3164. The Mission Of Affliction

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No. 3164-55:469. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 8, 1873, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, September 30, 1909.

Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing today. {2Sa 16:11,12}

1. The bright side of David’s character was generally seen either when he was actively engaged or when he was greatly suffering. He was the man for action. When he ran to meet Goliath, and returned with the giant’s head in his hand, or when it was necessary that he should lead out the hosts of God to war against Philistia, then David was in his element. He was one who never feared the face of man. He was courageous, dauntless and full of confidence in God.

2. Equally well does he stand out in the time of his trouble. He will not lift up his hand against Saul even when the king is in his power. If he cuts off the edge of Saul’s robe, even then his heart strikes him. When his adversaries are before him and with a blow he can put them to death, with unusual magnanimity he restrains his hand and will not touch them. Revenge was not in his spirit. He was full of gentleness and tenderness. It is good for men of this kind when they have something to do or something to suffer. And this perhaps may account for it, that men have to be very busy or very faithful, if they are to avoid being sinful. There are spirits so ardent, so fervent, that unless they have either to do or to bear God’s will with a high degree of intensity, they are lacking in brightness and cheerfulness. David was seldom at leisure without falling into mischief. His great sin, his grievous sin was caused by this. It was the time when kings went out to battle, but David sent Joab to fight against Ammon, and he himself stayed at home. We read that in the evening “David arose from off his bed and walked on the roof of his house.” He had become luxurious, and then it was that temptation came and he fell. His second great offence was very much similar to this. He had subdued all his enemies. The rebellion of Absalom was put down with a strong hand. All was quiet within and without, and then Satan moved him to number the people. He thought, “I am the king of a great country, and I should like to know how many subjects I have. I should like to know how many troops I have. Joab, go and take a census and bring it to me, so that I may understand how great I am.”

3. And then it was that God sent his servant to warn him that he would chasten him for his pride of heart, and he gave him the choice of three chastisements, one of which must fall on the people. David was like a sword, which if hung up on a wall would soon gather rust, but when he was moved to fight the Master’s battle he was of wondrous keen temper, and could cut to the dividing asunder of the joints and the marrow. Let us dread, then, ease and repose.


   For, more the treacherous calm I dread

   Than tempests hanging overhead.


4. Let us be afraid of having nothing to do, and be thankful for something to suffer, if we do not have something to do actively; for, leave us alone and the best of us will corrode. And if I am addressing any man who has recently given up business and is enjoying repose, I would urge on him the wisdom of seeking some service for Christ which would engage his faculties, for it is true of Christians as well as other people, that,


   Satan always mischief finds,

   For idle hands to do.


5. Our text tonight exhibits David in the time of his trouble, and he is here so admirable, and his conduct is here so commendable, that I hold him up as an example for all. There are four things in this transaction which we all ought to copy. The first was the absence of resentment from the heart of David; the second was his entire resignation to the divine will; the third was his expectancy from God alone; and the fourth was his looking to the bright side and still having hope.

6. I. First, then, ADMIRE DAVID AND THEN TRY TO COPY HIM IN THIS RESPECT.

7. We read the story to you just now. Now the attack of Shimei on David was very cowardly. David had been king for many years, but you never hear a word from Shimei while the king was on his throne and in power. This man was skulking in the farthest corners of the land, no doubt often biting his tongue, but having too much good sense to use it against the powerful king. But now that David is fleeing from the palace and his son is pursuing him, eager for his blood, out comes this coward from his skulking place and begins to accuse the king. Those who would not have dared to speak against David before now abuse him to his face with opprobrious epithets. It is very hard to bear a cowardly attack. One is very apt to reply and use harsh words on one who takes advantage of your position and deals you the coward’s blow. Only the coward strikes a man when he is down. It is just possible that someone here may be suffering from an injury which he knows the person responsible for it would not have dared to inflict in years gone by. That helps to make the blow more cutting—when it comes from a coward’s hands.

