3116. Preparing To Depart

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No. 3116-54:517. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 8, 1865, By C. H. Spurgeon At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, October 29, 1908.

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. {2Ki 2:11}

1. It seems to me that the departure of Elijah from the world, though of course he did not “die” at all, may furnish us with a very good type of the decease of those saints who, although taken away suddenly, are not without some previous intimation that in such a manner they will be removed. There may be some such here. They may know that they have a disease which, in all probability, will terminate fatally and suddenly. Others of us may have no idea at present that there is prepared for us a sudden death and sudden glory. We would not shrink from such a death if it were the Lord’s will that it should be ours. Indeed, some of us would gladly reach out our hands, and grasp so happy a mode of departure. It has always seemed to us to be the preferable way of leaving this world, not to be long sick and disabled, a weariness to those who nurse us, and a torment to ourselves, but suddenly to shut our eyes on earth, and open them on the splendours of heaven. So to die would be, we think, a blessed mode of resting from our labours and entering into the presence of our Lord.

2. I. Taking Elijah’s case as a guide, we propose tonight to say a few words—and may God make them to edification!—about PREPARING FOR OUR DEPARTURE, which really is so near that it is time we began to talk about it.

3. It is much nearer to us than we think. To those of you who have passed fifty, sixty, or seventy years of age, it must, by necessity, be very near. To others of us who are in the prime of life, it is not far off, for I suppose we are all conscious that time flies more swiftly with us now than it ever did. The years of our youth seem to have been twice as long as the years are now that we are men. It was only yesterday that the buds began to swell and burst, and now the leaves are beginning to fall, and soon we shall be expecting to see old winter taking up its accustomed place. The years whirl along so fast that we cannot see the months which, as it were, make the spokes of the wheel. The whole thing travels so swiftly that its axle grows hot with speed. We are flying, as on some mighty eagle’s wing, swiftly on towards eternity. Let us, then, talk about preparing to die. It is the greatest thing we have to do, and we soon have to do it so let us talk and think something about it.

4. And what should we do when we are preparing to die? Well, we may spend a little time in taking our leave. We have some friends who have been very dear to us, and we may almost begin to bid them “good-bye.” When we feel that death is really coming, we may spare a little season to say to a friend, “I beseech you to leave me now.” There will be some who, like Elisha with Elijah, have been with us during life, and who will not leave us until the very last moment of death. Yet, in the prospect of our departure, we must learn to hold all things with a loose hand. Why should I grip so firmly what death must and will tear from me? Why should I set my affections so ardently on a dying thing that will melt before my eyes? I cannot carry it with me when I am called to go. There are, it is true, dear ones who will not leave us, but who will live in our hearts and permit us to live in their hearts until the last hour shall come, and even longer. But we must begin even now to prepare for our departure by reminding them, and reminding ourselves likewise, that these friendships must be broken, that these unions must be snapped, at least for a time, hopeful though we may be that we shall enjoy them again on the other side of the Jordan.

5. The next thing we ought to do, and because it seems to me even more important, is to go and see about our work. If we have a feeling at all that we are going home, let us set our house in order. What did Elijah do? He went to the two colleges he had founded at Bethel and at Jericho, and of which he was their principal instructor, and he addressed the young men once more before he was taken from them. I should like to have been a student there to have listened to the Professor’s last lecture. I warrant you that it was not an ordinary one. There was nothing in it dry, dusty, dead, and dreary. Oh friends, I think I hear the prophet charging them as before God, and before his holy angels, to rebuke the sin of the age in which they lived. “I went to the top of Carmel,” he said, “and the priests of Baal were gathered around me, and I laughed them to scorn; I poured sarcasms on their heads; I said to them concerning Baal, ‘Cry aloud, for he is a god’; and while they cut themselves with knives and with lancets I mockingly said to them, ‘Perhaps he hunts, or he sleeps, and needs to be awaked by louder cries’; I laughed to scorn their leapings on the altar; and then, when I bowed my knees, and cried for fire to come from heaven, those same skies, which my faith had shut up so that no rain fell on the sinful Israelites’ land, now shot down fire at my word; and then I took the prophets of Baal, I let not one of them escape; I slew them by the Brook Kishon, and made the brook run blood-red with their gore, because they had led the people of God astray, and had defied the name of the Most High. Now, young men,” he said, “be faithful even to death; go and teach the people, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear; pull down their idols, and exalt Jehovah, and speak as men who are sent by him.”

