3227. The Secret Of Happiness

by Charles H. Spurgeon on April 27, 2021
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No. 3227-56:589. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 2, 1872, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, December 8, 1910.

Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. {Mt 9:2} {c}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2337, “Physician Pardons His Palsied Patient, The” 2338}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3016, “Good Cheer from Forgiven Sin” 3017}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3227, “Secret of Happiness, The” 3228}

   Exposition on Mt 8:23-9:13 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2337, “Physician Pardons His Palsied Patient, The” 2338 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 9:1-13 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2493, “Man Named Matthew, A” 2494 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 9:1-17 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3310, “Prompt Obedience” 3312 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 9 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2482, “Unparalleled Cure, An” 2483 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not say to the palsied man, “Be of good cheer; your palsied limbs shall be made strong and well again”; but, before he had cured that terrible malady, he told him to be comforted because his sins were forgiven, as if that would be a sufficient reason for rejoicing even if he should remain palsied. If he should be carried away from the presence of Christ on his bed just as helpless as when he was let down from the roof into the middle of the crowded room, that would be quite a secondary matter compared with the all-important fact that his sins had been forgiven. David truly wrote, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,” and he is blessed even though he is sick with the palsy, or suffering from all the diseases to which flesh is heir. You remember, too, how the prophet Isaiah wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry to her,’”—what? What shall be the special reason for comfort for the Church of God?—“‘that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.’” She might be in great trouble and distress, her land might be trodden under the feet of invaders, her sons and daughters might be fainting in her streets; but, since her iniquity was pardoned, she had good reason for comfort. To quote another example, that is a close parallel to our text, our Lord said to the woman in the city, who was a sinner who had washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed them, and anointed them with ointment,—“Your sins are forgiven.…Go in peace”; and, truly, when sin is forgiven, we may go in peace.

2. This is the subject on which I am going to speak,—whatever there may be to cause us sorrow, if our sins are forgiven, we have good reason to be happy. First, I shall try to show you that the pardon for sin brings true happiness; next, that those whose sins are forgiven ought to be happy; and thirdly, a solemn warning in conclusion, that there is no true happiness for unpardoned souls.

3. I. First, then, since Jesus said to the man sick with the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you”; we learn that THE PARDON FOR SIN BRINGS TRUE HAPPINESS.

4. Time would fail us to show all the ways in which the forgiveness of sin is a perennial fount of consolation; but note, first, that it is one of the best signs of divine favour, and anyone who is in the enjoyment of it certainly has abundant reason for being glad. God may give a man great riches, but that would not in itself be a sign of favour; it might even be quite the opposite. God may give a man great success in his enterprises, but that also may be no evidence of favour. God may even permit a man to have his heart’s desire, and to be filled with this world’s follies and pleasures; yet that might be a proof of divine wrath rather than of the Lord’s favour. He may have said concerning him, “Ephraim is joined to idols: leave him alone.” But if a man’s sins are forgiven, there is no doubt about God’s favour in his case. That brief sentence, “Your sins are forgiven,” is a clearer sign of the favour of God than vats bursting with new wine or barns packed to the roof with golden grain. If your sins are forgiven you, you have the King’s sign-manual {a} to prove that he loves you.

5. Forgiveness of sin is also a proof of divine election; not merely a sign and token of God’s present favourable regard, but an evidence of that ancient favour which God had in his heart towards his chosen even from eternity. There are many common mercies that God gives freely to all kinds and conditions of men. “He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” But, the pardon for sin is a special blessing reserved for his own special people, whose names he wrote in the Lamb’s book of life, and whom he gave to his Son in the covenant of his grace, and whom Christ redeemed by his precious blood when he “loved the church, and gave himself for it.” These are the people in whom God takes a special delight, and these are those whose sins are forgiven them, for Christ’s sake.

