2579. Waiting, Hoping, Watching

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No. 2579-44:337. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, March 22, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 17, 1898.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and I hope in his word, my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning: I say, more than those who watch for the morning. {Ps 130:5,6}

1. As we read this Psalm, we noticed, from its opening verses, that David was in the depths. He is not the only one of God’s people who has been there. If we imagine that the experience of true saints is always a happy high level of peace, we make a great mistake. They have their risings and their fallings, their days and their nights, their summers and their winters. Where there is life, there are pretty sure to be changes. The statues in St. Paul’s Cathedral are, I suppose, always equally cold; but living men are sometimes ready to faint in the heat, and sometimes they are almost frozen with the cold. If you are a living child of God, expect that you will have many variations in your experience, and that sometimes you will be in the depths as others have been. Was not your Lord there? This Psalm is called, in the Latin version, De profundis and I am sure that our Lord, though he is now in excelsis, — in the very heights, — yet had times on earth when he could sing this De profundis Psalm: “Out of the depths I have cried to you, oh Lord.” Then, how could we have fellowship with him in his suffering if we were not sometimes in the depths, too? How could we know what he felt, how could we be made like our Lord if we were not cast down also?

2. The best of godly men will be, occasionally or even often, in the depths of temporal trouble. David was hunted by Saul, hated by the Philistines, grieved by his son Absalom; he had many trials, and the best of God’s people will have their trials, too. Though faith often lifts us up above them, yet there are times when the iron enters into our soul, when, “for a time, if needs be, we are in heaviness through various trials.”

3. God’s people, too, are sometimes in the depths of spiritual sorrow. They do not always live on the mount with their transfigured Master; but they come into the valley where they are made to feel the power of inbred sin, and to mourn over it greatly. When the light of God’s countenance is withdrawn, the dearest of his children has to cry, with his Lord on Calvary, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” There are depths of soul-agony which some Christians have never known, but into which others have been plunged again and again. It has been as much as the saint could do to call his God his own, for his very faith seemed to tremble under the pressure of affliction and depression of spirit. This Psalm ought to comfort you who are in the depths, as you see that others have had to go there, too; but be careful to follow the example of the psalmist, and, whatever you are called to suffer, never stop praying. Whatever else you do, never neglect this one prime means of deliverance; then you may say with David, “Out of the depths I have cried to you, oh Lord.”

    Long as they live should Christians pray,
    For only while they pray they live;

but especially when their soul seems, as it were, to have found a sepulchre, — when, while still alive, they appear to be sinking down into the depths, then is the time when, with sevenfold earnestness, they must lift up their hearts and their voices, and cry mightily to the Lord. One of the intentions of Satan, when he finds saints in the depths, is to keep them there; but the wise child of God will cry to his Lord when he gets there, for then Satan cannot keep him there for long. He who cries “out of the depths” will soon be out of the depths. That cry is the voice of life, and God will not leave that soul in the depths, or permit his redeemed one to see corruption there. You will rise up if you can only cry. There is something marvellous about the power of prayer; when Jonah prayed out of the belly of the fish, he was soon brought up from the depths of the sea to stand on the dry land, and to go on his Master’s errand. Cry, then, if you are in the depths. If you never cried before, cry now. If you have been accustomed to pray, now pull out all the stops of this wonderful organ of prayer, and let the music ascend into the ears of the Lord of hosts, even though it seems to you to be nothing but discord.

