2609. Our Thoughts About God’s Thoughts

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No. 2609-45:73. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, November 1, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 12, 1899.

How precious also are your thoughts to me, oh God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awaken, I am still with you. {Ps 139:17,18}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2609, “Our Thoughts About God’s Thoughts” 2610}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3246, “God’s Thoughts and Ours” 3248}
   Exposition on Ps 139:1-18 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2345, “Moses’ Dying Charge to Israel” 2346 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 139 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2551, “God’s Knowledge of Sin” 2552 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 139 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2609, “Our Thoughts About God’s Thoughts” 2610 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 139 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3034, “Reasons for Seeking God” 3035 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 139 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3390, “Hoping in God’s Mercy” 3392 @@ "Exposition"}

1. This Psalm expounds on the omniscience of God. In the most forcible manner, it shows that God’s eye has always rested on us, and is resting on us now. We are here made to see that God knew all about us before we were born, that he now reads our most secret thoughts, and that our unspoken words are all known to him; and I want you to notice that the Psalm is not at all in that mournful strain in which we sometimes speak of the omniscience of God. It is a very solemn thing that God should be everywhere. “You God see me,” is a note of the most serious kind when sounded in the sinner’s ear; but, to those who are the people of God, there is nothing melancholy in the thought that God sees us. There is nothing to cause us to despond or to make us feel gloomy in the fact that God comprehends our path and our lying down. In fact, in proportion as we are fully reconciled to God, and love him, and rejoice in him, it will become a reason for joy to reflect that our best Friend is never away from us, that our Protector’s hand is never removed, that the great observant eye of divine love is never closed.

2. Oh, dear friends, could we ever go to any place where God is not to be found, that would be the hell of hells to his people; and if there could be a period in which the Lord did not look on us, we might say, “Let that day be blotted out from the calendar.” It is a joy, a bliss, a foretaste of heaven to know that —

    “Where’er we seek him he is found,”

and even when we are not seeking him, yet still he is above, beneath, and all around us. He is never far from any one of us. May we all have the grace that will enable us to rejoice in a present God! We may judge concerning our position before God by this test, — is the thought of his constant observation of us a subject of joy or of dread? If we dread it, surely we have the old spirit of bondage still on us; but if we rejoice in it, then we may know that we have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, “Abba, Father.”

3. I am going to try to speak, as God shall help me, first, on God’s thoughts of us:“ How precious also are your thoughts to me, oh God! How great is the sum of them!” Then, secondly, I want to say a little on our thoughts about God’s thoughts. His thoughts become precious to us as we think about them. Then, thirdly, I wish to speak at somewhat greater length concerning our thoughts on God himself:“ When I awaken, I am still with you.”

4. I. First, then, let us meditate for a little while on GOD’S THOUGHTS OF US.

5. That the infinite Jehovah thinks about us, is absolutely certain. He thinks about all the inhabitants of the whole world; there is a general providence which has a superintendence over all that happens in all parts of the earth. I know that the notion of some men is that the world is like a watch, and that God has done with it as we do with our watches, — that is, wound it up, put it under his pillow, and gone to sleep. But it is not so; for in this great world-watch, — to keep up the metaphor, — God is present with every wheel, and every cog of every wheel; there is no action in it apart from his exerting of power to make it move. There is nothing that happens merely as the result of “law,” as some people seem to dream, for a law is nothing without a force behind it. When we speak of certain things as being governed by law, we simply mean that, as far as we have discerned, that is the general way in which this particular thing moves, or is acted on, or acts on some other thing. But, then, where is the force that enables it to act like that, or that makes it to be acted on? “That is gravitation,” one says. Yes, that is your name for that force, but it is really God who is everywhere at work; though the law of gravitation may be said to be enduring, yet the force of gravity is only the force which proceeds from God. It is God still exerting his power, and operating in his own way on material substances. God, therefore, thinks on the whole world, and I am glad that it is so; I do not like the idea of being put out to nurse, as it were, and left without my Heavenly Father’s personal supervision. I like to be in a world that is really God’s garden, a part of his own homestead in which he dwells, and where I am always directly under the glance of his eye. Rivers unknown to song, far distant from civilization, are nevertheless home for one who has learned to be at home with God.

