2742. Interrogation And Exclamation

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Interrogation And Exclamation

No. 2742-47:409. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 13, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, September 1, 1901.

But I said, “How shall I put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a beautiful inheritance of the hosts of nations?” And I said, “You shall call me, ‘My Father’; and shall not turn away from me.” {Jer 3:19}

1. Men think very lightly of sin unless it brings them under the eye of the law of the land. They smile at it, as though it were a trifle; but God does not think as they do. He calls sin by very black names; in this chapter, from which our text is taken, the Lord uses very strong terms in describing sin; and he knows what sin is. He is a better judge of it than we are, so he does not regard it as a trifle, but he calls it “adultery,” — which among men is regarded as one of the grossest of wrongs, and the foulest of crimes. Oh, if some here, who think themselves righteous, could only see themselves, not as their fellow creatures see them, but as God sees them, the sight would appal them!

2. Then, because man thinks so little of sin, he also thinks very little of the grace of God. To him, it seems a very simple matter to remove human guilt. Let God just rub it out, and leave a clean sheet. But God, who knows what sin really is, makes a very different estimate of the difficulties in the way of mercy; and, accordingly, in our text we find him asking the idolatrous nation, “How shall I put you among the children?” The Omniscient, the Omnipotent, is enquiring, “How can such a thing as this be done?” The Lord adopts the language of wonder, and speaks according to way of men, as the best method by which he can communicate to our mind his own conception of the difficulty of saving a sinner. He wants to save him, — longs to save him, — yearns to put him among his children; but so many difficulties arise that he says, “How shall I put you among the children?”

3. I am going to speak of my text in two ways. You have, perhaps, noticed that our translators regarded the first clause of this verse as a question, and they therefore put a note of interrogation after the word “nations.” “How shall I put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a beautiful inheritance of the hosts of nations?” But the Hebrew bears another sense, and some later scholars assert that the second meaning is the true one; namely, that there ought to be here a note of exclamation or of admiration, as if God himself delighted to think of all the wonders his grace was about to work: “How will I put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a beautiful inheritance of the hosts of nations!” The same meaning really underlies each of these two renderings, and we may get at the true sense of the passage by considering both of them. But, please understand that my object is not so much to expound this text as to bring unrenewed hearts into harmony with it. I long, I pray, I agonize, that God may put among his children many of you who have never been numbered with them before.

4. I. First, then, let us CONSIDER THE TEXT AS WRITTEN WITH A NOTE OF INTERROGATION; and, in that sense, it divides itself into two parts, — a difficult question: “How shall I put you among the children?” — and the divine answer: “I said, ‘You shall call me, "My Father"; and shall not turn away from me.’ ”

5. First comes the difficult question: “How shall I put you among the children?”

6. The Lord seems to say, “How shall I do it? This man has lived in total neglect of me; I was not in all his thoughts; or if he did think of me at all, it was only to say to me, ‘Be far from me; I do not want to be brought near to you.’ How shall I put him among the children? He neglected my statutes and my testimonies, and would have none of them. I called him, but he refused to come to me. I warned him, but he despised my warnings. How shall I, whom he has so treated with neglect, put him among the children? Indeed, he has not merely forgotten me, and neglected me, but he has chosen other lovers. He has found some other objects for his life’s ambition, and spent his strength in seeking everything but what is for my glory. Let him go to his idol-gods, and find refuge among them in the day of his trouble. Let him call on the objects of his ambition to administer comfort to him. If he has sought gold, let gold console him. If he has gone into the pleasures of sin, let the pleasures of sin yield him sweetness in retrospect if they can. But why should I interfere with him? He has destroyed himself; he has pulled the house down on his own head; and all the while, when I stood by offering to bless him, he refused me, and rejected me, and turned against me. Why then should I be called in now? Why should I be summoned to the rescue of one who is his own destroyer, and who has deliberately rejected me?”

7. Let that solemn enquiry go home to the hearts of all whom it concerns. Some of you know that, all these thirty, forty, or fifty years, or even longer, you have been living without God. Now that you are in trouble, you are beginning to think about him. But suppose he were to say, “Go to your former companions, and see what they will do for you. Now that you have spent everything, and there is a mighty famine in the land, go to the citizens of that country, and join yourself to them; go to the swine trough, and fill your belly with the husks that the swine eat.” Ah! the mercy is, that the Lord does not talk like that; yet still the difficulty of the task is suggested by the form of his question, “How shall I put you among the children?”