8. Besides being so cowardly, it was so brutal. We pity a man that is in distress. When a king has lost his throne, when a father has his own child in rebellion against him, one says, “Whatever may have been his faults, this is not the time to mention them.” When the poor heart is bleeding and the man is already suffering the very extremity of misery, who would wish to add a single ounce to the crushing weight that he has to carry? Sympathy and common humanity seem to say, “Be quiet! Hush! Another time, when he mounts again to prosperity, then, if it is necessary, let us faithfully rebuke him for his faults, but not now. It is not seemly.” If this dog of a Shimei needs to attack at David when he is suffering, most surely Satan himself must have urged him on to aggravate to the nth degree the miseries of David. And yet David has not one harsh word to say against him. No, he becomes his advocate, bears with the brutal attack, cowardly as it was, betrays no temper, but peacefully, calmly, gratefully spares the life which was in his hand.

9. Moreover, remember that the attack was especially a false one. He called David a bloody man, and accused him of having destroyed the house of Saul. Nothing could have been more false, for when Saul was in David’s power on two occasions, once in the cave and once when he lay asleep on the slope of the mountain, David did not put out his hand to touch the Lord’s anointed. When Saul and Jonathan were slain on Mount Gilboa, David sincerely mourned and wrote that sympathetic eulogy—the song which he told them to learn to sing in mourning for Saul, who fell on the high places. And afterwards when the Amalekite came with the crown of Saul, hoping to be rewarded, David had him put to death on the spot. When wicked men came with the head of Ishbosheth, hoping to gratify David, he executed them both for the murder. Moreover, he sought out Mephibosheth, and though he was lame in both his feet and could not stand, he invited him to sit at his table and honoured him. So far from being a bloody man he had, on the contrary, been hunted by Saul and his blood had been sought by the leader of that house, yet he had never returned evil for evil.

10. It is very hard to be reproached for what you do not do. I do not know how, but somehow the falseness of an accusation does put a degree of sting into it. I have heard of a woman who was charged with a certain degree of dishonesty. Her minister said to her, “You need not be so grieved about it if it is not true.” “No, sir,” she said, “I should not be grieved about it, if it were not true, but there is the point about it, it is true.” And just so, if we were sensible, we should only feel those charges that are true, and the edge would be taken off the others when we knew our conscience did not justify them. But it does not happen to be so. We do not hold the scales well. We feel that it is a very cruel thing to have things laid to our charge that we knew nothing about, and when our whole life has been in one direction to have it laid to our door that we act quite contrary to that is a very stinging thing. Shimei, I suppose, could not have uttered anything that could sting David more to the quick, than when he said to him, “You are a bloody man and have destroyed the house of Saul.” Yet David did not put out his hand to strike him. He said, “Leave him alone! Let him curse.” Magnanimously he allowed him to escape unscathed, though he threw stones and dirt on him.

11. The way sometimes in which a thing is put is more cutting than the thing itself. For Shimei did not merely speak his charge against David, but he put it in the bitterest way, “Come out, come out!” as though he scorned him; and then he threw stones and dust at him, as though he did not mind him now, as though he thought David the very dust beneath his feet and called him the offscouring of all things. Few among us can bear scorn. I suppose that a bitter sarcasm often stings where a downright charge, however false, might not have done so. A little bit of ridicule, with malice in it, will often wound, and little do we know how many may have gone with broken hearts all their days through unkind words that have been spoken, perhaps half in jest, but which, being taken in earnest, have made terrible wounds in the soul. Yet David would not be provoked by this man’s lies nor by the tones in which he spoke them, but like a true king, all royal as he was, he said, “Leave him alone. Let him curse. It is hard to bear, but I will still bear it.”

12. Now remember that David could very easily have put an end to all this. It was in his power to put an end to Shimei at once. “Off with his head,” said Abishai, and that would have been an end of the argument. Sometimes we are very patient with things we cannot cure. It is good sound doctrine, “What cannot be cured, must be endured,” and “Stooping down as needs he must who cannot sit upright.” If you cannot prevent, you may as well forgive; every fool will adopt that unless he is a strange fool indeed. But David could take this fellow’s head off and that in a moment, and yet he said, “Leave him alone. Let him curse.” And this makes a splendid example. If you can revenge yourself, DO NOT DO SO. If you could do it as easily as open your hand, keep it shut. If one bitter word could end the argument, ask for grace to spare that bitter word.

