3104. Binding Up Broken Hearts

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No. 3104-54:375. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 19, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, August 6, 1908.

He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted. {Isa 61:1}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1604, “Heart Disease Curable” 1604}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2371, “Freedom at Once and For Ever” 2372}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3104, “Binding Up Broken Hearts” 3105}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3237, “Our Lord’s Preaching” 3238}

   Exposition on 2Sa 15:13-23 Isa 61; Mr 14:22-41 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3431, “King Crossing Over Kidron, The” 3433 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 61 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2478, “Christ’s Perfection and Precedence” 2479 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 61 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2543, “Good Reasons for a Good Resolution” 2544 @@ "Exposition"}

1. These are some of the words of the Lord Jesus, the Christ of God, the Messiah, which he read in the synagogue at Nazareth, and then said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.”

2. One of the worst calamities that can happen to anyone is to have his spirit broken. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” All the water in the sea will not harm the vessel one-thousandth part as much as what comes into it. When trouble gets into the heart, every other trouble seems to be magnified, and it is hard to bear up against even the ordinary trials of daily life. Save us, oh God, if possible, from the terrible affliction of being entirely broken down in life’s battle!

3. Yet, very closely allied to this great calamity is one of the greatest spiritual blessings, namely, a spiritually broken heart, broken on account of sin; and, sometimes, the brokenness of spirit which arises from physical sorrow, mental anxiety, or temporal trouble leads up to the contrition of heart which is most acceptable to God. Often, he sanctifies a lower form of affliction, and makes it conducive to the higher form of brokenness of spirit. I am not going to give you any descriptions of spiritual brokenness of heart; I want rather to address myself to broken hearts of any and every kind. There is no particular description of broken hearts given in the text, but simply Christ’s declaration, “He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.” There is no descriptive epithet limiting the declaration to the spiritually broken-hearted and what is not in the text I will not put into it. I am all the more glad not to make these distinctions and discriminations, because they would only lead the troubled ones to look within to see whether their hearts were spiritually broken, and that is just where I do not want them to look; but I want them to look away from themselves to Jesus Christ the Healer of broken hearts. Descriptions of spiritual experience and character are sometimes useful, but I fear that, quite as often, they turn the poor sinner’s eye on himself, whereas his hope lies in his eye being turned towards him who was lifted up on the cross. To look at self is likely to humble us; but when that humbling has already taken place, then is the time for the Lord’s command, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.”

4. I. So, making no distinction, but speaking to all the broken-hearted, my first remark is that GOD HAS PRACTICALLY REMEMBERED THE BROKEN-HEARTED, FOR HE HAS SENT A SAVIOUR TO HEAL THEM.

5. This simple remark ought to be a great comfort to those who are broken in spirit and desponding, because they are generally very apt to say, “No one cares for us. Now that we are in trouble, everyone avoids us. They were merry enough with us in our merriment, but they have no sympathy with us in our sorrow. They could dance with us in our days of joy, but they will not go with us to the grave of our hopes to weep there. They are like the swallows that are with us in summer, and forsake us in winter; and like the leaves that are green and plentiful when the sun is with us, and that fade and wither when winter is approaching.” Still, my broken-hearted friend, suppose that all men forsake or forget you; God does not. His eye sees you, his heart feels for you, and his hand is able to deliver you. You are not friendless, nor will you be until the God of all consolation dies, and that can never be.

6. Christ’s declaration should cheer the broken-hearted, again, because they often conclude that their case is beyond all help. “Ah!” one says, “even if I had a friend, he could not help me, for my case is beyond all help. If I had fifty friends, they would not know how to minister to such mental disease as mine; I am too far gone for relief.” But listen, my broken-hearted friend. You dare not say that anything is too hard for the Lord; though your despair would make you go a long way, yet it would not make you go so far as to say that God cannot help you. It is he who turns the night into morning, who stills the roaring of the sea, who puts a bit into the mouth of the tempest; then what can he not do? You cannot be in so forlorn a condition that God cannot help you. To omnipotence nothing can be a difficulty, much less an impossibility. So, then, let me whisper in your ear that there is still hope for you, for you have a true friend, who is both able and willing to help you.