8. The difficulty arises, next, because of the character of the person to whom he refers: “How shall I put you among the children?” “You have been a wilful sinner. You have not sinned, as some have done, through ignorance; you knew better. From your early childhood, you have been taught the right way, but you have neglected it; you have deliberately chosen the path of evil. You were not taken unawares, like a bird in a snare; but you have gone after sin with your eyes open. You have been foolish enough to follow after your own lusts, and to drink down iniquity as the thirsty ox drinks water. You have been a wilful sinner, — a sinner against a mother’s tears and a father’s exhortations, — a sinner against a conscience that would be tender against your will, — a sinner against many a dream by night and many a throb of heart by day. ‘How shall I put you among the children,’ when you have been bent on mischief, and have made your neck like an iron sinew, and have kicked against the goads that would have guided you properly?”

9. The Lord may especially ask this question concerning some who, in addition to being wilful sinners, have been public sinners. “Oh thief, how can I put you among the children? Oh drunkard, in your beastliness of excess, how shall I put you among the children? Oh unchaste, unclean haunter of the filthiness of the night, — you who have deceived and seduced others, and defiled yourself also, — how shall I put you among the children?” Does not the question seem to come with particular power to any, who may be now present, who have on their conscience, this very hour, the guilt of sins we dare not mention in the public assembly, and who, as they sit in these seats, would not greatly wonder if we were deliberately to point them out, and say what they have done? Yet it is even with you, and such as you, that God determines to work marvels of mercy, although he properly raises the question, “How shall I put you among the children?”

10. After all, if we have not gone into open sin, as others have done, there is not much difference between one sinner and another, for we have all sinned, and, having sinned, we stand condemned by the sentence of God’s holy law. See how God’s question appears to you now. “You are a condemned criminal: ‘How shall I put you among the children?’ You are one against whom the sentence of death is already recorded, and you are only spared by a reprieve which the mediation of my Son brings to you when he cries, ‘Leave him alone for this year also.’ Shall I have criminals in my family? Shall I take the condemned out of the cell, and say, ‘These shall be my sons and daughters.’ Can it be so?” Oh, yes! tell it, the whole wide world over; it is so, and it shall be so again tonight, by God’s grace. But still it seems even to strike the Lord himself as being a difficult thing to do, for he says, “How shall I put you among the children?”

11. The question suggests the difficulties that must arise in the case of some who have denied the very existence of God, ridiculed the gospel, made jests of the wounds of Christ, and blasphemed his holy name, invoking his vengeance, and daring to defy him to his face. Some have persecuted the Lord’s people, as Saul of Tarsus did, and that is a great and aggravating sin in his sight. They have, as it were, thrust their fingers into the very eye of God, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘He who touches you touches the apple of his eye.’ ” It does seem to be a serious question concerning how sinners such as these can be put among the children; yet God is constantly working this miracle of mercy. Therefore, proclaim the glory of his grace; tell what his arm has done, and can do again, and will do even tonight; but still while you proclaim the good news, stand astonished that he should put such guilty ones among his children.

12. Now just turn the kaleidoscope a little, and get the same thought under another aspect. Think of the position which he proposes to give to this character — to put you, great sinner, “among the children.” What will the world say? “What! Saul of Tarsus, who persecuted the saints, — has he become a child of God? What! is the blasphemer saying, ‘Abba, Father’? Is he sitting at the feet of Jesus? Then, surely, we may say, ‘Let us sin, so that grace may abound.’ ” It may be that some ribald tongues will draw blasphemous inferences from the very mercy of God; shall it then be exercised?

13. And, if it is, what will “the children” themselves say? When they see such a one as you are coming in among them, will they not be likely to say, with the prodigal’s elder brother, “Lo, for these many years I have served you, neither did I transgress your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a kid, so that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as your son was come, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you have killed the fatted calf for him.” The Lord knows that there are some of his children who still talk in that way; and therefore, he might very well say to the gross sinner, “How shall I put you among the children?”