6. You, dear friends, are not called to teach students as I am, so I speak with earnest sympathy when I say that, next to dying in the pulpit, the thing I would choose would be to die among those brethren whom I often seek to stir up to fidelity in the Master’s cause. But you may well desire that, before you depart, all your various works should come under review. Sunday School teachers, call your children together; let your addresses to them be those of dying men and women. You who can and do conduct our Bible classes, dear and honoured brothers and sisters, there are many souls constantly committed to your care; clear yourselves of their blood so that you may go to your beds tonight, and every night, as though you were going to your tomb, and feel that you fell asleep on that bed as you would wish to fall asleep when your last sleeping hour must come. Let each of us see to the various works we have in hand, so that we leave nothing out of place. Is there one soul we ought to have spoken to that we have not yet pleaded with for the Master? Let us do it now. Is there any field of usefulness which we ought to have ploughed, and does the ploughshare still lie rusting in the furrow? Let us go and begin to plough this very night, or, at least, when tomorrow’s sun has risen. We have so little time to live, let us live like dying men. A certain lady, staying in their parish of that devoted minister, Mr. Cecil, was asked by him to undertake some particular work. She answered him “My dear sir, I should be very glad to do it but I am not certain of being in the parish more than three months” “Ah!” he said, “I am not certain of being in the parish three hours, and yet I go on with my duty, and please, madam, to go on with yours.” Let us look at our time, not as having a great deal of it, but as having so little. Beza said to his scribe, as he was translating the Gospel of John, “Write fast; write fast, for I am dying.” Then when he had gotten to the last verse, he said, “Now close the book, and leave me alone for a minute,” and he fell back, and entered into glory. Work hard; the candle is nearly burned out, and you have not finished that garment yet! Work hard, for you do not have another candle to light when that one is gone!

7. When Elijah had taken leave of Elisha, and had addressed the students, the next thing was to cross the Jordan. With his mantle he struck the waters, and passed through them, and then, as it were, they shut him out from all the world except Elisha. I think I would like, if I might have notice of the day of my dying, to get away from the world alone. What does a dying man want with business? A man who has to die needs to close the ledger, and keep open that blessed Book which shall be as God’s rod and staff to comfort him in the valley of the shallow of death. It is a happy circumstance for some of my friends, whom I look at almost with envy, that they have ended the activities of life before death, and now have a little time in which, as it were, they have gotten to the verge of Jordan, and are resting, except that they are doing the Lord’s work diligently,—resting from the world, and preparing to enter into glory. John Bunyan very graphically describes this state, when he tells us of what he calls “the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet, and pleasant, and the way lying directly through it, the pilgrims solaced themselves there for a time. Yes, here they continually heard the singing of birds, and saw the flowers appear in the earth every day, and heard the voice of the turtle-dove in the land. In this country the sun shines night and day; therefore this was beyond the Valley of the Shallow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair, neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle. Here they were within sight of the city they were going to, also some of its inhabitants met them here; for in this land the Shining Ones commonly walked, because it was on the borders of heaven.” They heard the melody of the upper spheres while they were still here below. This is a blessed terminus of our earthly life. Did not the prophet indicate it when he said, “At evening time, it shall be light.”? When you have gotten home from business recently, how you have enjoyed those splendid evenings that we have been having, so fair, so calm, so bright! You know that the day must die, and that the dew would weep its fall; but, oh! its dying hours were so pleasant! There was no sun’s heat to broil you, no dust nor whirl of care to vex you, but the evening seemed a beautiful preparation for your going to your beds. Well, if one might choose, one would like to have just such a season as that; and though there are very few grey hairs on the heads of some of us, I am not quite sure that we might not begin this happy time sooner than most people do. I do not mean by laying work aside, but by laying unbelief aside; not by giving up toil, but by giving up carking care. Why should I fret and worry myself when I am young any more than when I am old? My father’s God is my God, and he who will make the land as Beulah to me when I come to die, can make it so even now if I only have that childlike confidence which can sing,—


   All my times are in thy hand,

   All events at thy command.


