2891. A Sabbath Miracle

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A Sabbath Miracle

No. 2891-50:325. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 11, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 7, 1904.

And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years, and was bent double, and could in no way lift herself up. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him and said to her, “Woman, you are healed of your infirmity.” And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. {Lu 13:10-13}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1426, “Lifting Up of the Bowed Down, The” 1417}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2891, “Sabbath Miracle, A” 2892}
   Exposition on Lu 13:10-23 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3537, “Definite Challenge for Definite Prayer, A” 3539 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 13:1-22 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2547, “Return! Return!” 2548 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 13:6-30 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2308, “Ten Wrong Kinds of Hearers” 2309 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 4:33-36 6:6-11 13:10-17 14:1-6 Joh 5:1-9 9:1-14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2568, “Sabbath Work” 2569 @@ "Exposition"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Lu 13:11"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Lu 13:12"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Lu 13:13"}

1. What blessed days Sabbath days are! I mean not only the Jewish Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, but the Christian Sabbath on the first day of the week. I remember a friend in Newcastle telling me that, when he was looking at a house, in that city, which was to be rented, he was taken to the top of it, and the agent said to him, “You see that there is a fine view from here. You can see a long way today; but, on Sundays, you can see Durham Cathedral.” My friend asked, “Why on Sundays?” and the reply was, “You cannot see it all the rest of the week because of the smoke; but, on Sundays, it is usually clear enough to get a glimpse of it.” What views some of us have had of heaven, and what views of Jesus Christ have been accorded to us, on Sabbath days! We might have seen him on other days if there had not been so much smoke from business, and care, and sin; but the blessed breath from heaven has blown it all away on the Lord’s day, and we have been able to look even into what is within the veil.

2. Our Lord Jesus Christ has performed wonders of grace on all the days of the week. I should not be surprised to hear that there are Christians here who were converted on a Monday, or a Tuesday, or a Wednesday, or a Thursday, or a Friday, or a Saturday; but I should quite expect to learn that, for everyone of them, there are ten here who were brought to Christ on the Sabbath. Heaven’s gates seem to be set more widely open on that day than during the rest of the week, or else we have more inclination to enter them then. When the full history of the Sabbath shall be unfolded, we shall begin to know what infinite mercy it was, on God’s part, to set aside one day in seven especially for his worship and for our spiritual benefit. Thousands upon thousands, yes, millions upon millions have found Jesus very near, and rejoiced in him on the Lord’s day.

3. Our Saviour was accustomed to use the day for public worship and for the pursuance of his high and holy calling of blessing the children of men. So, finding that on that day he could meet many in the synagogue, he was accustomed to go there, and began to teach. Among the people, who came on the particular Sabbath of which our text speaks, there was one poor woman, who was possessed by an evil spirit, and that evil spirit had, I suppose, so affected her nerves, and so influenced her entire system, that her spinal cord was greatly weakened. Evidently, she had suffered from the worst kind of curvature of the spine, for she was bent double, “and could in no way lift herself up.” I am afraid that, if any one of you had been in such a sad state as that, you would have said, “I shall never go to the synagogue any more”; and that your friends would have said, “We think you had better not go. You are quite a sight, and you are so unwell, that you will be best at home. You can read a good book there, and you can worship God just as acceptably in your own parlour as you can by going up to the public assembly of his people.” I am also afraid that there are some here, who would have felt that they could be excused for a much lighter affliction than that poor woman suffered from, for I have known some, who could not come out to the service if it happened to be wet, though they went to business on wet days. Many people imagine that Sunday is a convenient day for being ill, and getting a little rest, so as to be fortified for the more important business which requires all their energies on the Monday, and during the rest of the week. It seems as though they thought that cheating God out of his day is a very small matter, but that robbing themselves of even a portion of a day would greatly grieve them.