6. Now, just as God thinks and must think of the whole material universe which he has created, so he thinks much more of men, and most of all of us who are his own chosen people, to whom he stands in a very special relationship as our Father, who has “begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” God must think of us; the blood would not flow in our veins, nor would the breath make our lungs to heave, nor would our various bodily processes go on, without the perpetual exercise of his power. God must think of us especially in all the higher departments of our being, for they would speedily come to nothing apart from his constant care. There would be none of the spirit of prayer if he did not work it in us. There would be no spirit of sonship if the Holy Spirit did not teach us to continually cry, “Abba, Father.” Faith and hope and love are plants that only live in the sunlight of God; and if the great Father of lights withdrew, all these would die. “Without me you can do nothing,” is as certainly true of us who are his people, as of those who are far from him by wicked works. We must be united to God, or else we shall perish; and, therefore, since we know that we shall never perish, we are quite sure that our Heavenly Father does think of us. Think of all the gracious influences that meet in your body to perpetuate your life, — I mean, your spiritual life, — your holiness, your comfort, your joy; think of all the purposes of God that centre in you in order that, by them, you may be made perfect, and so be prepared to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light; and you will at once see that, for the grand design which God has concerning you, it is absolutely essential that he should think of you, and he does think of you.

7. Next, God’s thoughts of us must be very numerous. According to our text, the sum of them is very great; how great, the psalmist does not say. The number of God’s thoughts is so vast that, even if you could count the sands on the sea-shore, yet you could not count the thoughts of God concerning you. Oh, how important this makes us poor creatures, when we remember that God thinks of us! I would like you to sit still for a minute, and think over this wonderful truth. You know that people are very proud if a king has merely looked at them; I have heard of a man who used to boast, all his life, that King George IV — such a beauty as he was! — once spoke to him. He only said, “Get out of the road”; but it was a king who said it, so the man felt greatly gratified by it. But you and I, beloved, can rejoice that God, before whom kings are as grasshoppers, actually thinks of us, and thinks of us often. One or two thoughts would not suffice for our many needs; if he only thought of us now and then, what would we do in the meantime? But he thinks of us constantly. He says that he has inscribed our names on the palms of his hands, as if to show how continually we are before him. David said, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks about me”; and our Saviour said to his disciples, “Your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask him,” proving that he had thought about them, and had looked on them with a careful eye, and observed all their necessities. Yes, God does in very deed and of a truth think on his people, and his thoughts concerning them are very numerous.

8. And they are also very tender. God never thinks of his people in a harsh way; he never has an unkind thought concerning even the most erring of those who are his own children. He looks on them as a father looks on his child, with intense affection; pitying them when they stray from him; and if, sometimes, he chides them for their wrong-doing, even then he only veils the purpose of his love so that he may accomplish it all the better. He is always aiming at what will promote our best health, our truest wealth, and our ultimate perfection. At times, clouds come between our souls and our God, but his love is always shining. Oh beloved, if the Lord had not thought very tenderly about us, he would have cut some of us down long ago as encumberers of the ground. “He has not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” How often he has screened us from trouble! How frequently he has prepared us for a trial, so that, when it came, it did not crush us! How often he has rescued us out of severe perils! How often he has visited us in the night, and given us songs amid our sorrow! “Your gentleness has made me great,” said David; and many other children of God have said the same. There is nothing that can equal the tenderness of God towards us who are his poor, frail, and erring children.