13. Reflect, too, that David was urged by others to put an end to this man. Sometimes we follow advice readily, especially when there is something that we like in the advice. And who among us would not like the advice? I confess on reading the chapter that if I had been in Abishai’s case, I am afraid I should have taken his head off first, and asked permission afterwards. I am afraid it would have been very bad and wicked, but in such a case as that when my dear king for whom I had lived and would have died—such a blessed king as David—was scoffed at by such a dog as that—what body-guard would not have said, “Off with his head!” and have thought he did him too much honour, in those rough days. Yet David says, “No, we must not follow bad advice, we must not let the zeal of earnest friends lead us too quickly.” If they are too fast, we must be too slow. In all matters of vengeance if others would go forward, we must draw back and say, “Christ has ordered us to forgive even to seventy times seven,” and so we will. Remember this is under the old covenant, when the law said, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” and so on, and therefore David might have been more excused if he had avenged himself. But he seems to have caught, like a prophet, the light of the coming time, and spared the man as Christ would have spared him, if he had been there. In this he is to be copied by us all. To sum it all up, beloved, if the trouble that comes to you, comes to you as a second cause, do not look at the second cause so as to quarrel with it, and do not say, “I would not mind if it had been So-and-so.” That is why God sent So-and-so to chasten you, for when a father wants to make a child smart, he gets his heaviest rod. And so does God. He has taken up that instrument which will make you smart and cry out most. It is always foolish for us to fret about the second cause. If you threaten a dog with a stick he bites the stick; but if he were a sensible dog he would bite you, only he does not know any better and so he bites the stick, and if we rebel against the second cause we are in error. If there is anyone we should complain against, it would be God who uses the instrument, and since we cannot, and would not if we could complain against him, it is best for us to say as David did, “Leave him alone! Let him curse! The Lord has ordered him. The Lord has ordered him.”

14. Now do we not say tonight, “I could have borne that other trial if God had sent that?” Well, accept your present trial, and oh! if you are vexed with So-and-so forgive him. There is a higher hand than his in this matter. It is a rough knife that you have been pruned with, but it is the gardener that used the knife, and your God is using this affliction for your good. Do not look at the affliction so much as at the purpose and at the intent of God.

15. It was very beautiful for David to make excuses for Shimei. Notice how he puts it. “Well, there is Absalom, my son—he is seeking my life. No wonder that this man should! He is no relative of mine! I could not expect love from him. And then, moreover,” he said, “he is a Benjamite. Now God has been pleased to put me, David, into the place of Saul who was a Benjamite, and of course this man sympathizes with the tribe that has lost the royal crown.” David put his finger on the secret. “The man has been a sufferer through me, therefore he is angry, he is estranged from me. I could not expect gentle treatment from him, and I have unconsciously, without intending to injure him, taken away some authority from the tribe to which he belongs, and therefore I can somewhat shut my eyes to his harsh treatment of me, and, at any rate, I will show that God is using him as an instrument and will freely forgive him.” Now I am talking very simply and on simple conduct, but I am sorrowfully conscious that a great many Christian people want to be preached to about giving lessons to others. As soon as a child ever learns to say, “Our Father, who is in heaven,” which is a little infant’s prayer, he is taught to say, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and yet I find that some who have been Christians for years—at least they say they have—if they get a little put out about some insignificant trifle, take a long time to get their feathers smooth again. Perhaps it is something they need hardly have noticed, and yet they will go fretting about it day after day. Oh, let us be men, and let us be Christian men, and let us be able to forbear! “In many things we all offend.” “It is necessary that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes.” I think it is equal woe to that man who will not let the offence go away. Someone says, “I suppose someone must have been offended here.” I am sure I do not know of anyone, but, if the cap fits, let them wear it. May we always learn to forgive as we hope to be forgiven.

