2696. Wordless Prayers Heard In Heaven

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Wordless Prayers Heard In Heaven

No. 2696-46:481. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, September 8, 1881, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 14, 1900.

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. {Isa 41:17}

1. Notice, dear friends, that this double promise to the poor and needy stands in connection with other great promises which guarantee the gift of wonderful strength and blessing for God’s people. These promises seem to me to be such as the mightiest servant of God might well desire to have fulfilled in himself. Look, for example, at the one in the two preceding verses: “Behold, I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: you shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff. You shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and you shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.” {Isa 41:15,16} What a great promise that is! How it makes the child of God to participate in the greatness of Jehovah’s strength! The picture drawn here is a very remarkable one. Here is a man — a poor, feeble man — so strengthened by God, that he not only threshes wheat, but he threshes mountains; nor does he find that the gigantic enterprise is beyond the strength imparted to him. The rocks and the hills are turned to chaff; nor is that all that happens to them, for this man, divinely strengthened, takes up a colossal winnowing fan, and sets Alps, Andes, Himalayas, flying just like the small dust from the threshing-floor. This is grand work, and it needs a man of God when he has come to the fulness of his strength through the indwelling of the Spirit of God.

2. Whenever we quote a great promise like that, it usually depresses some little one in the Lord’s family. He (or, more likely, she) begins to say, “But what can I do? I cannot thresh mountains. No, rather, it seems to me that Satan is threshing me, and desiring to have me that he may sift me as wheat; and, instead of me holding the winnowing fan in my hand, it is the winnowing fan that is being used on me, and what I thought was a fine heap of wheat is being blown away, and I am afraid there will be few precious grains left to lie on the floor. Ah, me! Ah, me!” Well, now, our God has a gracious way of caring for all his children; and, from his very nature, I am quite certain that, if one of his children could be forgotten, it would not be the little one. You mothers know that, if ever there was one member of the household left out in the cold when you closed the door at night, it would not be the baby; you would be sure first of all to see that the wee mite was safely housed; and if it were possible that the divine mind could pass over and forget one of the beloved family, it certainly would not be the little one or the tried one. There are special promises for the child of God in the time of trial: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame scorch you.” The presence of God is with all his chosen ones at all times; but if ever there could be an exception to that rule, it certainly would not be in the case of those who are tried, and troubled, and depressed. No; the exception would be all the other way. If the good Shepherd left the ninety-nine safely folded in the wilderness, he would be sure to go after the one sheep that was lost, — the weak and wounded one, the feeble and foot-sore one, even though the cause of its sufferings might be its own guilty wanderings. Oh, the splendour of the love of God! There is nothing to be compared with it under heaven, or even in heaven itself; it stands alone and unapproachable. He is always considering those among his people who are downcast, and weak, and broken-hearted; and I think that the promise of our text especially comes in, not for you mountain-threshers, — not for you who are made so strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, but for some who cannot as yet get a grip on that grand word of his to which I have referred. Here comes in this sweet promise; “when the poor and needy” are not trying to thresh mountains, but are looking for what is required for the supply of their own personal needs, — seeking water; — when they are in too low a condition to be able to rise to the dignity of service, but are just like poor Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness, seeking water; — when they have fallen into such a sad and sorrowful state of heart that, instead of testifying to the goodness of God, they cannot testify to anything, for “their tongue fails for thirst”; — it is then, in their extremity, that the blessed promises shall come to them: “I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

3. I am going to follow the good Shepherd’s example, and to leave the ninety-nine, — you brothers and sisters who are happy and joyful in the Lord. I must leave you to take care of yourselves; or, rather, the Lord will take care of you. I want just now to go after that one sheep that is lost; and I should not wonder if there are not here more than one out of every hundred in the condition which our text describes. If so, may the Spirit of God cause the message to teach the hearts of all such sorrowing ones, so that God may again be glorified in the abundance of his mercy towards them. Let us begin at the beginning of the text, and consider it from point to point very briefly. We will start with these people where the text starts with them.

4. I. Here is, first, POVERTY OF CONDITION: “When the poor and needy seek water.”

5. This description, of course, applies to poverty of spiritual condition; does it not describe you, my brother, my sister? Sometimes, we say that we are “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”; though, all the while, we are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”; but there are other times when, consciously, among the poor, we are the poorest; and among the needy, our need puts us in the very front rank.