9. But while God’s thoughts concerning us have been so tender, they have also been very wise. To make a glass that should reflect without any colour the object placed before it, was long the desire of those who made certain kinds of optical instruments. They worked a long time without success; but, at last, someone discovered how to form an achromatic lens; and then, lo, and behold! when this man had thought out his plan perfectly in all its details, he was able to make a glass which was exactly like the eye of an insect which I have often seen. So, when the man thought properly, he thought just as God thought; and, after going a long way all around, when he did come to the right conclusion, he came just where God was. And, in the same way, if you and I were to try to work out the problem of our lives, and if we were wise enough to discover the best way in which we could get to heaven, we should come exactly to the route which God has marked out for us, and we should do with ourselves precisely what God does with us. If we were always wise, we would never murmur; if we were to be endowed with infinite wisdom, we should rejoice in the very things which now distress us; and the clouds and darkness which we now seek to avoid, we should willingly pass through if we only see, as God sees, the end as well as the beginning. His thoughts are wise for all of our lives; he does not simply think how he shall make us happiest today, or how he should give us the most enjoyment for a week; that is how fond and foolish mothers think and plan for their boys. They make ducks of them, and they grow up to be geese. They indulge them, and spoil them; but it is never so with God in his thoughts concerning the happiness of his children. He looks far ahead, he takes eternity into the scope of his thoughts; and he judges what is best to do for us, not merely under the aspect of an hour, or a week, or a month, or even of a whole life below, but he puts eternity into the scale, and orders all things well for everlasting ages. You and I could not think like that, could we? We soon get puzzled with our little calculations; and it is unwise for us to look too far ahead. If we begin considering fifty cares at once, they will prove to be too many for us. Our best way is to take them one by one, and live by the day, or better still, moment by moment. Such a course as that would not be wise for us if it were not that there is Another who, not living by the day himself, but filling all eternity, judges for us according to that blessed stanza of the psalmist, “His mercy endures for ever.”

10. These, then, are the thoughts of God concerning us, — certain, numerous, tender, and infinitely wise,

11. And God’s thoughts, too, are very practical. He does not think of us, and let it end with thinking; but God’s thoughts are really his acts, for, with him, to will is to do. He utters his thought, and, lo! it is accomplished; his fiat has achieved it. God might have thought much of us, and the thought would have had no comfort in it if it had not moved his hand to help and to assist us. Think for a while on the practical thoughts of God for us in the eternity when he chose us before the day-star knew its place; think of the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, made before the sun had shed a single ray of light on the earth; think especially of that part of the covenant in which the Father made his Son to be our Covenant-Head, and gave him to stand in our place as our Surety and Substitute. Oh, what a thought that was, — how wonderfully practical, — that God should take his beloved Son from his bosom, and give him up to die so that we might live! And, ever since, all along our history, God has thought of us. He thought of us when we were babes, and we were nourished and cherished. He thought of us when we were children, and we learned to lisp his name. He thought of us —

    When, in the slippery paths of youth,
       With heedless haste we ran.

He has thought of us since we have come to manhood; indeed, and in the case of many of us, he has thought of our children and of our children’s children, too. And he is still thinking of us, and he will continue to do so when our last thoughts die out in unconsciousness. Remember his ancient promise to his people: “Even to hoar hairs I will carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you.” And we shall find it to be so, and each believer may say, with David, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

12. These, then, are God’s thoughts concerning us, — constant, kind, wise, tender, gracious, perfect, divine, like him in whose infinite mind they are found.

13. II. Now let us meditate for just a few minutes on OUR THOUGHTS ABOUT GOD’S THOUGHTS.

14. What do you say, my heart, to this wonderful truth, — that the Lord thinks on you? I have been ready to say what would be a very fair translation of the Hebrew, — “how rare are your thoughts!” You know that the word “rare” was used in a different sense in olden times from what it is now. In Westminster Abbey, there is a stone with these words on it, “Oh rare Ben Jonson!” — meaning strange, special, particular, marked. So the thoughts of God are rare thoughts, the like of which cannot be found anywhere else. The thoughts of angels, or the thoughts of perfect spirits above, must be something very wonderful; but, oh, the thoughts of God! If I were told that some bright angel was sent to think of me all day and all night long, that he was my Master’s servant to watch over me, I should feel pleasure in the thought; yet that would be a poor, poor thing compared with the fact that God thinks on us, and watches over us. The Lord told Moses that his angel should go before the people through the wilderness; but you may have noticed how Moses pleaded against such a decision: “If your presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here.” We do not need angelic presence one hundredth part as much as we need the divine presence. Here, then, in God’s thoughts concerning us, is something rare and wonderful indeed; and this is our thought about it, that there is no other thought that can for a moment be compared with it.