8. Imitate Luther’s little bird, that used to sit on the tree, and sing to him. No one else could interpret its notes, or tell what it said, but to Luther it sang,—


   Mortal, cease from care and sorrow,

   God provideth for the morrow.


9. Elijah teaches us another thing by which we may prepare for our departure. He said to his friend Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you.” Quick, then, brother, quick; if you have anything you can do for your friends, do it now. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” If you do not ask your friends what you shall do, think what you can do for them. Mother, you would like to pray with that dear child of yours; then do it soon, for the hour of your departure is at hand. Friend, you would like to do a kind action for that struggling brother, then do is soon, for you may be gone tomorrow. You have thought of something that you would like to do for Christ’s cause. Perhaps there is a destitute village where you would like to have the gospel preached, and you want to make some provision for it; then do it soon, do it soon, or the resolve may never be able to ripen into action. How many infants, that might have grown up to be spiritual giants, have been strangled by our procrastination! You nurse the little child of resolve, but seldom does it grow into the man of practical action. Get it done, get it done, get it done now! You cannot help your friend when you have once gone up in your chariot of fire, so help him now, and let him tell you what you shall do for him.

10. Then notice that Elijah and Elisha were talking as they went on, and holding communion with each other. Old Bishop Hall says they must have been talking about some very solemn and heavenly subjects, or else one would have thought that they would have been on their knees praying instead of talking; but he very properly adds, that “sometimes mediation is best and sometimes conversation.” So it was in their case. Elijah had a great deal to say to Elisha; he was about to leave the State and the Church in very perilous times, so he talked fast to the man who was to bear the burden and heat of the day, and poured the whole case into his ear; and no doubt Elisha asked him many questions, and was informed by him on many knotty points, and so “they still went on, and talked.” Let our talk always be like their talk, and then it will be good to die talking. “Those who feared the Lord spoke often to each other: and the Lord listened, and heard.” Brethren, I say, and I am afraid I may well say it with tears, that much of our conversation would not do for God to hear; and though he does hear it, yet it would not do for him to write a book of remembrance concerning it, for it would be far better that it should be blotted out. Oh! when the last solemn hour shall come, may we be found—


   Wrapped in meditation high,

   Hymning our great Creator’s praise;—


or else conversing with our brethren here below, so that we may go from the communion of the Church militant to that of the Church triumphant, and take away our lip from the human ear to begin to speak to immortal ears before the starry throne.

11. These are the different methods by which we may prepare to die. Some people, when they imagine they are going to die, think the only thing they can do to prepare for death is to send for the parson, “take the sacrament,” as they call it, go upstairs, not see anyone, and draw the curtain. The best way for a Christian to die is in harness. If I were a soldier, I think I would sooner die in battle in the hour of victory than I would die in the trenches doing nothing, rotting in idleness for lack of work to do. Let us just push on, and may it be said of us when we are gone, he—


   His body with his charge lay down,

   And ceased at once to work and live.


So it was with Elijah; so may it be with us!

12. II. THIS DEPARTURE OF ELIJAH appears to me in some measure SYMBOLIC OF THE DEATHS OF BELIEVERS.

13. It was sudden, though expected. They were talking, and just in the middle of a sentence, perhaps, they were parted. There was no noise, for the wheels of that chariot did not move on earth, but its brightness shone around them. They looked back, and they saw strange steeds, whose eyes flashed with flame, and whose necks were clothed with thunder; and behind them was a chariot brighter than the golden chariot in which the Caesars rode, for it was a chariot of fire, and Elijah knew it was one of the chariots of God, which are twenty thousand, that he had sent to take his favourite servant up to the ivory palaces, where the King himself dwells. It was sudden; the parting came in a moment; and I suppose that death is usually sudden. Even though people may be, as we say, long dying, yet the actual moment of departure comes suddenly. The bowl is broken with a crash, and the silver cord is released; the chain is snapped, and the eagle mounts to dwell in the sun.