4. If this poor woman had not gone to the synagogue, I do not know that she would ever have met Christ; so I commend her example to you, even if your bodily infirmities increase so much that you might make very justifiable excuses for being absent. There was a dear sister, now in heaven, who attended this Tabernacle for years, though she was so deaf that she never heard a word that was spoken. The reasons she gave for being here were that, at any rate, she could join in the hymns, and that, had she stayed away, she would have felt as if she was dissociated from the people of God; and other people, perhaps, might not have known the reason for her absence, and it might, therefore, have been a bad example to them. So she said, “Though I cannot hear a word, I love to be there”; and she has told me that some of the happiest hours she has ever spent have been those when she has had communion with the people of God, although she could not fully understand all that was being said or done. In the same way, dear friends, as often as the people of God assemble for worship, come with them.

5. Notice one thing more about this woman. She did not get any good through going to the synagogue, as long as she merely went there. She went to the synagogue bent double; and she came back bent double. If she went all those eighteen years, as I daresay she did, she was unable to lift herself up all that long time. Please do not, — you who are regular attendants at the house of God, and yet remain unsaved, — get into the notion that all you need is to attend divine service so many times on the Sabbath day or on week-nights; for, if you do, you will not be likely ever to get a blessing. This poor woman was not healed until she met the Lord Jesus Christ, and I wish each one of you would come here saying, “Oh, that I might meet Jesus today! Oh, that Jesus would meet me!” It is a rule, with very few exceptions, that what a man fishes for he is most likely to catch. If any come here merely out of idle curiosity, it is possible, though not certain, that their curiosity will be satisfied; if any come to find fault, I have no doubt that they will find plenty to complain about; but if any of you have come determined to find Christ if he is to be found, it will be a very surprising thing if you have to go away without discovering him. This is what you really need if you are to be restored from all the ills that sin has done, you must come to Christ himself.

6. I. Coming to the story of this poor woman, who was bent double, the first thing to be noted is that CHRIST’S COMPASSION WAS AROUSED. Jesus, while he was teaching in the synagogue, looked into the faces of his congregation; and, as he looked at them, he saw this woman, and his heart was at once moved with compassion towards her.

7. Notice that it was not her prayers that moved him, or any plea she urged, for she did not speak to him, or plead with him. This was one of the cases in which no request for healing was presented to the Saviour; it was the sight of her misery that touched his heart. Perhaps, dear friends, if she had not been bent double, Christ’s notice might not have been so quickly drawn to her; but because she was what people call “quite a sight,” and looked so sad, she attracted Christ’s attention.

8. Notice, also, that Christ was not moved to compassion by the prayers of anyone else for her. Sometimes, he healed the sick when their fathers, or mothers, or friends brought them to him; but no one brought this poor woman to Jesus. It does not seem as if anyone had sufficient compassion on her to ask Jesus to heal her; or, if they had the compassion, they did not have enough faith to believe that it was possible for her to be healed. There she was, a poor lone woman; and, possibly, it was the sight of her, with not a friend to help her, that touched Christ’s heart, and moved him to fix his gaze on her with a view to curing her sad complaint.

9. Notice, further, that Christ’s heart was not touched by any description which she gave him of her condition. She gave him no description, and none was needed. He looked at her; that was all that was required, for he already knew all about her. She did not say, “I have been bound by Satan for eighteen years”; but Christ knew that she had been. As he looked at her, he read her life story, as a man reads a book; and as he read the story, his heart was moved with compassion towards her. I wonder whether there is a soul here, that has not been asking the Lord for a blessing because that soul does not think it is likely that any blessing would come. I wonder whether there is anyone here, who has not dared to hope, and therefore has not dared to pray. My Master has a wonderful eye for such souls as these. There may have been, in that synagogue, a man wearing a gold ring, or a lady in a fine dress; but Christ did not notice them or their adornment. He picked out the person who was the most miserable, the most wretched, and who most needed his pity; and on her he fixed those blessed eyes of his, with a compassion tender as the heart of a woman, and his whole soul was moved with pity for her because she was so grievously bound by the accursed power of Satan.

