2723. God’s Dealings With Egypt And Israel

by on
God’s Dealings With Egypt And Israel

No. 2723-47:181. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 27, 1880, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 21, 1901.

And struck all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham: but made his own people to go out like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. {Ps 78:51,52}

1. There is a very sharp line of distinction here between the Egyptians and the Lord’s own people, and that line of distinction always has existed, and always will, for all attempts to blend the seed of the serpent with the seed of the woman must fail. Between the church and the world, however debased the church may become, and however reformed the world may be, there still will be a clear distinction even until the end, and that distinction will be seen in the day of the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when “before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them from each other, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats: and he shall put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

2. At the present moment, in this congregation, though no human eye can read all our characters, there is a clear division among us who are here. If some infallible “teller” could now divide the house into Ayes and Nays, separating those who are on God’s side from those who are not, the spectacle would be a very striking one. I pray that each one’s own conscience may, at least in some measure, make that division, and that we may all think within ourselves whether we fear the God of Israel or do not fear him, whether we are for him or against him; for rest well assured that, just as God dealt with Egypt of old, so he will deal with all his adversaries; and just as he dealt with Israel of old, so he will deal with all his own people. The “parable” (for that is the expression with which the Psalm begins,) will be written out again in history, and be repeated, enlarged, and intensified throughout eternity. God has made an everlasting distinction between those who fear him and those who do not fear him, and that distinction will be seen in his dealings with the children of men.

3. I want you, first, to spend a few minutes in solemnly and sadly thinking of the punishment of Egypt, and then we will more joyfully meditate on the salvation of Israel.

4. I. First, let us think of THE PUNISHMENT OF EGYPT.

5. Egypt, through its kings, had become the determined adversary of God. “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice?” was the challenge flung down by Pharaoh in defiance; and the Lord, who is a man of war, was not slow to accept it. Then came that great conflict between the stony-hearted king and Jehovah the God of Israel. To all but the eye of faith, it seemed a very hopeless thing to expect that Israel should ever come out of Egypt. They had been oppressed and downtrodden for so long that they were really only a vast herd of slaves, they did not have the spirit of free men; and when Moses was sent by God to lead them out of the house of bondage, they were rather a hindrance to their deliverer than a help to him. They were a poor nation of serfs crushed beneath Pharaoh’s iron heel; yet Jehovah was their God, and they were his people. They might be grimy with their labours at the brick-kiln, they might sweat in the iron furnace; but God was on their side, and he acknowledged them as his people. Notwithstanding their degradation and their sorrow, he heard their cry, and he came down to deliver them; and then it became a battle royal between Jehovah of hosts and proud Pharaoh of Egypt. God determined to strike blow after blow, to deal more gently with the tyrant at the first than he did at the last, and to end the battle by letting all men see that potsherds cannot strive successfully against a rod of iron, and that puny man, at his strongest, is as nothing before the might of his Maker. God caused all the firstborn of Egypt to die on one night, and so delivered his people with a high hand and an outstretched arm.

6. Let us learn from this that, when God comes to try conclusions between himself and his enemies, he may allow a certain time to elapse before he overthrows them, he may for a while strike gently, and so give opportunities for repentance; but if they are not accepted, we may depend on it that God is not playing with sinners. They may imagine that he is, and they may delight to listen to those dulcet voices, those velvet-lined mouths that preach, nowadays, soft things to sinners who stand up in enmity against God; but they will find that they have been deceived when God comes to close quarters with them, and they will curse the man who has deceived them, and made them continue to resist the Most High to their eternal ruin; for, when he once lays hold of the sword and buckler, his own words are, “I will rid myself of my adversaries”; and we may rest assured that, when he comes out to execute judgment, he will do it as thoroughly as he did when he “struck all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tents of Ham.” I can imagine Pharaoh dreaming that he had defeated Jehovah; possibly he said to his courtiers, “I have not seen that man Moses for the last four days; certainly, he has plagued this country enough, but he has played his last card now; we shall never hear of him any more. I have stood up, and I have won the day; let us have a great feast to our gods; for, after all, we have triumphed.” They spread the tables, and they brought out the goblets, and the impious king drank on until far into the night. But what was that cry that made him jump? What are those thousands of cries all through the palace and all around it? Pharaoh’s oldest son has fallen dead in a moment. He had had him crowned a little while before, and associated him with himself in the government of the kingdom; but there he lies, struck dead in his father’s presence, and before all the nobles of the land. All in the court who were firstborn sons perished there in the king’s sight; and when he went out into the open air, so that he might cool his fevered brow, he heard those awful cries from all the houses of the Egyptians, for there was not a house in the land in which there was not one dead. What do you think now, proud king? Can you stand up against this unseen power? God has struck you now even to the heart, and broken your proud spirit in pieces.