6. Certainly, I think that most of us here would take the position of great poverty concerning anything like merit. What have we ever done that can commend us to God? When we have done all that our Master commanded, we must still say, “We are unprofitable servants: we have done what was our duty to do.” But we have not obeyed all his commands, by a very long way. Self-satisfaction may be a very pleasant feeling to cherish; but he who walks near to God is a stranger to it. If ever God honours one of his children in public, I bear witness that he has a way of flogging him behind the door, so as to make him feel that he has nothing in which glory, except only in the Lord. What have even you done, you who have won many souls for the Saviour? You may thank God that he has so honoured you; but beware lest you ever do take any credit for it yourself, for that would be a strange perversion of the truth. What if you have trained up that family of yours in the fear of God, and have seen the divine blessing resting on your house? That is good; but are you the god of your house? What would you have been, and what would your house have been, if it had not been for the mercy of God towards you and yours? Looking back on our entire life, we have to thank God for it; and we must not let him be robbed of any of the thanksgiving that is due to him; but as for ourselves, the only fit tribute to all that we have done is a tear. Let us thank God that he blots out our faults and our failings with the precious blood of his dear Son; but let us also weep over those bitter tears of regret that we should ever have sinned against him. If any here present, have any merits in which they think they can glory, there are, on the other hand, some of us who could sit down in dust and ashes, and cry out in the agony of our souls, for we are poverty-stricken to the nth degree concerning anything of merit in and of ourselves.

7. Yes, and we have poverty of another kind, namely, concerning anything like strength. Not that we would plead that as an excuse for not doing much for our Lord; for, albeit that we are fully conscious of our own weakness, we never yet learned that God’s law was limited by human power. We believe that it is our duty to do thousands of things which, by reason of our impotence, we never do, and never, perhaps, can do. Still, the claims of duty remain the same as they always were; for, if we have sinned away our power, God has not therefore lost any of his rights. We ought to have been perfect. Brethren, I consider that, if you and I had lived absolutely perfect lives, we should not even then have rendered a due return to God for the great debt we owe to him. If we have preached Christ’s gospel, we ought to have preached it like flaming seraphs. If we have suffered for Christ’s sake, we ought to have been ready to die like martyrs. We ought, in our lives, to have reproduced the life of Christ; but when we struggle to attain to this high ideal, there is a shrunken sinew that makes us like Jacob, halt on our thigh; and there is another shrunken sinew that makes us drop our arm, and there is scarcely a part of our mental and spiritual constitution which does not make us cry, with Paul, “To will is present with me; but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I would do, I do not do: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

8. Truly, we are poverty-stricken as for our strength. The smallest sin is too much for us if God is gone from us; the slightest temptation blows us over, like children who are weak on their legs; only God can sustain us, and we constantly need to hear our Saviour say to us, as he said to his disciples, “Without me you can do nothing.” When we first heard that message, we used to think, “Oh! but surely we can do a little.” Yet, every day, that word “nothing” seems to toll the death knell of all self-confidence. Christ still says to us, “Without me you can do nothing”; and we know that what he says is true. Some of us are feeling the truth of this sentence, and we are humbled in the dust as we realize that we are indeed poor and needy as for strength.

9. Then, brethren, as for grace, many of the children of God are, to their shame, obliged to confess that they are poor and needy where they ought to be rich, and where they might be rich; — poor in patience, poor in courage, poor in faith, poor in hope, poor in love, poor in private prayer, poor in public influence, poor in every way. Although the grace of God can make us so rich spiritually that we may be happy ourselves, and be able also to be the means of blessing others, there are many of God’s children who seem scarcely to have a penny of spending-money, and they never appear to go to the King’s treasury, and dip their hand in, and take out great handfuls of the precious gold of grace. They might do so if they wished to; but, alas! they continue miserably poor through their own fault. So this last confession must be made very humbly, as indeed the others I have mentioned ought to be; and perhaps I am speaking right home to some brothers and sisters here when I say that, as for merit, as for strength, and even as for grace, you feel yourselves to be “poor and needy.”