10. Now let us look at this woman’s case a little more closely. She “was bent double, and could in no way lift herself up.” That, in itself, was a painful thing; all the beauty of the woman’s form and figure had gone; but being bent double, like that, must have produced most serious injury to every organ of the poor creature’s body. I have no doubt that she was the subject of a thousand aches and pains through the posture in which she had been bent. Besides, it is a beautiful thing to be able to look up; but to be always obliged to look down, is something terrible. Through this trying affliction, the poor woman could not even see the Saviour; though, happily, he could see her, bent down as she was in the crowd. Instead of looking up with the face of a woman, she had to put her head down towards the earth like a poor beast; and I should not wonder if the spirit of evil, that was in her, had made her feel unhappy, sorrowful, and almost despairing. I am also inclined to think that her mind may have been, like her body, bent towards the earth, and that this, too, was caused by Satanic influence. Perhaps the worst point about her case was that she had been in that sad condition for eighteen years. We do not know how it came about. She may, as a girl, have been able to run in the fields, and spend her days very merrily; but, suddenly, perhaps, this evil spirit came over her, and she began to feel weakness of the spine; and, eventually, she was bent double, the sun of her life was put out, and her days were dark with sorrow and pain; and this had continued for eighteen years! What a long time that is to be such a sufferer! Eighteen years of happiness may pass very quickly; but eighteen years of pain is a very long period. This woman, for eighteen years, could not lift her head up to look at the sun; for eighteen years Satan had possessed her, and bent her body double, and filled her mind with morbid thoughts, and dreary dreams, and terrible forebodings of dreadful things to happen in the future. Jesus knew all about those eighteen years, so we do not wonder that he had compassion on her.

11. Possibly, in this congregation, — indeed, I am quite sure I have some who, in soul, are like this poor woman was in body. You feel that you would gladly give all you have to be saved, but you have long ago given up all hope of that. You did, at one time, hear the gospel with some degree of pleasure; but now, even while you listen to it, you keep on condemning yourself, and saying, “Salvation will never come to me.” You have fallen into a condition of chronic melancholy; and you are so sad that friends, who used to cheer you, give you up in despair. Perhaps they call you foolish, but God knows that it is not folly, but a most grievous calamity that has happened to you. You cannot see Jesus, and you do not think that he can see you; but he does, and that is the only ray of hope for you. If I were to attempt to comfort you, I know that I would fail. If you are the person of whom I am thinking, no language from merely human lips will ever comfort you; there will have to be a divine voice reaching your innermost soul, or else you never will be healed of your infirmity. We encounter such people every now and then, and we try to cheer them; it is right that we should do so. We pity them, and we are quite sure that our Lord Jesus Christ pities them even more, for there is not one of us whose heart is one half so tender towards his fellow man as the heart of Christ himself is and must be; so, you poor afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, — you downtrodden, sin-burdened soul, Jesus picks you out of this throng, as he picked out that poor woman in the synagogue, so that he may have mercy on you as he had on her.

12. II. Secondly, JESUS ISSUED A COMMAND: “He called her to him.”

13. Somehow or other, he managed to attract her attention; and then, probably not without considerable difficulty and pain, she made a great effort, and, at last, was able to see him; and he said something to this effect, “Will that poor woman, over there, who is bent double, come here to me?” Whatever words he may have used, we know that “he called her to him.” Was not that command a proof of great grace and condescension on Christ’s part? If he, the Messiah, who spoke as never a man spoke, had called the ruler of the synagogue, and spoken familiarly to him, one might not have wondered so much; yet, out of all that throng, he did not call anyone except that poor decrepit, bowed-down, Satan-possessed daughter of Abraham; and we are expressly told that “He called her to him.” He might have called to her from a distance, and said, “Be healed,” but he did not, for he wished to show his special sympathy for such a sad case of suffering.