4. But, notice also that, while David cried like this to the Lord, he made confession of his sin. He felt he could not stand before God on the basis of his personal character; he could not hope to prevail with Jehovah by his own merits, so he pleaded: “There is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.” Come, child of God; if sin is a dark cloud that hides your Lord’s face from you, come to him with this great truth on your tongue and in your heart, “There is forgiveness.” When Luther was in great trouble of soul, he was comforted by one who said to him, “Do you not believe your Creed?” “Yes,” replied Luther, “I believe the Creed.” “Well, then,” rejoined the other, “one article in it is, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’ ” Luther’s heart was cheered at once by the memory of the words in this Psalm, “there is forgiveness.” It may be that you have sinned many times and grievously; but “there is forgiveness.” Though a child of God, you have gone far astray from him; but “there is forgiveness.” You have backslidden sadly and horribly; but “there is forgiveness.” The devil comes and howls at you, and tells you that your doom is sealed, and your damnation is sure; but “there is forgiveness.” Oh, blessed sentence! “There is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.”

5. When David really felt in his soul that, whatever the depths might be in which he was plunged, yet there was forgiveness for him, that, however feeble his cries might be, there was forgiveness, then he rested in perfect peace, and he said, in the language of the text, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and I hope in his word. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning: I say, more than those who watch for the morning.”

6. There are three words on which I am going to speak; the first and the chief word is, waiting:“ I wait for the Lord, my soul waits.” The next word, which helps the first one, is, hoping:“ and I hope in his word.” And then the third word grows out of the first, and that is, watching:“ My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.” May the Holy Spirit bless us both in speaking and hearing while we meditate on these three words, — waiting, hoping, watching!

7. I. The first word is, WAITING: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits.”

8. On which I observe, first, that this is the constant posture of all the saints of God. Before our Lord Jesus Christ came, all the spiritual people among the twelve tribes were waiting for his appearing; they firmly believed that he would come, yet they died without the sight for which they were looking. Over the door of the great mausoleum of the Old Testament saints is inscribed this epitaph, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.” They were waiters, — waiting until the Rod should come out of the stem of Jesse, and the Branch should grow out of his roots. A few of these waiters were found in the temple when the Lord appeared; you remember the names of Simeon and Anna, who were “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” They had grown grey in waiting, but still they were among “those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem”; and, at last, Simeon could say, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” This expression, waiting for the Lord, describes all the saints, from righteous Abel down to faithful old Simeon, who took the infant Jesus in his arms, and blessed God for the appearing of the Messiah, the woman’s promised Seed.

9. But what about the saints since then? They also are, or should be, waiting for the Lord: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Though too many forget it, he has said, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” This is the Church’s glorious hope in which, in some senses, both Jews and Gentiles are now united; for if the Jews are waiting for the coming of the Messiah, so are we, only they, in their unbelief, do not see that he has come once. Let it not be said of us that we, in our unbelief, do not see that he will come again; but, believing in his first advent, let us, therefore, patiently wait and longingly look for the time when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be for ever with the Lord.” Oh glorious hope! We are still waiting for its blessed fulfilment.

10. Yes, and in this respect I may say, with Dr. Watts, that —

    The saints on earth, and all the dead,
       But one communion make —

in this fellowship of waiting. Do not imagine, beloved, that in heaven they have no emotion but that of joy; we know that all their emotions are joyful, but among them is this one, — that they, too, are waiting until the Lord shall again reveal himself, for, in the day of his appearing, those disembodied spirits shall put on their resurrection bodies, changed and made like Christ’s glorious body; and, in that day, they shall be united with all the saints who remain on the earth, for, without them, the glorified spirits above could not be made perfect; that is to say, the Church of God above cannot be perfected as for all its members until those who are still in the world of trial shall be brought home to meet them, and so the whole Church shall be “for ever with the Lord.” Therefore, dear friends, if any of you are troubled because you are waiting for the return of your Lord, and he seems long in coming, I remind you that the whole Church of Christ is waiting; the whole twelve tribes of our spiritual Israel are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body,” at the return of our Lord. The revelation of the head will be also the revelation of all the members of his mystical body. Therefore, be content to be waiters, for all God’s saints have been and still are such.