10. II. Our next remark is concerning URGENCY OF NEED.

11. “When the poor and needy seek” — what? Money? No; that is only to be poor and needy. Bread? Indeed; that shows a harder poverty than merely being “poor and needy.” But it is not bread that these poor and needy ones are seeking, but “water.” Why, that is generally to be had for nothing, — a drink of water. It must be very hard times indeed when poor souls are in such a state that they are longing for water, and seeking for it afar, as though there were none near at hand. Brothers, sisters, are any of you in such a condition, so poor and needy, that you are sighing after the living water? Though you have drunk some of it before, you are still sighing for more of it, and feel as if you could not tell where to find it.

12. This is an urgent necessity, for it touches a vital point. A man can exist without money, he can live without garments, he could live longer without bread than he could without water; for you may palliate hunger, but the pangs of thirst are awful; so those have said who have had to endure it on a raft at sea. Water is a vital necessity of our being, and therefore God has appended to it a feverishness, an agony, a burning, longing, and intense desire to obtain it. Thirst is something dreadful; are you, my brother, my sister, thirsting for God, for the living God? Are you crying to him, with David, “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is?” Do you feel that you must get a visitation from God, or else your soul will die? Have you been in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, and have you come here saying, “Lord, I seek a draught — a necessary draught of living water, and I want it to drink; but I am so poverty-stricken that I cannot buy it. I am so weak that I cannot go far to find it. I am so ignorant that I scarcely know where to look for it. Lord, I am brought to this point; it is not any imaginary grace that I want, it is not some high-soaring aspiration after perfection that I cherish, but I even need grace enough to keep my faith alive. I want, just now, such a draught of water from the well as shall enable me to believe that I am a child of God.”

13. Do I address one in whom this vital necessity has become an agonizing thirst? I think that I shall speak your experience when I say that I have sometimes known what it was to feel that I would sacrifice my eyes, and be blind, if I might only get near my God again. What did it matter that one had to lie in bed and suffer, if one might only know that God’s countenance was lifted up on his soul, and that joy and gladness were in his spirit? Those who have never lost the consciousness of fellowship with God are to be envied. May there be many such here! But, if any have once known it, and have lost it, I hope that they will be consumed by a vehement desire to have it back again, so that they may once more drink of the water which is infinitely better than that in “the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate.” It would be worth while that our blood were shed to get a draught of that living water again. It is truly sad when any child of God has to sorrowfully say, —

    Where is the blessedness I knew
       When first I saw the Lord?
    Where is the soul-refreshing view
       Of Jesus and his word?
    What peaceful hours I then enjoy’d!
       How sweet their memory still!
    But now I find an aching void
       The world can never fill.

Thank God that the void does ache, and that the world cannot fill it. If you dear friend, have an agonizing desire to drink the water of life, you are the person to whom my text applies: “When the poor and needy seek water.”

14. Further, this is an immediate necessity. When a man’s tongue fails for thirst, and he seeks water, he wants it at once. When he is perishing for lack of water, he is not content if someone tells him that he shall find it eventually; he wants to find it at once. “Water! Water!” he cries; “give me water”; but as long as a man can cry as loudly as I have just done, he can wait a little while; but if he gets to this point, that his tongue fails for thirst, then he needs it immediately, or he will die. Oh child of God, if you have lost the presence of your God, you want to find it again while you are in that pew; you would not like to go home without having a sight of your Father’s face, would you? And if you are in such a desperate state that you feel that you must have it, then you shall have it, depend on it. I pray that you may be brought to such a condition that you shall be ready to die of sickness of heart unless your hope is speedily fulfilled, and you can once again behold your God.

15. III. The third step down — and it is a very long one, is this, DISAPPOINTMENT OF HOPE: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none.”

16. Ah! “there is none” even where they have found it before. They have sought it in the right place, they have gone where they used to go, where there are wells of water; yet they are bitterly disappointed, for “there is none.” Have not some of you at times found it so in attending the means of grace? You have gone again to the same place where, previously, your heart was refreshed as you drank deep draughts of the living water; you listened to the same preacher whom you heard there before; and, perhaps, to others there was as much sweetness as ever in his message, but to you there was none. Does not the preacher himself know what it is, sometimes, to have a subject that is just like a springing well; and then, at another time, to find that he may pump as long as he pleases, but there is not a drop of water comes? If it is so with the preacher, it is certainly so with the hearers. Sometimes, there is an unction from the Holy One resting on the Word, so that it is like the ointment from the alabaster box, the heavenly perfume fills the whole house. At another time, it is the same truth that is preached, and by the same lips; and, possibly, with the same earnest desire for a blessing; yet the blessing is not given. “The wind blows” not only “where it wishes,” but as it wishes; and there are times when not a breath of the heavenly breeze stirs the still air; and then, when “the poor and needy seek water” even where they used to find it, “there is none.”