14. This call was not only given in great condescension, but it was also given directly and personally to her:“ He called her to him.” If Jesus had said, “I wish any person here, who suffers from a spirit of infirmity, to come to me,” perhaps she might have come, perhaps she might not; but, instead of giving a general invitation like that, he fixed his eye on her, and “called her to him.” Do any of you remember a sermon — I do very well, — in which the preacher seemed to speak to no one but yourself? I am fully persuaded that, if I had been, like the prisoners in some of our jails, locked up in a box where I could not see anyone but the preacher, — on the occasion when the Lord met me, the preacher could not have addressed himself more pointedly to me than he did then; and, on the occasion to which our text refers, Christ addressed himself to this woman personally and pointedly. I am hoping that the description I have given of the woman will make someone here say, “Ah, that is just my case!” Well, if so, oh poor bowed-down daughter, poor languishing, desponding man, Jesus calls you! If that description applies to you, apply the personal call to yourself, and say, “This condescending, pointed call is addressed to me.”

15. Then do as this poor woman did; make it a call which was promptly obeyed. I daresay that the other people in the synagogue were very surprised that Christ called her, yet they made way for her; and, — strange object as she was, — perhaps, every step painful for her, — she managed to get where Christ was. As she was coming towards him, she heard him make this extraordinary statement, “Woman, you are healed of your infirmity”; and when she got close to him, he laid both his hands on her, “and immediately she was made straight.” How startled she must have been — even at Christ’s first call, and little did she dream that he was going to cure her in such a way; and perhaps there is someone here whom Christ intends to save, yet you have not even been thinking of him. Nevertheless, thus it is written in the counsels of eternity, “In the Tabernacle, on that summer Sunday night, such and such a soul must be delivered from the bondage of Satan.” If it is so written, all the demons in hell cannot hold you captive beyond the appointed moment; and all the weight of your sins, and the evil habits that you have formed, and so long practised, shall burn like so much tow in a blazing fire, for God’s eternal decree of mercy must be fulfilled; and he who comes to deliver you is none other than Christ, the Son of God, “mighty to save,” before whom gates of bronze are broken, and bars of iron are snapped asunder. It was a glorious Sabbath for that poor woman when the Lord came out, determined to heal her; and this will be a glorious Sabbath for you if the Lord now resolves to save you. He is even now calling you doubters, you desponding ones, you who have given up all hope; he is calling you, will you not come to him? Will you not trust him? He asks you to believe, not that you are good, but that he is good; — not that you can be healed by your neighbour, but that you can be healed by your Saviour; he asks you to come and listen to his gracious words while he says, “Your sins are forgiven you; go in peace.” “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, like a cloud, your sins: return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

16. III. So far we have noticed two things, — Christ’s compassion aroused, and his command issued; next, CHRIST’S POWER WAS REVEALED, and that was done in a very instructive way.

17. Jesus said to her, “Woman, you are healed of your infirmity.” It is the Word of the Lord that has power in it. Whenever people are converted, and brought to Christ, it is by God’s Word that the deed is done. Fine sermons never win souls; you may blaze away, young man, at a terrific rate, with your brilliant oratory, and your fine pieces of poetry and quotations from eminent authors; and your conclusion may be like the set piece at a display of fireworks, or the final burst of brightness with which it all ends; but all that will not save souls. What does save souls, then? Why, the Word of the Lord, the truth as it is in Jesus. I have noticed that the very words of Scripture are usually those that reach the heart; so, brothers and sisters, if you really want to find the Lord, give good heed to his Word; incline your ear, and come to him; hear, and your soul shall live; for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of the Lord.”

18. In addition to speaking to the woman, Christ laid his hands on her; and that is the way that healing reaches sin-sick souls, by being brought into contact with Christ. When the pure humanity of Christ is recognised by us, and we perceive that he is our Brother and our Friend, — when we see that he bears both our sins and our sorrows, and carries our sicknesses in his own blessed Person, — when we realize that Christ has become our Representative and Surety, — a sense of peace comes into our soul. One reason why Jesus is so well qualified to save us is that —

    He knows what sore temptations mean,
       For he has felt the same; —

and he is, therefore, able to help those who are tempted. Bowed-down woman, he puts his pierced hands on you; severely troubled man, do you not know that God has taken your nature on himself and now says to you, “Be comforted, for I have loved you, and lived for you, and died for you?” May God grant that you may feel that healing touch, and experience that divine deliverance this very hour!

