is speaking to them. The Holy Spirit is holding high communion with many of the sons and daughters of Adam, but only with those who are godly. Even now, there is a great gulf between God and the ungodly; their backs are turned towards him, and on the last day he will tell them to keep on doing what they have been doing, for he will say to them, “Depart from me, you cursed.” But his people are always coming, coming, coming to him; and on the last day he will tell them to continue to do what they are now doing, for to them he will say, “Come, you blessed by my Father.” Oh, yes, amazing as it is, it is true that we do have fellowship with God, for “the Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself” to be his friend and his constant companion!

21. Moreover, God has also set apart him who is godly so that he may use him. If you are a godly man, God will make you his own servant, and he will send you on his errands, and he will be with you all the while. He will employ you to carry messages of comfort, messages of warning, messages of invitation, to those who need them. If you are godly, God will use you. He will not use dirty vessels; but when we are clean, washed by his own hand in the cleansing fountain, then he will use us for his own purposes. He has reserved us, he has monopolized us for himself alone. We sometimes sing, —

    Take my hands, and let them be,
       Consecrated, Lord, to thee.

We say to God, “Take my lips, my eyes, my ears, my feet, my whole being; reserve me for yourself.” That is exactly what the Lord has done with the godly. You sometimes see certain things marked, “Reserved.” That is the label that God has put on every Christian: “The Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself.” No one but your God is to have you in his possession or control; for you belong entirely to the Most High.

22. Know this, beloved, for, on the last day, God will acknowledge you as his. Before astonished worlds, when ungodly men shall not dare to lift up their faces, God will acknowledge you in that day as belonging to him if you are godly. Your righteousness shall shine out as the light, and your judgment as the noonday, for God has made you his own, and set a hedge around you, and no one shall destroy you, or separate you from his Son. “ ‘They shall be mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘in that day when I make up my jewels,’ ” for he has set the godly apart for himself.

23. III. Now I must close by speaking briefly of A SPECIAL PRIVILEGE: “The Lord will hear when I call to him.”

24. This means, first, “He will grant me an audience; he will hear what I have to say.” There were certain princes of Media and Persia who had the right to come to the king whenever they pleased. Such is the right of all the godly; whenever you desire to speak with God, God is waiting to hear you. Oh, what a privilege this is! None of us can go to see earthly kings and queens whenever we liked, we should have to be properly introduced, and go through all kinds of forms and ceremonies; but through the one Mediator between God and men, we have the right at any moment of the day or night to have an audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

25. It means, next, “The Lord will not only hear, but he will answer me.” Answer is intended in the word “hear”: “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” Ask what you wish, oh you children of the King, and it shall be done for you; ask him not merely for the half of his kingdom, but for all of it, and you shall have it. “No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

26. I am not going to preach about that part of my subject, I just want to apply it. Many of you, dear brothers and sisters, desire to commune at the Lord’s table; yet I hear one say, “I feel so dull, I do not know whether I dare come to the table. I seem as if I was dead, and I cannot get out of this cold, lethargic state.” Let me whisper this message in your ear, “The Lord will hear you when you call to him.” Now, then, pray, “Lord, quicken me.”

    Dear Lord! and shall we ever lie
       At this poor dying rate?
    Our love so faint, so cold to thee,
       And thine to us so great?
    Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
       With all thy quickening powers,
    Come, shed abroad a Saviour’s love,
       And that shall kindle ours.

You need not be dull, you need not be lethargic; up with you, for you have wings! Ask the Lord to help you to stretch them out, so that you may rise superior to everything earth-born and grovelling, up into communion with the Most High. Try the power of prayer now.

27. “Ah!” sighs another, “but I feel so desponding, I am as heavy as lead. If I were thrown up, I should fall down again. I have so many doubts, I have such a sinking of spirit, that I often question whether I am a child of God at all.” Now listen to our text: “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” Call to him, “Lord, bring my soul out of prison! Lord, appear to your poor servant!”