17. It makes their case even more disappointing when they have, side by side with them, others who are seeking water, and finding it, yet “there is none” for them. Have you never been to the Lord’s table, — say, with your own wife, — and when she has been going home, she has said, “Oh, what a precious communion service! Was not the Lord obviously among his people in the breaking of bread?” — and you have hardly liked to tell her that you have not seen the Lord even in his own ordinance? Your eyes have been blinded, you have been sitting there sighing and crying, and no joy has come to you. I am sure it is often so in the hearing of the Word; it is so in the private reading of the Scriptures; it is so in all those means of grace which God blesses to his people. We find him sometimes blessing one, and missing others; just as, sometimes, the rains are partial, one piece of ground is rained on, and another piece, close by, is not rained on. So it happens that, where others drink deep draughts, you poor and needy ones come seeking water, “and there is none.”

18. “And there is none.” Of course, if you go to places where there is none of the living water, why, then, you have only yourself to blame when you cannot find it! If you go where the modern divinity is taught, if you go where you hear the new doctrines, you will find no water of life there. “There is none.” That stream has been dried up long ago; the Sirocco {a} of doubt has swept across it, and it has vanished, and there is nothing left but a dry river-bed. People who go constantly to hear that kind of teaching must not blame the Lord, or complain, if they seek water and find none. When a bucket has the bottom out, and the well has long since ceased to hold any water, if you go there again for it, you will simply find that “there is none.” But the pain of it is that, sometimes, the earnest child of God frequents a ministry which God has formerly blessed to him, and has also blessed to others, yet he turns away sorrowfully from the well which has yielded him no water, and he says, “there is none.” God is showing him the emptiness of the creature, the vanity of all mortal help. He has a great and a wise purpose in it all, and it may be that he will keep his child in that condition for a long time, as poor and needy, seeking water, and finding none.

19. IV. Fourthly, we have here THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER: “and their tongue fails for thirst.”

20. They cannot speak; they cannot tell their fellow Christians about their trouble: “their tongue fails for thirst.” They are ashamed to tell others what they feel. It is a sad state for any to be in, yet many are in it, and knowing that they are guilty, and that it is their own fault that they have fallen so low, they cannot tell their fellow Christians anything about their condition, and so they miss one very useful means of comfort. And their tongue so fails for thirst that now, if a hymn is given out, they feel as if they must not sing it. If there is a promise quoted, they feel as if they could not appropriate it; and sometimes the prayer of a joyful brother seems to shoot over their head, they cannot attain to his experience. Indeed, “their tongue fails for thirst.” They do not know how to express what they feel.

21. If they were called on to state their own feelings and convictions before the living God, it may be that they have become so mournful and sad that they could not describe themselves. Indeed, this is one of the painful parts of some men’s condition, that it is indescribable. If they could only put it down in black and white, they might hope to get over it; but it is mysterious, exceptional, strange, and unaccountable. They have fallen into such an unusual condition; they have gotten down so low, that “their tongue fails for thirst.”

22. Now I think we have gone about as low as we can. Here is a man who, to begin with, is poor and needy. Here is a man who is wanting water, who has sought it, but who cannot find it. Here is a man whose tongue is so parched with thirst that he cannot now say a single word, he must sit down in sorrowful silence.