19. That afflicted woman was healed immediately. One of the most wonderful things about Christ’s cures was that, as a general rule, they were accomplished in a moment. Can you imagine — I have often tried to do so, — the strange sensations that passed through some of those people when they were healed in a moment? Think of this poor woman, — eighteen years bent double, and then completely restored in a single moment! What a paradise must have been condensed into those few minutes! At first, I suppose she may have thought that she was only dreaming. What! was she able to stand upright, and to look into the face of him who had performed such a wonderful cure for her? The rapture must have seemed almost too much for her when she realized that she was healed in a moment; and what if, just now, you should be saved in a moment. Remember that, to pardon sin, does not take God a single second; to save a soul from death and hell, is a more rapid work than for the lightning’s bolt to fall from heaven. At one moment, a great load of sin may be on you, and you may be fully conscious of the terrible burden; the next moment, every sin is gone, and you are conscious that it is so, and ready to leap for joy. No one can work this mighty miracle of mercy except the Lord Jesus Christ; yet he can do it more swiftly than I can speak of it. Oh, that some, who have been bound by Satan for eighteen years, or even longer, may prove that they do not need eighteen minutes, or even eighteen seconds to get free; but may they now look to Jesus, and, believing in him, find instantaneous healing!

20. Once more, this woman’s cure was perfect, as well as instantaneous. She did not lift herself up a little, and find that the Satanic bondage was being somewhat relaxed; but she was perfectly healed, and, better still, she was permanently healed. Her malady did not come back again. We have known doctors to straighten a man up for a little while; and, after that, there has been a relapse; but this woman was both made straight and kept straight; and if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation which he gives us, though it is instantaneous, is also perfect and everlasting, for whoever trusts in Christ is saved immediately, and saved for ever. The gifts and calling of God are not matters for repentance on his part; he does not give salvation, and then take it back; but, having once given it, it remains the property of its possessor world without end. Then, what a precious Christ he is, and what a glorious Healer! I hope some sick one here is saying, “I wish he would look this way; oh, that Jesus would look at me!” He is looking at you, soul; hear what he says to you, “Come to me, trust in me.” If you trust Jesus now, though you have been bent double these eighteen, these twenty-eight, these thirty-eight, these forty-eight, these fifty-eight, these sixty-eight, — these ninety-eight years, or these hundred and eighteen years, if such a person could be, if you only looked to him, come to him, trust him, in a moment he would make you whole. Oh, that you may do so!

21. IV. The last thing of all is this, CHRIST’S POWER WAS GLORIFIED.

22. It is said of this woman that, immediately, being made straight, she “glorified God.” I should think she did. I should not mind having interruptions in our service from people who had found Christ. Our Methodist friends, in the olden times, when they found peace, used to shout “Hallelujah!” Well, if they really had found Christ, I think they were warranted in shouting. If ever a man might cry “Eureka! Eureka!” it was not the old philosopher, but the new-born child of God. Oh, what bliss it is to find the Saviour! If one were, for a little while, delirious with the excessive joy of being saved by grace, it might be excusable. It is said that some of our young converts are wonderfully enthusiastic. Yes, and well they may be. If you had received such a blessing as they have, you would be enthusiastic, too. If you have ever known the weight of sin crushing you to the dust, and then have had it suddenly borne away, you must have felt a mighty rebound when that great load has been removed. Could that healed woman help clapping her hands? Did she not stand up before the whole congregation in the synagogue, and say, “That man must be the Son of God, blessed be his holy name! After eighteen years of bondage, he has healed me in a moment.” Or suppose that she was of the very quiet kind, — like the most of you, good sisters, — if she did not say a word, yet I think she glorified God by simply standing up straight. If she did not say anything, but just walked away home, all who had known her, in her long time of affliction, when they saw her stand up, a fine tall handsome woman, and knew that she must be the same person, must have been struck with wonder, and have said, “What new power is this? Who but God could have restored this woman like this?” I should like, brothers and sisters in Christ, that you and I should live so that our very lives should preach for Jesus Christ, — that people should only have to listen to our ordinary conversation, or to see the cheerfulness of our countenance, or to perceive the hopefulness of our spirit under trouble, our justness and integrity, our readiness to forgive, our zeal for God. It is good to preach with your tongue, if God has called you to do so; but never forget that the best preaching in the world is done by other members of the body. So, preach with your feet, — by your walk and conversation; let your whole being be a living, powerful, irresistible illustration of the power of Jesus Christ to bless and save.

