2812. Causes and Cure of Fainting

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Causes and Cure of Fainting

No. 2812-49:1. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, June 7, 1877, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 4, 1903.

He gives power to the faint. {Isa 40:29}

1. The context in which these words stand is very suggestive. The previous verse says, “Have you not known, have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.” He has the perfection of power and also of wisdom. Unbelief is based on absurdity, but faith rests on reason and fact. This may not at first sight seem to be true, but it really is so. To believe in the almighty and all-wise God, is the most rational thing in the world; and to doubt him, is both the most wicked and the most irrational thing. When a child of God begins to doubt his Father, it must be because he doubts either God’s memory or his power. It seems utterly absurd, as well as grievously wrong, to suspect the Lord of fainting or being weary; the moment we give utterance to such a sentiment, we feel as if we must at once withdraw the words. It is so altogether ridiculous and absurd to speak like this of him, who made the heavens and the earth, and who supports all things by the word of his power. How can he fail or faint? The self-existent One, from whom all the power that ever was, or is, or shall be, must primarily come, — how can he fail or faint? Then the sun would grow dim at noon; then earth would dissolve, and heaven pass away, if once faintness could seize the Deity who supports all things. We know better, and we ought, therefore, to act better; and since we feel that he cannot faint or be weary, we ought not to harbour a single doubt concerning his fainting. How can he faint? It is he who gives power to the faint. When faintness comes anywhere, it does not come to him, it comes to you who doubt. You are like a reeling man who thinks that it is the earth that reels; or like a person travelling in a train who, for the moment, forgets that he is moving, and thinks that the trees and hedges are all swiftly rushing by him. It is not God who changes; it is you who have changed. It is not he who is weary; it is you who are weary. It is not he who is faint; it is you who are fainting; and here comes in this blessed truth for your encouragement, so that you may be revived from this faintness, — instead of himself fainting, God “gives power to the faint.”

2. I. First, I will endeavour to answer the question, WHAT MAKES US FAINT?

3. We will first consider the case of the awakened sinner, — the man who does not know that he is saved, and who, perhaps, is not yet converted. But he is, to some extent, under the gracious influence of the Spirit of God, for he has been aroused from his sleep of sin, and has begun to pray. It very commonly happens that, when people are in this condition, they are seized with faintness. What is it that makes them feel faint?

4. Well, first, they may very well faint, for they have made a most alarming discovery. They were not aware of their true position, but they suddenly find themselves lost. Their own righteousness, which appeared to them to be like fair, white linen, has proved to be only filthy rags. Their own merits, which seemed to them to be a great heap of gold, are shown to be just so much dross. They imagined that they were rich, and increased with goods, and had need of nothing; but they find themselves wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. They see themselves condemned by God on account of sin, and they also see before them, with an awful astonishment, the burning lake of hell, and they cannot tell whether their next step will not plunge them into the dread abyss from which there will be no escape. Is it amazing that, when a man first experienced all this, he is filled with terror, the cold sweat stands on his brow, and he is ready to faint? Indeed, if it were not for the goodness of God in only revealing the sinner’s danger to him in a measure, I should not wonder if, when men saw themselves in their true state, they were to lose their reason. It has not seemed to me at all marvellous that men have gone mad when they have suddenly found out where they were, and where they were likely to be in a very short time. I have had to bless God that so few cases of that kind have occurred, and I have never wondered when I have seen the horror and distress of mind of people who have discovered their lost condition. Some of you, who are now sitting very comfortably in your seats, if you only knew what it is to be condemned already, because you have not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God, — if you could only catch the meaning of these words, “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God rests on him”; like a cloud charged with deadly electricity; — if you discovered that this was no myth, or fiction, but an awful reality, you also would be ready to faint.

5. Sometimes, too, awakened sinners faint for another reason, namely, that they have tried to escape from their dangerous position, that they have not succeeded. What long and laborious attempts at self-salvation awakened souls will make! They will deny themselves many pleasures; they will subject themselves to a great deal of toil; they will resolve, and pray, and cry, and fret; yet it all ends in failure. A man trying to save himself is like a prisoner on the treadmill, perpetually stepping, but never mounting an inch higher. He is like a blind horse in a mill, he goes around, and around, and around, but makes no real progress. What can he do? He is trying to weave a substantial garment out of spiders’ webs. He is attempting, with worthless works, to make a perfect righteousness. It was a great blessing for Israel when it could be said of them, “He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.” The sooner an end comes to all self-righteous attempts to obtain salvation, the better. Then the man’s soul faints within him; then he is like one who is at sea in a storm, who has tugged at the oar, or has tried to use the sail, but can make no headway, or escape the fury of the tempest. “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” So they are faint.