16. II. Now the second thing is this—DAVID’S COMPLETE RESIGNATION TO THE DIVINE WILL. “It is enough for me that the Lord has ordered him,” or, as in the tenth verse, “Let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’”

17. David felt very keenly the wicked act of his enemy, but he felt that it was sent for his further chastisement, and therefore he accepted it willingly. I daresay he said to himself, “I do not deserve this charge, it is a very base one, but if Shimei had known all about me he might have charged me with something quite as bad that would have been quite correct.” When we are railed at by graceless men and they slander us we may say to ourselves, “Well, well, if they only knew us altogether and could see our hearts, they could perhaps have said something worse against us; so we will be well content to bear this.” For David, though Shimei did not know about it, had sinned grievously. It does not make Shimei’s conduct any better, but David felt, “I have deserved this from the Lord, or something else if not on this particular occasion.” Then feeling it was the Lord, he said to himself, “I do not see the meaning of this, but I am sure there is love in it. Did God ever do anything to his children except in love? I do not see the necessity for it, but I am certain there is wisdom in it. Did the Lord ever do anything to his children that was not right? I do not see the benefit that may come out of it to me, but did God ever exercise his children with fruitless trial?” Is there not a divine necessity and a “needs-be” for all chastisements? It is the Lord—that is enough for David. Brothers and sisters, is that enough for you? The Lord has done it, shall I open my mouth again when I know my Father did it? Did he take my child? Well, blessed be his name, that he loved my little one so well! Did he take my gold? Well, he only lent it to me, and a thing borrowed ought to go laughing back to its owner. Let him take back what he lent. He gives, and blessed be his name, he takes only what he gave; therefore let him still be praised. David seems to me, as it were, to have lain down before God under a sense of having done wrong in days gone past, and said to him, “My Father, chasten me just as you wish. My rebellious spirit is humbled before you. If it is necessary for my good that I suffer from your hand this affliction and a thousand others, go on, go on! Your child may weep, but he will not complain. Your child may suffer, but he will bring no charge against you. What you please to do, it shall be my pleasure to bear. Your pleasure and my pleasure shall be one pleasure henceforth and for evermore. If the Lord has done it, so let it be.”

18. I invite every troubled brother and sister here to cry for grace from God to be able to see God’s hand in every trial and then for grace, seeing God’s hand, to submit at once to it, indeed, not only to submit, but to acquiesce, and to rejoice in it. “It is the Lord, let him do what seems good to him.” I think there is generally an end to troubles when we get to that, for when the Lord sees we are willing that he should do what he wills, then he takes back his hand and says, “I need not chasten my child: he submits himself to me. What would have been accomplished by my chastisement is accomplished already, and therefore I will not chasten him.” You know David was not long in the dark after he was condemned to be there. “Well,” says the Lord, “if my child does not cry because he is left without a candle, he shall have his candle. Now that I have tried him and proved him, he shall come before me in the light.”

19. What is the use of our kicking and struggling against the Lord? What benefit ever comes from our rebellion against him? The ox and the mule which have no understanding have to be held in with bit and bridle. What comfort ever came to you from your rebellions and reluctances? And so with self-will and desiring to have your own way—what do you get from these but the scourge? Oh! it is the happiest and most blessed condition to lie passive in God’s hands, and know no will but his—to feel a self-annihilation, in which self is not destroyed but is absorbed into God so that we delight in the inner man in the will of God and always say, “Father, your will be done.” This is a hard lesson—far easier to preach about than to practise, and a great deal easier to think of when you have learned it than to carry it out. I am often reminded of an old friend, Will Richardson, whom I used to talk with. He said, “When it is winter-time, I think I could mow and reap, and imagine if you were only to give Will the sickle and scythe what a splendid day’s work he would do. That is in the winter, but in the summer I have not been half a day at work before I begin to feel that my poor old bones will not stand much more work, and to think that I am hardly the man for a farm labourer.” Now so it is with our own strength. If we fell back on the strength of God, we should be strong when we are weak, but when we imagine we are getting stronger, we are very much weaker, and might very often measure ourselves in the inverse ratio of what we think.