11. Observe, too, that the children of God, on earth, are frequently in the posture of waiting as individuals. Not only, as forming part of Christ’s body, do they wait together with the rest of his people, but each one has to wait individually. In the first dawning of grace in the soul, when the heart is taught to believe in Jesus, it does not always happen that peace immediately follows after faith. We meet many, about whose salvation we have ourselves no doubt, but they have themselves little or no hope concerning their own eternal safety. We feel sure that they have really trusted in the Saviour, and therefore have been saved by him; but, by reason of temptation, or bodily weakness, or a measure of darkness remaining in them through ignorance, they do not yet know the glorious liberty and assurance of the children of God. I have no doubt that there are many, in the fold of Jesus, who do not feel themselves at rest; they are waiting until they shall possess full peace with God. Sometimes they enjoy that peace, sweet gleams of sunlight come to them; but they are soon in darkness again, and their unbelief struggles with their faith. They cannot get further than to cry with that poor man who said to Christ, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Well, beloved brother or sister, if you are in that condition, you are waiting so that your faith may grow; waiting until the blessed Spirit shall be a Spirit of consolation to you, and shall take from the things of Christ, and show them to you. You are sitting, as it were, in the porch of the King’s house, and there is safety in waiting at his doors; but you would be much happier and more at rest if you entered the King’s palace, and sat at his table. You do trust him; may you never have any other trust! You are relying on his righteousness, yet you do not feel that joy and peace which others of the children of God feel. Well, then, you are in this place of waiting; and, for a while, perhaps, you will have to exercise that waiting spirit.

12. Many of us have gone further than that, but we are still waiting; — waiting, among other things, for victory over sin. You know that you are forgiven, dear brother; you are quite sure that you are a child of God, and, by God’s grace, you have driven out many sins; but, still, when you are fiercely tempted, strongly provoked, or placed in certain trying circumstances, you discover your weakness very sadly, and your cry is, “Lord, give me victory over sin”; and you never will be content until you have it. Well, go on crying for it out of the very depths; go on hoping for it through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; but if it does not come to you, and you have, day after day, and even year after year, to bitterly feel that the work of God is not perfected in you, still wait, for the Lord will not leave his work unfinished. He will have regard for the work of his own hands, he will go on with it until it is perfected; but, in the meantime, you will be waiting for the complete victory.

13. And if you should get that, you will still have to be a waiter, often, in the matter of prayer. God does answer his people’s prayers when they ought to be answered; the prayers that are such as you and I, in our most spiritual moments, would wish to have answered, shall be answered; but perhaps not at once. It would be difficult to say how long a Christian may have to wait for answers to prayer. If I remember correctly, there is one godly man, who has been praying every day for thirty-six years for one thing, and recording his prayers in a book; and other believers have joined with him, yet the answer has not come, but he as fully expects it as when he first began to pray. I need not mention the brother’s name; but I feel sure that he will be heard and answered, although at present he has not received the blessing he is seeking from the Lord. I have heard of wives praying for the conversion of their husbands through their whole lifetime, and never living to see them saved; yet they were brought to the Lord after their partners had gone home. I have heard of parents pleading for their children by the score of years together, yet the prayer has not been answered at present; God is keeping them waiting, and it is for them still to wait at the posts of his doors hoping and expecting the blessing they have asked from the Lord.

14. I will suppose that you have had your prayers answered, and therefore you do not have to wait for that mercy; yet I am sure you know of something else to wait for. Sometimes we have to wait for conscious fellowship with God. We had it once, but we have lost it, so we cry to have it restored. When we enjoy it again, we cry for more of it; and when we have more of it, we still cry for more; and when we have the most that we ever have had, then our cry is ever keener for still more, for this sweet love of God enlarges the heart into which it enters. It brings with it a hallowed hungering and thirsting; it kills all unholy craving, but it creates a sacred appetite which is greatly to be desired. Oh Lord, make my hunger for you to be insatiable! Let it never be satisfied. Enlarge my heart until it is as large as heaven, and then, since “the heaven of heavens cannot contain you,” make my soul as large as seven heavens; and then, since seven heavens could not contain you, go still on to enlarge my spirit until I am filled with all the fulness of God! If this is the desire of your heart, you will always be waiting, and asking, and longing for more and more fellowship with your Lord.

