3088. The Storm And The Shower

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No. 3088-54:181. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, December 3, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, April 16, 1908.

“Awake, oh sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is my companion,” says the LORD of hosts: “strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand on the little ones.” {Zec 13:7}

1. We are sure that we understand this passage, for we have our Lord Jesus Christ’s application of it to himself: “All of you,” he said to his disciples, “shall be offended because of me tonight: for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’” It is always good, when we are considering a text in the Old Testament which we think may refer to Christ, if we can be ensured that it does so by some declaration of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, or by some testimony from the lips of the Master himself, as we have in this case.

2. The passage seems to me to be best illustrated by a description I once heard from one of our Lord’s servants, who pictured a tempest as gathering in the heavens, the darkness deepening, and eventually the thunder and lightning came, and the storm shook the earth. He saw before him a towering mountain, with its peak lifted high up towards heaven; at its foot lay a sheltered hamlet. The storm seemed all concentrated around the mountain’s brow; that was the centre of the battle of the elements. That lofty peak seemed to be split and broken to pieces by the dread artillery of God. The hamlet down below was in comparative peace; only some gentle drops of rain fell on it, watering its fields. And he who gave the illustration said, “That peak was the Christ of God, Jesus the Substitute and Surety of his people, standing in our place, on whom burst the full tempest of Jehovah’s wrath, so that the soft drops of compassion and of grace might fall on the people for whom he suffered.”

3. Looking at the text in that light, we have, first, the thunder of the tempest: “‘Awake; oh sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is my companion,’ says the Lord of hosts: ‘strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’” Then we have the soft and gentle shower: “I will turn my hand on the little ones.” There is the war-note first, the crash and clang of conflict; and then it is peace, with the music of rest and joy.


5. And let us notice, first, the Victim on whom it fell. According to the text, the sword was to awake against One who is called by God, “My shepherd,” and who is further described as “‘the man who is my companion,’ says the Lord of hosts.” We gather, therefore, that Jesus, who suffered in our place, holds the office of a shepherd, a shepherd appointed by God, and sent by him to take care of the sheep. It is not my object, at this time, to speak at length on this office of the Lord Jesus Christ, {a} but just to remind you that, just as Jacob, when he was shepherd to Laban, was responsible for all the flocks under his care, so God has committed his own chosen flock into the hands of Jesus, “that great Shepherd of the sheep,” and he has become responsible for them. They will pass again under the hand of him who counts them, and he will say to his Father, “Here I am, and the sheep that you gave me. Of all that you gave me, I have lost none.” It is Christ’s office to keep his sheep even to the end, and to lead them at last to lie down on the hill tops of heaven, not one of them having been lost by the way. Dear friend’s, let us exalt in this relationship between Christ and his people. We are as weak and foolish and as full of needs as sheep can be; but we have a Shepherd who perfectly understands us, who loves us so much that he will preserve to the end even the very least among us.

6. I want to dwell now on the personal description of Christ that is given by the Lord of hosts himself: “the man who is my companion.” We never wish to deny the real manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not always possible to speak of that manhood without making some mistakes; but, for my part, I believe the mistake of falling short of a description of full and proper manhood is far more frequent than the mistake of carrying that description too far. Jesus Christ felt as we feel, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in all points like we are. He was a man as for his body, and he was a man as for his soul. He was born as we are, and from infancy grew to boyhood, and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” He reasoned as we reason, but without the evil bias which the Fall has given to our judgment. He lived as we live, only without that tendency to evil which has come to us through our natural depravity. In everything that is included in pure manhood, Christ was one with us. Sin was not present in the first ideal of manhood, and it was not present in Christ; “in him was no sin.” Please do not ever set Jesus Christ up so high as to imagine that his manhood was not like yours, so that he cannot sympathize with you, for then you cannot sympathize with him; and the next thing will be that you cannot love him, and that you cannot trust him, and that you cannot come to him, and have fellowship with him. Believe, beloved, that he was in all points such as you are, with the exception of your sin. He had infirmities such as you have, though they were sinless ones; he felt just such aches and pains as trouble you, and the depressions and downcastings that vex your spirit. Yes, he who stood in our place was a man. The law demanded that man, who had done dishonour to it, should also vindicate it; and it was so, for the Son of Mary stood in the gap on our behalf. The second Adam, the true representative Man, stood there to render to living justice full payment of the debt which the first Adam who represented us, had incurred.