7. We may all rest assured that God has ways of punishing us if we continue in rebellion against him. We may live a long life, and never think of him; we may live a blasphemous life, and defy him; and he may for a time afflict us as he plagued Pharaoh with the flies and the locusts, and the milder judgments; but he will deal with our souls in a sterner way in the next world when he comes to mete out vengeance without mercy, because his grace was utterly despised by us. David said, “Your hand shall find all your enemies: your right hand shall find those who hate you”; so he will; and he will know how to strike us in the most tender place if we still continue to resist him.

8. In the case of Pharaoh, it was his own chickens that came home to roost; his sins brought their own punishment. He had slain many of the children of Israel, and God had, in effect, said to him, “Israel is my firstborn; let my people go”; and since he would not let God’s firstborn go, God’s stroke of judgment came on his firstborn. This is, perhaps, the most dreadful truth about future retribution that a man will see his own sin in his suffering just as he sees his face in a mirror. Hell is sin fully developed, — a man’s own soul permitted to go to extreme limits with what it now carries out in a mitigated form, and so, becoming like a furnace heated seven times hotter than usual, tormenting itself beyond all power of imagination. I do not know anything more awful to one’s own self than to know that one has done wrong. When conscience is aroused, then you can go to Jesus, and be washed from the stains of guilt; and how sweet is that sense of perfect cleansing! But that conscience will still remain to accuse those for whom there will be no washing; that sense of sin will still be present, only a hundred times more vividly; but there will be no bath that can take away the sin. We shall continue to feel the guilt of our transgressions, but we shall not be able to find the sugar on the pill which tempted us when we were here, and we shall have to let it lie like a burning fire within our spirit, for ever seeing our own sin, the sin of our whole life, all that we did, and said, and thought, coming home to us, just as Pharaoh’s evil conduct came home to him. I do not like speaking on these terrible themes, and I would not mention them if they were not true, and if men could be roused to escape from sin by more tender topics; but their ears are dull of hearing, so they need the trumpet to sound an alarm; and the watchman is bound to give warning in the time of danger, for it is written, “If the watchman sees the sword come, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned; if the sword comes, and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at the watchman’s hand.”

9. Remember also, dear friends, that there was no escape from that judgment of God on Egypt. The Israelites were sheltered under the sprinkled blood of the paschal lamb, and not one of them was harmed; but Egypt’s lintels and door-posts had no sprinkling of the blood on the bunch of hyssop, and therefore not one firstborn son in their houses escaped.

10. Nor was there any possibility of recovery from that blow. They could not restore to life one of those who fell by the mysterious stroke of the avenging angel who flew so swiftly through the land; and when God deals with men in judgment, none of them shall be able to escape. If they could go to the top of Carmel, he would find them there. If they should plunge into the depths of the sea, even there he would give commandment to the crooked serpent, and they should be punished for their sin. If they should borrow the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, his warrant officers would be there first, waiting to arrest the fugitives. There is no escape from God’s judgment, and no recovery from his blows. Let God kill the firstborn in Egypt, and they are killed; let God condemn the ungodly, and they are condemned; let God curse them, and they are indeed cursed. What the curse of God must mean, may you and I, my dear hearers, never know!

11. I want to turn away from this sad part of my subject; but before I do so, I must ask each one of you this question, — Are you an enemy of the God of Israel? If so, you can see, in the punishment of Egypt, how he will deal with you. You cannot be victorious in this fight, so yield at once. Possibly you say, “No, I am not an enemy of God, yet I never think of him.” But he made you, he breathed into you the breath of life; and yet you say that you never think of him! So what a shameful slight you put on his person, his majesty! He is here just close to you at this moment, he surrounds your every step with mercy, and yet you never think of him! Shall I give you one of his own messages to remember? It is a very dreadful one: “Consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there is no one to deliver.” May none of you ever come to know what that terrible verse means! I am glad that it is not the duty of the preacher to look into the future, and to see even one of you perishing in sin; I could not bear to turn my eyes that way, nor even to think of it as possible. Escape, please, while you can escape; flee from the wrath to come; lay hold on eternal life. The door of God’s mercy is open at present, and whoever believes in Jesus Christ passes in through that door; in fact, he is the door, as he said, “I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved.” Oh, that you may come to God by him, and that there may be peace between you and God henceforth and for ever!