23. V. Yet, strange to say, now is the time that he learns that SALVATION IS OF GOD.

24. Look again at the text; it says, “I the Lord will hear them.” What? Why, they cannot speak: “their tongue fails for thirst.” Yet it says here, “I the Lord will hear them.” Well, but their tongue fails them. Indeed, but he says it, “I the Lord will hear them.” So that brings me to this point, that God’s great object, in bringing his people down so low as this, is to make them pray directly to himself; — that now they may not seek any water, but just cry to him who is the fountain of living waters, — that now they may not tell their friends about their need, nor even tell it to themselves; but just, in the very silence of their soul, speak with God, for there is a kind of speech which is perfectly consistent with silence, — the speech of sorrow, — the exhibition of the wounds of misery, — the opening up of the brokenness of the heart, — the setting before God, not in eloquent descriptions, but in indescribable revelation, the intolerable dearth which lies within the soul. God intends for you, dear friend, to turn right to him. The text does not even say that they pray; because, sometimes, even prayer becomes a mechanical act, and we are apt to rely on it for comfort, instead of on our God. So the Lord says that he will hear them, though there is no mention of prayer, and they feel that they cannot pray. You feel, perhaps, as if you could not pray; well, then, now turn yourself to God, rest yourself on God. You feel that it is all over with you, that your case is desperate; then, roll yourself on the living God. This is the point to which he intends to bring you; so do not let even your desire to pray be an obstacle between the Lord and your soul. If you cannot utter a word, pray in this sense, — that your very heart, with unutterable groanings, pours itself out like water before the living God. This is the place where he would have us come; and, often, it needs all this bursting of the tempest, all this sorrow, all this grief, before the Lord can get us to really speak with him, not in words, but from our very soul.

25. The prayer which is hidden away in the texts — for, although there is no mention of prayer in it, yet it is hidden away there, — is the prayer of inward thirst. You know that it is useless to say to a man who is in distress of soul, “You must groan every morning, and you must groan every night.” No, no; he groans when he cannot help it; and though I wish that all would have their special seasons for prayer, yet I do believe that the most mighty prayer in the world is what cannot be timed, or regulated, but which comes out because the supplicant must pray. “Oh, God!” There may be more real prayer in that utterance, when it is forced out of you by the overwhelming sense of your need, than happens when you put yourself into a comfortable position, and kneel down to pray; for sometimes, you may get up from that posture and say to yourself, “There, I think I prayed very well”; yet, all the while, there may not have been any true prayer in it. But when, at another time, you say, “Oh Lord, I cannot pray; I feel as if I could not pray”; — why, dear man, you are praying! You are praying with all your might. There is more prayer, often, in that sense of not being able to pray than there is in the Pharisaic thought of having discharged the holy duty acceptably; for, in the one case, it is the soul speaking by the Holy Spirit; and, in the other case, it may be nothing more than the lips speaking into the air.

26. This is the prayer of one who despairs of all means. I wish I could drive every sinner into that corner, so that he would understand that, as no Popish priest can save him, and as no good works can save him, so no sermon-hearing can save him, no Bible-reading can save him, no praying can save him, nothing that he can do can save him; but he must get to God, and cast himself on Christ, or else he will be lost. To many of you I might say, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but you will not come to Christ so that you might have life”; for that is the place where the true life lies, in Christ, not in the Scriptures, blessed as they are. I hope that no one will mistaken my meaning, for I am only putting the Scriptures as the Lord Jesus Christ put them when he was speaking to the Jews; but I desire to put the actual coming to Christ higher than anything else that is possible for you. Get away from all means, and just feel it. “Now they are all gone, and I will go to God, and say, ‘Oh God, if you do not help me, where shall I get help? Neither the barn-floor nor the wine-press can help me now; there is a famine in Samaria; I am glad to eat up even the fruit of my own soul, yet it cannot satisfy me; I must go to you, my Father, for all around me I see husks which swine may eat, but I cannot. I must have you.’ ”

27. Notice, also, dear friends, that this is the prayer of faintness: “their tongue fails for thirst.” Oh, what blessed prayer comes out of a heart that faints away on the bosom of Christ! What powerful pleading there is in that very act! It is abject weakness making the most mighty appeal it can to almighty love. “There, Lord, there is nothing more that I can do. There is no hope for me, in heaven or on earth, apart from you. Now, if I perish, I perish; but will you — can you — let me die?” No, he cannot and he will not let us die, for now comes the step upwards. You have taken one already in that silent heart-prayer.