15. How delightful, too, it is to be thought about by God! I have already said that, to some people, the truth that God is looking on them wears an aspect of awe and dread. “Oh!” one says, “is it not terrible to think that God’s eye is always fixed on me?” It is not terrible to me; I am very glad that it should be so, and I pray, with David, “ ‘Search me, oh God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ You will see much that will grieve you, and much that you will have to amend; but, still, I would not wish to hide anything from you, my Lord. Does not all my hope and my very heaven lie that way? The glances of your eye, are they not the very medicine that shall cure my soul-sickness; or, at least, the means by which I shall get the medicine that will heal me of the dire disease of sin?” It is even so, and the true child of God always wishes to get more and more closely under the inspection of his Heavenly Father; and the thoughts of God towards him charm and delight him. Does God in very deed think of me, from the moment when I wake up in the morning, and all through the day, until I lock up my heart at night, and give him the key? Does he keep on thinking of me while I lie asleep, unable to think of anything except poor wandering thoughts that come in my dreams? If so, blessed be his name that he condescends to do anything of the kind! “How precious are your thoughts to me, oh God!” How delightful is it to be so thought of by you!

16. And how consoling it is also! We all like to be thought of and remembered. I went to call on one who was severely sick, and the doctor had said that he must see no one; but when his friends told him I was there, he exclaimed, “Oh, let him come up!” “No,” they replied, “he must not; for it might excite you, and do you harm.” “Give him my love, then,” he said; “and tell him that it does me good to know that he is downstairs.” We like to be thought of, I am sure that we do; even the thoughts of a little child towards us have comfort in them. There is many a mother who is made a widow, and she sits down to weep as if her heart must break; but when her little one tugs on her skirt, ignorant of the sorrow which he will one day have to feel with the mother, and the mother hears the child’s merry little note, it is often the best form of consolation that God sends to her bereaved spirit.

17. We all like to be kindly remembered; but, oh! what is it to be thought about by God? “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” And if men misrepresent us, and misinterpret us, and speak evil of us, and put us out of their company, what does it matter if the Lord draws nearer to us than he did before? God’s servants in Scotland had brave times among the heather when they had to watch for Claverhouse’s dragoons, and stood in jeopardy of their lives. The Lord was especially present among the lone crags, and they heard his voice in the psalm, and then from above in the thunder-peal. The Lord was so near to them in the dark days of persecution that, afterwards, when peaceful times came, and they could go to the kirk {church} in quiet, there were some who looked with regret on those other days when they met at the peril of their lives, and God was their Leader. So, God’s thoughts are precious to us by way of consolation.

18. They also have other effects on us, for the thoughts of God often move the souls of Christians, strengthening them in faith, arousing them to love, and bestirring them to zeal. There is many a man who has done, under a sense of God’s presence, what he would never have dreamed of doing if he had not believed that the Lord was there. As the Highland chieftain, when he fell and was dying, said to the men of his clan, “I shall watch you, my children, as you rush to the fight,” and so made them brave; when we think of God’s watching us, and of his eye being on us, we also become valiant, and do exploits in his sight, and each one of us sings, —

    I can do all things, or can bear
    All sufferings, if my Lord be there:
    Sweet pleasures mingle with the pains,
    While his left hand my head sustains.

His presence is all that our heart requires. Indeed, beloved, when we really drink in the thoughts of God towards us, our spirit is filled with all that it needs, and is borne onward as with a mighty rush, a full tide of grace, up to the throne of heaven.

19. III. Now I come to the last part of my discourse, OUR THOUGHTS ON GOD HIMSELF. David says here, “When I awaken, I am still with you.”