7. But the text is actually clear in the description of Christ’s Godhead: “‘the man who is my companion,’ says the Lord of hosts.” What a wonderful description this is! A man, and yet “‘my companion,’ says the Lord of hosts.” The word translated “companion” means associate, confidant, and equal. I could not express the full meaning of it in fewer words than those. Christ was God’s companion: “the Word was with God.” “I was by him, as one brought up with him.” Christ was God’s associate, with whom the Father constantly communed in fullest fellowship. He was God’s confidant; he had seen all things that his Father had done, and therefore he was able to make them known to us. He was also equal with the Father, and we may go even beyond our text, and say that he was one with God, for he claimed to be so when he said, “I and my Father are one.” I never wonder, when people once doubt the deity of Christ, if they go to great lengths in slandering his character. I heard, the other day, something said with regard to our Saviour’s birth which it is not right for any man to repeat, yet I said, when I heard it, “Yes, and it must be so if he was not really God.” The mystery of his birth does become a matter that we have to speak of with bated breath if he was not the Son of the Highest; and his life itself (I say this with the utmost reverence to his holy name) was a barefaced imposture if he was not the Son of God, for he certainly claimed to be that. But, beloved, we know for certain that Christ was the Son of the Highest, and “very God of very God”; and he is such to us in his power within our souls. He has done for us what no mere man could ever have done, and we are resting all our hopes for time and for eternity on One who is able to save us to the uttermost, because he is divine. He is indeed the “companion” of the Eternal, and I delight to think that he, who stood in our place, and suffered in our stead, though man, was not merely man. It was the Infinite who became an infant, the God who became man, so that he might stand in the sinner’s place, and so that the atonement might have an infinite value which otherwise it could not have had. It was God who bore my sins in his own body on the tree, and the apostle spoke under divine inspiration when he said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, “Feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.” The expression must be allowable, or it would not have been used in such a context, so I will also use it. It was my God who bled for me on Calvary, so that I might live with him for ever. Oh, what consolation there is in this truth, that he, who was struck instead of us, was most truly God as well as most certainly man!

8. So I have, then, clearly set before you that amazing Victim of the terrible storm.

9. Now think, next, of the sufferings he endured. Concerning them, the text says, “Awake, oh sword, … strike the shepherd.” It was a sword, then, with which he was struck. On Christ the rod of chastisement did not so heavily fall as the sword of punishment. He was chastised for our sake, for “the chastisement of our peace was upon him”; but more than that, there was the sharp, penal sword which demanded life itself. Against our Saviour the most fatal weapon was used. He must not merely be sorrowful even to death, but he must actually die. Dear friends, that sword was so keen and piercing that it cut him to the very soul. I speak of these great truths very simply, for I do not think there is any occasion here for using flowery speech; but if we were as we ought to be, we should be very deeply affected by the thought that the Son of man most perfect, and the Son of God most glorious, should have the sword of divine vengeance against sin drawn out of its scabbard so that it might be used on him. Oh darling of Jehovah, must you bleed? You fairest among ten thousand fair, you who are altogether lovely, must you be dragged down into the dust of death? Oh face like the noonday sun, must you be eclipsed in darkness? Oh eyes brighter than the evening star, must you be sealed in the midnight of death, after having first been quenched in floods of tears? It must be so. The sword which is for criminals, the sword which is to avenge high treason, the sword which cannot be quiet as long as there is sin before the throne of God, — that sword must leap out of its scabbard, and sheathe itself in the heart of Christ.

   Jehovah bade his sword awake,

      Oh Christ, it woke ’gainst thee!

   Thy blood the flaming blade must slake,

      Thy heart its sheath must be.

   All for my sake, my peace to make:

      Now sleeps that sword for me.