6. If you, my brother or sister, are one of these highly-favoured ones, then you have good reason to be happy. Think for a minute or two on what this pardon is, and then you will see what reason you have for happiness. Isaiah tells us that Jehovah has laid on Christ the iniquity of all his people, so that this crushing burden has been removed from all of us who are truly his, and surely he who has had such a load taken off his heart and conscience, must be a happy man. In the Psalms, we read, “You have forgiven the iniquity of your people, you have covered all their sin.” {Ps 85:2} If we have believed in Jesus, our sins are covered even from the sight of God by the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and they are so concealed from our own eyes that we no longer think of them as condemning us. Can any of us understand that this is our case, and yet remain unhappy? In Isaiah, we read, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins.” {Isa 44:22} You have sometimes seen the clouds dissipated and scattered so completely that not a vestige of them can be seen; that is how our sins are driven away by God, so shall we not be happy? Sometimes, the pardon for sin is called the casting of sin behind God’s back into the depths of the sea; at another time, it is said that “the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found”; and then there is that wonderful description of the work of “Messiah the Prince” which Gabriel gave to Daniel, “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins.” What stronger expression than that could ever be used: If it is Christ’s work “to make an end of sins,” we may be quite sure that he will do it, and that there will be an end of them for all who believe in him; therefore, let our hearts dance for joy as his gracious Spirit assures us that our sins are as completely annihilated and put away as if they had never been committed.

7. Observe also that the pardon for sin completely changes a man’s position in relationship to God. Before he was forgiven, he was in the position of a condemned man, the wrath of God was resting on him. If his conscience had been awakened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he felt that the sword of divine justice was drawn from its sheath, and hanging over his head as by a single hair. I remember well the time when I had neither peace nor comfort either night or day. I knew that God must be angry with me because of my sin, and that I was “condemned already” because I had not savingly believed in his only-begotten Son. But the moment a man’s sins are forgiven, his spirit begins to rejoice in God his Saviour. Then his days are full of peace, and he can fall asleep at night without fearing death even should the silent messenger come for him before he wakes up. He is no longer the slave of sin and Satan, but a free man in Christ Jesus. He is no longer a rebel, hiding here and there to avoid arrest by the officers of justice; but he is welcomed as the King’s own son, and received with loving embraces into his Father’s bosom. Surely there is no greater comfort under heaven than a sense of sin forgiven, and of reconciliation to God by the death of his Son. An earthly courtier, whose whole life at court depends on his monarch’s favour, feels that, if his sovereign frowns on him, his position is imperilled, and all his joy has departed; but when he again basks in the sunshine of his sovereign’s smile because his offence has been forgiven, then his life is once more filled with happiness. Even so it is with us; in past days, we were under the frown of our great Lord and King, and we were in utter misery, and almost in despair; but now that his smile rests on us, and he has forgiven us all our transgressions, we can sing, yes, and even dance for joy of heart that our sins and iniquities he will remember against us no more for ever.

8. The pardon for sin also makes a change in all that surrounds the one who is forgiven. That is a terrible text of Scripture, “I will curse your blessings: yes, I have cursed them already”; and many a man has experienced in his own life the truth of that divine declaration. The whole world, so far as it is loyal to its great Creator, is against the man who is the enemy of God, even as the stars in their courses fought against Sisera; but for the man who is at peace with God we can say, as Eliphaz said to Job, “You shall be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.” Paul was not a bit too positive when he wrote, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Deliverance from sins seems to the forgiven man to cause such a change in everything around him that the things which he used to regard as curses now appear to him as blessings, just as previously his blessings (as he called them,) were transmuted into curses. Blessed is the man who has had his sins forgiven; he is the man who can truly say, “The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come”; and it is to him and others like him that, the Lord says, “You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” The saved man is such a happy man that, like John Bunyan when he was converted, he wanted even the crows in the field to share his joy.