6. We have known some to grow so faint, through a sense of sin, and dread of its punishment, and a consciousness of their own inability to save themselves, that they have even wished to die; yet, when they have looked at their condition properly, they have asked themselves of what use death would be to them. It would be as when a man escaped from a lion, and a bear killed him; or as if a weary man leaned on a wall, and a snake, that was hidden in a cranny, bit his hand. For a man, loaded with sin, to die, is for him to be damned. Well might he choose to die if death meant annihilation; but there is that dread of something after death, — that appearing before the judgment seat of Christ, — that terrible sentence from him who sits on the throne, “Depart, you cursed”; this is what makes the man faint, and causes him to dread both to live and to die. Then he says, with Job, “My soul chooses strangling, and death rather than my life”; yet he does not dare to actually choose it, for he dreads what would come after it. So he is faint, and well may he be.

7. Perhaps also, at such a time, a severe trouble may happen to the man; for, in the parable of the prodigal son, it appears that he was quite as much influenced by the particular circumstances without as by his sense of sin within. We have often known the soul, that has been under distress because of sin, also to fall into distress through temporal trouble. It has seemed as if the hand of God had gone out against him, and he cries out, in his agony, “You hunt me as with fierce dogs, that would gladly tear me to pieces. You make me the target of all your arrows. You do not give me time enough to swallow my spittle between one trial and another.” Then the troubled soul faints beneath the hand of God, who seems to say to him, “You have sinned against me; and if you faint now that I have begun to deal with you, what will you do eventually? If, in the land of peace, in which you trust, my hand is too heavy for you, what will you do in the swelling of Jordan? If you faint when I only come against you with footmen, what will you do when you have to contend with horses, — when I exert my might to punish my rebellious creatures?” When this happens, the soul is utterly brought into the dust of death, ground down, faint, and ready to die.

8. Now I pass on to another character, namely, the child of God in his fainting fits, but fainting fits of a particular class, which are especially sinful, for there is a degree of sinfulness about some of these faintings which is not to be found in others. For example, sometimes, the children of God faint through lack of faith. David said, “I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” So, the cure for fainting is faith, and the best way to prevent fainting, is to believe. He who believes shall not fall into this state of pain, prostration, and inaction resembling death. Child of God are you fainting because you do not believe your Father’s promises? I must not begin to comfort you until, first of all, I have rebuked you. Why do you doubt your God? For what reason do you doubt his faithfulness? Have you ever had reason to think that he will fail you? Put your finger on anything that he has ever done to you, that will give you even a shadow of justification for doubting him. Oh man, if unbelief is behind your faintness, repent of it, and pray to be forgiven! Surely the Lord deserves to be trusted by his own children, if not by anyone else. If anyone will persist in doubting him, let it be the sinner; but as for you, the chosen people of his love, the favoured ones of his heart, will you doubt him? A man might bear almost anyone’s doubt sooner than that of his beloved wife or darling child; and shall the Lord have doubts from you whom he has so highly favoured? By his own eternal love, pray to him to both forgive and banish your unbelief.

9. Again, some are brought into a state of faintness through a selfish lack of resignation. An example of that kind of character was that odd-tempered old prophet Jonah. You remember that “the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was extremely glad for the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it struck the gourd that it withered. … And the sun beat on the head of Jonah, so that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’ And God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the gourd?’ And he said, ‘I am right to be angry, even to death.’ ” It was not only the heat of the sun that caused him to faint; it was also the heat of his temper. Naughty tempers inside of us do more to cause us to faint than all the sultry weather outside of us. If we will not let God have his way with us, — if we are like children in a fit, and begin quarrelling with our Father, or with each other; — if we try to be masters in God’s house, and lords over God’s inheritance, seeking to rule his household according to our own will and way; — do you wonder that, when we get into the sulks, eventually we begin to faint? Some of those who have lost dear children seem as if they will not forgive God for taking them. They keep on fretting and pining for years after the bereavement; they go to the drawer, and take out the little socks, and the toys, and weep over them in a way which shows that they are not resigned to the will of God. It is not for us to censure them harshly, but I think it is for them to cease from such a rebellious course of action, and to ask God that they may not faint through a lack of obedience and resignation to his will.