    Shine, Lord, and my terror shall cease,
       The blood of atonement apply;
    And lead me to Jesus for peace,
       The rock that is higher than I.

There is no need for you to be “down in the dumps.”

    Why should the children of a King
       Go mourning all their days?

Come, brother, you can get rid of those clouds.

    Prayer makes the darken’d cloud withdraw,
    Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw,
    Gives exercise to faith and love,
    Brings every blessing from above.

Try it now, believing and expecting that the Lord will hear you. You see, he has set you apart for himself, you belong to him, you are his treasure, his jewel, the signet on his finger, the delight of his heart, your name is inscribed on the palms of his hands; do you think he wishes you to be in this miserable state? Oh, no; he has sent the Comforter to deal with just such as you are! One Person of the Divine Trinity has undertaken the office of comforting the people of God; therefore he must want you to be happy and comfortable. Cry to him to bring you up out of your low estate.

28. But I hear a brother say, “I have a great trouble on me, I have sustained a very heavy, a very serious loss in my business?” Another says, “I have lost a dear child, and there is another loved one sickening.” “Ah!” one cries, “if you were to step into my house, you would find it like the wards of a hospital; everyone in it seems to be ill. ‘I am the man who has seen affliction?’ ” Are you, dear brother? Then you are the very man who ought to pray, and to say, “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” He will either take your trouble away, or else make you glad that it ever came. He will either take your burden off, or else he will give you a strong back to bear it. I do not think it matters much which it is, — whether he takes off the burden or strengthens the back. You know, the deeper your troubles, the louder shall be your song on the last day; and God will get more glory out of you by a life of trial than if you had a smooth path all the way. Come, then, call to him: “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” This seems a very wonderful sentence. What is there in me which is a reason why the Lord should hear me when I call to him? Let me explain this marvel. There is a little boy who lives at your house, and I say to him, “I have called to see your father, and he will not see me.” “Oh!” says the lad, “he always sees me.” “Your father will not let me speak to him.” “He always lets me speak to him,” says the boy. What is there in that little child that makes the man hear him when he will not hear me? Why, you see, it is his own boy; and the father will, of course, see and hear his own child; and you are the Lord’s own child, so he will hear you, therefore take your troubles to him. If the father will not hear his boy in ordinary times, yet when the lad cries, “Oh father, I feel so ill!” the loving parent says, “Come here, my child, and tell me all about it.” That is what the Lord says to you now, my poor, weary, heavy-laden brother. The Lord will hear you, I am quite sure of it; therefore call on him, and get rid of those burdens.

29. “Ah!” one says, “but my trouble is that I want to have my children converted.” Then, pray for them, pray for them. “Oh, but it is my husband who is not a Christian!” says another. Then, pray for him. “I have prayed,” one says. Pray on, dear sister, and the Lord will hear you. “I am afraid my husband will not be saved.” Well, you must not be afraid, but say with David, “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” “Ah!” says another, “but I have to go back tomorrow into business, and I shall have to work with so many ungodly men, my life is one long struggle.” Well, never mind about that tonight; it is not Monday yet. Let us get Monday’s grace when Monday comes; and let us now enjoy ourselves as we repeat this precious text, “The Lord will hear when I call to him.” He will either shut those wicked men’s mouths, or else he will open yours. He will give you the right word by way of reply, or else he will not let them say anything that needs a reply. Only tell the Lord about them. You would like to come and see me, and tell me about them; but I do not particularly want to hear it, and I cannot do you much good if I do hear it. Go and tell my Master about it. “I want to speak with some Christian friend.” Well, do so, if you like; but remember that —

    Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
    To heaven in supplication sent,
    Your cheerful song would oftener be,
    “Hear what the Lord has done for me!”