9. In the pardon for sin, too, blessed be God, there is a reversal of the sentence which had been pronounced on us as sinners. As I speak of this great fact, I cannot help remembering the time when I would have cheerfully given my eyes, or anything else that was dear to me, if I might only have been assured that my sins were all forgiven; for the dread of the wrath to come filled my spirit, and I did not know how soon I might be summoned to appear before the judgment bar of God, to hear the sentence that my sins had merited. I felt that I would willingly lie in prison, and have nothing but bread and water for my sustenance if I might only have my sins blotted out; and now that, trusting in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, I know that my sins are all forgiven for his sake, I find my tongue quite inadequate to tell of the joys I have experienced and still feel through knowing that the sentence justly passed on me has been reversed. So now, instead of fearing that the messengers of divine justice will arrest me, and drag me off to the eternal prison-house, I join in Paul’s triumphant challenge to heaven, and earth, and hell, and cry, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” There is no hell for a pardoned sinner. God may chasten him as his loving Father, but he will never condemn as his Judge. No penal wrath can fall on him, for it is contrary to Jehovah’s righteous rule to punish those whom he has absolved. The day of wrath has passed from him, and his portion now is unspeakable joy and bliss which will culminate in indescribable bliss and glory for ever and ever.

10. Sometimes,—and it is true in the case we are now considering,—when people, who have been convicted of high treason, have been pardoned by their sovereign, the conviction is removed, and their estates, which had been sequestrated, {b} are restored to them; and, in the same way, all that we had lost by our treason against the Most High is restored to us. It is true that we do not find a literal earthly paradise such as Adam had, but we can walk with God quite a closely as he ever did; and in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we can have closer communion with God than our first father enjoyed in his unfallen state. Our soul has fruits to feed on such as Adam never tasted, we drink from a fountain whose streams are more precious than the river that watered the garden of Eden; in fact, as we often sing,—

 

   In Christ, the sons of Adam boast,

   More blessings than their father lost.

 

Christ has restored to us all that we lost by sin, and has added new blessings which Adam never had; so that now, as Dr. Watts truly wrote,—

 

   All things are ours; the gift of God,

   The purchase of a Saviour’s blood;

   While the good Spirit shows us how

   To use and to improve them too.

 

Or, as Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “All things are yours; whether…the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”

11. I will only mention one other thing that clearly shows that the pardon for sin brings true happiness; it is this. For many of us, it is the greatest joy we know to be able to do anything that brings glory to God, and extends his kingdom in the earth. But, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we could not have done this if our sins had remained unforgiven. We would have been incapable of proclaiming the gospel to others if we had not proved its sweetness ourselves. I always feel that I can make Paul’s language my own, and say, “To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Many of you, my brethren, can say the same; others of you can apply the spirit of the apostle’s words to your Sunday School teaching, your house-to-house visitation, your tract distribution, or any other form of service by which you seek to win souls for Christ, and so to bring glory to God. It is most blessed work in which you are engaged, but you could never rightly have engaged in it if you had not yourself first enjoyed the blessedness of the man “whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” What is there of covenant blessing, what is there of practical godliness, what is there of fellowship with God, what is there of foretaste of the eternal bliss that we could have known if, first of all, the Lord had not forgiven us all our iniquities? This, which is in itself a choice blessing, includes many other choice blessings, and therefore it should make all those who possess it supremely happy.

12. II. The second part of my sermon is an application of the first part; what I have been saying to you is true, therefore carry it out; which means that THOSE WHOSE SINS ARE FORGIVEN OUGHT TO BE HAPPY.