14. How terrible!—a chariot of fire, and horses of fire. Even for a Christian, death is not a soft, dainty thing. To die is no child’s play. We speak of it as a sleep; but it is no such sleep as that youngster’s when he lies down on the sunny bank to wake up again. There are solemnities about it. There are horses and there are chariots, and so far there is comfort; but they are all of fire, and he who sees them needs to have Elijah’s eyes, or perhaps his own will blink. Elijah had seen fire before; he had called it from heaven on his enemies; he had brought it down from heaven on his sacrifice; he had seen fire flashing on him at Horeb, until the whole sky was bright, with sheets of forked flame, but the Lord was not in that fire as he was in this. He who had looked at that former fire, and did not fear, could bear to look at the horses and chariots of fire which God had sent.

15. Though terrible, how triumphant! Oh, what splendour, to ride to heaven in a chariot! He is no foot-passenger wading through Jordan’s stream, and going up dripping on the other bank to be met by the Shining Ones. That is bright and glorious. The good dreamer of Bedford Jail dreamed well when he dreamed that; but this is even more triumphant,—to mount the chariot, and stand erect, and ride up to the throne of God, drawn there by horses of fire! It is given to very few to have this experience; and yet, what am I saying? Do we not all have the same experience? Shall we not all have it when, in the image of Christ Jesus, we shall mount with him to our eternal rest? Yes, he will come again, and all his people with him; and if JESUS shall ride on the white horse of victory, his saints shall ride on white horses too, and shall enter through the gates into the city amid resounding acclamations. Yes, to die is triumph for the Christian. It seems to me that it was an act of faith, on the part of Elijah, to mount that fiery chariot; and we may say of him as it was said of Enoch, “By faith he was translated that he should not see death; and he was not, for God took him.”

16. Yes, horses of fire and chariots of fire are not a bad image of the departure of the blessed when they are called to enter into the joy of their Lord. As for us, we do not have go to heaven yet; our turn has not come, though we are ready to say,—


   Oh that we now might grasp our Guide!

      Oh that the word were given!

   Come, Lord of hosts, the waves divide,

      And land us all in heaven!


17. III. But while we remain behind, let us ask, WHAT OUGHT WE TO DO WHO HAVE SEEN ANYONE DIE LIKE THIS?

18. If we have lost our wife, or husband, or child, or friend, in this sudden way, what ought we to do? You see what Elisha did. First of all, he tore his clothes, which was the eastern mode of showing his grief. Well, you may weep, for “Jesus wept.” Do not think there is any sin in sorrowing over departed friends, for the Lord never denies to us those human feelings which are rather kindly than vicious. Had there been death before the Fall, I could imagine even perfect Adam weeping at the loss of Eve; indeed, he would have been no perfect man if he could have lost his spouse, and not have wept. “Jesus wept”; we regard him all the more as Jesus because he wept; and you could not be like Jesus unless you wept too. The gospel does not make us Stoics; it makes us Christians. Still, you must remember that there is a moderation in grief. The Quaker was right who, when he saw a lady fretting on the sofa some year or so after her husband was dead, still harbouring grief without a sign of resignation, said to her, “Madam, I see you have not forgiven God yet.” Sometimes grief is not a sacred feeling, but only a murmur of rebellion against the Most High.

19. Yes, you may tear your garments; and if you like, you may do a little more. Elisha not only tore his garments, but be cried “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and its horsemen,” and in doing this he eulogized his departed friend. He seemed to say, “He has been a father to me; I have lost one who was very tender to me, one who trained me, and watched over me, and fostered me as a father.” Oh, speak well of the departed! You need not abate your kind words about your dead friends. We speak little enough that is good about each other while we are living; I wish we sometimes said a little more, not by way of flattery, but by way of commendation, which might cheer depressed and burdened spirits; but you need not be afraid of speaking flatteringly, so as to hurt the dead who have gone to glory, for they will not be injured by what you say. If those who have departed were of value to the Church of God, you may say of them, “The chariot of Israel, and its horsemen!” You may wonder who will lead the Church now; you may question how things will go on; who will be the horses to drag the chariot, or where will the chariot be now in which weary spirits may be made to ride.