“The Lord will hear when I call to him.” Call to him now, and he will hear and answer you; and so let us come to his table, happy and joyful, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 119:25-32}

25. My soul cleaves to the dust: quicken me according to your word.

“I feel heavy, unhappy, dull: ‘My soul cleaves to the dust.’ Or I feel worldly, lethargic, lifeless: ‘My soul cleaves to the dust.’ There is nothing but the power of new life that can separate me from that dust: ‘Quicken me according to your word.’ ” Divine life is the great cure for most spiritual evils. When a man has vigorous life in his constitution, he throws off many diseases; and when the soul is full of spiritual life, it masters a great number of evils. “My soul cleaves to the dust: quicken me according to your word.” That is good pleading, — “according to your promise, for you have promised to quicken me. It is the nature of your Word to be quick and quickening; therefore, Lord, ‘quicken me according to your word.’ ”

26. I have declared my ways, and you heard me: teach me your statutes.

“I have confessed my wrong; now, oh Lord, teach me what is right! I have acknowledged my sin; now, oh Lord, lead me in the paths of holiness! ‘Teach me your statutes.’ ”

27. Make me to understand the way of your precepts: so I shall talk about your wondrous works.

He who fully understands the way of God’s precepts must talk about his wondrous works. There is a power about that truth in the heart to release the most stammering tongue. We are bound to speak of what God teaches us: “Make me to understand the way of your precepts: so I shall talk about your wondrous works.”

28. My soul melts for heaviness: strengthen me according to your word.

Are any of you, dear friends, in that condition? Do your hearts melt within you? It is a severe trouble, as I know very well. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity”; but when his very soul melts for heaviness, what is he to do then? Why, even then he may pray; indeed, then he must pray; and this may be the burden of his prayer, “Strengthen me according to your word.”

Notice, beloved, how the psalmist keeps harping on that string, — “according to your word.” If your prayer is according to God’s Word, you may expect a comforting answer sooner or later. We know that God will not act contrary to his Word. He who is not a man of his word is despised; and if there could be one who was not a God of his Word, what would be said of him? But, my tried friend, he will make his Word true to you to the very letter; therefore still cry to him, “Strengthen me according to your word.”

29. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me your law graciously.

“Lord, do not let me be pestered by liars, and let me never fall into any measure of falsehood myself.” There is a way of thinking better of yourself than you deserve, which is a form of lying. There is a method of supposing that you have experienced what you never have experienced, and that you have attained to what you never have attained to; that also is a way of falsehood. May God remove it from us, and may we have the law of the Lord written on our hearts! “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me your law graciously.”

30. I have chosen the way of truth:

“I want to be true, I want to know the truth, I want to feel the truth, I want to practise the truth: ‘I have chosen the way of truth.’ ”

30. I have your judgments laid before me.

“Like a map, so that I might follow the way of truth as I see it drawn out in letters of light in your Word.” The man who spreads out God’s Word before him, like a map of the road, is not likely to make a mistake in his journeying.

31. I have stuck to your testimonies: —

I like that word “stuck.” “I have stuck to your testimonies.” “I could not be drawn or dragged away from them. They told me about some fine new ideas and modern grand discoveries; but ‘I have stuck to your testimonies.’ They came before me with something very artistic and scientific; but ‘I have stuck to your testimonies’ ”: —

31. Oh LORD, do not put me to shame.

You may rest assured that he never will. If a man clings to God, God will cleave to him. If we are not ashamed of God, he will never put us to shame; but we shall go from strength to strength glorying in his truth and grace.

32. I will run in the way of your commandments, when you shall enlarge my heart.

There is an enlargement of the heart that is very dangerous, but this kind of enlargement of the heart is the most healthy thing that can happen to a man. A great heart, you see, is a running heart. A little heart goes slowly, but an enlarged heart runs in the way of God’s commandments. Oh, for a heart full of love for God; and then to have that heart made larger, so as to hold more of God’s love! Lord, enlarge my heart in that sense! Let me feel at home and at liberty with you; let the last link of my bondage be snapped. Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 146” 146 @@ "(Version 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 89” 89}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 87” 87}