10. And then you will notice that the very wording of the text indicates the sharpness of the suffering; it is, “Awake, oh sword,” as if the sword of God had been asleep before; yet I have read of Pharaoh and his hosts destroyed at the Red Sea, and of Amalek cut off from before the Lord, and of Canaanites extirpated from their native land, and of Sennacherib’s vast army slain in a single night. Was not the sword of the Lord awake then? No, it was only, as it were, stirring in his sleep. The sword of divine justice was stirring in its scabbard, but God’s longsuffering was pushing it back; but now he cries to it, “Awake, oh sword! End your slumbering now. Human sin has startled you many a time, but I have said to you, ‘Sleep on; my patience must have her perfect work; so wait’; but now, leap out of your scabbard, oh sword, for your Victim is before you! He is come on whom human sin is concentrated, the Victim whom you are to strike, because on him the Lord has laid the iniquity of all his people.” It seems a dreadful thing to me, I cannot express what I have thought about it, and felt about it, that this sword of God’s vengeance, which, lifted up at any time, would strike us to hell, must be told to awaken, that is, to arouse itself to more than its usual sharpness, to cut and hew and hack as it did when Christ was exposed to its keen blade. His physical sufferings, his mental griefs, and his spiritual torments, are beyond all description. When God’s infinite justice was wide awake, and in sternest action, you may guess in a measure, but you cannot fully conceive of what our Lord must have endured.

11. Observe once more, for this adds to the force of the language, that this sword was awakened by the voice of God himself. I can imagine the cry that arose to God’s sword when the world was corrupt, and full of sin in the days of Noah, and man’s sin cried aloud, “Awake, oh sword!” I can understand how the groans and tears of the children of Israel when they were in Egypt, in cruel bondage, said, “Awake, oh sword!” I can imagine the unutterable abominations of the Canaanites crying, “Awake, oh sword!” I think I can even hear your sins and mine saying, “Awake, oh sword!” Yet God did not allow that sword to awaken to the fullest extent, even in those dreadful olden times; and, in the case of believers, not at all, for “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” But, at last, God spoke, God, the Lord of hosts, spoke, and said, “Awake, oh sword!” Now the sword must awaken, for it is God who calls to it; and when God himself tells the sword of divine justice to strike his son, he knows, as we cannot, what those blows must have been. “Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” The bruisings of the Roman scourge were terrible, but his Father’s bruisings were far worse. Neither Jew nor Gentile could put him to grief as the Father did. That was the keenest agony of all which made him cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So it was God who awakened the sword, and God who struck the Shepherd with omnipotent power, which, if Christ also had not been omnipotent, would have utterly destroyed him. I believe that our poet was right when he said that Christ — 

   Bore all incarnate God could bear,

   With strength enough, yet none to spare.

12. Now notice, thirdly, while I am speaking about the storm, the startling effect of it on those who were with the Victim: “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” The disciples were alarmed at the very approach of the Saviour’s sufferings; they fell asleep even while he was praying in the garden; and they ran away, like cowards, when he was arrested. Some of them crept back by stealth to see him in the hall of judgment, but one of them denied him even there, and none of them had the courage to stand by him in his time of trial. We may blame them, but there is a view of their conduct which may be taken which, though it does not excuse them, may at least show how much we are like them. I think they were startled by his agony, astonished by his griefs, amazed that such a One as he was could be treated with such scorn and ignominy, and be put to such a shameful death. They believed him to be the Son of the Highest, and they could not understand how he could be made to suffer so much. And when I have seen sin laid on Jesus, I must confess that I have been astonished, and startled, and overwhelmed by his griefs; and I have thought that, if I had been with him in his agony, as his disciples were, I might have been scattered with them. The sufferings of the man who was the companion of the Lord of hosts, in place of us poor worms of the earth, were more than we can comprehend. May God grant us grace, if startled as we hear about them, to rally again to him, and each one of us to say, with Thomas, “My Lord, and my God,” and then to cling to him through life and in death, come what may.

13. II. I will not describe this great storm any further, for I want your patient attention for a little while longer while I speak of THE BLESSED SHOWER OF MERCY WHICH FOLLOWED IT: “I will turn my hand on the little ones.”