20. I want you to notice, first, that he seems to imply that our thoughts bring us near to God. Thinking of him, we believe that we are in his immediate presence. I cannot describe the feeling of a spirit consciously present with God; but, though I cannot describe it, I am sure that many of you know what it is, and I am equally sure that I also know what it is. There have been times with us when we did not actually walk by sight; but, still, we had a very joyful experience of God’s presence with us. We not only believed in God’s existence, but our spirits seemed enveloped in and encompassed with his Spirit, and appeared to be, as it were, set on fire with it, as when the bush in the desert was all aglow with the indwelling God. It is not always so with us, but we have had times of extremely conscious nearness to God. After prayer, as we rose from our knees, and looked at the clock, we perceived that a full half-hour had gone, whereas we thought that it was only a minute or two that we had been at our devotions. In our bedroom alone, as we have read the Word, the sacred page has seemed to glow with unusual brilliancy. We do not remember noticing such glory in those words before, but God has spoken to us through the Word, and that has made the difference. Sometimes, as we have been sitting in the sanctuary, a solemn awe has obviously been on every heart; and when we went away, we said to each other, “Surely God was in that place, and we knew it.” You know how Paul describes his rapturous experience, “Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows.” Such things have happened to many of God’s people; and I believe that the more we live in him, and walk with him, the more often this will be our experience, until it may even come to be perpetual, and our soul shall be as certain of the presence of God as we are of the presence of our body; we shall get to have as keen a sense and recognition of the presence of God with us as we have of the atmosphere which surrounds us. David’s declaration, “When I awaken, I am still with you,” implies that holy thoughts of the precious thoughts of God place us near to God.

21. And, next, it implies that these thoughts help to keep us near to God. “When I awaken, I am still with you”; said David, as if he meant, “I have kept in your company for a long time; I have been now by the week, the month, the year, abiding in the light of your countenance, enjoying your sweet company. Your grace has kept me near you.”

22. Still further, such thoughts help to restore to us God’s presence if we have lost it for a while. “When I awaken,” — that means, “I have been asleep, and so have lost the consciousness of God’s presence.” Have you never known what it is, at night, to be quite sorry to go to sleep because you have been so full of holy joy that you were afraid you might lose it while you were unconscious? Have you never lain awake, thinking and meditating on your God, enjoying his presence so much that you have said, “This is better than sleep; I wish that my eyes might be kept wide awake, that they might forget their need of rest, that I might continue this hallowed communion?” But with our poor frail bodies we must sleep; so, is it not sweet that, when you awaken, you should go on where you left off, that, as your soul was holding fellowship with God as you fell asleep, when you opened your eyes again, he was still there? You were ready to take up the happy occupation where you left off, for you had not broken the thread, and you still went on communing with your God.

23. This text evidently refers in part to natural slumber. When our thoughts are much with God, then it will happen that our sleep will make no break in our communion with him. Were you never pained by a dream? I will hold no man responsible for his dreams; but, if there were no sin in us, we should have no sin even in our dreams. If we were perfectly pure, — as some think that they are, — we should be perfectly pure even in our dreams. Take off the bridles from the horses, remove the bits from their mouths, and let them go where they wish; yet, if they are thoroughly trained, they will not rush wildly around, and they will still obey your call. If a house is perfectly clean, it will be just as clean if you take all the locks off, and leave the doors open. If a man is perfectly pure, he would be pure in any case, and in any condition. Hence, even a dream may sometimes set us watching to know how such mischief could get into our thoughts. It could not have come there if sin had not been dwelling in us. But, oh, it is blessed to get so near to God that, when you fall asleep, you seem to hear even in your dreams the music of his voice, and when you wake up in the morning, you wish to recall those blessed thoughts that came to you even when your whole being seemed steeped in sleep!

24. The text says, “When I awaken, I am still with you”; and I think that it means also, “When I wake up from any temporary lethargy into which I may have fallen, I am still with you.” We all get into that state sometimes; sleeping, though our heart is awake. We wish to be more brisk, more lively; but we cannot stir ourselves up. We sing, —

    Dear Lord! and shall we ever lie
       At this poor dying rate?

We have fallen into a kind of stupor. What a blessing it is to be roused out of it, possibly by a severe affliction, perhaps by an earnest discourse! Then the awakened one says, “Now I have come back to you, my God. There was something within me that could not forget you, even for a while, though it lay still and dormant.”

25. And, best of all, what a grand thing it will be, one of these days, to go upstairs for the last time, and stretch ourselves on the bed, and say, “Adieu! Adieu!” to all we love below, and then to put our head back on the pillow while those who are watching say, “He sleeps in Jesus!” “I shall be satisfied when I awaken with your likeness.” “ ‘When I awaken, I am still with you.’ I trusted you when I fell asleep, and in the morning I awoke to find you still my Friend.”