15. “But,” you say, “I thought that Christians sometimes reached a point beyond which they could go no further.” Then you thought amiss, for that is not the teaching of Scripture. When the apostle Paul, the most marvellous runner who ever ran the Christian race, had been running for many, many years, he said that he had not yet attained; he even forgot the things that were behind, and still pressed forward toward what was before, the prize of his high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, there is an infinity of grace and mercy beyond you; whatever of blessing you have as yet received, you have only sipped from the ever-flowing stream of eternal love. You have only gathered a few shells washed up on the shore of the ocean of boundless grace. You have not received everything yet; you cannot enjoy everything yet; you must wait, and wait, and wait, for —

    “Still there’s more to follow.”

16. Yes, and if we were to get as much personal blessing as we ever could hold, we should still be waiting. You ask, “What for?” Well, I, for one, am waiting for the Lord to bless my work of faith and labour of love in the preaching of the gospel; and are not you waiting for the same thing? After every address you give, after every time you have the members of your class gathered together, and talked to them about Christ, are you not waiting for more souls to be saved through your service? Do you not wait to be able to serve God better? Are not some of you waiting to have your tongues untied, — waiting to have your hearts enlarged, — waiting for better opportunities for doing God’s work, or for more grace to use the opportunities you have, — and waiting for the divine seal on the efforts which you have spent? I know that it is so; and if we could get all that, we should still be waiting, — waiting to see all our families saved, — waiting to see all our neighbours saved, — waiting to see this great London saved, — waiting to see all nations bowing at Emmanuel’s feet. We can never be satisfied until we have that; and if we had it, we should then be waiting, as some of my dear brothers and sisters in the church are just now waiting, — waiting to be taken up to their home above, — waiting until men shall say, “The pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel is broken at the cistern”; because the Lord had said, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” David said, “I shall be satisfied, when I awaken with your likeness”; and we shall be satisfied when we see Christ, — satisfied when in our flesh we shall see the God who died for us, — satisfied when he shall reign on the earth, and we shall reign with him, — satisfied when we shall hear the eternal “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.” Yet I imagine that, even then, we shall be waiting, waiting, waiting, throughout eternity, for some new revelation of the unutterable, untellable love of God in Christ Jesus.

17. You see, dear friends, how I have tried to set before you this waiting posture of the saints as a whole, and also of each one in particular. Now I want to show you that it is a very blessed posture, for waiting tries faith, and that is a good thing, because faith grows by trial. Waiting exercises patience, and that is also a good thing, for patience is one of the choice gifts of God. Waiting endears every blessing when it comes; and so we get two joys, — the joy of waiting for the joy, as well as the joy of enjoying the joy when it comes. We get a better appetite for the banquet by waiting for a while before we sit down to it. Oh, the joy it will be to rest after toil! Oh, the delight of heavenly wealth after earthly poverty! Oh, the bliss of being perfectly rid of every tendency to sin after having struggled with it here for years! So, all these trials are preparations for a higher state of joy eventually.

18. While we are waiting, this posture becomes intense until, with the psalmist we can say twice over, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. My soul waits for the Lord.” That is really three times over. We throw our very soul into it: “My soul waits. My soul waits for the Lord.” It is as if our whole being was craving after more of God. Notice how it is all summed up in the object for which we wait: “ ‘My soul waits for the Lord.’ I want HIM. My soul waits for the Lord; I want nothing else; I am not waiting for anything else.” There is nothing else to wait for; as David said on another occasion, “Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” But oh, we are waiting intensely, insatiably, for God, the living God; when shall we come and appear before God?

19. This, then, is the great longing and waiting of each one of the people of God: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. My soul waits for the Lord.”