14. It was not so very long ago that I heard a minister say that he did not believe in the revival, which was then being experienced, because so many outrageous sinners had professed to be saved; he thought it was due to regular attendants at places of worship that, if anyone was saved, they should be the first, — a precious piece of abominable legalism! {a} But the Lord does not act like that. He makes them a people who were not a people, and calls her beloved who was not beloved. He takes the very lowest of the low, and exalts them; he lifts the beggar from the dunghill, and sets him among princes, even the princes of his people, to the praise of the glory of his grace. Yet he still is obliged to ask the question, “ ‘How shall I put you among the children?’ How will the children like it?” Blessed be God, the children at the Tabernacle will like it very much. They will say, “The more, the merrier. Oh, that the Lord would bring in among us some of the outcasts of Israel, and some of the worst sinners of the Gentiles! How we would rejoice to welcome them!” Still, only imagine what would happen, if you were to propose to take into your family some of the very vilest characters possible. I am afraid that lady-like daughter of yours would object to such a brother; and I am not certain that that most respectable, gentlemanly son of yours would care to receive such a sister; but God takes into his family such people as we would never think of receiving into ours.

15. Think of another individual to whom the Lord has to say, “How shall I put you among the children?” Who is he? Where is he? He used to be among the children; at least, in name, for he was enrolled with them. He used to sit among them with considerable delight, and he was highly esteemed among them; but he went aside to drink from the drunkard’s bowl, or he was led astray by some Delilah, and his locks, like Samson’s, have been shorn. I think I hear the Lord say to him, “How shall I put you back again among my children? You went from the communion cup to the cup of demons. You rose from your knees to go deliberately into vice. You knew your duty, but you did not do it. You denied your Saviour, as Peter did; even if you did not betray him, as Judas did.” We do not wonder that God speaks like this, yet we rejoice that, in this very chapter, we have this gracious invitation, “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” They be will happy who respond, “Behold, we come to you; for you are the Lord our God.”

16. There are others concerning whom the Lord might appropriately ask this difficult question; they are the grace-resisting sinners. Years ago, they were “almost persuaded.” They almost yielded to Christ, yet they never fully surrendered themselves to him. They were, for a time, burdened with a sense of guilt; they seemed to be, for a while, earnest in the pursuit of righteousness; but, somehow, the root of the matter was not in them; and whatever was good in them withered away; and now it would take a very sharp knife to cut them to the quick. Do not some of you remember when you used to sit in these galleries, and tremble as you listened to the Word? Yet, now, though I should speak to you as straight as words could enable me, and pour out my very soul so as to make the gospel of God’s grace a living message to you, it would only glide past your ear, and utterly fail to reach your heart. Now the Lord seems to say, after so many rejected warnings, after such violence done to the man’s own conscience, and to all the better instincts of his nature, “Leave him alone; how can I put him among the children?” Could you wonder if he did say so?

17. I will speak to just one other individual, and then I will turn to another part of the subject. How old are you, my friend? I see, by your white hairs, that you are past the usual age of men. He leans heavily on his staff; he cannot live much longer. What has been that man’s manner of life? Alas! it has been a life spent in neglect of God, and in the pursuit of sin of one kind or another. He has passed his threescore years and ten, he is going on towards eighty, — perhaps he is past even that. What is to become of him? He has given his best days to the devil, may he not as well give him the rest? He made his choice of masters long ago, and he has served Satan even until now; so let him take his wages, terrible as they are. Shall God be put off with the fag-end of his life? Shall all the prime, and pith, and marrow of his manhood be spent in opposition to God, and then, just at the last, shall this man be received, and be put among the children? Indeed, that he shall, if the Lord, by his grace, brings him to the feet of Jesus, no matter how old he may be, nor how sinful he may have been. And we will give him the right hand of holy fellowship as we see the hoary sinner made into a babe in grace; and the end of that man shall not be like his beginning, but he shall find mercy from the hand of our God, whose love surpasses all thought, and outshines all the imaginations of our hearts.

18. So I think I have shown you that, in many cases, the question in our text is really a very difficult one: “How shall I put you among the children?”

19. But I must not omit to remind you about the divine answer to it. If you will read the entire text, you will see that there are two “I saids” in it: “I said, ‘How shall I put you among the children?’ … I said, ‘You shall call me, "My Father"; and shall not turn away from me.’ ” If God had left us to answer this difficult question, it never would have had a reply; but he has himself answered it in the best possible way.