28. Now comes the declaration of God: “I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” Is it not something that God hears you? I think that I have frequently had to explain this word by speaking of the poor woman who was so pleased to see her minister. She was very poor, and so was her minister; what good, then, did he do her? Did he speak to her a very comforting word? No. The good man did not happen, that day, to be in much of a mood to do so, yet he did that sister a great deal of good, she said. Why? Because he let her talk, and she just told out all her trouble, and he looked sympathetic, for that is how he felt, and that was just what she wanted. She wanted someone who would listen to her. It is wonderfully condescending on God’s part to listen to us. Many of our complaints are only rubbish, yet he hears them patiently. Sometimes, when people begin groaning and grumbling, I wish I was down the next street; but God is so patient, and longsuffering, that he hears all that his people say. Oh, what things you and I have had to tell him! We did not like to tell anyone else, but we have felt that we must reveal it to him; and we have done so very faintly and feebly, yet even there he has been listening to us: “I the Lord will hear them.”

29. You know, dear friends, that you have only to get a hearing from God, and you know what the result will be when your Heavenly Father knows what things you have need of. He only needs to know, and he will surely supply all that you lack. So when you have a hearing from God, you have everything. There it is in our text: “I the Lord will hear them.” We say that God is “a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God.” That is quite true, but it is not a biblical expression. David said, “Oh you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.” It is enough for him to hear it. If he hears it, he will be quite certain to be moved with compassion, and to come to the help of his child. It is all well with you, my brother, it is all well with you, my sister, though you cannot pray to God in words. Only show your wounds, let their poor dumb mouths plead for you. They have pleaded; God has heard them; he will answer you. You shall yet come up out of the dungeon, and from this time on he will fulfil the promise, “I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

30. You know what work God had with Jacob that night when the angel wrestled with him. The trouble with Jacob was that he was so terribly strong, and the chief work that had to be done on him was to make him weak. The angel wrestled with him, and he wrestled with the angel. He was a strong fellow, yet he never prevailed by his strength; and he would not have prevailed had not the angel touched him, so that his sinew shrank, and down he went; then, as he fell, he still clung to the angel and said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” That fall of his won the day; it was the lame Jacob who took the prey. It is the God of Israel, also, who will bless you, but he must first touch you, and make the sinew shrink. You must be nothing and a nobody before God will help you. I have observed that, whenever God has given success to my own preaching, I have had a time of severe soul-trouble either before it or afterwards. I have noticed that some brethren, who have suddenly come to the forefront, and have apparently been very useful, have generally become top-heavy if the press has not abused them, or if they have not had some trying affliction, and you hear the sad news concerning them that they have gone astray. But when God ballasts the ship well, — when he takes down the topsails, — when he makes the vessel have a trial trip in stormy weather, then he is often pleased to put many of his saints on board such a ship as that. So, brother, be thankful if you are a tried man, and believe that God is going to bless you. Be thankful, brethren, if you have had an experience of this horrible thirst, — if your tongue has been made to cleave to the roof of your mouth in anguish of ungratified desire after God. If you have been ground to pieces, like fine flour in the mill, now you may be offered to God. If you have been slain, now you may be a sacrifice to the Most High. But there must be the sentence of death in yourselves; there must be a breaking, and a grinding, and a tearing, or else it is not likely that there will be the sweet shining of Jehovah’s face, and perpetual joy and peace.

31. I have been all this while trying to fish; I wonder whether, by God’s grace, I have caught the one for whom my hook was baited. Is there anyone here who does not have any good thing in himself at all? Is there any poor wretch, who feels that he is only fit to be swept up by the devil with a broom, and to be cast into the fire? Is that how you feel, — as if you were the offscouring of all things, and in your own esteem not worthy for God to tread on, — such a thing as never should have been in existence; and, being here, ought to be put out of existence as soon as possible? Oh you nothing, Christ is willing to be your All-in-all! Oh you naked one, here is a garment to cover you! Oh you hungry one, here is food for you! My Lord seeks after you who are downtrodden, you who lie on the dunghill, forked out and ready to be spread on the field as if you were only so much manure. Still he calls you; come, and trust him. You have nothing else to trust in; you have no other refuge, so flee to Christ. Fall down before your God, fall flat on your face, man, and then, when the great shell bursts, which you are now dreading, not a fragment of it shall strike you. Your safety lies in casting yourself on the mercy and grace of God. Say, “It must be mercy, great mercy, nothing but mercy, that can handle my case. I am a lost, ruined, undone sinner; but I believe in the great love, grace, and mercy of God in the person of his dear Son; and now I fall down, trusting in Jesus crucified.” You are a saved man if there ever lives one. So trust in Jesus, and you have, in that very act, passed from death to life. Therefore, go your way in peace. The Lord, who killed you, has made you alive. The Lord, who wounded you, has healed you. May his blessing rest on every one of you, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