20. II. I have scarcely a minute in which to speak about the second word, HOPING: “and I hope in his word.”

21. Observe, first, that hope is the reason for waiting. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he still hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we wait for it with patience.”

22. Then, next, hope is the strength of waiting. You do not wait for a thing about which you are absolutely hopeless; if you have no hope of obtaining it, you say, “Then I will go on my way; it is useless to wait any longer.” But inasmuch as you have some degree of hope in waiting for God, your spirit is sustained so that you can still continue to wait for him.

23. Further, this hope is the sweetener of waiting. Waiting is always sweet when there is a hope at the end of it. The vista may be very long, but you pursue your way with willing footsteps because you hope to reach the shelter at the end. But make sure that your hope is a good hope, that it is a well-founded hope, that it is a happy hope, that it is a hope that “does not make ashamed,” that it is a hope that fixes itself on Christ alone; for if you do not have that hope, you will not wait; and if you do not wait, you will not receive. It is the waiting soul that gets the blessing. “It is good for me to draw near to God,” said David; and he also said, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” But you cannot do this unless you have hope; therefore pray the Lord to give you a good hope, and to brighten your hope, and keep your eyes always looking for what is yet to come, and what is laid up in the promise of God for all his people.

24. III. Then the third word is, WATCHING. He who waits, and he who hopes, learns to watch. First notice the metaphor here used, and then observe that the metaphor is exceeded: “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning: I say, more than those who watch for the morning.”

25. First, what is the metaphor used here? I should not wonder if it is partly the temple. There was the great temple at Jerusalem, and all the people went up to it to worship so many times a year. I will suppose that God has given warm hearts to you and me, and that we want to be at the ancient temple. We have made our last march in the middle of the night, we have reached the bottom of the hill, and climbed up its steep sides, and we have reached the very gate of the temple. When we get there, it is still night, so we ask one of the guards, “We have come to appear before God; when will the service begin?” He replies, “Not until the day breaks.” “And what will happen when the day breaks?” “Why, then, they will offer the morning lamb, and they will burn the incense; the priest will trim the lamps, and the day’s service will begin.” We are lifting up our hearts to God, we have come up to the temple on purpose to worship the Lord, we want to have a good long day of service, so we turn our eyes towards the hills over there, and we watch. We say, “Watchman, what of the night? Is the morning coming? When will the blessed day begin? We are longing to enjoy all the ordinances of the Lord’s house.” So the watchers stand there, and look out for the first signs of daybreak on the eastern hills.

26. Or, it may be that the metaphor is that of the guards on the city walls; the sentinels have had to watch all night long. With steady and weary tramp, the watchman has gone from one tower to another speaking to his brother sentinel as he has met him, keeping to his beat all through the dreary, cold, rainy, windy night; and he says to himself, “I wish it were morning.” As he exchanges the watchword with his companion, he says, “I wish it were morning, my eyelids are heavy; my head begins to ache with this constant watching for the enemy; I wish it were morning.” Have you never been in that posture, dear friend? Have not I? I hope I know what it is to watch for the morning, — so that I may meet God in his holy temple above, and also to watch for the morning so that this weary sentinel work may be done, and that I may be where there are no more enemies who can assault the sacred walls of Zion.

27. Then, again, some of you know what it is to watch for the morning in another sense. There is a dear one sick; how he tosses to and fro! He is in a high fever, and you constantly give him a cooling drink, and you take care at the proper hour to administer the medicine; but there is many a groan, and many a weary cry, and you are all alone with the patient, everyone else in the house is sound asleep. Have you not sometimes gone to the Venetian blind, and turned it up just a little to see whether the sun has not risen? That clock’s unwearied tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, — thousands of times, — seems to go right into your brain, and into your heart; and the poor sufferer says, “Oh that it were morning!” You remember how, in the day, he said, “Oh that it were evening!” That is the way with the sick; and at last you get as weary as your patient is. The fact is, you are half-afraid you did fall asleep; you do not know what mischief may come if you do not watch, and you begin to say with the sufferer, “Oh that it were morning!” Have you ever watched like this in a spiritual sense over a poor sin-sick soul? Have you ever watched like this over your own sick soul, until you have said, “I watch for the morning?” If so, this watching has been for you a picture and emblem of what your state of heart is in reference to your God; you are waiting, and you are watching, and you cry, “When will the day break, and the shadows flee away?”