12. II. Now I will leave that sorrowful part of my theme, for I want to speak about God’s own people while we think of THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL. The second verse of our text runs like this: “He made his own people to go out like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.”

13. I might say a great deal about how they came to be his people, — by his eternal choice and sovereign grace, — but I am not going into the doctrinal side of the subject so much as the practical. Let me say, then, that God has his people to this day, — he has a people, in this world now, who are as distinctly his as the Jews were, and who are even more separated from the rest of mankind than the children of Israel were from the heathen nations by whom they were surrounded. The all-important question for each one of you is, — Do you belong to the Lord’s people? I will tell you what is their distinguishing characteristic; they are those who have faith. Abraham is the father of the faithful. He believed God, and all those who rely on God as Abraham did are Abraham’s spiritual seed, and the Lord is their God. He chose them, but they have also chosen him. They can truly say, “This God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even to death.” Now, can we who are here say that we do believe in the invisible God, and that we are trying to worship him in that simple way which he prefers? We do not invent gaudy ceremonies, nor anything that springs from will-worship; but we remember that our Lord Jesus said to the woman at the well, “God is a Spirit: and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” This is the special and distinctive characteristic of the child of God; that, whereas another man takes into his calculation only as much as he can see, or hear, or touch, this man bases his chief calculation on God whom he cannot see, and whose voice he never heard with his ears, and he lives as seeing him who is invisible, trusting in him whom, not having seen, he loves. I ask you, dear friends, is that your desire? Have you been brought to trust in Jesus Christ’s blood for the pardon and cleansing of all your sin, and now is your life a life of faith in the Son of God? “The just shall live by faith”; and that faith is the characteristic of God’s people in the world; they have faith in him while others do not.

14. Many men believe in themselves; they boast of being self-made men. It is just as well that they did make themselves in that sense, for they are no credit to anyone else. Some people have placed their reliance on others; in their exercise of faith they go no further than friends whom they can see. Their friends, inasmuch as they rely on them, and not on God, practically become their gods. Whatever a man depends on, whatever rules his mind, whatever governs his affections, whatever is the chief object of his delight, is his god. So we can all judge whether Jehovah is our God, or not. Do we experience his presence and power? Do we know that there is such a God? Do we love him? Do we delight ourselves in him? Can we truly say that the greatest joy we ever have is that there is such a God, and that he is ours, and we are his? The ungodly man, who proves that he is a fool by it, says in his heart, “There is no God.” He wishes there were none; but to the child of God, it would be the greatest loss that he could sustain if he were to lose his God. He delights himself in God. God is his very great joy; he is, indeed, his all. This is the characteristic of the people of God, and God has such a people scattered up and down in all churches, and throughout the entire world, and those are the people with whom he will deal as he dealt with Israel of old: “He made his own people to go out like sheep.”

15. That leads us to our second point, which is, that God brings these people out from among all others. He brought Israel up out of Egypt; and if you are one of his people, he will bring you out of the world. You may live for years in the world, as the Israelites lived in Goshen, and you may say to yourself, “I do not want a better inheritance than this”; but if you are one of the Lord’s own, he will turn that Goshen of yours into a place of bondage, until you sigh, and cry, and long to be delivered from it. God did not drive his people out of Egypt, but he led them; they came willingly and gladly, for Egypt had become a place of misery for them. So does the world become, with all its sinful pleasures; its fine glories turn to emptiness and vanity for the true child of God, and God brings him out of it all. I have been astonished, sometimes, at the way in which God does bring out his people. Some of them get as far into the enemy’s country as they ever can, but he brings them out. Some have gone into drunkenness, others into blasphemy, some even into what they call Free Thought, — which is a state of sad bondage for the soul, — and they have thought that there they should never be reached by God’s mercy, yet he has tracked them down, brought them back to himself with weeping and supplication, and made them loathe the place and the company that they once loved. When that prodigal son went away from home, with his purse full of gold and silver, it did not look as though he would ever go back to his father. See him there, in the far country, wasting his substance with riotous living. What vile company he frequented! He delighted in filthy everything; and so it happened that, in the process of time, a citizen of that country sent him into his fields to feed swine. The prodigal had neither swine nor fields of his own; he had been living at such a rate that he had spent all that he had. Yet he did come back to his home, for he was his father’s own child; he was obliged to go back or to starve. It is a good thing for prodigals to be brought to extremities. Some time ago, I met a young man, the son of a very godly father, and I was grieved to hear him ridicule religion, and ridicule it very bitterly, too. In the course of conversation, he said that he was keeping racehorses, and I said to him, “Keep as many as you ever can, for there is no hope of your ever coming back to God until you have spent all that you have, so spend it as fast as you can. Get down to the swine-trough, and when you are ready to fill your belly with the husks, I daresay you will want to come back.” He said that I was very sarcastic, but I told him that I was in solemn earnest, and that I thought that was the usual way in which profligates went. When they have spent all, there arises a mighty famine in the land; and when they begin to be impoverished, they come back. But why should any of you need God to use such rough methods of bringing you back to him? Go home at once, poor wandering child, to the great God who waits to welcome you. Oh, that his Spirit may constrain you even now!