14. Where does this shower of mercy fall? “On the little ones.” What does that expression mean? It is a name of fondness and endearment. We who are parents love to talk about our little ones; and God, who is the father of the family of which Christ is the Elder Brother, calls us his little ones to show how he loves us. There is a propensity about love to speak of its object as little; you know how we make little words of endearment, and apply them to those of whom we are very fond. So God calls his children — his people — his little ones, and says that he will turn his hand on them. How little we all are in comparison with God! We are not worthy even to be mentioned in connection with him. We talk about the little ants which toil and tug to move one tiny grain of wheat; but the ants might very well say to us, “We are not little at all, compared with you, in comparison with what you are when you are contrasted with the great God who made both us and you.” He fills all things; and, compared with him, we are less than nothing. Then, how sweet it is to know that God will turn his hand on his little ones, such insignificant nothings as we are! born yesterday, living today, and dead before tomorrow comes, mere flowers that bloom only to fade and die! Oh God, how good you are to think about us who are so little!

15. And then, further, those whom the Lord loves are little in their own estimation, and the promise of the text is to those who are little: “I will turn my hand on the little ones”; — little as for excellence; yes, with no excellence of which you dare to boast; — little as for natural strength to do what is good; yes, with no natural strength at all, but feeling yourselves to be helpless and hopeless apart from Christ; — so little that you need to be swaddled in the bands of grace, carried in the arms of power, fed from the bosom of eternal love, and to be nurtured, kept, preserved, protected by God all your lifelong, for you can do nothing by yourselves. Well, if you feel your littleness, here is the promise for just such as you are, “I will turn my hand on the little ones.” You strong ones may take care of yourselves, if you can. You who boast of your own native strength, may go your own way. You who are rich and increased in goods may boast in what you have; but my Master fills the hungry with good things, he lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, and sets him among princes. So he turns his hand on the little ones, and happy are you who are the objects of his mercy.

16. Next, think of the Giver of the mercy: “I will turn my hand on the little ones.” Then it is God himself, that same Lord of hosts who struck the Shepherd, who turns his own hand on the little ones. Was he strong to strike, beloved? Then he is equally strong to save. Did he strike his Son with omnipotent blows? Then he will bless us with omnipotent love. Oh, think of this! The hand that struck the Shepherd is now turned in another direction, but with the same power in it, to bless the sheep. How just, then, is the grace which we receive! The right hand of God wields the sword, and with it he strikes his well-beloved Son; but having struck him, he drops the sword, and the same hand of infallible justice now deals out the bounties of the covenant, for every blessing which any child of God receives comes from him as justly as if it were not a gift of mercy; for, when Christ died for us, and so discharged all our debts, it was only just that we should be justified in him. When he had stood in our place, and offered a perfect righteousness and a complete atonement for us, it was only justice that we should be “accepted in the Beloved.” Every gift that now comes to God’s people comes in a way of which divine justice itself approves; no, more, it comes in such away that it would not be just if it had not come. The right hand which struck Christ on our behalf is the same right hand which is now turned on the little ones. Oh, how blessed it is to see justice and mercy united in the covenant of grace like this! How honourable it is to be found in such a condition that God’s own royal hand has now become our protection! Yes, Lord, I have learned the inflexible character of your justice in the death of your dear Son; and as I have seen him bleed and die, my soul has been crushed into the dust, and I have been terrified because of your severity; but now that I know that, just such a One as you were in all your sternness in striking your Son, just such are you in your loving care of all your elect, and therefore my spirit exalts in you. Take the attribute of justice away from God, and you have taken away what makes all the other attributes sure to the people of God; but when you see that he, who is the God of infinite justice, is also the God who turns his hand on us in mercy, there is a sweetness about the whole matter which otherwise we should not have been able to perceive.

17. So I close by noticing what this mercy is which comes to the people of God: “I will turn my hand on the little ones”; that is, “my hand of compassion. Before, through their sin, I put them away from me; but now that I have struck their Shepherd instead of them, I will draw near to them; I will be with them; I will touch them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. I will turn my hand on them in compassionate familiarity.”

18. “I will turn my hand on them”; that is, “my hand of power to protect them. When anyone comes out to attack them, I will stretch out my hand to shield them from danger; indeed, more, I will take them up into my hand, and no one shall pluck them from there. I will keep them as the apple of my eye. I will cover them with my feathers, and under my wings they shall trust; my truth shall be their shield and buckler. I will turn my hand on the little ones, so that, though they were defenceless before, my omnipotent power shall guard them against danger of every kind.”