20. III. DAVID IS TO BE IMITATED IN ANOTHER ASPECT, NAMELY, THAT HIS EXPECTATION WAS FROM GOD ONLY.

21. Notice the text—“It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction.” There was Abishai ready to take off this man’s head, but David said, “It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction.” He thought that when he was in such great trouble God would surely have pity on him. Oh, you tried ones, look away once and for all from man to your God. “My soul wait only on God, for my expectation is from him.” There are two ways of going to a place. One, is to go around and the other is to go straight. Now the straight road is the shortest way. And there are two ways of getting help. The one is to go around to all your friends and get disappointed, and then go to God at last. The other is to go to God at first. That is the shortest way. God can make your friends help you afterwards. Seek God first and his righteousness, and the help of friends will be added afterwards. Straight forward makes the best running. Out of all troubles the best deliverance is from God’s right hand. Therefore from all troubles the best way to escape is to draw near to God in prayer. Do not go to this friend or that, but pour out your story before God. Remember how the poet puts it:—


   Were half the breath thus vainly spent,

   To heaven in supplication sent;

   Our cheerful song would oftener be,

   Hear what the Lord has done for me.


22. Human friends fail us. The strongest sinew in an arm of flesh will crack, and the most faithful heart will sometimes waver, and when there is most need of our friends, we find that they fail us. But our God is eternal and omnipotent; whoever trusted in him in vain? Where is the man who can say, I looked on him and hoped in him and I am ashamed of my hope?

23. The beauty of David’s looking only to God came out in this quite calmly and quietly. He said to himself, “God will get me out of this”; therefore he was not angry with Shimei; he did not want his head to be cut off or anything of the kind. “God will do it.” Oh, that is the man for life, that is the man for death, that is the man for smooth waters, and that is the man for storms, who lives on his God. If a man stays in that frame of mind, what can disturb him? Though the mountains were cast into the midst of the sea and the earth were moved, yet still he would in patience possess his soul, and still be calm, for of such a man I may say, “His soul shall dwell at ease, his seed shall inherit the earth.” At destruction and famine he will laugh. God has given his angels charge concerning such a man to keep him in all his ways; for this is the man who dwells in the secret places of the Most High and he shall reside under the shadow of the Almighty. The Lord says of him, “Because he has set his love on me therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high because he has known my name. He has proved it by trusting in me, and me only, therefore I will never fail him, neither shall he suffer for long.” “Trust in the Lord only, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength.” Gather up your confidences, make them into one confidence, and fix them all on him. Do not lean here and there—you will grow crooked in yourself, and the staff you lean on shall turn into a spear and pierce you. Lean entirely on God, and since he is everywhere you shall stand upright in leaning on him. This shall be the uprightness of your ways, that you support yourself on the Rock of Ages. May we learn this lesson. It is a high one. May the Spirit of God teach it to us.

24. IV. Now the last of the four lessons is this—DAVID LEARNED TO LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE.

25. What is the bright side of trouble? What is the bright side of your trouble, dear friend? Well, I do not know what you would call the bright side, but David considered the bright side of his trouble to be the black side, and I think every man who walks by faith knows that to be so. If you read the text you see it at once, “It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction and will requite me good for his cursing today.” As much as if he had said, “Though my affliction is so very bitter, God will pity me.” So the black side is the bright one. “This man has cursed men. That will move God to come to my side and defend me.” So the black side is the bright one again.