10. There are children of God, also, who fall into faintness through trusting in themselves. In the chapter from which our text is taken, it is said, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.” Why is that? It is because the youths felt themselves able to do anything. Up or down, mile after mile, they could leap, and run, and jump, for they were so strong; and then, at last, they fainted, for they had nothing to sustain them but their own strength. And as for the young men, — they said that the boys were always so impetuous, and spent their strength too soon, but they themselves had staying power, so they felt that they could keep up the pace. But the prophet says, they “shall utterly fall.” So it will be with any of us who begin to trust in our own strength. Before long, we shall come to the end of our force. The strongest sinew in an arm of flesh will crack sooner or later. The brightest thought of the most brilliant intellect will one day die out in darkness. Being made of clay, and being born of woman, we cannot expect that we should last for ever. The worst of it is, that this faintness will sometimes come to the strong just when they most need all their strength, when they feel, “If ever we needed all our wits about us, and all the vigour of our physical body, it is now.” It is just then that the collapse will probably come, for faintness is sure to follow if we once begin to trust in ourselves.

11. Then faintness may also arise from another cause which is sinful, namely, neglect of prayer. Did not our Saviour say that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint”; and did he not imply, by that form of expression, that, if they did not pray, they would be sure to faint? We have a choice of these two courses; either to wait on the Lord, and so to renew our strength, or else to be overpowered by faintness. Is the path to your secret place of prayer overgrown? Do you seldom retire for private fellowship with your God? Has your heart forgotten your privilege of momentary, continuous communion with the Most High? Do you live as though you had quarrelled with God, and would have no more dealings with him? If so, you will surely faint before long; and it is a blessed thing for you that it should be so, for it would be truly terrible for us even to appear to be strong without prayer. It is a sign of something radically rotten within when a man can be, apparently, just as holy, and just as earnest without prayer as he ever was with it. You surely cannot really know the power of the life of God if you are able to live without prayer; for, just as a man, who is unable to breathe, soon faints, so must a person spiritually faint if he does not pray.

12. Now I am going to mention some other reasons why children of God fall into faintness; and one is, the length of the way. Some pilgrims faint because the way is so very long. We can do a great deal at a spurt, but we are not able to keep it up. We have a great many people, who come among us, and who even enter the church, who are splendid fellows for a short time. If they could get to heaven in a one mile race, they would surely win the prize; but they have no staying power in them. They are like those Galatians to whom the apostle Paul wrote, “You ran well; who hindered you that you should not obey the truth?” What is needed is perseverance in well doing, — perseverance under slights, and misrepresentations, and slanders — perseverance when it means tugging and toiling at the oars, — perseverance when there is no smile of recognition, but when there is many a frown from those who misjudge your work; and it is under such difficulties that men are apt to faint. It is not even ten or twenty years of an unsullied profession that will suffice; our Lord said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” You would not care to live in your house if it were only half-built; you must go on to the crowning of the edifice if it is to be fit for a habitation. Is there anyone who has experienced how great are the difficulties of persevering in grace that does not feel that, for this task, we must have divine power? Otherwise, however far we may have gone, we shall tire, and faint, and walk the ways of God no more. I know of no doctrine that seems to me to show such a splendour of divine grace as the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints; for if the Lord does indeed keep his people faithful to the end, as he assuredly will, then it is a veritable marvel of grace; for, often, they themselves are ready to faint by the way.

13. Others are ready to faint because of the heaviness of their burden. We are not all equally burdened; but, I daresay, if we could form an accurate estimate, we should find that we are more equally weighted than we imagine. Sometimes, the poor judge that they have a monopoly on trouble; but if they could see how much unhappiness there is in the homes of some of those who are rich, or the lack of health that is the lot of many who live in the midst of abundance, they might be more content to carry their own cross. Yet there are some to whom the burden is particularly heavy. Some of God’s children seem pressed down under double loads, and they are often ready to faint. The remedy for their condition is, to get double grace and double strength from the Lord their God; but, until they do so, their soul will feel faint and weary.