19. “I will turn my hand of bounty towards these little ones.” God’s hand is a full hand, and he gives from his fulness to his little ones, and satisfies their mouth with good things. He opens his hand, and supplies the needs of every living thing, so he will certainly not neglect those little ones for whom Christ died as a Substitute.

20. Next, “I will turn my hand of gracious working on the little ones,” as if we were, like the potter’s vessels on the wheel, only half-formed as yet, but God will turn his hand on us. He has done something to us, and he will keep on doing more and more until he has made us perfect. Already, the image of Jesus Christ is, in a measure, placed on all his chosen; but the Lord will keep his hand at work on us until he has made our likeness to Christ complete. “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him,” for God’s own hand working continually on us shall make us so, and then “we shall see him as he is.” Is there not much joy in this thought?

21. I think I ought to add here that, as, after our Lord had been struck on Calvary, the day of Pentecost came, and thousands were gathered into the Church, and in that respect God’s hand was turned on the little ones to gather them in, so I bless his name that he still has a chosen people whom he intends to gather in with his almighty hand of gracious power, because he has struck Christ in their room and place. And my hope concerning every sinner here lies in this truth, that Jesus Christ has a people purchased with his blood, many of whom do not yet know this, and ignorant of him, are still lying outside the fold; but he must also bring them in, so that there may be one flock and one Shepherd. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1713, “Other Sheep and One Flock” 1714} We preach the gospel to you unconverted people for this reason, because God, having struck Christ in the sinner’s place, has promised to lay his hand on the little ones; and we trust that you may be among those on whom he will lay his hand of omnipotent grace, and bring you in, so that you may be his for ever.

22. Oh unconverted people, learn from the text how much it cost the Saviour to bear our sin! He had to be struck with God’s sword though he was only bearing the sin of others; what will it cost you if you have to bear the punishment of your own sin for ever and ever? Tremble at that thought, and answer the question if you can. Christ sweat great drops of blood even while anticipating the agonies of the cross; and if you could know what it would be for you to have to suffer for your own sin for ever, it would not be extraordinary if you also were to sweat great drops of blood at this moment. It is such an awful thing to fall into the hands of the living God while unforgiven, so beware, you whose sins are unpardoned, lest that sword, which has been sleeping with regard to you until now, should leap out of its scabbard, and pierce you to the heart. It must and will do so before long if you remain unrepentant. If Christ had to suffer so much for the sins of others, how you will suffer when the burden of your own sins shall be laid on you! See, sinners, the only way of peace for you; it is through Jesus suffering in your place. You can never pay your debts to God; no, not one in a million of them, but Christ paid the debts of all who believe in him. You can make no atonement for yourself, but everyone who trusts in Jesus can claim his atonement for his own. Oh, may God’s infinite mercy move you to trust in Christ this very hour; and, that being done, the sword of justice will be sheathed so far as you are concerned, and God will turn his gracious hand on you, and bless you from this time forward, and even for evermore.

23. As for you who are saved by Christ, see what you owe him. By every groan he suffered, love him; by every pang he endured, love him; by the piercing of that sharp sword even to the death, love him; and since you love him, live for him; and since you love him, speak well of him; and since you love him, pray for the coming of his kingdom; and since you love him, keep his commandments; and since you love him, grow more and more into his likeness, every day you live, until you go to be with him for ever. May God bless you, dear friends, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{a} Mr. Spurgeon preached many Sermons on Christ’s office as Shepherd, including the following: —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 995, “The Sheep and Their Shepherd” 986} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1877, “Our Own Dear Shepherd” 1878} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2120, “The Security of Believers; or, Sheep Who Shall Never Perish” 2121} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3006, “The Lord is My Shepherd” 3007} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3060, “The Good Shepherd” 3061} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3088, “The Storm and the Shower” 3089}

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — The Shepherd Smitten” 291}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Surety” 406}

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 22}

This Psalm so sweetly and so accurately pictures the inward griefs of our Divine Saviour that it might have been written after the crucifixion rather than so many hundreds of years before it. I call your attention to the fact that this Psalm is followed by the twenty-third, which begins, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not lack”; to remind you that you and I would never have had that sweet twenty-third Psalm to sing if our Divine Shepherd had not been made, with groans and tears, to weep out the twenty-second Psalm, which begins with our Saviour’s saddest cry from the cross. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2133, “Lama Sabachthani?” 2134} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2562, “Cries from the Cross” 2563} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2803, “The Saddest Cry from the Cross” 2804}

1. My God, my God! why have you forsaken me?

Every word here is emphatic. Take the first two words “My God, my God.” These reveal our Saviour’s claim on God as his God. “‘Why have you forsaken me?’ I can understand that others should leave me, but why have you done so?” Then lay the stress on the last word: “‘Why have you forsaken me,’ — your only-begotten Son, your ever-obedient Son, your well-beloved Son?”