16. So we see that God still has a people in the world, and that he will bring out those people of his from the rest of mankind. With a high hand, and an outstretched arm, he will bring them out, even as he brought Israel out of Egypt.

17. Notice, next, that the Lord not only brings his people away from others, but he brings them to himself: “He made his own people to go out like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock,” he himself going before them through the desert way like a shepherd. Oh, that God would, this very hour, bring out of the world and to himself some of those whom he has chosen, for that is the soul’s true place, following God as the sheep follow the shepherd. Where can any soul be so much at home as with the God who made it? Where is a son ever so completely in his right place as when he is at his father’s table? Where can my poor heart ever hope to find rest but on the bosom of my God? Oh, that the Lord would, in his infinite mercy, bring any wanderers who are here to himself! The way to God must always be through Jesus Christ; he himself said, “No man comes to the Father, but by me.” Oh poor wandering souls, come to God through Jesus Christ his Son, follow where he leads, and always walk in his way!

18. Further, in bringing sinners to himself, God will also bring them to each other. “He made his own people to go out like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.” He does not say that they should be like a solitary dog that comes at his master’s whistle, but like a flock of sheep that move together in one direction. One characteristic of the children of God is that they love each other, and that they associate with each other. Why have we been guided to form churches, and other Christian communities? It is because we are gregarious creatures, and need mutual sympathy and companionship. Christ’s sheep are not like ravening wolves that hunt in pairs, or singly, but they delight in company. There are some professing Christians who seem as if they could get along best by themselves, but I think that most of us are never so happy as when we are enjoying fellowship with those who love the same Saviour whom we love. We say, concerning the place where we meet the saints, —

    There my best friends, my kindred dwell,
       There God my Saviour reigns.

There is no company for you young people who have been recently converted like the Church of Jesus Christ. So seek admission into it, join with the rest of your brothers and sisters in Christ, and make your home with them. I think that you hardly give evidence of being God’s child if you go in and out of his house, and never speak to anyone there, and never acknowledge anyone as a brother or sister in the Lord. Where the Father is love, and the Spirit is love, and the elder Brother is love, love should rule in all the household. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” It is one of the characteristics of God’s people that they love each other; he leads them out like a flock of sheep, he brings them into union with each other: gives them happy fellowship in his Church, and so guides them to heaven.

19. That is our last point; the Lord brings his people out from the world, and brings them to himself, and to fellowship with each other, and then he guides them to a place of rest, even as he led Israel into Canaan. The Lord is gently leading all believers onward towards their blessed resting-place above. You are not going down into Egypt, brother, like poor old Jacob went with the wagons in the olden time; you are going up to Canaan. You shall be fed all through the desert; the manna shall fall all around your tent every morning; the water from the struck rock shall flow close to you through all your wanderings; and your Lord himself has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Your hair is whitening, you lean heavily on your cane, you do not have many more years of pilgrimage left; but to the end of your wilderness journey, your foot shall not swell, neither shall your garments become old on you, still your shoes shall be iron and bronze, and as your days so shall your strength be. Jehovah never yet forsook any soul that trusted him. Some of us can bear witness to his faithfulness — not for so many years as others of you have seen, — but some of us can talk about thirty years’ experience of a faithful God; and though we have forgotten him, and grieved him, he has never once broken any promise that he has made. Oh, the deliverances we have had, the merciful interventions of his gracious hand on our behalf! He is a good God, a blessed God; his praises we can never fully sing. The service of God is felicity below as it is eternal bliss above. If I knew that I should die like a dog, if it could be proved to me that my faith would all turn out to be a delusion, I should like, somehow, never to be free from the delusion. It is so blessed a thing to serve God, even in this life, he gives us such joy and peace that, though many are the afflictions of the righteous, yet his service is perfect freedom, and to honour him is our supreme delight. Blessed be his holy name!