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 146 (Version 1)
1 Praise ye the Lord; my heart shall join
   In work so pleasant, so divine;
   Now, while the flesh is mine abode,
   And when my soul ascends to God.
2 Praise shall employ my noblest powers,
   While immortality endures:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   Wile life, and thought, and being last.
3 Happy the man whose hopes rely
   On Israel’s God: he made the sky,
   And earth and seas with all their train;
   And none shall find his promise vain.
4 His truth for ever stands secure:
   He saves the oppress’d, he feeds the poor;
   He sends the labouring conscience peace,
   And grants the prisoners sweet release.
5 The Lord hath eyes to give the blind;
   The Lord supports the sinking mind;
   He helps the stranger in distress,
   The widow and the fatherless.
6 He loves his saints; he knows them well;
   But turns the wicked down to hell;
   Thy God, oh Zion, ever reigns;
   Praise him in everlasting strains.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 146 (Version 2) <8s. 6 lines.>
1 I’ll praise my Maker with my breath,
   And when my voice is lost in death,
      Praise shall employ my nobler powers:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   While life and thought and being last,
      Or immortality endures.
2 Why should I make a man my trust?
   Princes must die and turn to dust! —
      Vain is the help of flesh and blood:
   Their breath departs, their pomp and power
   And thoughts all vanish in an hour,
      Nor can they make their promise good.
3 Happy the man whose hopes rely
   On Israel’s God: he made the sky,
      And earth, and seas, with all their train:
   His truth for ever stands secure;
   He saves the oppress’d, he feeds the poor,
      And none shall find his promise vain.
4 The Lord hath eyes to give the blind;
   The Lord supports the sinking mind;
      He sends the labouring conscience peace:
   He helps the stranger in distress,
   The widow and the fatherless,
      And grants the prisoners sweet release.
5 He loves his saints, he knows them well,
   But turns the wicked down to hell;
      Thy God, oh Zion, ever reigns:
   Let every tongue, let every age,
   In this exalted work engage;
      Praise him in everlasting strains.
6 I’ll praise him while he lends me breath,
   And when my voice is lost in death,
      Praise shall employ my nobler powers:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   While life, and thought, and being last,
      Or immortality endures.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 89 (Part 1)
1 My never-ceasing songs shall show
   The mercies of the Lord,
   And make succeeding ages know
   How faithful is his word.
2 The sacred truths his lips pronounce
   Shall firm as heaven endure;
   And if he speak a promise once,
   The eternal grace is sure.
3 How long the race of David held
   The promised Jewish throne!
   But there’s a nobler covenant seal’d
   To David’s greater Son.
4 His seed for ever shall possess
   A throne above the skies;
   The meanest subject of his grace
   Shall to that glory rise.
5 Lord God of hosts, thy wondrous ways
   Are sung by saints above;
   And saints on earth their honours raise
   To thine unchanging love.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 89 (Part 2)
1 Oh greatly bless’d the people are
   The joyful sound that know;
   In brightness of thy face, oh Lord,
   They ever on shall go.
2 They in thy name shall all the day
   Rejoice exceedingly;
   And in thy righteousness shall they
   Exalted be on high.
3 Because the glory of their strength
   Doth only stand in thee;
   And in thy favour shall our horn
   And power exalted be.
4 For God is our defence; and he
   To us doth safety bring:
   The Holy One of Israel
   Is our almighty King.
                     Scotch Version, 1641.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 87
1 God in his earthly temple lays
   Foundations for his heavenly praise;
   He likes the tents of Jacob well,
   But still in Zion loves to dwell.
2 His mercy visits every house
   That pay their night and morning vows;
   But makes a more delightful stay
   Where churches meet to praise and pray.
3 What glories were described of old!
   What wonders are of Zion told!
   Thou city of our God below,
   Thy fame shall Tyre and Egypt know!
4 Egypt and Tyre, and Greek and Jew,
   Shall there begin their lives anew:
   Angels and men shall join to sing
   The hill where living waters spring.
5 When God makes up his last account
   Of natives in his holy mount,
   ‘Twill be an honour to appear
   As one new born or nourish’d there.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

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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