23. It was so in the case of this woman, for I do not think that, after she had clapped her hands once, and stood up to testify before the whole congregation, that she was finished glorifying God. Oh, no; all her lifelong, she would be glad to tell that story over and over again. I wonder whether she got married after that wonderful healing. It is very likely that she did; and if so, and she had children of her own, as they sat on her knee, one of the first stories she would tell them would be about when she was bent double for eighteen years, and then that wonderful Prophet called her to him in the synagogue, one Sabbath day, and made her straight in a moment. Perhaps she lived long enough to tell the story of Christ’s suffering and death. If she ever saw any of her grandchildren, I am sure they would say, “Come, Granny, tell us your story,” and she would tell it so well that they would want to hear it again and again.

24. I think that every Christian should go home to his friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for him. There is a brother, — not far from me at this moment, — who had been a wild young man, fond of all the sports of the country. He went to London, and heard a sermon that was the means of his conversion. When he went home, one of his friends, with whom he used to follow the hounds, said to him, “Well, Tom, what is the best thing you heard in London?” And Tom replied, “The best thing I heard in London is that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ ” “Oh!” said his companion, “you have gone mad.” “No,” answered Tom, “I was mad before I went to London, but I have gotten cured.” I hope you will be able to give such testimony as that concerning what Jesus Christ has done for your souls, even as this poor woman “was made straight, and glorified God.”

25. Some people may say to you, “You had better hold your tongue; for you will break down if you try to tell such a story as that.” That would be the very best thing you could do. There is nothing like a break-down when you are telling your story of redeeming grace and dying love; it is the very glory of it when you break down with emotion, and cannot say any more, for your hearers will be all the more anxious to know the rest of it, and there will be a deeper impression produced by your breaking down than there would have been if you had kept right on. But, anyway, tell the story; tell it as long as you have any breath in your body; tell how “Jesus has done all things well,” and saved your soul. Make heaven and earth to ring with the glad news; and when you go home to glory, tell the angels all about it, for they will be glad to hear your story, and they will break out into fresh praise as they listen to it. May God bless every one of you, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 9}

This Psalm has a dedication which is very difficult to understand: “To the chief Musician on Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.” Either “Muth-labben” is the tune to which the Psalm was to be sung, or some musical instrument that is now forgotten, or else it alludes to Ben, who was one of the Levitical singers mentioned in 1Ch 15:18. In all probability, however, the true translation of the title is, “A Psalm on the death of the son,” or “on the death of the champion,” and it is thought by some that it was composed by David after the death of the giant Goliath. If it is so, I think you will see, as we read the Psalm, that it well proclaims the victory which God had accomplished.

1. I will praise you, oh Lord, with my whole heart; I will proclaim all your marvellous works.

It will be good if we also resolve that we will praise the Lord. Most people have something or someone to praise, so let us select the Lord, even Jehovah, as the subject of our song. Let us resolve that we will praise him continually, for it may be difficult sometimes to do it. The heart may be very heavy; it may even be inclined to rebellion and murmuring, but let us make this strong resolution, in the power of God’s grace: “I will proclaim all your marvellous works.” Here is room for great variety of praise, and here are abundant topics for praise, for there is no work of God which is not marvellous, and worthy of being praised with our whole heart. So, Lord I will not be silent. You have given me a tongue, I am not like the brute beasts that cannot speak; my tongue is the glory of my body, so with it I will proclaim all your marvellous works.

2. I will be glad and rejoice in you: I will sing praise to your name, oh Most High.

Get up, then, my soul, out of the dark places of your despondency. Rise, my drooping spirit, to something higher and better. If you cannot be glad in anything else, be glad in your God; — be glad that you have a God, and such a God, and that he is still your God. Whatever else you may have lost, you have not lost him.