20. Yes, you may both grieve and eulogize. Weep well and speak well, but then, what next? Do not stand there, and waste your time; do not stay there, and let your eyes see nothing. See, there is something falling. What is it that is dropping from the sky? It is no meteor. Elisha’s eyes are fixed on it; he finds that it is the old mantle that the prophet used to throw over his shoulders, and he picks it up joyfully; and our friends, who have gone from us, have left their mantles too. What are these mantles? Sometimes good men leave their books and sermons behind them, {a} but all Christian people leave their good examples. Now, do not stand and weep until you forget the goodness of the departed, but go and take up their mantles. Were they earnest? Be earnest. Were they humble? Be humble. Were they prayerful? Be prayerful; and so, in each case, you shall wear their mantle. They have left their example for you to follow; they are not gone so that you may superstitiously reverence them, but they have departed so that you may earnestly imitate them. As far as they followed Christ, follow them, and so wear their mantle.

21. And when you have their mantle, do not waste precious time in lamentations about them any more; get to your business. There is a river in your way; what then? Well, go to the Jordan as the prophet Elisha did, and try to pass it. Do not say, “Where is Elijah?” but “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” Elijah is gone, but his God is not; Elijah has gone away, but Jehovah is still present. Now then, Christians, you have to take up the work of the departed; take it up in the strength of the same God who made them mighty, and strive to do the same works that they did. If they divided Jordan, you divide Jordan. You have their example to show you how to do it, and their God is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.”

22. Ask now, “Where did Elisha go after he had divided Jordan?” Did he go to look for Elijah—


            In some vast wilderness,

   Some boundless contiguity of shade;

   Where rumour of—


bereavements and of death might never reach him any more? Not he! He went straight to the place where Elijah used to be the head of the college, and took up Elijah’s work there. If I were a soldier, with courage for the armour of any kind, and valour for the enterprise of my life, a soldier of that class which Baxter describes as carrying their lives in their hands, and the grace of God in their hearts, then surely, when I saw a man just in front of me fall, I should step forward, and take his place. That is what you should do. If there is a good man dead, fill up the gap. If there is a saint departed, be as it were, “baptized for the dead.” Seek to have the blessing of God on you, so that you may have a double portion of his spirit, and may be able to take the place in the ranks, or the council, which he who is gone has vacated. Your business is not in the closet of mourning, but in the field of service. There is still work to be done; there is still work to be done; get up, and do it! That was a brave thing in Richard Cobden’s life, at the time when his whole soul was taken up with the subject of free trade, and the breaking of the chains of commerce, the young wife of his friend, John Blight, died, and Cobden went to him, and said, “Now, Bright, you have lost your wife, and we will heal your sorrow by fighting the nation’s battle”; and the thing was indeed well and bravely done. So, if you have lost a dear friend, heal your sorrow by giving yourself more earnestly than ever to God’s cause, and to the propagation of “the truth as it is in Jesus.” There is nothing like activity, nothing like having the hands full, to keep the heart bright, and to keep the soul happy. You are dullards, you who have nothing to do; you fret, and fume, and rebel, instead of fighting for your Lord; but if you would only go up “to the help of the Lord against the mighty,” and would bear his burdens, he would help you to bear yours, and the sorrow that now seems as a knife in your bones would be as a spur to your activity. “I vowed,” one said, “that I would be avenged on death for all the harm that he had done to me, and so I struck him right and left with the fiery sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; I preached the immortality that there is in Christ Jesus, and so I was avenged on death, and felt that I had conquered him.” So do the same; go and still serve your Master, and though Elijah may depart, yet you shall fill up his place, and God’s horsemen and chariots shall not be lacking.