20. Then comes the end, the crossing of the river Jordan, and the entrance into the promised inheritance. Perhaps you are asking, “How shall I ever cross that river to enter into the portion that God has marked out for me by line and lot?” Do not be afraid; many timorous saints go over that long-dreaded stream dry-shod, they never know that they are dying. How many fall asleep on earth, and open their eyes in heaven! I can imagine them almost thinking, “Am I really in eternity?” Yet the soul will never need to ask that question when once it has entered the pearly gates.

    Oh blissful hour! Oh blest abode!
    I shall be near, and like my God.

An ethereal joy, such as I never knew to the full before, shall fill my spirit when once I am absent from the body, present with the Lord. Do not be afraid to die, beloved, but rather look at death as an experience to be desired. I do not have the slightest wish to escape it. Those who live until Christ comes, and do not die, will have no preference over those who fall asleep in him; indeed, they will lose the fellowship with him, in his death and burial, that others will have. I like that verse which I have often quoted, —

    Since Jesus is mine, I’ll not fear undressing,
    But gladly put off these garments of clay;
    To die in the Lord, is a covenant blessing,
    Since Jesus to glory thro’ death led the way.

Yes, brethren, our great Joshua will assuredly bring us into the promised land, Jordan or no Jordan. We shall have our lot and our inheritance beyond the river; that is, if we truly trust in him. How about that matter? Are you resting in Jesus Christ the one Mediator between God and men? Do you have faith in the living God? A living people must have a living God. Oh, if your money is your god, if your belly is your god, if this world is your god, if Satan is your god, you will have Egypt’s doom; but if, through Christ Jesus the Lord, God is your one hope, and joy, and confidence, then do not be afraid, for he will lead you through the wilderness, and he will bring you into your eternal rest. May God grant it, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 37}

It may be, beloved friends, that there is a word of comfort for some of you in this “Psalm of David.” If any of you have been perplexed and worried, and there has been a stern conflict within your spirit, here are some cheering words which will bring a message from God to you.

It may be worth your while to remember that the 37th Psalm and the 73rd are on the same subject. They are the same numbers reversed, but they both deal with the great mystery which has vexed the hearts of godly men in all generations.

1, 2. Do not fret because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

What a contrast there is between the grass before the mower comes with his scythe, and that same grass when it is cut down; and there is the same kind of difference between the glory of ungodly men at one moment and their destruction the next. How beautiful the fertile meadow appears before you with its many-coloured flowers, yet in how short a time all its beauties are cut down, and withered in the sun!

3, 4. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you shall dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

The psalmist begins with “Do not fret, … neither be envious”; but he advances to something higher. He seeks to lead his hearer or reader up to “trust in the Lord,” and then still further up to “delight in the Lord.” A Christian should constantly be on the rising scale; though he is always in the way of change, it should be a change for the better. Take care, dear friends, that you are people of simple trust: “Trust in the Lord”; and then you shall advance to delight in him: “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”

5, 6. Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring out your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.

It may be very dark with you just now, but God will turn your midnight into noonday. It is only he who can do it, therefore be sure to commit your way to him; “trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

7. Rest in the LORD, —

Not only rest on him, but rest in him, get into such close fellowship with him that you really do “rest in the Lord,” —

7, 8. And wait patiently for him: do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: do not fret to do evil in any way.

It is fretting that leads to anger and all kinds of evil; but when the heart truly rests in God, it forsakes wrath. When we get away from resting in the Lord, we soon drift out on a very stormy sea, where our poor little barques are not able to hold their own; therefore is it most necessary for us to obey the injunction, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: do not fret to do evil in any way.”

9, 10. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For in a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yes, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

The very house he inhabited, the grand estate which he called his own, shall be called by the name of another owner, and he shall be blotted out of memory.

11-15. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked man plots against the just man, and gnashes on him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to kill those who are of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

They were so eager “to cast down the poor and needy” that they used both sword and bow against them, yet they could not succeed in their evil plans; for God took care of his own people, and therefore the psalmist was able to say concerning their enemies, “Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.”