14. Another frequent cause of your faintness is a sense of your own weakness. It is not that your burden is really heavier than it was, but you do not feel as if you could carry it any longer. The flesh is weak, and the spirit sympathizes with the flesh, and grows weak, too. You cannot now do what you did when you were younger; the difficulties which you smiled at once really oppress you now. By reason of the number of your years, the grasshopper has become a burden. Well, then, you must look to the Strong for strength, and then no faintness will overpower you; but if you do not, your weakness will soon bring you into a sad state.

15. Yet another frequent cause of faintness is the spirit itself sinking. There is a certain condition, in which the heart seems to go down, down, down, down, down; I do not know how to describe it, but everyone who has ever had that painful experience knows what it is. You can hardly tell why you are so depressed; if you could give a reason for your despondency, you might more easily get over it; but, like David, you cry to your own heart, “Why are you cast down, oh my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” You try to argue with yourself to find out the reason why you are so despondent, and why you look at the black side of everything, and imagine that things will go amiss which will turn out right after all. Your friends tell you that you are nervous, and there is no doubt that you are, but that does not alter the case. I will not blame you; I will, however, say to myself, and urge you to say to yourself, “Hope in God: for you shall yet praise him, who is the health of your countenance, and your God.” Better still, I pray our sympathizing Saviour to say to you, “Do not let your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me”; and on his loving bosom leave all your sorrows and your cares.

16. There are some children of God who get faint through lack of spiritual food. There are some Christians, who are so situated that they cannot get proper nourishment for their souls. It is not in every country village or town that Jesus Christ is preached so that the souls of God’s people are fed; and among all the troubles a godly man can have, a dreary Sabbath is about the worst, — when the sheep look up, but they are not fed; — when it is not the gospel that is preached, but another gospel, which is no gospel at all; — when there are fine words, and grand elocution, but nothing for the heart to sustain itself on. In such circumstances, it is little wonder if the best of God’s children begin to faint. Be thankful, brothers and sisters, if you are privileged to enjoy a soul-feeding ministry; and if you are not so favoured, try to make up for it by being doubly diligent in searching the Scriptures, and feeding on the Word in private. Still, at the same time, it is a great deprivation to a child of God if he is not supplied with spiritual food. I thought it was a good prayer of the deacon who thanked God that the minister had put the food down in a low rack where the sheep could get at it. There are some who put the provender in such a high rack that it could only be reached by giraffes. God’s children need to have the bread of life broken up small for them, and to have the truth made very simple and plain so that they can understand it. May all of us, who teach or preach, always try to do that; and remembering the folly of others, let us avoid it ourselves.

17. Sometimes, God’s children also faint when they are in adversity. Solomon said, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” That is true, and so our strength is often proved to be small. Many a man, who thinks that he is rejoicing in the Lord, is really rejoicing in his prosperity; but when adversity tries him, then it is to him what the refining pot is to silver. Under adversity, we begin to faint; and especially if, coupled with that adversity, there is the rebuke of God. Oh, how we faint when we are rebuked by him! I know of nothing that more readily makes a man faint than that God should look at him with angry eyes. He has trouble in the home, and no consolation; loss of property, but, above all, loss of fellowship with his God. The promises are no longer sweet to him, prayer is like a dead letter, waiting on God seems to be in vain. The Lord says to those who are in this condition, “I have withdrawn myself from you. Since you have walked contrary to me, I also will walk contrary to you.” In such a time, it is necessary for the child of God to ask for more grace and strength, so that he may wrestle and pray until he gets a blessing; but the tendency of the poor deserted spirit is to begin to faint because the Lord seems to be favourable no more.

18. There are some who become faint through increasing infirmity, which disqualifies them for such service as they formerly rendered. When David, in his later years, went out to battle against the Philistines, we are told that he became faint, and would have been killed by a giant if Abishai had not helped him. Yet, in former days, he had killed a lion and a bear, and the great Goliath of Gath. It was a dreadful thing for David to become faint at such a time as that, just in the middle of the fray; but a similar experience has happened to many of the Lord’s champions, in order to teach his people that the best of men are only men at the best, and that the strongest of them are only strong in God’s strength, and that they will be as weak as water if the Lord should leave them to themselves.

19. II. Now I want to show you HOW THE LORD DEALS WITH HIS FAINTING PEOPLE: “He gives power to the faint.” I must just briefly mention many points, that you may meditate on at your leisure.