26. Then, when my body wakes from its long sleep in the tomb, every rising bone of it shall acknowledge the Lord. My eyes shall see him in that day, — the God who loved me, and died for me. Oh, how blessed it is to keep the whole heart so fixed on God that, come sleep, come life, come death, come what may, we shall be just like the needle in the compass which always turns to the pole! You may turn it around, if you like, but it always gets back again, and will not point anywhere but in that one direction. May it be true also of you and me that we can rest nowhere but in our God! I close my discourse, as I have often done before, with that sweet verse, —

       All that remains for me
       Is but to love and sing,
    And wait until the angels come
       To bear me to the King.

27. I wish that all of you knew this blessed experience of which I have been speaking. Some of you do not; you are afraid of God, you are afraid of his seeing you, you are afraid to go to him. See, then, there is Jesus Christ, who took on him our nature though he also is God. Go to him, trust him, believe in him; then he will make you to be a child of God, and you will not be afraid of your Father. May God bless you, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 139}

May the all-seeing God, of whom this Psalm speaks, look down on us and bless us richly while we read it!

1. Oh LORD, you have searched me, and known me.

“Known me perfectly, far better than I know myself. You have made an inquisition, and investigated every secret thing concerning me: ‘You have searched me, and known me.’ ”

2. You know my sitting down and my rising up, you understand my thought afar off.

“Before I think it, while as yet it is not actually my thought, while it is still unformed, and far away, you understand it. You not only know what it is, but you understand it; — the motive from which it springs, the state of mind out of which it arises, and to where it tends: ‘You understand my thought afar off’ ”

3. You comprehend my path —

You are all around me, — behind, before, above, beneath

    Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
    I am surrounded still with God.

3. And my lying down, —

“When wearied by my journey I lie down to rest, you still bless my lying down.”

3. And are acquainted with all my ways.

“I cannot tell you anything which you do not know; nor can I hide anything from you. Whatever I have done, or am doing, or shall do, ‘You are acquainted with all my ways.’ ”

4. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, lo, oh LORD, you know it altogether.

    He knows the words I mean to speak,
    Ere from my opening lips they break.

God sees the word that is lying quietly on the tongue as well as the word which has been uttered by the tongue. “You know it altogether.” God’s knowledge is not partial or imperfect. He never misjudges anything, for he is acquainted with every part of every man.

5. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand on me.

“You have come so near me that you touch me. You not only know my thoughts and my words, but you come into contact with me. You know me as I know a thing when I feel it with my hand: ‘You have laid your hand on me.’ ”

6, 7. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain to it. Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Not that David desired to go away from God, but he wished to show the impossibility of escaping from the eye of God: “Where shall I go from your Spirit?”

7. Or where shall I flee from your presence?

“You are everywhere, and your far-seeing eye will behold me in every place; it is vain, therefore, for me to think that I can ever flee from your presence.” Is it not a very striking thought that every sin is committed in the presence of God? He must be a very bold rebel who would insult his monarch to his face; men are generally on their best behaviour when they stand on the palace floor; yet the whole earth is only the habitation of the great King eternal, immortal, invisible, and every time we sin, we sin in his very presence, and with his eye resting on us.

8-10. If I ascend up into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Well did Dr. Watts write, —

    If mounted on a morning ray,
    I fly beyond the western sea,
    Thy swifter hand would first arrive,
    And there arrest thy fugitive.

There is no hope of escaping from God by any speed to which we may attain, for if we could fly with the speed of light, yet Jehovah would be ahead of us; his hand would lead us, and his right hand would hold us.

11. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me”; even the night shall be light around me.

It shall be light for the eyes of God, for he does not depend on the light in order that he may see. Light is a most welcome aid to our poor eyes; but God sees just as well in the darkness: “Even the night shall be light around me.”

12. Yes, the darkness does not hide from you; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both the same for you.

This is a very commonplace truth, and yet how seldom do men believe it! They still imagine that, when the night comes on, and they are not perceived by mortal eyes, they may do what they wish; but there is no curtain in the night that can hide a deed of guilt from the eye of the omniscient Jehovah: “The darkness and the light are both the same for you.”