13. First of all, is it not most becoming that they should be happy? Remember our Saviour’s parable of the prodigal son; he comes home in rags, but he is lovingly welcomed by his father’s warm embrace and fond kisses, his rags are taken off, and the best robe is put in their place, the fatted calf is killed, and there is general rejoicing throughout the house. Now imagine, if you can, this newly received prodigal sitting down and weeping amid the joy of all around him. I can conceive that his tears flowed copiously enough at first when he found himself so graciously forgiven, and was made to feel that he was at home once more; yet, surely, even those must have been mainly tears of joy though some bitter drops of grief for the past wasted years must have been mixed with them. I think, that day he could not even have a headache, for the joy of his heart must have driven away all his aches and pains; and if, before, he had been foot-sore and weary with his long journey from the far country, the exhilaration and delight of such a home-coming must have revived and refreshed him. When “they began to be merry,” surely there was not one there who was happier than he was; and, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in the same position as he was; so, now that God has pardoned us, shall we sit as mourners at the great gospel feast to which we have been so lovingly welcomed? Angels are rejoicing over us; shall we be moaning and groaning, sighing and crying, murmuring and complaining? All our fellow Christians are glad to hear that we have tasted that the Lord is gracious; shall they rejoice over us, and shall not we ourselves rejoice?

14. “Oh, but, I am so poor!” one says. I am sorry it is so with you, my dear friend, but shall a sense of your poverty have more power over your mind than a sense of God’s forgiving love? “Ah, but I have a sick one at home!” sighs another. I admire your sympathetic feeling, but shall that be permitted to outweigh your feeling of gratitude to God for saving your soul from everlasting destruction? After all, is there anything in the world that is worthy to be compared with the incalculable mercy of sin forgiven? What if I am poor? Yet I am forgiven. What if I am sickly? Yet I am forgiven. What if I shall soon die? Yet I am forgiven. Our sin being forgiven, the very sting of death is drawn, and therefore we can sing, “Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

15. Then next, have we not the very best reasons for rejoicing? John Bunyan rightly says that any man who wears the flower called “heart’s ease” in his bosom is a happy man; but where does that flower grow except in the garden of forgiveness for sin? The heart is heavy when sin is resting on it, but it is light and joyful when sin is removed. I would bear any affliction rather than be burdened with a guilty conscience; would not you, my brother or sister? As long as conscience is clear and cleansed, other matters are of little account, and we need not fear even the devil himself. The principal element in true happiness is a heart at peace with God, and a pardoned sinner has that; then ought he not to show it in his very face? Ought not his whole mood and manner to be blessedly joyful because he is at peace with God? The Lord himself says that such a man is blessed, and can his verdict be set at nothing? Shall he say that you are blessed because he has forgiven your transgression, and covered your sin, and will you bow your head as if you were a bulrush, and that he had forgotten you? When God’s declaration is that those who are forgiven are blessed, and when he tells them to be glad in him, and even shout for joy, it must be right for them to do as he commands, and it would be wrong for them not to do so. Oh you pardoned ones, pray the Lord to enable you to shake off the gloom that now enshrouds you, and to give to you “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!”

16. Ought we not to cultivate this blessed flower of true scriptural happiness far more than we do? I find myself frequently depressed in spirit,—perhaps more so than any other person here, and I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to experience afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and his infinite love in dying on the cross to put away all my transgressions. As I gaze on the incarnated God there made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him, streams of comfort flow into my soul from his many wounds. I could sit at Calvary, and weep; but I could not sit there without singing. It is strange, yet it is true that, in the hour of our greatest grief, we find comfort soonest in the place where grief reached its climax. Calvary was the very summit of sorrow for our dear Lord and Saviour, yet it is the death of sorrow for his people; and the cross, which caused him unspeakable agony, brings consolation and joy to all who put their trust in him. If we meditated more on what Christ did to procure peace and pardon for us, we should more fully rejoice over the redemption that he bought for us when he gave “his life a ransom for many”; and if we more clearly understood what the pardon for sin really means, and how many other precious blessings are bound up in the same bundle with it, if we continually sought to live as pardoned men and women ought to live, we should find that nine out of ten of the things that depress us would be driven away, like clouds before a Biscay gale.