28. But, the metaphor is exceeded by the fact, for the text says, “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.” We have been watching longer than those who guard the temple or the city towers. The sentinel has only a few hours’ night-watch; but some of us have been watching for these thirty years, some of you for these fifty years; ah, some of you for sixty years! I do not wonder that you have a stronger desire for the morning than those have who have only watched for one night.

29. Besides, you expect so much more than they do, for when the day comes, what does it bring to them? A little ease for the sentinel, a little rest for the nurse; but they will have to go back to the nursing or the watching as soon as the shadows of night return. You and I are waiting for a daylight that will bring us endless rest and perfect joy; well may we watch more than those who watch for the morning, for theirs is only the morning of a day, but ours is the morning of an eternity which shall know no end. They only watch for the sun with its passing beams; we watch for the Sun of righteousness whose glory makes heaven itself. Well may we grow eager when we think of what is yet to be revealed in us. Well may our hunger increase as we think of the sweets that are reserved for us. You have heard of the Goths and Vandals; it is said that, somehow, they tasted the grapes of Italy. I suppose that some bunches of fruit were carried across the Alps; and when those poor Goths and Vandals tasted them, what did they say? “Let us go to the land where these clusters grow, and eat them fresh from the vines.” And it was not long before, in innumerable hordes, they swarmed over Italy. In a far higher sense, something like that has happened to us, and therefore we sing, —

    My soul has tasted of the grapes,
       And now it longs to go
    Where my dear Lord his vineyard keeps,
       And all the clusters grow.

30. We wait for him “more than those who watch for the morning: I say, more than those who watch for the morning.” Never did a bride expect her marriage day as the true saint expects his Lord. Never did a woman in travail long to see her child as they who watch for their Lord, long for his appearing. Never did a prisoner, pining in the dungeon until the rust ate into his soul, pine for liberty as saints pine for their Lord. This is the right posture for the whole Church, and for each individual Christian, — waiting, hoping, watching, until he appears who is their Husband, Saviour, Friend, and All-in-all. May God bless you, dear friends, and so keep you watching, for his name’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 130}

I will first read the Psalm through, and afterwards say a few words by way of exposition.

1-8. Out of the depths I have cried to you, oh LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If you LORD, should mark iniquities, oh Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and I hope in his word. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning: I say, more than those who watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

You notice that this is one of the Songs of Degrees; that is, Psalms ascending by steps, and it begins at the very bottom: “Out of the depths.” But it gradually climbs up to the heights: “He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” May your experience and mine, beloved, be like a ladder, — upward, always upward, step by step, always rising, and getting nearer to our God!

The Psalm begins very low: “Out of the depths.” The psalmist is in the depths of sorrow and conscious sin, the depths of weakness, the depths of doubt and fear; yet, though he is in those depths, he does not stop praying: “Out of the depths I have cried.” Some of the best prayers that were ever prayed have been offered in the depths. There are some men who never prayed at all until they came into the depths of sorrow, and those sorrows pressed their prayers out of them.

The psalmist’s prayer was a cry. That is a child’s prayer; he cries to his mother or his father: “Out of the depths I have cried.” But it was not like a child’s cries sometimes are, — cries to himself, or cries to no one: “Out of the depths I have cried to YOU, oh Jehovah.” That is the right kind of prayer which is directed to God as an arrow is aimed at the target.