26. There is a sailor and the tide has ebbed out altogether. “Now,” he says, “is the turning.” Those who watch at night are glad when it comes to the darkest, because they know it certainly cannot be darker, and they know that daylight is coming soon. The darkest part of the night is what precedes the day. We have an old saying about the weather, “As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens.” And so it does, but soon it will come to an end. The cold will soon yield. Be thankful when you have come into midwinter, because you cannot go any deeper—it will turn soon. Let us be glad of that. Now if in our blackest parts of sorrow there is brightness, there must be brightness elsewhere, and, indeed, if we were half as inquisitive to find out what will cheer us, as to discover what we may complain about, we should soon have reasons for gratitude in the lowest and worst condition. We rummage through our affairs to find out something to distress ourselves about, ambitious to multiply our sorrows, diligent to increase our distresses, as though our woes were wealth and our sorrows were worth hoarding up. But if we turned that curiosity and inquisitiveness of ours into another channel, we should begin to find that there are diamonds in dark mines, pearls in rough oyster-shells, rainbows that deck the brow of the storm and blessings that come to us in the garb of cursings. We should soon have reason for joy. I suggest to our friends, therefore, the blessed habit of trying to find the silver lining of the dark cloud—to look away from the black surface into the bright gleams, so that they may have reason to rejoice in the Most High.

27. To conclude—David was a glorious man. If instead of having expectation from God, he only had confidence in his fellow men, and had gone around always repining and mourning and finding the dark side of everything—well, he would have been a very insignificant psalmist. In fact, I do not think he could have written a psalm at all, except a poor one. He would have been a poor king—a mere pygmy, and would never have shone out as a saint. Now if you, dear brother and sister, want to shine before God and be among the illustrious elect, whom the Lord makes as stars in the Church’s history, pray for patience towards men and patience towards God. Pray for bright eyes to find the light even in the darkness; always pray to lean entirely on God and rely on him. You will glorify God in that way, and you will be the means of bringing others to God. Doubting preachers do not win souls. Moaning and repining Sunday School teachers will not bring children to Christ. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” The patience which makes us possess our souls gives us the fulness of the blessing of the Lord. May the Lord teach us in that school—we are very foolish. May the Lord strengthen us in his grace—we are very weak. And may all of us on earth live quietly and happily the risen life which our Saviour did.

28. Now if I am speaking to any here tonight who are rebellious and do not love the Lord, I would remind them that there is a cure for these maladies, and that faith in Jesus Christ is that cure. He who believes in him shall find the water that flowed from the riven side, to be of sin the double cure. May every one of you have that cure, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 43:1-7}

In this chapter the Lord comforts his people. By his divine foresight he perceives that there are great and varied trials a little way ahead, and therefore he prepares them for the ordeal. They are to go through rushing waters and flaming fires; and he kindly tells them not to be afraid. How often in God’s word do we read those tender, gracious words, “Do not fear!” Should not the trembling ones listen to the voice of their God, and obey it when he says to them “Do not fear”? It is not right for you who fear God to fear anything else. Once brought to know the Lord, who can harm you? Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, what danger need you dread? No, rather, be of good comfort, and press forward with peaceful confidence, though floods and flames await you. To encourage his people to rise superior to their fears, the gracious God goes on to issue matchless promises: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” Present good—“I will be with you”; absent danger—“they shall not overflow you.” God sustains his people’s hearts by his own promises. In proportion to their faith those promises must lift them up. If you do not believe the promise, you shall not be established by it; but if, with childlike confidence, you accept every word of God as true, then his word shall be for you the joy of your heart, and the delight of your spirit, and you shall be a stranger to fear. The Lord proceeds, after giving those promises, to set before them what he himself is, and what he has done for them, and what they are to him. He is speaking, of course, to Israel; and he says of Israel, his chosen nation, “I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.” What reason for fear now remains? All believers are of the true Israel. Abraham was the father of the faithful. The faithful, or the believing, are therefore Abraham’s seed, according to the promise. The seed was not according to the flesh, otherwise the children of Ishmael would have been the heirs of the covenant; but the true seed was born according to promise, and in the power of God; for Isaac was born when his parents were old, by faith in the power of God. Isaac was not the child of flesh, but he was born according to promise; so that we who are not born of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, by his Spirit, and according to the divine promise, are the true children of Abraham. We are the spiritual Israel. Though after the flesh Abraham is ignorant of us, and Sarah does not acknowledge us, yet we are the true seed of him who was the father of believers. The literal Israel was the type of those chosen and favoured ones who by faith are born again according to promise. To these heirs according to promise the Lord says, “I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.” Let us now meditate on this passage verse by verse.