20. What does the Lord propose to do? He proposes, first of all, to bring in one of his “shalls” — “you shall call me.” But does God have power over human hearts, to decide what they shall do? Is man not a free agent? Yes, he is; otherwise he would not be responsible for his actions. Yet, without at all infringing on the freedom of man, God can exercise power over human minds. He is omnipotent in the world of mind as in the world of matter; and, just as he said to the dark world, “Let there be light, and there was light,” so he can say to dark minds, “Let light come,” and light will come. And, often, in the inscrutable sovereignty of his grace, he speaks to those of whom it seemed impossible to imagine that they would ever be among his children; and he gives them an altogether new bias, so that they seek after what they had previously abhorred, and, not knowing the why or wherefore, they turn and retrace their steps to the very thing from which in the past they had fled. Oh, I pray that the Lord may say to someone here tonight, “You shall.” If he only says it, you will sweetly melt under the beams of his love, you will gently dissolve as the icebergs do in the warm Gulf Stream, your opposition to him shall exist no longer, and you will gladly yield yourself up entirely to him.

21. Observe that the way the Lord will accomplish the great change is this, he will give us a new spirit: “You shall call me, ‘My Father.’ ” Now, it is by the reception of the Spirit of adoption that we are enabled to cry, “Abba, Father”; so, if the Lord, in his great mercy, shall give to any one of you a new heart and a right spirit, then his own divine Spirit shall come into you, and dwell in you. The change that will be created in you will be so great that you will not be what you were before, and there shall no longer be the question of difficulty, “How shall I put you among the children?”

22. With the new spirit, comes the new cry. The man used to say, “There is no God”; but now hear what he says, “My Father.” If he admitted God’s existence, he used to say that he did not care anything about God; but listen to him now as he says, “My Father.” He said that he did not need God, that he could do very well without him; but now he cries, “My Father.” He said that he was happiest when he thought the least of God; but now he cries, “My Father, my Father, my Father; let me come to you, my Father. I am undone until I find you, oh my Father!” He said he had no association with God, and did not want to have any; but now he says, “My Father, my Father.” He said he could look up to the starry vault at night, and yet not think of God; but now every star seems to twinkle the great Father’s name, and he himself cries, “My Father, reveal yourself to me. Come, pour your love into my soul, for my heart says, ‘I will arise, and go to my Father.’ ” Oh, yes! now there is no need to ask the question, “How shall I put you among the children?” for, as soon as God ever teaches a man to cry, with all his heart, “My Father,” why, he is among the children. There was never yet the cry in the soul, “My Father,” that the Fatherhood of the great God did not respond to; but he said, “My child, my child,” and he fell on his neck, and kissed him, and blessed him. Now I see how he puts us among the children.

23. There is also a “shall not” which is worthy of notice: “You shall call me, ‘My Father’; and shall not depart from me.” This reminds us of the grace that not only brings us near to God, but that also keeps us there. Possibly, someone is saying, “Well, I call God ‘Father’ now, but perhaps I may lose him, and forget him, and go away from him.” No, if he has brought you to himself, you shall never go away from him any more; there is no fear of that happening.

    Whom once he loves he never leaves,
       But loves them to the end.

The grace, which he gives us, is in us like a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life.

24. Now you see how sweet it is to be a child of God, and to be among the others of his children, because, although a servant may be dismissed, you cannot be sent away. The servant may go, but the son always remains. “There are your wages, Mary; and I give you a month’s notice that I shall not require your services after that time.” Ah! but I cannot say that to my boys, whatever they may do. Your father could not say that to you, could he? No, no; your relationship is not a matter of wages, and therefore it is not a matter of temporary staying in the house. Once you are God’s child, you cannot be unchilded for ever. Once brought, by his great love, to sit at his table, you are no longer like a guest at an inn, coming and going, but you are a child who has taken up eternal lodgings in the heart of his great Father.

25. All things are also yours in prospect, and the day shall come when you shall possess such things as eye has never seen, nor ear heard of. You may be poor now; but, in a very short time, you will be rich beyond the miser’s wild dream of wealth. You may be cast down now; but, within a few months or years, you will be as happy as the angels are, and be with them for ever. You may be obscure and unknown now; but if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will have to endure only another prick or two of the pin of affliction, and then you will go to be with God where there are pleasures for evermore. Everything is yours legally, and you shall have it when you come of age. You are only a child at present, but you will come of age in due season; and when you become a man, then you shall be fit to be a partaker of all those blessings that your Heavenly Father has provided for you.

26. I wish I could talk about these blessed truths as I should like to. If I could get rid of my tongue and my lips, and let my soul speak without the intervention of these organs of clay that are such dumb cold things, I would try to tell you the grandeur of the superlative love, which takes the child of the devil, and puts him among the children of God, — that takes the servant of sin, the companion of the swine, the man degraded below the level of the brute, and yet lifts him up, and makes him to sit among the children of the eternal God, and to be made like them. May you all know what it is by happy personal experience!