    Almighty God, thy piercing eye
       Strikes through the shades of night;
    And our most secret actions lie
       All open to thy sight.

13. For you have possessed my reins: —

“The innermost parts of my being, — you have possessed them as your own. You know as much about them as a man knows about the rooms in his own house: ‘You have possessed my reins’ ”: —

13, 14. You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you; —

That is a very sweet thing for the psalmist to say. Just when he felt stricken with awe by reason of this august attribute of the omniscience of Jehovah, he looks up to his God, and says, “I will praise you”; —

14. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

Anyone who understands anatomy will tell you that man is intricately formed. So fearfully are we made that our life stands in constant jeopardy; it looks as if every breath might be our last, and every pulse might speedily end our life. You cannot examine a blood vessel — especially some of the very small ones — through a microscope, without being utterly astonished. Any medical man will tell you that there are many times in an hour, — perhaps even in a minute, — in which a very simple thing would put our life in imminent peril of destruction; truly, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

    Our life contains a thousand springs,
       And dies if one be gone;
    Strange, that a harp of thousand strings
       Should keep in tune so long.

Every man is a world of wonders; he need not go abroad for miracles, for he is himself a marvellous and miraculous combination.

14. Marvellous are your works; and that my soul knows very well.

How there can be a compound of spirit and matter, — how the earth on which we tread should enter into our composition, and yet we should be akin to angels, how there can be something about us that links us with the dust, yet much about us that joins us to God himself, — these are extraordinary things which we do not understand. Where is the point in which the spirit touches the material? How is it that the will can move the hand or the finger? How does spirit act on matter? Those are questions much more easily asked than answered.

15. My substance was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and skilfully made —

Embroidered, as it were, with a needle. So extraordinary is the body of man, that it may be compared to the needlework of God: “skilfully made.”

15, 16. In the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, —

Just as an architect sketches his plan for a building, and specifies so much of this and that, so the psalmist represents God as writing down in a book all the members of our body.

16. The days were fashioned for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God mapped out what he intended that we should be, even when as yet we were not in existence, and from our earliest days he cared for us. If we look back on our infancy, that considerable period of life in which we were utterly helpless, and could do nothing whatever for ourselves, it ought to check our unbelief, because, if God took charge of us then, and found means for our protection and our growing up when we were only little babes, if we should live to a second infancy, we may fairly trust that God will take care of us again; and if we should ever, through sickness, be reduced to such a helpless state that we can do nothing for ourselves, yet he who cared for us before we saw the light, and when we saw it with feeble trembling eyes, will still take care of us.

17-19. How precious also are your thoughts to me, oh God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awaken, I am still with you. Surely you will slay the wicked, oh God: —

It must be so; God cannot let sinners continue to live, and provoke him to his face. He must, one day, take down the sword of justice, unsheathe it, and strike the foes of righteousness: “Surely you will slay the wicked, oh God”:

19. Depart from me therefore, you bloody men.

“Be gone, lest, when he comes to strike you, I should have to see you die.”

20-22. For they speak against you wickedly, and your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate them, oh LORD, who hate you? And am I not grieved with those who rise up against you? I hate them with perfect hatred: I consider them my enemies.

We are to love our own enemies, but we are not to love God’s enemies. We are to forgive our personal enemies, but we cannot forgive God’s enemies. That man does not love truth who does not hate a lie; and he does not love the right who has no anger against wrong. We are living in an age in which we are practically told that truth and error are the same, that the devil’s lie and the Divine Revelation may lie down together. If we will not endorse this falsehood, men call us bigoted or dogmatic. Bless the Lord, we intend to be a great deal more dogmatic than we have been, and to stick even closer to the truth of God than we have done so far, if that is possible.