23. And now, dear friends, in parting for the night, it is fitting for us to say, “Farewell for this night, then we meet again in the morning.” But, sometimes, this parting may be very significant, and therefore let us say, “Farewell,” with the thought that some of us may never look each other in the face again. I hope we can truly say, “Farewell!” and then we shall meet in the morning, when the night is over, and the death-dews drop no more, when the chilly frost of midnight shall all have been melted away by the rising sun of immortality. Yes, we will meet; we shall meet to part no more. We will make an appointment now, to meet each other then, where our hearts, in faith, have often met before, at the throne of him who has washed us in his blood, and made us white, and so,—FAREWELL UNTIL THE MORNING!

24. But what about some of you? You can make no such appointment to meet us there, for your way is not in that direction—not with horses of fire to heaven, but with chariots of flame down to hell,—down, down, down for ever into the depths of grief! We dare not say that we will meet you there. If you will go there, you must go alone; if you will perish, you must perish by yourself. If you will live and die without a Saviour, you cannot expect your friends to accompany you to that dreary world of woe. But why do you go, why do you go, oh solitary traveller, where you would not have your companion go? You would not see your child damned,—let me say the word with solemn awe,—you would not see your child damned, would you? Then why should you be damned yourself? “But must I be?” you say. No, sinner, there is no “must” for that. There hangs my Master, the crucified Redeemer, and if you look to him, there will be another “must” for you, namely, that you must be saved. The road to heaven is by the cross of Calvary. Christ Jesus marks the way to glory by the crimson blood-drops which flowed from his pierced hands and feet. Trust Jesus; trust him entirely; trust him now; trust him for ever; and then we will meet, we will meet again in the morning, and so,—GOOD NIGHT!


{a} When this discourse was delivered, in October, 1865, the preacher could scarcely have imagined that he would leave behind him so many books and sermons as he left when he was “called home” in January, 1892; and it would never have seemed possible to him that, nearly seventeen years after his own translation to heaven, the weekly issues of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit would still be continued, with the prospect of a further continuance for many more years.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 62}

In this Psalm the royal singer casts himself entirely on God. Here we see the foundation of his expectation laid bare. He has no confidence anywhere but in God. The psalm begins in the original with the word “Only.” I always call it “The ‘only’ Psalm” because it harps on that word. David had no mixed reliance; he had not built on a foundation partly of iron and partly of clay; it was all in harmony throughout; his trust was in the Lord alone.

1. Truly—

Or, as it is in the margin, “Only”—

1. My soul waits on God: my salvation comes from him.

It is a blessed thing to wait truly and only on God. You have proved everything else to be a failure, and now you hang on the bare arm of God alone. There is certainly enough for you to depend on there. Most people want something to see, something tangible to the senses, to be the object of their confidence; but David says, “Only my soul waits on God: my salvation comes from him.” It is already on the road; it is coming now; it is a salvation from present trouble and from present temptation. A complete salvation is on the road for all those whose souls are waiting only on God.

2. Only he is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 80, “God Alone the Salvation of His People” 76}

“Though I have no other shelter, yet,” he says, “God, but God alone, is my rock fortress. Though I have no other deliverer, he is my salvation, and though thousands seek to do me harm, and no one will stand up for me, yet he is my shield and my defence.” Then he adds, “‘I shall not be greatly moved.’ I shall be like a well-anchored ship; I may permit some tossing, but I cannot drift far away, my grace holds me firmly.”

3. How long will you imagine mischief against a man? All of you shall be slain: you shall be as a leaning wall and as a tottering fence.

See how he laughs at his enemies. He tells them they are like a wall that leans over, bulges out, and shakes and totters; with a push, it will fall over. “You think that you will destroy me,” he says, “but you yourselves will be destroyed.”

4. They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

It is a sure proof that they delight in lies because they are guilty of telling them. They can speak soft oily words all the while that they are harbouring curses in their hearts. May God save us from having a tongue that talks in a different way from what our heart feels! But those who delight in lies are never better pleased than when they can find a man of God on whom they can spit their venom; and of all cruel things slander is the worst, and it deserves the worst punishment. Well did the psalmist ask, “What shall be given to you? or what shall be done to you, you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.” A slanderer’s tongue well deserves to feel such punishment as that.