27. II. Now I must close my sermon by just asking you, very briefly, to CONSIDER THE TEXT AS WRITTEN WITH A NOTE OF EXCLAMATION. I have already tried to bring out that meaning, — God himself saying, as if with intense satisfaction, talking to himself, congratulating himself, depicting to himself the bliss of his own benevolence when the object of his mercy is achieved, “How I will put you among the children!”

28. In order to bring out this great truth, think of the parable of the prodigal son, and try, if you can, to understand the great change in his condition. There is the Father saying, “My dear, dear son, starved in the far-off country, and defiled among the swine, you shall come back to me; and let me only once see you coming back, and how swiftly I will run to meet you. Oh, how I will fall on your neck! How I will kiss those lips that penitently say, ‘I am not worthy to be called your son!’ I will stop that utterance with many a kiss repeated again and again. How I will press you to my bosom, my son, my long-lost son, my son who was dead, and is alive again! How will I bring you to your mother’s house, and to the bedroom of her who bore you! How I will conduct you within my gates, and say, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him.’ How gloriously will I array you among the children! You shall have the best my house can afford.”

29. The Father seems to see it all before it is actually done, and he thinks, “How princely my poor boy will look when the best robe, bespangled with jewels, shall hide his nakedness! How I will put him among the children! He shall have a ring such as I give to my choicest favourites. ‘Put shoes on his feet.’ My boy shall be no longer a bare-footed beggar. Then bring out the fatted calf, and kill it, and hold a high holiday. Ring the bells of heaven; pour out your sweetest music, and let this be the keynote of it all, ‘My son, who was dead, is alive again; he was lost, but now he is found.’ How gloriously will I put you among the children!”

30. Of whom does my Master speak this? Soul, do you feel yourself guilty? Does your heart repent of your sin? Are you willing to be reconciled to God? Then he speaks all this of you, — of you, poor draught and scum that you are in your own estimation. Since you have been precious in his sight, you have been honourable, and he has loved you, and given an amazing price for you, even the blood of his well-beloved Son. How I wish I could get side by side with some big sinner here tonight, and tell him what I was myself, and what the grace of God has done for me! I would tell him that my Father in heaven has said, even concerning him, “How gloriously will I put you among the children! How will I give you a pleasant land, and a beautiful inheritance among the sanctified! How will I open your lips to tell of my mercy, and fire your heart with zeal to proclaim my goodness!” Does it seem too good to be true? Listen to my own testimony. Had anyone told me, when I was seeking the Lord’s face, nearly thirty years ago, that I should be here tonight to tell these thousands of people all that his love has done in putting me among the children, I would not have thought it possible. Then, arise, young man, for the Lord can do the same for you. Look to Jesus, for the fountain opened has not yet been closed, nor shall it be until the last of his elect is washed whiter than snow; and that time has not yet arrived. Believe and live. All difficulties are removed by the atoning sacrifice of Christ; and among the children of God you shall stand, and he shall delight in all that his mighty love, his superlative grace, has done for you.

    Cast thy guilty soul on him,
    Find him mighty to redeem;
    At his feet thy burden lay;
    Look thy doubts and cares away;
    Now by faith the Son embrace;
    Plead his promise, trust his grace.

31. If I had to tell you about a hard master, — if I had to stand here, like Moses, to tell about the thunders of the law, I must do it, though it would go hard with me to deliver such a message; but when I have only to tell you that all kinds of sin and of blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, — that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin, — when I have to quote his words, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth,” and tell you that, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are his ways above your ways, and his thoughts above your thoughts, — “let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”; — when I have such a gospel as this to proclaim to you, oh, I think you should accept it; indeed, I am sure you should accept it. I do not have to impose hard terms on you; I do not come with threats of war and destruction. Mercy fills the throne, and wrath silently stands by. Oh, come and accept the mercy of your God! Some of you will do so, I know. May the Lord lead you to do it by his gracious Spirit, and to his name shall be the praise for ever. Amen and Amen.

{a} Legalism: Theol. Applied reproachfully to the principles of those who are accused of adhering to the Law as opposed to the Gospel; the doctrine of justification by works, or teaching which savours of that doctrine. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ho 14}

According to the heading of this chapter, we have here “an exhortation to repentance,” and “a promise of God’s blessing.”