“I will be glad and rejoice.” The reduplication of the words indicates a double joy, — a double gladness, as the apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Be glad twice over, for you have double cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

3. When my enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at your presence.

As much as to say, “The presence of God is quite enough to make my adversaries flee, — yes, and utterly to cut them off.” As John Wesley said, “The best of all is, God is with us”; and if God is with us, it matters little to us who are against us.

4. For you have maintained my right and my cause; you sat on the throne judging right.

One of our noblemen has this for his motto, “I will maintain it”; but the Christian has a far better one: “You have maintained my right.” If David sang like this after he had hurled the stone from his sling into Goliath’s skull, he might well magnify the name of the Lord, who had maintained the rights of his people, and put the uncircumcised champion of the Philistines to confusion and death.

5, 6. You have rebuked the heathen, you have destroyed the wicked, you have put out their name for ever and ever. Oh you enemy, —

You can conceive of David, standing on the prostrate form of his fallen foe, and looking on that gigantic countenance and those mighty limbs, crying out, “Oh you enemy,” —

6, 7. Destructions are come to a perpetual end: and you have destroyed cities, their memorial is perished with them. But the Lord shall endure for ever: he has prepared his throne for judgment.

“You have destroyed cities,” but you could not destroy God. When you defied the armies of other nations, you could easily put them to rout, but when you defied the living God, then that was the end of you, for you could not overcome him, nor overcome his people. Blessed be God for this, our faith is founded on a rock that never shall be moved, and our confidence is fixed on One who can never fail us, and whose truth must stand firm for ever.

8-10. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know your name will put their trust in you:

The basis of faith is knowledge, and there is no knowledge like what comes from experience. If you know the name of God as Jehovah, — the self-existent and ever-living God, — you will have good reason for trusting him; and, then, if you know his many precious names, — such as Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my banner; Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide; Jehovah-Shalom, the peace-giving God, and Jehovah-Shammah, the God who is there where his people are; — yes, if any one name of God is fully understood by you, you will put your trust in him.

10-12. For you, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion: declare among the people his doings. When he avenges blood, he remembers them:

When the great Coroner’s inquest shall be held on all who have wrongly suffered, the commission will open by an enquiry concerning the blood of the martyrs: “When he avenges blood, he remembers them.” His suffering ones, who laid down their lives for the truth’s sake, shall find that their blood was precious in his sight.

12. He does not forget the cry of the humble.

Is there not consolation in these words for some of you? You have been humbled, and brought down from your high places; now, then, is your time to cry; and when you do so, you will prove that “he does not forget the cry of the humble.” There are many, who give heed to the petitions of their needy fellow creatures, and feel their force, for a time; but they are engaged in business, or occupied in other ways, and they soon forget. Other things crowd out the needy one’s petition, and so he is left unhelped. But it is never so with God: “He does not forget the cry of the humble.” Notice, in the next verse, how David avails himself of that truth. He seems to say, “Is it true that God does not forget the cry of the humble? Then I will cry to him, and my humble cry shall go up to his ear, and to his heart.”

13. Have mercy on me, oh Lord; —

What a blessed prayer that is, — a prayer useful on all occasions, — under a sense of sin, or under a load of sorrow, — burdened with labour, or crushed with despondency. It is a prayer which is like the cherubim’s sword, which turned every way; you may use it as you wish: “Have mercy on me, oh Lord”; —

13. Consider my trouble which I suffer from those who hate me, you who lift me up from the gates of death:

What a lift that is, — lifted up from the gates of death into life, and ultimately into heaven! What an almighty God our Lord proves himself to be at a dead lift! {a} When every other arm is paralysed, he comes to us, and lifts us up from the gates of death.

14. That I may proclaim all your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion:

From the gates of death to the gates of Zion, is the lift which God gives to his poor suffering people.

14, 15. I will rejoice in your salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made:

If you picture David with the carcass of the giant before him, the Philistines put to ignominious flight, and the Israelites in full pursuit after them, you can understand his saying, “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made.”