In looking back over his past experience, the psalmist tells the Lord that he has prayed. Sometimes, it is a good thing to pray over your prayers. “I have prayed, Lord; now I present one more petition, ‘I pray you to remember that I have prayed. I pray you to hear me. Lord, hear my voice.’ ” What is the good of prayer if God does not hear it? Sometimes we ask God to answer our supplication. That is right, but, at the same time, remember that it may be a greater blessing for God to hear our prayers than to answer them; for if he were to make it an absolute rule that he would grant all our requests, it might be a curse rather than a blessing. At any rate, I should feel it a very dreadful responsibility to have cast on me; for then, after all, I should have to depend on my own prayers, and therefore have to order my own way. But when I read that God will hear my prayer, that is much better, for he can do as he likes about answering it; and if I pray an improper prayer, what is better for me than for God to hear it, and then to set it aside? And, often, mine are such poor feeble prayers that it is much better for me that he should hear them, and then do for me very abundantly above what I have asked or thought. I used to think that we ought to say that he is a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God; but I do not say that now. It is enough that he hears, enough that you have presented your petition, and that God has heard it.

“Lord, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” That is, “Lord, consider my prayer; have respect for it. Answer it according to your wise consideration of it; ‘let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.’ ” Our prayers must usually be supplications; that is the word for a beggar’s pleading when he supplicates and asks for favours. That is what we do when we plead with God; and even if we do not speak, yet there is a voice in our supplications. In the sixth Psalm, David speaks of the voice of his weeping; and there is often a voice in that sorrow which cannot find a voice. God hears the grief that cannot itself speak to him: “Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”

And now, having raised his petition, notice his confession: “If you, Jehovah, should mark iniquities, oh Adoni, who shall stand?” So it should run. If God were to sit like a judge taking notes of the evidence, and recording against his people all their errors, who would be able to stand in that court? We should all be condemned. Then, does not God mark iniquities? Yes, he does in one sense, but not in another; and, through his infinite love and mercy, he does not deal with us according to our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities. “If he did,” David seems to say, “I could not stand.” But he says more, “Who shall stand?” Whatever pretensions to perfection any people may make, they are false. There is no man who can stand in God’s sight when he comes to mark our iniquities; and if we are taught by God’s Spirit, we shall know it to be so. In fact, the more holy a man becomes, the more conscious he is of unholiness.

“But” — and what a blessed “but” this is! — one of the most blessed “buts” in the Word of God: “But there is forgiveness with you”; or, “There is a propitiation with you.” There is a readiness to deal with men, not according to their just deserts, but according to free grace and the infinite mercy of God. “There is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.” Is that not a very strange expression? One would have thought that it would have said, “There is judgment with you, that you may be feared.” But no, brethren, if there were judgment with God, and no forgiveness, then men would grow despairing, and they would be hardened and rebellious; or else all would be swept away in God’s wrath, and there would be no one left to fear him. It is mercy that softens the heart, it is the forgiveness of God that leads men to love him and to fear him. The true fear of God — the holy filial fear — never rises out of judgment, but springs out of forgiving love. I hope, beloved, you feel that, because you are forgiven, you fear to offend God; because of so much love, you fear to grieve the blessed Spirit of God.

“I wait for Jehovah, my soul waits, and I hope in his word. My soul waits for Adoni,” — the King, the Sovereign Lord, — “more than those who watch for the morning, those who watch for the morning.” Our translators put in the words, “I say more than,” — I suppose, to make the sense more clear; but, by doing so, they spoiled the beautiful poetic simplicity of the original.

“Let Israel hope in the Lord.” Until this verse, the psalmist has been talking about himself; now he speaks about all the people of God. True religion is expansive; as your own heart gets warmed, you begin to call others in to share your felicity. “Let Israel hope in the Lord.” Did not their forefather Jacob do so? When all night he wrestled at the brook Jabbok, he hoped in the Lord, and so he gained his name Israel, and went away triumphant because he hoped in Jehovah.