1. Oh Israel, return to the LORD your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity.

Fallen into sorrow, fallen into shame, fallen into spiritual poverty, fallen into weakness of faith, fallen almost to destruction, though you are Israel, and God loves you, yet “you have fallen by your iniquity”; and the only possible way in which you can obtain restoration, is to “return to the Lord your God.” Seek once again your Father’s face; cry, with the prodigal, “I will arise, and go to my Father.” “Oh Israel, return to the Lord your God.” You may do so, for he invites you to come back to him. You should do so, for it was wrong of you to wander from him; so end your wandering, and return to him.

“Return to the Lord your God.” He is still “your God.” He does not deny the sacred band which binds you to himself. Though you have forsaken him, yet still he invites you to think of him, not as a stranger, but as your God. Oh child of God, are you just now very heavy in heart because of your backsliding? Is the lamp of spirituality burning very low? Do you feel as if you had gotten into a state of spiritual barrenness? Then return — return at once — to the Lord your God, for your sad condition is due to your iniquity.

2. Take with you words, and return to the LORD: say to him, —

He puts the words into our mouths; for he knows that, sometimes, we feel as if we cannot give proper expression to our repentance. We feel it, but we cannot utter it; so he puts the very form of the confession into his children’s mouths: “Take with you words, and return to the Lord: say to him,” —

2. “Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so we will render the sacrifice of our lips.

Sin has had the mastery over you; therefore, ask to have it taken away by pardon, and by the cleansing which shall deliver you from its influence and power! Do not ask the Lord merely to take away some of your sin, but say to him, “ ‘Take away all iniquity.’ Especially, if I have indulged in some darling sin that has been my ruin, take that away.”

“Take away all iniquity, and receive us.” “You cannot receive us with our sins in us. Will you press us to your bosom while we are black and foul with iniquity? No, that cannot be; so, first take away all our sin, and then receive us. Receive us again into favour with you, into a conscious sense of your love. Receive us when we come to you in prayer. Receive us when we come to the communion table. Receive us as you did at the first, as your sons and daughters.”

“Receive us graciously.” “We cannot hope to be received on any other basis but that of your free and abounding grace; for even if you do forgive and cleanse us, we shall still be sinners, and shall still need your grace and mercy.”

“Receive us graciously; so we will render.” “When you have put away our sin, and received us, then we will begin to serve you; and we will bring to you, not the calves of the legal sacrifice, for a sense of your love will make us feel that you do not delight in burnt offering; but we will render to you the sacrifices of our lips, — our testimony to your faithfulness, — our declaration of your truth, — our prayer, — our praise.”

3. Assyria shall not save us; —

When a man trusts in his God, he gets away from all other trust. Confidence in God is the death of all other confidences: “Assyria shall not save us.”

3. We will not ride on horses:

Which, somehow or other, were always the Israelites’ fear and trust. They always looked at horsemen as the most powerful friends or foes in the day of battle; but now they feel that all creatures shall be given up, and they will cling to God alone: “Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses.”

3. Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods’: for in you the orphan finds mercy.”

What a sweet reason this is for confidence in God, namely, that he cares for those who have no one else to care for them, — that he becomes the Helper of those who have no other helper, and the Guardian of those who are left friendless in the world! Oh my soul, are you not just such a one, — friendless, helpless, hopeless, orphaned? Flee, then, to that God in whom the orphan finds mercy, and you, too, shall find mercy.

Now let us listen to the voice of God: —

4. “I will heal their backsliding, —

He can do it; he will do it, he evidently rejoices to do it. He soliloquizes with himself, as though it were a very pleasant thought for him: “I will heal their backsliding,” —

4. I will love them freely:

“Though there is nothing lovely in them, though they deserve my wrath, — though, according to their own confession, they have gone after false gods, I will love them freely.”

4. For my anger is turned away from him.

“I have fully forgiven them, and I have caused my great wrath to pass away from them.” Now, dear child of God, you to whom I spoke just now, who have fallen into a dull, dead, dreary kind of state, are you not encouraged to return to the Lord when he declares that he will heal your backsliding, and love you freely? You shall have your joyful days back again; you shall have your old love restored; you shall have your old delight renewed; you shall again dance before the Lord for very joy of spirit.

5. I will be as the dew to Israel:

“When they come back to me, I will refresh them, — softly, sweetly, efficaciously, abundantly, mysteriously, even as the dew refreshes the thirsty earth.”