16. A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.

“Many wicked.” That is a strong expression; the psalmist does not merely mention the riches of one wicked man, but he says, “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.”

17. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholds the righteous.

He keeps on upholding them. He holds them up, and in another sense he lifts them up on high, and holds them up near to himself in the glorious sunshine of fellowship with him.

18. The LORD knows the days of the upright:

He is well acquainted with their bright days and their dark days. He keeps a diary of all their ever-changing experiences: “The Lord knows the days of the upright”: —

18. And their inheritance shall be for ever.

There is a secure entitlement on covenant blessings, which ensures their enjoyment by all the chosen seed, and they shall never be taken from them: “Their inheritance shall be for ever.”

19. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

They shall not only get, as we say, “a sip and a bite,” but “they shall be satisfied,” and that even “in the days of famine,” when other people starve. They are well fed whom God feeds; there is no table like the one furnished and supplied by Omnipotence. He who is infinite in resources can readily supply all our needs.

20, 21. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; they shall consume away into smoke. The wicked man borrows, and does not pay again: but the righteous man shows mercy, and gives.

He prefers to do that rather than to lend; it generally comes to the same thing in the long run, and he may as well know from the first what he is really doing: “The righteous man shows mercy, and gives.”

22, 23. For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the earth; and those who are cursed by him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way.

What a beautiful expression that is, “the steps of a good man” — the very steps, the little things, the daily actions, the ordinary progress of a good man, — “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.” Our way is sometimes rough, but if God takes a delight in it, it must be right. It is a joy to us to know that the lives of godly men are delightful to the Most High.

24. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

There may be a stumble, or even a fall, and he will grieve over it; he may suffer great losses, and he may think that there is an end to his mercies, but it shall not be so. God’s servants are like the sheep; they may fall many times, but they are soon up again. Hypocrites are like the swine; when they fall, they wallow in the mire, which is their congenial element.

25. I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.

David had not seen the seed of the righteous begging for bread, but we have often seen it; for, when the seed of the righteous do not behave themselves properly, they have to suffer poverty as well as other people. But, under the old covenant, David could truly say that he had not seen this grievous sight. Yet many of us could go as far as David did in the first part of the verse: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.” No, that shall never be the case; and it is a very exceptional circumstance, which those who have to distribute charity have often noticed, how seldom, comparatively, do they find godly people very greatly reduced to poverty. Somehow or other, God does provide for them. The trouble we have with our Orphanages is to find the orphans of godly men and women, for they are very few compared with those of other people. You may look over any list you like, and you shall find that very seldom are the saints reduced to absolute poverty. Yet, when poverty does come, and it does come to some of the very best of men and women, then God blesses it to them, and bears them up beneath it, so that they do not really lack any good thing. As for the gracious man, —

26-37. He is always merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loves judgment, and does not forsake his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks about judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked man watches the righteous, and seeks to kill him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt you to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yes, I looked for him, but he could not be found. Notice the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

When you come to sum up his entire life, the total of it amounts to this, — “peace.” After all his varied experiences, God gave him rest; and with all the turmoil and tossing which came on him occasionally, he still was a man to be envied. It is the end to which we must always look, after all; and concerning the perfect and upright man the psalmist says, “the end of that man is peace.”

38, 39. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD:

It is not the result of their own goodness or merit; but it is entirely “from the Lord.” Righteous men are saved men because the Lord saves them by his grace, and that is the place where they put their confidence.

39. He is their strength in the time of trouble.

Dwell on that sweet short sentence. Not only does the Lord give them strength, but he himself “is their strength in the time of trouble.” He is so near to his people that all the omnipotence of his Godhead is theirs. Are you in trouble just now, dear child of God? Well, you have strength enough to carry you through it all if this is true, as it is, “He is their strength in the time of trouble.” If God himself is your strength, do not talk about being weak; of course you are weakness itself apart from him, do not expect to be anything other than that; but then remember the psalmist’s declaration, “He is their strength in the time of trouble.”

40. And the LORD shall help them, —

Do you want anything more than this great promise? You have a heavy load to carry, but it is nothing to him who is omnipotent: “The Lord shall help them,” —

40. And deliver them:

He shall help them while they are in the trouble, and bring them out of it in due time.