7. This ought to comfort the poor desponding one still further because he often concludes that certainly God is against him. “I should not be in this sad state of mind,” one says, “if I were not abhorred by the Most High. He has set me as a target for his arrows, and he shoots at me, and he grievously wounds me. He has filled my cup with sorrow mingled with gall, and put it to my mouth so that I may drink it to the dregs. God has utterly abhorred me, and cast me away from his presence.” It is not so; if it were, then the great bell might toll out your death knell; but my text says that the Lord has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to bind up the broken-hearted. He is no enemy to you, or he would not have sent his Son to heal you. Do you not remember what Manoah’s wife said to him? Her husband said to her, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God”; but she was wiser, so she answered, “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a grain offering from us, neither would he have shown us all these things, nor as at this time would he have told us such things as these.” So we say the same to you, poor broken-hearted one! If the Lord meant to destroy you, why did he send his Son to heal the broken-hearted, and for what purpose is the gospel sent, and why are you here to be tenderly wooed, and assured that the Lord has deep intentions of love toward just such troubled souls as you are? I believe that you will yet dance for joy of heart, that you will yet take down your harp from the willows, and, like Miriam with her tambourine, that you will yet rejoice over the Egyptians whom you have feared, but whom you shall see no more for ever.

8. II. There is much consolation, also, in the second truth which we find in the text, which is that GOD HAS SENT A SUITABLE HELPER FOR BROKEN-HEARTED PEOPLE. Christ says, “He has sent ME to bind up the broken-hearted.”

9. See, then, dear troubled one, what a suitable Helper God has sent to you, for he has sent you One who is well acquainted with sorrow of all kinds. There are some people who cannot comfort others, even though they try to do so, because they never had any troubles themselves. It is a difficult thing for a man who has had a life of uninterrupted prosperity to sympathize with another whose path has been extremely rough; even though that successful man should try to sympathize, he does it very awkwardly. He is like a person, who never was trained as a nurse, yet who tries to plump a pillow for a sick man. Such people always make hard lumps in our pillows, especially if they themselves have not been ill. But when you have suffered from the very complaint with which your friend is afflicted, it is wonderful what sympathy that gives you with him. “Stuff and nonsense!” says a strong man to some poor suffering one; “you are too nervous; try and exert yourself.” That is often one of the most cruel things that can be said to the sufferer. But if the man has been through a similar experience, he uses another tone of voice altogether. He knows that, even if it is nonsense to the strong, it is not so to the weak, and he adapts his remarks so that he cheers where the other only inflicts additional pain. Broken-hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were his portion. Thorns are found in your pillow, and sharper thorns pierced his blessed brow. More than this, he knows your temptations as well as your sorrows, and the temptations which are specific to your sorrow, and which very often cause great sin.

10. Best of all, as the Healer of broken hearts, God has chosen One whose own heart was broken. I think it is conclusively proved that Jesus died of a broken heart; the most careful investigation of the symptoms preceding his death appears to lead to that conclusion. He could say, with an emphasis that was not possible even for David, “Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness.” The broken-hearted Saviour is the Healer of broken-hearted sinners. Christ will not allow sorrow to remain in his presence without attempting to relieve it; you must have noticed how often he used to say, when here on earth, “Be of good cheer,” {a} or, “Be of good comfort.” He could not pass by a sorrow-stricken heart; he must stand still, and use his power to heal it. And he is the same now as he was then; he still cares for those who have broken hearts and contrite spirits; and even in our common, ordinary sorrows he sympathizes with us.

11. Let me also tell you, oh you broken-hearted ones, that God has sent One to heal your hearts who has already healed multitudes of others. We like an experienced doctor. I knew a very clever surgeon who could not, for a long while, get many patients because he looked so young. People like a man of experience for the healing of the body, and experience is just as valuable for the healing of the soul. Jesus Christ has bound up millions of broken hearts, so he knows how to heal yours; he knows precisely where the malady is, and what remedy to apply.

12. The Lord has also sent One who will not be discouraged or get irritated in his work of comforting you. Sometimes, when we try to comfort a mourner, and he will not be comforted, we get impatient, and do more harm than good. There is many a man, who has gone with the best intentions to try and cheer a diseased mind, who has inflicted fresh wounds through his own impatience with the patient; but Jesus Christ “can have compassion on the ignorant, and on those who are out of the way.” He bears and forbears, and is as gentle as a nurse-maid with the children under her charge, and far more so. He will drive your sin out of you, and then he will take your sorrow away from you, or else give you the grace to enable you to bear it. There never was anyone else who was like Jesus as the Healer of the broken-hearted. There are some people whom other people always like to trust, and it is a very serious matter to be a man in whom other folk believe a good deal, because your heart has to become a kind of common receiving office for the troubles of all who are around you; and the heart of Jesus is like this on the largest possible scale. If you could see him here, in physical presence, you would say, “That is the One to whom I can tell all my troubles.” You know how it is recorded of him that he “healed all who were sick; so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘He himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.’” You may always come to Jesus; he will always be willing to hear your sad story, always be able to solve your difficulties, and always be able to relieve your distresses. This ought to comfort you, but I cannot make it do so. I am not sent to bind up the broken-hearted in the same sense in which Christ was; I am sent to be an instrument in his hand; but he must do the work, for only he can do it.