1,2. Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent.

See our Saviour hanging on the cross; hear him utter these sorrowful words, and remember that he had come up from Gethsemane, all crimson with the bloody sweat which had oozed from every pore as he had agonized in prayer; yet no deliverance had come to him, for God had left him to die in accordance with the covenant into which he had voluntarily entered.

3. But you are holy, oh you who inhabit the praises of Israel.

He will not bring any charge against God, even though he has left him; and, beloved, in your bitterest griefs; never lay any blame on your God. Like Job, say, “Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3025, “Fifteen Years After!” 3026}

4-6. Our fathers trusted in you: they trusted, and you delivered them. They cried to you, and were delivered: they trusted in you, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; — 

So low did Christ stoop, for our sake, that he became less than man. There is a little crimson worm, to which this passage alludes, which seems to be made altogether of blood; and Christ felt as if he were nothing but a mass of suffering, a poor trodden “worm, and no man”; — 

6-8. A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, since he delighted in him.”

It is very easy to read these words, or to hear them read, but it is not so easy to understand the sorrow they must have caused to Christ. He was dying, in unutterable agonies, yet his cruel enemies thrust out their tongues at him, hissed their bitter taunts, and made a jest even of his prayers. If you have ever been in great suffering, and have then been ridiculed, you know something of the acute anguish that must have been felt by our Saviour when he was dying amid mockery and scorn without a friend to help him.

9-11. But you are he who took me out of the womb: you made me trust when I was on my mother’s breasts. I was cast on you from the womb: you are my God from my mother’s womb. Do not be far from me; for trouble is near; for there is no one to help.

Men remember how God took care of them in the time of their infancy; and when they are brought very low, they look to him who guarded them in the times when they could not lift a finger to help themselves. The Saviour did so. He was uniquely born by God, there was a specialty about his birth which entitled him to plead it when he was in his death-throes.

12. Many bulls have surrounded me: strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

He was looking at the scribes and Pharisees, and the strong Roman soldiers who made a ring around the cross.

15. They gaped at me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

There was no look of pity, no sign of sympathy; they were all eager for his death. The mighty men of the day and the religious men of the day were not content until they had slain the one and only Saviour of men.

14. I am poured out like water, — 

He feels as if he were being dissolved; there is such a sense of faintness over him that every muscle, every ligament, seems to be turning to liquid, and he cries, “I am poured out like water,” — 

14. And all my bones are out of joint:

The jarring of the cross when they dashed it into its place had dislocated our blessed Redeemer’s bones. What must his pain have been!

14. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.

Now the terrible death-faintness comes over him. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity”; but when his heart melts, how can he bear the strain any longer? Yet our Saviour speaks of himself again: — 

15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd;

The wounds in his head, and hands, and feet and all the tortures of the crucifixion had brought a raging fever in him, so that he was dried up like the burnt clay of which men make potsherds.

15. And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and you have brought me into the dust of death.

He felt as if every particle of his body was beginning to separate itself from the rest, and he was turning into dust again while still alive. It is a fearful picture of pain, and those who understand what the effect of crucifixion is tell us that this is a very graphic, minute, and accurate description of the agonies of one dying as our Saviour died.

16. For dogs have surrounded me:

There is the ribald crowd, the common multitude, howling at him, and eager for his blood.

16, 17. The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may count all my bones: they look and stare at me.

They had stripped him, and this was a great part of the Saviour’s grief and shame that he hung there a spectacle of scorn to ten thousand cruel eyes that looked and stared at him.

18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots on my clothing.

Now he returns to prayer: — 

19-21. But do not be far from me, oh LORD: oh my strength, hurry to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for you have heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

He had been delivered before, and he expected deliverance again, and he had it; but he had to pass through the iron gates of death to get it, and to win the victory over death by his own death.