40. He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Oh dear friends, lean hard on God! Lay down all your burdens at your Saviour’s feet, and rest there in holy and happy confidence in him. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to enjoy this sweet rest, for his dear Son’s sake. Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 136” 136}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 114” 114}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church — Sinai And Sion” 885}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven — ‘For Ever With The Lord’ ” 846}

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 136 (Song 1) <7s.>
1 Let us, with a gladsome mind,
   Praise the Lord, for he is kind:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
2 Let us sound his name abroad,
   For of gods he is the God:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
3 He, with all commanding might,
   Fill’d the new made world with light;
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
4 All things living he doth feed;
   His full hand supplies their need:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
5 He his chosen race did bless
   In the wasteful wilderness:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
6 He hath, with a piteous eye,
   Look’d upon our misery:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
7 Let us then, with gladsome mind,
   Praise the Lord, for he is kind,
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
                           John Milton, 1645

Psalm 136 (Song 2) L.M.
1 Give to our God immortal praise;
   Mercy and truth are all his ways:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
2 Give to the Lord of lords renown,
   The King of kings with glory crown;
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When lords and kings are known no more.
3 He built the earth, he spread the sky,
   And fix’d the starry lights on high:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
4 He fills the sun with morning light,
   He bids the moon direct the night:
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When suns and moons shall shine no more.
5 The Jews he freed from Pharaoh’s hand,
   And brought them to the promised land:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
6 He saw the Gentiles dead in sin,
   And felt his pity work within:
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When death and sin shall reign no more.
7 He sent his Son with power to save
   From guilt, and darkness, and the grave
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
8 Through this vain world he guides our feet,
   And leads us to his heavenly seat;
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When this vain world shall be no more.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 114
1 When forth from Egypt’s trembling strand
   The tribes of Israel sped,
   And Jacob in the stranger’s land
   Departing banners spread;
2 Then One, amid their thick array
   His kingly dwelling made,
   And all along the desert way
   Their guiding sceptre sway’d.
3 The sea beheld, and struck with dread,
   Roll’d all its billows back;
   And Jordan, through his deepest bed,
   Reveal’d their destined track.
4 What ail’d thee, oh thou mighty sea?
   Why roll’d thy waves in dread?
   What bade thy tide, oh Jordan, flee
   And bare its deepest bed?
5 Oh earth, before the Lord, the God
   Of Jacob, tremble still:
   Who makes the waste a water’d sod,
   The flint a gushing rill.
                        George Burgess, 1839.

885 — Sinai And Sion
1 Not to the terrors of the Lord,
      The tempest, fire, and smoke;
   Not to the thunder of that word
      Which God on Sinai spoke:
2 But we are come to Sion’s hill,
      The city of our God,
   Where milder words declare his will,
      And spread his love abroad.
3 Behold thewy’ innumerable host
      Of angels clothes in light!
   Behold the spirits of the just
      Whose faith is turn’d to sight!
4 Behold the bless’d assembly there,
      Whose names are writ in heaven;
   And God, the Judge of all, declares
      Their vilest sins forgiven.
5 The saints on earth, and all the dead,
      But one communion make;
   All join in Christ, their living Head,
      And of his grace partake.
6 In such society as this
      My weary soul would rest:
   The man that swells where Jesus is,
      Must be for ever bless’d.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven
846 — “For Ever With The Lord”
1 “For ever with the Lord!”
      Amen! so let it be!
   Life from the dead is in that word,
      ‘Tis immortality!
2 Here in the body pent,
      Absent from him I roam,
   Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
      A day’s march nearer home.
3 My Father’s house on high,
      Home of my soul! how near,
   At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye,
      Thy golden gates appear!
4 Ah! then my spirit faints
      To reach the land I love,
   The bright inheritance of saints,
      Jerusalem above!
5 “For ever with the Lord!”
      Father, if ‘tis thy will,
   The promise of that faithful word,
      Even here to me fulfil.
6 Be thou at my fight hand,
      Then can I never fail,
   Uphold thou me, and I shall stand,
      Fight, and I must prevail.
7 So when my latest breath
      Shall rend the veil in twain,
   By death I shall escape from death,
      And life eternal gain.
8 Knowing as I am known,
      How shall I love that word,
   And oft repeat before the throne,
      “For ever with the Lord!”
9 Then, though the soul enjoy
      Communion high and sweet,
   While worms this body must destroy,
      Both shall in glory meet.
10 That resurrection word,
      That shout of victory,
   Once more, “For ever with the Lord!”
      Amen — so let it be!
                  James Montgomery, 1835.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

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

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390