23, 24. Search me, oh God, and know my heart: test me, and know my thoughts: and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

That is a blessed prayer; may God hear it in the case of each one of us, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love” 230}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Acts, Covenant — The Covenant God Extolled” 229}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Attributes of God — Condescension” 194}

The Work of Grace as a Whole
230 — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love <148th>
1 Indulgent God! how kind
      Are all thy ways to me,
   Whose dark benighted mind
      Was enmity with thee;
   Yet now, subdued by sovereign grace,
   My spirit longs for thine embrace.
2 How precious are thy thoughts,
      That o’er my bosom roll:
   They swell beyond my faults,
      And captivate my soul;
   How great their sum, how high they rise,
   Can ne’er be known beneath the skies.
3 Preserved in Jesus, when
      My feet made haste to hell;
   And there should I have gone,
      But thou dost all things well;
   Thy love was great, thy mercy free,
   Which from the pit deliver’d me.
4 Before thy hands had made
      The sun to rule the day,
   Or earth’s foundation laid,
      Of fashion’d Adam’s clay,
   What thoughts of peace and mercy flow’d
   In thy dear bosom, oh my God.
5 Oh! fathomless abyss,
      Where hidden mysteries lie:
   The seraph finds his bliss,
      Within the same to pry;
   Lord, what is man, thy desperate foe,
   That thou shouldest bless and love him so?
6 A monument of grace,
      A sinner saved by blood:
   The streams of love I trace
      Up to the Fountain, God;
   And in his sacred bosom see
   Eternal thoughts of love to me.
                        John Kent, 1803.

God the Father, Acts, Covenant
229 — The Covenant God Extolled <6.8.4.>
1 The God of Abraham praise
      Who reigns enthroned above,
   Ancient of everlasting days,
      And God of love!
      Jehovah, great I AM!
      By earth and heaven confest;
   I bow, and bless the sacred name,
      For ever blest!
2 The God of Abraham praise,
      At whose supreme command,
   From earth I rise, and seek the joys
      At his right hand:
      I all on earth forsake,
      Its wisdom, fame, and power;
   And him my only portion make,
      My shield and tower.
3 The God of Abraham praise,
      Whose all-sufficient grace
   Shall guide me all my happy days
      In all his ways:
      He calls a worm his friend,
      He calls himself my God!
   And he shall save me to the end,
      Through Jesus’ blood.
4 He by himself hath sworn,
      I on his oath depend;
   I shall, on eagles’ wings upborne,
      To heaven ascend:
      I shall behold his face,
      I shall his power adore,
   And sing the wonders of his grace
      For evermore.
            THE SECOND PART.
5 Though nature’s strength decay,
      And earth and hell withstand,
   To Canaan’s bounds I urge my way
      At his command:
      The watery deep I pass
      With Jesus in my view,
   And through the howling wilderness
      My way pursue.
6 The goodly land I see,
      With peace and plenty blest;
   A land of sacred liberty,
      And endless rest:
      There milk and honey flow
      And oil and wine abound,
   And trees of life for ever grow,
      With mercy crown’d.
7 There dwells the Lord our King,
      The Lord our righteousness!
   Triumphant o’er the world and sin,
      The Prince of Peace.
      On Sion’s sacred height,
      His kingdom still maintains;
   And glorious with his saints in light,
      For ever reigns.
8 The whole triumphant host
      Give thanks to God on high,
   “Hail Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”
      They ever cry:
      Hail, Abraham’s God, and mine!
      I join the heavenly lays;
   All might and majesty are Thine,
         And endless praise.
                     Thomas Olivers, 1772.

God the Father, Attributes of God
194 — Condescension
1 Up to the Lord, that reigns on high,
   And views the nations from afar,
   Let everlasting praises fly,
   And tell how large his bounties are.
2 He that can shake the worlds he made,
   Or with his word, or with his rod,
   His goodness, how amazing great!
   And what a condescending God!
3 God, that must stoop to view the skies,
   And bow to see what angels do,
   Down to our earth he casts his eyes,
   And bends his footsteps downward too.
4 He overrules all mortal things,
   And manages our mean affairs;
   On humble souls the King of kings
   Bestows his counsels and his cares.
5 Our sorrows and our tears we pour
   Into the bosom of our God;
   He hears us in the mournful hour,
   And helps us bear the heavy load.
6 Oh, could our thankful hearts devise
   A tribute equal to thy grace,
   To the third heaven our songs should rise
   And teach the golden harps thy praise.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

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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