13. III. This fact brings me to the third reflection from the text, which is, that THIS SUITABLE HELPER IS COMMISSIONED BY GOD HIMSELF “TO BIND UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED.”

14. He is not sent to tell you how your heart got broken, and to scold you about it, like the school teacher, who saw the boy drowning, and lectured him on his imprudence in getting in over his head. There are many who act like that. If a man is very poor, they say, “Ah, you always were extravagant”; or, “You should not have gone into that speculation. You should not have co-signed that loan to oblige your friend; you must pay for your folly now.” There are many who are quite able to tell you that you ought not to have fallen into the pit, but I think that their homilies had better be saved up until we have helped you to get out of the pit. The apostle James tells us that God “gives to all men liberally, and does not upbraid,” and it is a blessing for the broken-hearted that Jesus heals them freely, and does not upbraid them for their sin and folly.

15. Notice, also, that Christ is not sent to bring to broken hearts remedies that we are to apply. If a man has a bad wound, and there is an ointment that will heal his wound, he has to put it on; but suppose the wound is in some part that he cannot reach, he says, “Here is the ointment, but what is the good of it? How can I put it on?” He has broken his arm, and it is to be strapped up. “There is the strapping,” he says; “but how am I to strap my arm up? I need someone to do it for me.” I remember once being with an old sea captain, who was in trouble of mind, and I was telling him about the promises of God, and he said, “Yes, those promises are something like the great posts, by the side of the river, to which you can moor your vessel. You have a rope, with a loop in it, but the job is to get it over the post. It will hold your vessel if you can, but,” he said, “I cannot get the loop over the post. There are the promises, but I cannot get a hold of them.” We are so weak and feeble that the Lord Jesus has not merely come to bring the ointment, but he has come “to bind up the broken-hearted.” I think that one of the grandest passages in the whole Word of God is: “He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names.” {Ps 147:3,4} Does it not seem to be a great stoop from marshalling the stars to bending down over poor broken hearts, and binding up their wounds? Yet God delights as much in displaying his grace as in displaying his power. So you see, dear broken-hearted ones, that Jesus Christ has come to bind up the broken in heart, that is, to bring to you the consolations of his grace, and to apply them to you; and for this purpose we read, in the verse in which our text is found, that the Spirit of the Lord God is on him, because it is the Spirit of God who applies the Word to the heart, and therefore the Spirit is put on the Lord Jesus Christ so that, when he speaks, the Word may be with power. So, dear friends, we have a Saviour sent, on whom the Spirit of God has been poured out, and who therefore speaks effectively, — not to ears that are closed, for he opens the ear, and conveys the truth through the ear right into the soul, and so makes us know its blessing and power.

16. I will not enlarge further on this very important point except to say that, when the Lord Jesus binds up the broken-hearted, he does it so gloriously that the more trouble there was before, the more joy there is afterwards. Perhaps there are no people in the world so happy as those who were once most sad. Find me those who have the most joy, and I think you will find that they are those who have been brought up out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, whose feet are now on a rock, and whose goings are established, and in whose mouths a new song has been put, “even praise to our God.”

17. IV. My fourth remark is, that THE LINIMENTS WHICH JESUS USES ARE SUCH AS SUIT EACH BROKEN-HEARTED ONE. I will take each case briefly.

18. There are some broken hearts that are the hearts of saints who have fallen into gross sin, as David did. God save me, God save you, my brothers, God save you, my sisters, from ever being allowed to sin a great sin against the living God! But if we ever do sin like that, we shall be of all men most miserable, for having sinned against divine love and mercy, and so much of it, and against divine light, and that light so clear and abundant. There may have come into this place, tonight, someone who is a child of God, but who has been suddenly overthrown by a great temptation, to which he has yielded. Brother, I know that you do not excuse yourself, and that you do not need me to make an excuse for you. Sin is an extremely bitter thing, and you may have to taste its bitterness as long as you live; but, for all that, do not despair. The Lord may severely chasten you, but he will not give you over to death. The Lord Jesus knows how to set your broken bones, and you may now pray, as David did in the fifty-first Psalm, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways; and sinners shall be converted to you.” The usual liniment that the Lord Jesus applies to such a broken heart as that is this, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and as a cloud, your sins: return to me, for I have redeemed you.” He assures the penitent soul that, notwithstanding all its faults and follies, he still loves it with an everlasting love that will not give it up. This is a blessed balm to a heart that is wounded through having fallen into great sin.