5. He shall grow as the lily, —

Your souls shall suddenly spring up. As the daffodil-lily springs up almost overnight, and its golden bells speedily appear, so you, who seem so dead, shall grow up adorned with the golden flowers of God’s delight in you.

5. And shoot out his roots as Lebanon.

Fickle as you have been, God’s grace will make you stable. You shall have as firm a root-hold as a cedar has, and be as fixed as Mount Lebanus itself.

6. His branches shall spread,

You shall begin to have influence on others, and cast a shadow over them for their good.

6. And his beauty shall be as the olive tree,

His soul, bedewed by divine grace, shall be beautiful as the olive tree, which has an almost indescribable loveliness all its own.

6. And his fragrance as Lebanon.

There shall be a gracious fragrance about you, who are now so sapless and dry, when once the Lord returns to you because you have returned to him.

7. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; —

Your children, your friends, all those who live in your house, shall be all the better for your repentance and return to God. They tax you now, but when you have stopped taxing God, they will stop taxing you. Among a man’s own children, there are often those who remind him of his own sin against God. Do you wonder that Jacob had so much trial with his sons when you remember what kind of man he was? Are you surprised that David’s latter days were so full of trouble when you remember his great sin? Ah! but if the Lord restores, and revives, and refreshes you, your household also shall be blessed: “Those who dwell under his shadow shall return”; —

7. They shall revive as the grain and grow as the vine: their scent shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Your household shall have such a blessedness about them that observers shall say of you and yours, “They are a seed whom the Lord has blessed.” The Lord has a most gracious way of making families to be very choice and select, and full of comfort and peace, when those families walk in his fear; but when there is sin in the head of the household, there comes disorder in the family, the departure of the divine blessing, and everything goes awry.

8. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols?’

“I have had enough of them. They have cost me sorrow enough; they have plagued me enough. I will put them away, for I must have my God, and I cannot have him and idols too.”

8. I have heard him and observed him:

God hears the cry of the penitent, and observes what is going on in his heart.

8, 9. I am like a green fir tree. From me your fruit is found.” Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall in them.

May the Lord give us wisdom, by his Holy Spirit, to understand and know these things, and to put our understanding to practical account by returning to him, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — All Mercies Traced To Electing Love” 230}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Depth Of Mercy” 568}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — ‘Grace Reigns’ ” 233}

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.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
568 — Depth Of Mercy <7s., Double.>
1 Depth of mercy, can there be
   Mercy still reserved for me?
   Can my God his wrath forbear?
   Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
   I have long withstood his grace,
   Long provoked him to his face;
   Would not hearken to his calls:
   Grieved him by a thousand falls.
2 Kindled his relentings are;
   Me he still delights to spare;
   Cries, “How shall I give thee up?”
   Lets the lifted thunder drop.
   There for me the Saviour stands;
   Shows his wounds and spreads his hands,
   God is love, I know, I feel
   Jesus pleads, and loves me still.
3 Jesus, answer from above:
   Is not all thy nature love?
   Wilt thou not the wrong forget?
   Suffer me to kiss thy feet?
   If thou all compassion art,
   Bow thine ear, in mercy bow;
   Pardon and accept me now.
4 Pity from thine eye let fall;
   By a look my soul recall;
   Now the stone to flesh convert,
   Cast a look, and break my heart.
   Now incline me to repent;
   Let me now my fall lament:
   Now my foul revolt deplore;
   Weep, believe, and sin no more.
                     Charles Wesley, 1740.

The Work of Grace as a Whole
233 — “Grace Reigns”
1 Grace! ‘tis a charming sound!
      Harmonious to the ear!
   Heaven with the echo shall resound,
      And all the earth shall hear.
2 Grace first contrived the way
      To save rebellious man;
   And all the steps that grace display
      Which drew the wondrous plan.
3 Grace first inscribed my name
      In God’s eternal book:
   ‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
      Who all my sorrows took.
4 Grace led my roving feet
      To tread the heavenly road;
   And new supplies each hour I meet
      While pressing on to God.
5 Grace taught my soul to pray,
      And made my eyes o’erflow;
   ‘Twas grace that kept me to this day,
      And will not let me go.
6 Grace all the work shall crown,
      Through everlasting days;
   It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
      And well deserves the praise.
                  Philip Doddridge, 1755;
                  Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.

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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