Now there is a change in the Psalm. The Saviour’s griefs are drawing to a close, and he begins to look at the result of his passion. He sees what is to follow from his crucifixion, and he talks to himself like this: — 

22. I will declare your name to my brethren:

“I shall live again, I shall see Peter and James and John, and many more whom I have loved, and I will talk with them about my Father.”

22. In the midst of the congregation I will praise you. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 799, “Jesus the Example of Holy Praise” 790}

He knew that he would rise from the dead, and that he would praise God in the midst of his brethren.

23, 24. You who fear the LORD, praise him; all you descendants of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all you offspring of Israel. For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has he hid his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.

He is telling to himself, in the little quiet interval just before he breathed out his soul, what his testimony would be concerning God, — how he heard him and helped him at the last.

25, 26. My praise shall be of you in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before those who fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: those who seek him shall praise the LORD: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1312, “Good News for Seekers” 1303}

He is still talking to himself about what would happen after his death and resurrection, — how gracious men would praise the Lord, and how he himself would live again to praise God among them. He so felt the existence of those whom he has redeemed that he seems to talk to them as if they were actually present; he says: — 

26. Your heart shall live for ever!

“I die, but by my death you shall live for ever.” He sees them, as it were, gathered around his cross, and he congratulates himself on the fact that he has bought eternal life for them.

27. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before you.

The conversion of the nations shall be the fruit of his death.

28. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.

See how he distributes crowns, and speaks of thrones, just as he is about to die, — so sure is he that his soul shall not remain in the grave, neither shall his holy body see corruption, but that he shall rise again, and be for ever “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

29-31. All those who are fat on earth shall eat and worship: all those who go down to the dust shall bow before him: and no one can keep his own soul alive. A seed shall serve him; it will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation. They shall come, — 

I should have liked to hear those syllables fall from those dear lips of his. “They shall come,” he says to himself; “They shall come,” — 

31. And shall declare his righteousness to a people who shall be born,

He sees the great host of the regenerate, the twice-born, who shall be saved through his death.

31. That he has done this.

It would be a very literal translation if I read these last words like this, “It is finished.” So the psalm ends, and so ended the great sacrifice of Christ on the cross: “It is finished.”

   “It is finish’d!” — Oh what pleasure

      Do these charming words afford!

   Heavenly blessings without measure

      Flow to us from Christ the Lord:

         “It is finish’d!”

      Saints the dying words record.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death

291 — The Shepherd Smitten

1 Like sheep we went astray,

      And broke the fold of God;

   Each wandering in a different way,

      But all the downward road.

2 How dreadful was the hour

      When God our wanderings laid,

   And did at once his vengeance pour

      Upon the Shepherd’s head!

3 How glorious was the grace

      When Christ sustain’d the stroke!

   His life and blood the Shepherd pays,

      A ransom for the flock.

4 His honour and his breath

      Were taken both away;

   Join’d with the wicked in his death,

      And made as vile as they:

5 But God shall raise his head

      O’er sons of men to reign,

   And make him see a numerous seed,

      To recompense his pain.

6 “I’ll give him,” said the Lord,

      “A portion with the strong;

   He shall possess a large reward,

      And hold his honours long.”

                     Isaac Watts, 1709, a.

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles

406 — Surety <7s.>

1 Christ exalted is our song,

   Hymn’d by all the blood bought throng;

   To his throne our shouts shall rise,

   God with us by sacred ties.

2 Shout, believer, to thy God,

   He hath once the winepress trod;

   Peace procured by blood divine,

   Cancell’d all thy sins and mine.

3 Here thy bleeding wounds are heal’d,

   Sin condemn’d, and pardon seal’d;

   Grace her empire still maintains;

   Love without a rival reigns.

4 In thy Surety thou art free,

   His dear hands were pierced for thee;

   With his spotless vesture on,

   Holy as the Holy One.

5 Oh the heights and depths of grace!

   Shining with meridian blaze;

   Here the sacred records show

   Sinners black, but comely too.

6 Saints dejected, cease to mourn,

   Faith shall soon to vision turn;

   Ye the kingdom shall obtain,

   And with Christ exalted reign.

                           John Kent, 1803.

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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