{a} Sirocco: An oppressively hot and blighting wind, blowing from the north coast of Africa over the Mediterranean and affecting parts of Southern Europe. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Zec 12:10-13:2}

12:10. “And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications:

This is a promise concerning Israel. Long have the Jews rejected the Christ, but the day is coming when they shall acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth to be the promised Messiah. In that day, this promise will be fulfilled. God must always give “the spirit of grace” before men will pray properly; and wherever grace is given, there is always true prayer.

10. And they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Discovering that they have rejected the true Messiah, they will be overcome with the most acute grief that was ever endured, grief altogether inconceivable.

11. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

One of the greatest mournings that was ever known happened when Josiah was slain in battle, and the people lamented that their best of kings was taken away from them so early. Such shall be the sorrow that shall fall on repenting Israel.

12. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself;

There shall be universal mourning throughout the whole land; yet it shall be special and particular to each household: “every family by itself.”

12-14. The family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.”

True repentance is the distinct act of each individual. It cannot as a rule be performed collectively. There is a general repentance which, like that of the Ninevites, has a special excellence about it, because it affects a whole city or nation; but that is not the kind of repentance which is described here. In this case, the sharpness of personal conviction of sin cuts and wounds the conscience of each individual, and there is a bitter cry uttered by each one as if he were the only sinner in the world. Oh, how sincerely you and I would repent if we felt as if we were the only ones who had ever broken God’s law; yet such a repentance as that we must feel if we would be personally forgiven.

13:1. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

They shall see their pardon when they have truly seen their sin. When once the foulness of their transgression is perceived, then the fountain of cleansing shall be perceived, too. No man ever knows the preciousness of the God-given remedy until he has felt the force of the terrible disease. No one by faith plunges into the crystal fount of perfect cleansing without first lamenting the filthiness which needs to be removed.

2. And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.”

Where there is pardon, there is sure to be sanctification. The idols must fall, and the false prophets must go. We cannot have our sins and have a Saviour too. If we have Christ to blot out our sin, we must have the same Christ, to remove sin as for its authority, and power, and dominion over us.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love” 230}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Mercy For The Guilty” 544}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Friend” 379}

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.

Gospel, Stated
544 — Mercy For The Guilty
1 Mercy is welcome news indeed
      To those that guilty stand;
   Wretches, that feel what help they need,
      Will bless the helping hand.
2 Who rightly would his alms dispose
      Must give them to the poor;
   None but the wounded patient knows
      The comforts of his cure.
3 We all have sinn’d against our God,
      Exception none can boast;
   But he that feels the heaviest load
      Will prize forgiveness most.
4 No reckoning can we rightly keep,
      For who the sums can know?
   Some souls are fifty pieces deep,
      And some five hundred owe.
5 But let our debts be what thy may,
      However great or small,
   As soon as we have nought to pay,
      Our Lord forgives us all.
6 ‘Tis perfect poverty alone
      That sets the soul at large;
   While we can call one mite our own,
      We have no full discharge.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
379 — Friend
1 Poor, weak, and worthless, though I am,
   I have a rich almighty Friend;
   Jesus, the Saviour, is his name:
   He freely loves, and without end.
2 He ransom’d me from hell with blood;
   And by his power my foes controll’d
   He found me wandering far from God,
   And brought me to his chosen fold.
3 He cheers my heart, my wants supplies,
   And says that I shall shortly be
   Enthroned with him above the skies:
   Oh! what a friend is Christ to me!
4 But ah! my inmost spirit mourns;
   And well my eyes with tears may swim,
   To think of my perverse returns:
   I’ve been a faithless friend to him.
5 Sure, were not I most vile and base,
   I could not thus my friend requite:
   And were not he the God of grace,
   He’d frown and spurn me from his sight.
                     John Newton, 1779.

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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