15, 16. In the net which they hid, their own foot is taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executes: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

The probable meaning of these words is, “Consider and pause.” They are musical rests, perhaps; but they also suggest to us how good it is, in our reading of the Scriptures, to stop sometimes for a while, and inwardly digest the words that we have read.

17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Even if they are not outwardly as wicked as other men are, yet their forgetfulness of God is the highest form of injustice to him; it is treason against the majesty of heaven; it is robbing God of what is his right; it is a combination of everything that is evil.

18-20. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. Arise, oh LORD, do not let man prevail: let the heathen be judged in your sight. Put them in fear, oh LORD: so that the nations may know themselves to be only men.

They boast that they are men, and that they behave themselves like men. Yet let them know that, although they are men, they are only men, with all the infirmities and imperfections of men, and that there is a God who will, in due time, let men know that they are only men, and that the best of men are only men at the best.

20. Selah.

Pause again, think over what we have been reading, and lift up your heart in prayer to God, seeking the aid of the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to your soul.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 9” 9}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 146” 146}

{a} Dead lift: The pull of a horse, etc., exerting his utmost strength at a dead weight beyond his power to move. OED.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 9
1 To celebrate thy praise, oh Lord,
      I will my heart prepare;
   To all the listening world thy works,
      Thy wondrous works declare.
2 The thought of them shall to my soul
      Exalted pleasure bring;
 Whilst to thy name, oh thou Most High,
      Triumphant praise I sing.
3 All those who have his goodness proved
      Wilt in his truth confide;
 Whose mercy ne’er forsook the man
      That on his help relied.
4 His suff’ring saints, when most distress’d,
      He ne’er forgets to aid;
 Their expectations shall be crown’d,
      Though for a time delay’d.
5 Sing praises, therefore, to the Lord
      From Sion, his abode;
 Proclaim his deeds, till all the world
      Confess no other God.
                  Tate and Brady, 1696.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 146 (Version 1)
1 Praise ye the Lord; my heart shall join
   In work so pleasant, so divine;
   Now, while the flesh is mine abode,
   And when my soul ascends to God.
2 Praise shall employ my noblest powers,
   While immortality endures:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   Wile life, and thought, and being last.
3 Happy the man whose hopes rely
   On Israel’s God: he made the sky,
   And earth and seas with all their train;
   And none shall find his promise vain.
4 His truth for ever stands secure:
   He saves the oppress’d, he feeds the poor;
   He sends the labouring conscience peace,
   And grants the prisoners sweet release.
5 The Lord hath eyes to give the blind;
   The Lord supports the sinking mind;
   He helps the stranger in distress,
   The widow and the fatherless.
6 He loves his saints; he knows them well;
   But turns the wicked down to hell;
   Thy God, oh Zion, ever reigns;
   Praise him in everlasting strains.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 146 (Version 2) <8s. 6 lines.>
1 I’ll praise my Maker with my breath,
   And when my voice is lost in death,
      Praise shall employ my nobler powers:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   While life and thought and being last,
      Or immortality endures.
2 Why should I make a man my trust?
   Princes must die and turn to dust! —
      Vain is the help of flesh and blood:
   Their breath departs, their pomp and power
   And thoughts all vanish in an hour,
      Nor can they make their promise good.
3 Happy the man whose hopes rely
   On Israel’s God: he made the sky,
      And earth, and seas, with all their train:
   His truth for ever stands secure;
   He saves the oppress’d, he feeds the poor,
      And none shall find his promise vain.
4 The Lord hath eyes to give the blind;
   The Lord supports the sinking mind;
      He sends the labouring conscience peace:
   He helps the stranger in distress,
   The widow and the fatherless,
      And grants the prisoners sweet release.
5 He loves his saints, he knows them well,
   But turns the wicked down to hell;
      Thy God, oh Zion, ever reigns:
   Let every tongue, let every age,
   In this exalted work engage;
      Praise him in everlasting strains.
6 I’ll praise him while he lends me breath,
   And when my voice is lost in death,
      Praise shall employ my nobler powers:
   My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
   While life, and thought, and being last,
      Or immortality endures.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

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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