19. There are others, who have not gone into any one gross sin, but they have done what is perhaps worse; they have gradually backslidden until they have come to neglect divine things altogether. They are not happy about it, for the Spirit of God has made them realize the misery of the state into which they have fallen. Some of you used to live in the country, where you were members of little village churches, and very earnest in the Lord’s service; but you have come to this wicked London, and you find that your neighbours do not go to a place of worship, so many of you seldom attend the house of God. There are good women who have ungodly husbands, and to please those husbands they have, by degrees, been weaned away from outward ordinances, and though there is a little love for God still left in them, so that they cannot quite give up private prayer, and the reading of the Word, they have fallen very low. I do not wonder, when the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sinful state, that they have broken hearts. They ought to have broken hearts, and to repent bitterly for having so grieved the Lord, and backslidden from his ways. But if I am now addressing any backslider, let me remind him or her that the Lord Jesus has been sent “to bind up the broken-hearted.” Return to your first love, poor backslider, for it was better with you then than it is now.

20. There are other broken hearts besides these; there are sinners who never were converted, but who have broken hearts on account of a sense of sin. They never were, consciously, children of God, but they are now awakened to see their danger and their lost condition. I wish that all in this congregation, who are not converted, had broken hearts; it would be worth while to stay up all night to preach to a congregation of broken-down sinners. When the Lord has broken their hearts, it is an easy task to preach the gospel to them; it is like feeding people who have healthy appetites. They are not very fussy about the carving, or the pattern of the plates on which their dinners are brought to them; and they are not squeamish about the food that is set before them; for “to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Oh you great sinners, Jesus Christ knows how to pardon you! He knows how to bring home to your hearts such texts as these, — “All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men”; — “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord: ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’”; — “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” even you, oh you greatest of sinners!

21. There are, also, broken hearts that are caused by great trouble. I have known men, who have been living simply to make money, but there has come a sudden panic, or a turn in the market, and they have lost everything. Now, if there is such a man here, I charge you my friend, before the living God, not to despair, for Christ still lives “to bind up the broken-hearted.” If you will only trust in Jesus, the day will come when you will bless God for permitting you to become bankrupt, and you will say, “When I was rich, I only lived for this world; but I was brought down to poverty, and then I looked to Christ as my Saviour, and in him I have found untold riches that will be mine for ever.” It would be a great mercy for some rich people if they had their gods of gold all broken, and were made to look to the living God, and put their trust in him.

22. Further, some hearts are broken through severe bereavements. “Ah!” one says, “I shall never be able to look up again, for I have lost the husband whom I loved with all my heart; and my dear child is gone too.” “Ah!” says another, “the darling of my heart has been taken from me, all my earthly hopes have been buried beneath the sod. I shall never rejoice any more.” Will you not? There is One who heals just such broken hearts as yours, for he once wept at a grave side, and comforted the mourners there, and he will let you see that even your bereavement shall be for your good. Whoever they may have been whom you have lost, the Lord is teaching you that these losses are meant to bring you nearer to him, that you may find all your heart’s love centred on the only One who deserves to have it all. Often, the Lord Jesus Christ loves his people so much that he gets jealous of them; and when they love others more than they ought, he takes away those whom they love like this so that he may have all their hearts for himself, and we ought to think it a high honour that Christ should think so much of us so as to want to have all of our hearts for himself.

23. Besides that, there are some broken hearts that are broken through poverty and oppression. Women work very hard for a very small wage, and what they get seems as if it would hardly keep body and soul together; they have to stitch, stitch, stitch, from morning to night, until their brain whirls with their constant toil amid the daily pinch of poverty. Well, dear friend, the Lord knows how to make you spiritually rich, and to give you such fulness of joy in your soul that you shall be contented even in your poverty, and sing God’s praises even though you are clothed in rags.