5. My soul, wait only on God; for my expectation is from him. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 144, “Waiting Only On God” 138}

First he said that his salvation came from the Lord, and now he says that his expectation comes from him. All that he needs, and all that he wishes for, he gets from his God. “Let my foes slander me,” he seems to say, “but, oh my soul, wait on God! Let their tongues keep on inventing their diabolical falsehoods; but, oh my soul, take no notice of them! Sit down at Jehovah’s feet, and patiently wait until ‘he shall bring out your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.’”

6. Only he is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

Notice how David’s faith grows. In verse 2, he says, “I shall not be greatly moved”; but now he says, “I shall not be moved at all.” What strength faith gives to a man, and what strength prayer gives to a man! We may begin our supplication tremblingly, but as we draw near to God we become confident in him, and filled with holy boldness.

7, 8. My salvation and my glory is in God: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times;—

I cannot tell what “times” you may be passing through just now, yet I can repeat David’s exhortation, “Trust in him at all times.” In your darkest hours, in the most terrible times that you ever have, when all seems lost, when the dearest object of your heart’s love is taken from you, or when you yourself are coming to the swelling of Jordan, still trust in the Lord: “Trust in him at all times”;—

8. You people, pour out your heart before him:—

That is the way to get rid of all your troubles; take your heart, and turn it upside down, and pour out all that is in it. Do not save a drop or a dreg; do not try to hide one secret sorrow from your God, nor one slight grief that nestles in a corner of your spirit. “Pour out your heart before him.” It will not be wise for you to pour it out before your fellows, for they will misunderstand you and misrepresent you; but “Pour out your heart before him”:—

8, 9. God is a refuge for us. Selah. Surely men of low degree are vanity,

There is nothing in them; they are only the very essence of vanity.

9. And men of high degree—

They must surely be better. No, they are even worse: “Men of high degree”—

9. Are a lie:

Their pretence of being better because they are of high degree is mere pretence. Well but, if we mix them up, and get some poor men and some rich ones, some peasants and some peers, can we not make something solid out of this mixture? Oh, no!

9. To be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

The men of low degree alone were vanity, but when the men of high degree were put with them, they became lighter than vanity; so that there seems to be a propensity in the men of high degree to make those who are of low degree even lighter than they are by nature; and whether men are high or low, if we trust in them, we shall be deceived. He who tries to base his happiness on the good opinion of his neighbours, he whose happiness depends on human esteem, does not build on sand, but on mere breath, which is no more solid than the bubble that our children blow.

10. Do not trust in oppression,—

An ungodly man says, “Well, if I cannot trust in others, I will trust in myself; my own stout arm shall win me the victory, and I will tread others down beneath my feet.” “I will get money,” says another; “somehow or other, I will get money.” To both of these, David says, “Do not trust in oppression,”—

10. And do not become vain in robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

If you do, they will either fly away from your heart, or else they will fly away with your heart, which would be the greater evil of the two; for, when riches carry a man’s heart away from God, his greatest gains are his heaviest losses. He is poor indeed who prizes his gold more than his God.

11. God has spoken once; twice I have heard this; that power belongs to God.

Where ought we to put our confidence? Why, where true power is. If there were any power elsewhere, we might put a measure of confidence elsewhere; but when twice the heavenly message declares that power belongs to God, our wisdom will be shown in putting all our trust in God.

12. Also to you, oh Lord, belongs mercy:—

Almighty power would be terrible if it were separated from infinite mercy; but it is not so.

12. For you render to every man according to his work.

You give him enough strength with which to do his work. You do not send him to do a work beyond his power, and leave him to fail; but to all your children your mercy brings your power to help in every time of need. Your faithful promise is, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” Come, my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be of the same mind as David was in when he wrote the first verse of this Psalm, and let each one of us say, “Truly my soul waits on God: my salvation comes from him.”

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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