20. See how tenderly the Lord deals with his fainting people. He does not desert them when they are faint, saying, “They are no longer of any use to me, they can do nothing for me, I will leave them where they are.” No; but “he gives power to the faint.” Observe that he does not merely comfort the faint; or rebuke or reprove them. That would not help them much when they were fainting; but he does what we cannot do for fainting people, he gives them power. That is the best way to deliver them from their faintness. Even if no cheering word is whispered in your ear, if power is given to you, if your pulse is quickened, and your spirit is filled with new energy, your faintness will soon be over. This is what the Lord does for you when “he gives power to the faint.”

21. What kind of power does he give to the faint? Well, you may be sure that he does not give them any of their own. That has all gone from them. The very image of death is stamped on them. See how pale they look; note how the blood seems to have fled from their faces; their own power has all gone from them. So, my brothers and sisters, when the Lord gives power to the faint, it is his own power that he gives to them. What a blessing it is to feel that it is his power that is working in you! To attain such a result as that, a man may well be content to have all his own power bled out of him. There! let it run out at every vein until the last drop of it is gone, so that I may then be filled with the power of God. He gives his power to the faint, because, in their faintness, there is room for the display of his power. Their power has all departed, so now his power comes in.

22. When God gives power to the faint, you may rest assured that it will be sufficient for the emergency, for he has all-sufficient power, and he never gives to his people merely half the power or a tenth of the power that they need, but he gives them all the power that they require. His promise is, “As your days, so shall your strength be.”

23. The mercy is, that the power that God gives is a power that the devil can neither defeat nor take away. If he has given you that power, it shall be yours as long as you need it. Neither man nor devil can take that power away from you; but, through it, you shall be enabled to tread down all your adversaries, and conquer all your difficulties. There is a wondrous power in the weakness which leads us to faint away on the bosom of God, and so to be made strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, — just to swoon into unconsciousness, and then to find our all-sufficiency in our God, — to get out of life of a carnal kind by swooning into the image of death, and then being raised into newness of life by the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the kind of power which God gives to the faint.

24. Why is it that he gives this power to the faint? Well, I think it is because, in his great goodness, he looks out for those who need it most. As we, if we are wise, give our alms to the most destitute, God gives his power to those who require it most, those who are fainting for lack of it.

25. Then, next, he gives it to them because they will praise him most for it. When the fainting ones receive the power that God gives to them, they will say that it is from the Lord and not from themselves.

26. They will be the people to receive this power because they will be sure to use it. I think that, when a person, who has been faint, receives power from God, he will likely be sympathetic, tender, and gentle towards others; at least, that is how he should be. If a man is always strong, how can he sympathize with God’s weak and afflicted people? I have known a dear brother, who has never had an hour’s illness in his life, seek to sympathize with me when I have been in great pain; but it was like an elephant trying to pick up a pin; he cannot do it, it is not in his nature. But he who has been faint, and then has received power from God, is the man who knows what faintness means, and so is gentle towards other fainting ones as a nurse is with the little child committed to her charge. Hence, the Lord entrusts power to his fainting children because he knows that they will be sympathetic, and use it wisely and well.

27. What, beloved friends, is the conclusion that we may draw from our text? Is it not this? If God gives power to the faint, let us be thankful if we have fainted, and have been revived by him. I do not refer to any sinful kind of fainting when I speak like this, but I mean what the apostle Paul means when he says, “Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my infirmities, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” But let us not faint in the future; because, if God gives power to the faint, — if he has given us his power, — we ought to have no more fainting now that we have received God’s power, so let us henceforth seek to live, in the energy of that divine might, above the faintness to which the flesh is prone.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 40}

1. “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.

“They need it, and they shall have it. Take care, oh my servants, that you give it to them: ‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God.”

2. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.”

The first meaning of these words was that, since Jerusalem had passed through a time of great tribulation, she should have a time of rest, but the grand gospel meaning for you and me is, that our Lord Jesus has fought our battle, and won the victory for us, — that he has paid our debt and given to divine justice the double for all our sins, and therefore, our iniquity is pardoned. This is enough to make anyone happy, one would think. It is the best thing that even Isaiah could say, or that God himself could say by the mouth of Isaiah, when his object was to comfort the Lord’s tried people.

3, 4. The voice of him who cries in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

When God intends to come to men, nothing can stop him or block his road. He will level mountains, and fill up valleys, but he will come to his people, somehow or other. And when he comes to them, if he finds many crooked things about them, he will make the crooked straight, and he will make plain the rough places.

5. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”

And, since he has spoken it, it must come to pass. “Has he said, and shall he not do it?” With him, to say anything is to will its accomplishment.