24. Perhaps I am speaking to one whose brokenness of heart consists in being utterly forsaken and forlorn, through a false step taken in life. Strange people come into this Tabernacle, and strangely does God guide my words to them. I sometimes feel as if my hair must stand on end when I am told, after a service, of remarks which I have made, which have laid bare the secrets of men’s hearts, and made them see their own history as clearly as though a prophet spoke to them, though I am no prophet nor the son of a prophet. There may be someone here, who has come to London to try to hide away in this crowded city. The young man never wants to be seen at his home again; he says, “I only hope I may be forgotten by everyone; I would go to the ends of the earth if I could.” Go back, my dear young friend! Go back to your father and mother, and make glad their aching hearts, for there is hope for you yet. You are brought down very low, but you will get up yet, you will be a man yet; and, what is better, you will be a Christian, and you will serve the Lord. There is hope for you, for there is One who can heal your broken heart. And you, poor fallen woman, wherever you may be, though no one gives you a good word, and though everyone passes by you in the streets for very shame, there is one who binds up even prostitutes’ broken hearts, and has mercy on them. Therefore, do not be utterly driven to despair. Above all, do not commit suicide, for I am sent as a messenger from God to declare to you that Christ heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. Oh sons of misery, you need not be in misery any longer! Your sins are the roots of your sorrows; so, if you only go to Jesus to have your sins forgiven, your sorrows will quickly vanish. There will still be burdens for you to bear; but if you are forgiven, they will sit lightly on your shoulders, and then turn to wings which will help you to mount to your God. Even though you have made a covenant with death, and a league with hell, the Lord says, “Your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand.” Though you are in Giant Despair’s deepest dungeon, Jesus will cut the bars of iron asunder, and set the prisoners at liberty. Only believe in him, the Son of man, your Brother, and yet the Son of the Highest. Fall at his feet, for they were pierced for you. Look up to his almighty hands, for they were once nailed to the cross for you. Bring your poor broken heart to the heart that was once pierced by the soldier’s spear, and find sweetest rest in Jesus. I know what despair means; I knew something of its bitterness in my early days, when I was under conviction of sin; but since the day when I saw the star of Bethlehem amid the black darkness and tempest of my soul, and especially since I looked to the Christ of Calvary, all has been well with me. So I say to you poor waifs and strays on the dark and stormy sea of life, look up, for there shines “the bright and morning Star.” “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” even the very chief of them. Look to him, poor storm-tossed mariner, and he will guide you safely to the port of peace. May God bless you, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{a} One of the volumes in “Spurgeon’s Shilling Series” is entitled “Be Of Good Cheer”: the Saviour’s Comforting Exhortation enlarged on. By C. H. Spurgeon. (Passmore and Alabaster)

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Eze 37}

1. The hand of the LORD was on me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD,

God’s servants learn nothing until they have an experience similar to that of Ezekiel. They must be led by the Spirit of the Lord, and they must have their eyes and mouths opened by him, and then they can both see the vision, and tell the vision to others.

1. And set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.

Like a huge grave, or graveyard, or battle-field where the slain had not been buried. No servant of God would go without being sent to such a place, yet it was necessary that Ezekiel should be there in order that he might understand and speak the message of God.

2. And caused me to pass by them all around:

He had to make a thorough survey of this grim and ghastly graveyard.

2. And, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry.

They had lain there for so long that the wind had dried up the juices of the marrowbones, and they were turned to dust.

3. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

God did not ask this question for his own information, but for the prophet’s. The Lord wanted him to realize the difficulties of the work to which he was called so that he might be driven all the more completely to rely on God, and not on himself.

3, 4. And I answered, “Oh Lord GOD, you know.” Again he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘Oh you dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

We have heard of a Romanist who had, as a penance from his priest, to go and water a dry stick. Ezekiel’s task of preaching to dry bones seemed to be as useless as that; yet, if God tells us to do the same, we need no other justification for doing it. What is foolish in the sight of reason is wisdom in the judgment of faith.

5, 6. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, "Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: and I will put sinews on you, and will bring flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD."’”

He had to tell these bones the unconditional purposes and promises of God: “I will,” and “you shall”; and this is the way in which God works out his eternal purposes concerning the sons of men. He tells his servants to proclaim his message, and then he fulfils his own purposes and promises.

7. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise,

A rustle, — 

7. And behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

Here was divine power bringing the bones to their proper position in the various bodies, and forcing the separated anatomy to re-form itself.

8. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

So there was no very great improvement so far; there were only dead bodies instead of dry bones; there was something more to look at, but nothing more agreeable, and really no more of life than there was before.

9. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man,

“Prophesy to the wind.” That seems a very absurd thing to do, but there are no absurdities where God gives his commands.