1. But now thus says the LORD who created you, oh Jacob, and he who formed you, oh Israel, “Do not fear: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.

Do not fear,” is a command of God; and is a command which brings its own power of performance with it. God, who created and formed us, says to us, “Do not fear,” and a secret whisper is heard in the heart by which that heart is so comforted that fear is driven away. Observe the tender ties that bind our God to his people;—creation, the formation of them for his praise; redemption, the purchase of them for himself; and the calling of them by their name. The Lord remembers the bonds which unite us to him even when we forget them; he remembers his eternal love, and all the deeds of mercy that have flowed from it. Though our memory is treacherous, and our faith is feeble, “yet he remains faithful: he cannot deny himself”; blessed be his holy name!

2. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame scorch you.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” The godly have the best company in the worst places in which their lot is cast. God’s presence is all that we need even in the deepest floods of tribulation; he has promised this to us. He does not say what he will do for us, but he does tell us that he will be with us, and that is more than enough to meet all our needs. “When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame scorch you.” That is a wonderful picture of a man walking through the fire, and yet not being burned; but there was a greater wonder, that was seen by Moses, which may well comfort us. He saw a bush that burned with fire, and yet was not consumed. Now a bush, in the desert, is usually so dry that, at the first application of fire, it flames, and glows, and is speedily gone; yet you and I, who are, spiritually, just as dry and combustible as that bush was naturally, may burn, and burn, and burn, and yet we shall not be consumed, because the God, who was in the bush, is also with us and in us. “Neither shall the flame scorch you.” You shall come out of the furnace as the three holy children did, with not so much as the smell of fire on you; for, where God is, all is safe.

3. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour: I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.

For I am the Lord your God.” This is the grandest possible reason for not fearing. Fall back on this when you have nothing else on which to rely. If you have no goods, you have a God. If your gourd is withered, your God is still the same as he ever was:For I am Jehovah, your God.” “I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.” And he has given infinitely more than that for us who are his people now, for he gave his only-begotten Son that he might redeem us with his precious blood. Now that we have cost him so much, is it likely that he will ever forsake us? It is not possible.

4. Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honourable, and I have loved you: therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life.

How sweetly this verse comes home to those whose characters have been disreputable! As soon as they are truly converted to Christ, they become “honourable.” “Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honourable.” God does not call his people by their old names of dishonour, but he given them the title of “Right Honourable,” and makes them the nobility of his Court. “To you who believe he is an honour”; and you have honour in him and from him.

5-7. Do not fear: for I am with you: I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give up’; and to the south, ‘Do not keep back’: bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even everyone who is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him.”

Do not fear: for I am with you.” This is the second time that the blessed words, “Do not fear,” ring out like the notes of the silver trumpet proclaiming the jubilee to poor trembling hearts: “Do not fear, for I am with you.” The Lord seems to say to each troubled believer, “My honour is pledged to secure your safety, all my attributes are engaged on your behalf right to the end; yes, I myself am with you, therefore, do not fear.” “I will say to the north, ‘Give up’; and to the south, ‘Do not keep back’: bring my sons from afar, my daughters from the ends of the earth; everyone who is called by my name.” Whatever happens, God will be with his Church. His own chosen people shall all be gathered in. There shall be no frustration of the divine purpose. From east or west, north or south, all his sons and daughters shall come to him, even everyone who is called by his name. “For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him.” And God will be glorified in his people; the object of their creation is the glory of their God, and that purpose shall, somehow or other, be accomplished in the Lord’s good time. The Lord seems to dwell on that note of the creation of his children for his own glory. This accounts for many of our troubles, and for all our deliverances; it is that God may be glorified by bringing his children through the fires and through the floods. A life that was never tested by trial and trouble would not be a life out of which God would get much glory; but those who do business on the great waters see the works of God, and his wonders in the deep, and they give him praise; and, besides, when they come to their desired haven, then they praise the Lord for his goodness, and God is glorified by it.

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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