6-8. The voice said, “Cry.” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, and all its goodness is as the flower of the field: the grass withers, the flower fades: because the spirit of the LORD blows on it: surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

Yes, the dearest ones whom we have are only flesh, so they wither, and pass away like the green herb. Have you been bereaved, my believing friend? Well, you may still say to your Lord, in the words of our hymn,

          How can I bereaved be,
    Since I cannot part from thee?

The mower with the sharp scythe cuts down the grass, but he cannot touch the secret source of our hope, and joy, and confidence in God, and, above all, he cannot touch the God in whom we confide.

9. Oh Zion, that brings good tidings, get up into the high mountain; oh Jerusalem, that brings good tidings, lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

If the chief, the best, the holiest city has found her God, — if Jerusalem has been so favoured, let her sing the gladsome tidings, over the hill-tops, to the most distant cities of the land, and say to them, “Behold your God.” If you have seen your Lord, beloved, proclaim the good news to those who have almost forgotten that there is a God; say to them, “Behold your God. He is still to be seen, by the eye of faith, working graciously in the midst of the earth.”

10-11. Behold, the Lord GOD will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those who are with young.

He knows their weakness, their weariness, their pain, and how incapable they are of speedy and long travelling; he is very tender and compassionate, and he will gently lead them.

12-14. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and measured out heaven with the span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor has taught him? With whom did he take counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and had shown to him the way of understanding?

And yet, beloved, we sometimes act as if we were God’s teachers, — as if we had to instruct him what he should do; and because we cannot see our way, we almost dream that he cannot, and because we are puzzled, we conceive that infinite wisdom must be at a nonplus; but it is not so. He was full of wisdom when there was no one with whom he could take counsel, and he is still wise in the highest degree.

15. Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,

Not a bucketful, but just a drop that remains in the bucket after you thought it had been completely emptied.

15. And are counted as the small dust of the balance:

Remember that this is said of “the nations.” China, India, Europe, Africa, with all their teeming multitudes, are only like the small dust of the balance that is blown away by the slightest puff of wind.

15,16. Behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon —

With all its forests of cedar: “Lebanon” —

16. Is not sufficient to burn,

Think of all the cedars of Lebanon as being ablaze, like some great forest fire, yet not being sufficient to supply the wood for God’s altars.

16. Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.

Whether it is the wild or the tame beasts that are on that mountain range, they are not sufficient for a burnt offering to the Most High.

17. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

As if they were the mere shadow of something, and had no more influence over him than as if they did not exist.

18. To whom then will you compare God?

This is a strong argument against idolatry, — against the worship of God under any visible form whatever: “To whom then will you compare God?”

18. Or what likeness will you compare to him?

The heathen made these supposed likenesses of God. Here is a description of the process by which they manufactured their idol-gods.

19. The workman melts an image, and the goldsmith overlays it with gold, —

The rough metal is cast in a certain form, and then the goldsmith puts on it his thin plates of gold, —

19. And casts silver chains.

To adorn it.

20. He who is so impoverished that he has no oblation

The poor man, who cannot manage to make a god of gold, —

20. Chooses a tree that will not rot;

A good piece of heart of oak or enduring elm.

20. He seeks for himself a skilful workman to prepare a carved image, that shall not be moved.

Fix it firmly, drive the post down far into the earth, so that it may be an immovable god.

21-26. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits on the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in: who brings the princess to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity. Yes, they shall not be planted; yes, they shall not be sown: yes, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow on them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. “To whom then will you compare me, or shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, —

Suppose it to be night-time: “Lift up your eyes on high,” —

26. And behold who has created these things,

These wondrous worlds, these stars that bespangle the firmament.

26. Who brings out their host by number:

For God knows the number of them all, and the name of every individual star that moves in the vast expanse of space.

26. He calls them all by names by the greatness of his might, for he is strong in power; not one fails.

They are not propped up with pillars, nor hung on some mighty ropes, yet they continue to occupy the spheres appointed for them by God. He hangs the world on nothing, and keeps it in its place by the perpetual outgoing of his power.

27. Why do you say, oh Jacob, and speak, oh Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over from my God”?

What! when he has not forgotten one of all those mighty hosts of stars, and when not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice, how can you dream that he has forgotten you, or that your way is hidden from him?

28-31. Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He gives power to the faint; and to those who have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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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