17. And notice, beloved, that this source of joy will always remain with us. “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you”; is a message that always gives comfort and joy. While we are young, perhaps we are foolish enough to look elsewhere for happiness; but when we grow old, and cares and sorrows increase, happy indeed are we if we have the happiness that comes from pardoned sin. If we are rich, we are apt to look to our wealth for consolation; but when we are brought down to penury, what a source of happiness it is for us if our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake! The believer’s sins are pardoned when he is most joyful on the top of Tabor, but they are equally pardoned when he is in Doubting Castle in the clutches of that grim old tyrant, Giant Despair. He who has once looked by faith to Jesus Christ and him crucified is pardoned anywhere, and pardoned everywhere, pardoned at all times, and pardoned under all circumstances. The comforts that spring out of growth in grace, are variable, but the comfort which arises from the forgiveness of sin is always full, and rich, and true. If we are forgiven, we ought to be glad and rejoice all our days, and we should be especially joyful whenever the time comes for us to die. We need have no fear about departing out of this world, for we are not going into the presence of an angry God, but to meet him who has forgiven all our sins. We shall gather up our feet in the bed, as some dear ones who were with us recently did when it was time for them to go; and we shall defy the last enemy, and bravely pass through his dominions, not fearing arrest there because we have received that plenary absolution which is a passport even through the realm of death.

18. If we enjoyed this happiness as we ought, I really do not know what there is that would distress us, because the joy of being forgiven would override and overtop any sorrow that could come over us in any conceivable circumstances. Our sin being pardoned, there is no reason for our heart to be troubled; the greatest grief is gone, the master-sorrow is removed. Dear children of God, let me press on you and on myself also the duty of maintaining a sacred cheerfulness of spirit. Do not let the men of the world be truthfully able to say of us that we are a sad and mournful lot of people. If any people under heaven have a right to be happy, we have. When all the joys of this life grow dim, ours begin to burn more brightly. I can understand a man in business, who only lives to make money, being crushed when he becomes a bankrupt; but I cannot understand your being like that, my dear brother, if you live to glorify God in your business and in everything else. I can comprehend a worldly man saying, “I have nothing left on earth now that my darling is dead”; but I cannot comprehend your saying it, my brother or sister, for your sins are forgiven; and now, however God may deal with you, his strokes are gentle and tender, not at all like those that you deserved to have when you were unrepentant, and unforgiven. Let all of us who believe in Jesus not only ask that his joy may remain in us, but also that our joy may be full. I wish we could all be so calm, so confident in God, so joyful under all circumstances that everyone around us would be compelled to ask, “What is the secret of these people’s happiness? They have no immunity from trouble, they have as much to vex and annoy them as we have, what is it that makes them even glory in tribulation?” I wish they might often be obligated to ask that question, so that we could give this answer, “Those whose sins are forgiven ought always to be happy, and that is the secret of our continual joy.”

19. III. Now we must close with the sorrowful reflection that FOR THE UNFORGIVEN, THERE IS NO TRUE HAPPINESS.

20. An unconverted man may have what he calls joy, but it is the joy of madness. If he were rational and thoughtful, and saw things as they really are, he could not have any real joy as long as he remained unpardoned. Suppose, sinner, you are in trouble; these are only the first drops before the great storm of divine wrath that awaits you; and that sickness of yours, that bereavement, that poverty,—these are only the beginning of that awful hurricane that will break over your devoted head. I cannot say to you, “Be of good cheer in your trouble,” for there is worse trouble to come to you. “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.”

21. Perhaps you tell me that you are not in trouble; or to the contrary, you are prospering very much; everything you touch seems to turn to gold. You invite me to pay you a visit, and are proud to show me over your princely mansion, your spacious grounds, and your lovely gardens; but my principal thought is, “How will you like to leave all this?” As I see how anxious you are to add field to field, and farm to farm, I cannot help remembering what God said to a man who seems to have been very much like you, “You fool, tonight your soul shall be required of you; then whose shall these things be, which you have provided?” What a terrible change it must have been for the “rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day,” when “in hell he lifts up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame’”; and what a terrible change it would be for you, my friend, to go from all your riches into hell! Yet I do not know whether it makes much difference to you if you are rich or if you are poor as long as you are unforgiven.