“For with Jehovah there is mercy.” Believe that, oh seeking sinner! “With Jehovah there is mercy.” Believe this, oh backslider! “With Jehovah there is mercy.” Believe this, downcast child of God; “and with him is plentiful redemption.” There is enough for you, and there is enough for all who come to him. There is not a slave of sin whom God cannot redeem, for “with him is plentiful redemption.”

“And he shall redeem.” There is its comfort; he not only has the redemption, but he will make use of it. “He shall redeem Israel” — all of his Israel, all his people — “He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” Oh, come to him, then, with all your iniquities, and pray to be redeemed from them; and as surely as Jehovah lives, he will fulfil this promise, and redeem you from all your iniquities.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 113” 113}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 130” 130}

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C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Dairy, Letters, and Records, By his Wife and his Private Secretary. Vol. I., 1834 — 1854.

“The life of Mr. Spurgeon is worthy to be told in detail; and on such a scale as befits his unapproached renown as the greatest English preacher of the century. Evidently, judging from this first volume, the achievement will be adequate to the opportunity. Mr. Spurgeon was frankly and unaffectedly interested in himself; and this characteristic was by no means inconsistent with his marked humility. For he constantly looked back on his life, especially his earlier years, as illustrating, in a particular and perhaps unusual degree, the mercy and wisdom of God. Everyone knows how constantly, in his preaching, he referred to the homely incidents of his boyhood and youth, the companions of his childhood, the sayings and doings of country folk; and always with a certain vividness and zest that added much to the vigour of his sermons. Hence we are prepared to find, in the autobiographic records and letters from which the present work is compiled, abundant details such as throw new light on the character and experience of the great preacher. Mrs. Spurgeon has gathered material for a work of absorbing interest, the fullest, and of course the best record of her husband’s life. The first volume of the four, printed, and bound in excellent style, is now before the public; it closes with the beginning of the London pastorate. All who have read so far will be eager to continue the absorbing history.” — The Chicago Standard.

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Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 113 <7s.>
1 Hallelujah! Raise, oh raise
   To our God the song of praise!
   All his servants join to sing,
   God our Saviour and our King.
2 Blessed be for evermore
   That dread name which we adore:
   Round the world his praise be sung,
   Through all lands, in every tongue.
3 O’er all nations God alone,
   Higher than the heavens his throne;
   Who is like to God most high,
   Infinite in majesty?
4 Yet to view the heavens he bends;
   Yea, to earth he condescends;
   Passing by the rich and great,
   For the low and desolate.
5 He can raise the poor to stand
   With the princes of the land;
   Wealth upon the needy shower;
   Set the meanest high in power.
6 He the broken spirit cheers,
   Turns to joy the mourner’s tears;
   Such the wonders of his ways;
   Praise his name — for ever praise.
                        Josiah Conder, 1837.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 130
1 Out of the depths of doubt and fear,
   Depths of despair and grief,
   I cry; my voice, oh Jesus, hear,
   And come to my relief!
2 Thy gracious ears, oh Saviour, bow
   To my distressful cries,
   For who shall stand, oh Lord, if thou
   Shouldest mark iniquities?
3 But why do I my soul distress?
   Forgiveness is with thee:
   With thee there is abundant grace,
   That thou mayest feared be.
4 Then for the Lord my soul shall wait,
   And in his word I’ll hope;
   Continue knocking at his gate,
   Till he the door shall ope.
5 Not weary guards who watch for morn,
   And stand with longing eyes,
   Feel such desires to see the dawn,
   The joyful dawn arise!
6 They never feel such warm desires
   As those which in me move,
   As those wherewith my soul aspires
   To see the God of love!
7 Oh God of mercy! let me not
   Then hope for thee in vain;
   Nor let me ever be forgot,
   And in despair remain.
                        John Ryland, 1775.

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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