9, 10. And say to the wind, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, oh breath, and breathe on these slain, so that they may live."’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, — 

Ezekiel was very obedient; he only needed to know his Lord’s will, and then he raised no question, but did at once just as he was told to do: “So I prophesied as he commanded me.” It is a prime qualification in a servant of God that he should do exactly as he is told; not to think how he would like to do it, nor to follow the plan that his own wisdom suggests, but just to do as he is told, as Ezekiel did: “So I prophesied as he commanded me,” — 

10, 11. And the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, a very great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole host of Israel: behold they say, ‘Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we ourselves are cut off.’

“There is no hope for us; we are dead, and worse than dead. Our case is hopeless; there is no possibility of restoration for us.”

12. Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD; "Behold, oh my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

There was to be a house of Israel after all. The nation seemed to be dead and buried, but God would revive and restore it. This is a promise which may apply to a church when she gets into a very low spiritual state, and it looks as if she could never do any more good: “Behold, oh my people, I will open your graves.” And to you, dear friends, who are very heavy of heart, full of despair, and who seem as if you were as good as dead and buried, God speaks in this promise. Therefore believe his Word as though it had been directed to you personally, “Behold, oh my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”

13. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, oh my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

Great deliverances and almighty quickenings reveal God to us, and make us know how gloriously great Jehovah is.

14. And shall put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then you shall know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it," says the LORD.’”

When the Jews get back to Canaan again, — as they will do, — they will then not only know that Jehovah is God, but also that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah. May the Lord hasten that blessed consummation in his own time!

15, 16. The Word of the LORD came again to me, saying, “Moreover, you son of man,

Notice how the Lord constantly calls the prophet “son of man.” When God uses his servants much, and greatly honours them, he always takes care to keep them humble by reminding them of what they are in themselves. So, Ezekiel, you have prophesied to the dry bones, and they have lived through your prophecy but it was not by your own power that you did this. You are nothing but a son of man, God must have all the glory for this wondrous work.

16. Take one stick, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions’: then take another stick, — 

Or, rod, — 

16. And write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions’:

They were divided into separate companies, they first wandered away from God, and then they wandered away from each other.

17. And join them to each other into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.

As he held them in his hand, they were to grow into one; and, when all the churches get into the hand of Christ, there will be perfect unity between them. Things that are near to the same thing are near to each other; but, until the Lord shall come, and take his divided Judah and Ephraim into his own hand, there will be no true unity between them; but there will be then.

18, 19. And when the children of your people shall speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD; "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand."’

No church will continue for long in the enjoyment of the blessing of unity unless it continues in nearness to Christ. Communion with Christ means the communion of Christians with each other; we can only get true union and true communion in that way.

20-22. And the sticks in which you write shall be in your hand before their eyes. And say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD; "Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king for them all: and they shall no more be two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

When Christ comes, there shall be this true unity in Israel. Where Christ has already come, there is this true unity in his Church; and as Christ comes to all of us, he will take away the evil that separates us from himself, and separates us from the rest of his people, and so we shall be one in his hand.

23. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, where they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so they shall be my people, and I will be their GOD.

This applies first to Israel literally, and then spiritually to all the chosen. What a weighty and comprehensive promise it is! We are to be saved from our idols; to be saved from the most loathsome sins: “detestable things”; to be saved from our household sins: “I will save them out of all their dwelling-places where they have sinned.” Where do we go, my brethren, without finding sin? Sin in our bed, and sin at the table, sin in the shop, and sin in the street, sins when we are in company, and sins when we are alone in the field, sins everywhere; yet the Lord Jesus Christ is able to meet us in every place, and to cleanse us.

“So they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” What a wonderful declaration this is, — we are the Lord’s people, he is our God! We are his portion, and he is our portion. Oh, that every one of us might have a share in this double blessing!

24. And David my Servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Oh, for the one king to reign over the one people, who shall keep the one law, and walk in holiness and humility before the one Lord!

25. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, where your forefathers have lived; and they shall live in it, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

Surely God does not treat the saints now worse than he treated Israel in the days of old; so we may go to him in prayer for our children and for our children’s children.

26. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them:

Oh, that blessed word everlasting! A salvation which is not everlasting is not worth having; any promise that is not fulfilled, any grace that can fail, is not God’s promise or God’s grace.

26, 27. And I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle shall also be with them: yes, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

In the twenty-third verse, the Lord’s promise was, “They shall be my people, and I will be their God;” and here, grace seems to ring the changes by reversing the order: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” God is evidently so pleased with this declaration that he repeats it, only turning the sentences around the other way.

28. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore."’”

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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