22. Possibly, your heart is hardened, and you intend to brazen it out before God; and, like Belshazzar, you would even send for the sacred vessels out of the temple, and mix blasphemy with your Bacchanalian festivities. Then I would remind you of the mysterious handwriting on the wall, “TEKEL: you are weighed in the balance, and are found wanting.” You may be very bold just now; but, before long, you will be made to crouch in terror before God when he lifts up his rod to strike you. Whether you are hardened or not, whatever your condition may be, I see no road to happiness for you as long as you are unpardoned. There is nothing in life or in death, in time or in eternity, that can comfort a man whose sins are not forgiven; and there is nothing that you can ever do which will give you true comfort while you remain an unforgiven sinner. You may give up certain sins, and make some kind of reformation; but, as long as all your old sins continue unpardoned, you will not have even started on the right road. No, there is no hope for you until you fall prostrate before the throne of God, confessing your guilt, and beseeching his mercy. Do it now. Now, while he sits on the throne of grace, and stretches out to you the silver sceptre of his mercy, come and bow at his feet, and cry, “Oh Lord, for your dear Son’s sake, blot out all my iniquities!” and he will do it, and do it now. If you will trust in the Lord Jesus Christ now, you shall go out of this house perfectly forgiven, and in your soul you shall know that you are forgiven, for the Spirit of God shall bear witness with your spirit that it is so. Come then to the fountain filled with precious blood, for there your sins can all be washed away. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” and he will say to you, as he said to the man sick with the palsy, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” May God grant that it may be so with many here, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.


{a} Sign-manual: An autograph signature (esp. that of the sovereign) serving to authenticate a document. OED.
{b} Sequestrate: To divert the income of an estate or benefice, temporarily or permanently, from its owner into other hands. OED.
{c} Sermons concerning the man sick with the palsy:—

 

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2337, “The Physician Pardons his Palsied Patient” 2338}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2417, “First Forgiveness, Then Healing” 2418}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3016, “Good Cheer from Forgiven Sin” 3017}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3227, “The Secret of Happiness” 3228}

 

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 62}

(The exposition belonging to the above sermon is too long for the space available, so it has been transferred to the next sermon.) {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3228, “Oh, How He Loves” 3229 @@ "Exposition"}

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

Waiting on God, if not true and sincere, is only a mockery; it is also an insult to the Lord; and, so far from bringing us a blessing, it would only bring us a curse.

The Hebrew has it, “Truly my soul is silent before God,” for faith asks no questions, raises no objections, starts no difficulties, but is content to wait quietly for God’s time, believing that all will be well. David meant, “My soul in silence only waits on God: from him comes my salvation, and from no other quarter;—not from the Assyrians, nor from the Egyptians, nor from my own might or wisdom, but from God alone.” I hope that we have not only come up to this service in our bodies, but that we have brought our souls also to wait on God. It is unutterably sad when we go to a place of worship, and leave our souls somewhere else. Soul-worship is the very soul of worship, but worship without the whole heart and soul is soulless and dead.

2. He only 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}

He may be moved as an old oak is moved in a storm; its branches are shaken, but its trunk stands firm, and its roots get all the firmer grip on the soil. He may be moved like a ship which is tossed, but which still does not drag its anchor, so he can truly say, “I shall not be greatly moved.”

3. How long will you imagine mischief against a man? You shall be slain all of you: you shall be like a leaning wall, and like a tottering fence.

David’s enemies were very many, yet see how he speaks of their enmity: “How long will you imagine mischief?” He speaks as if it were nothing but imagination, that would never come to anything more; and, blessed be God, those who think of destroying God’s people only imagine what will never come to pass. Their dreams and imaginings shall never become facts. Saul, and his sons, and his servants were killed on Mount Gilboa; and the prince of darkness and all his hosts must fall before the arrows of our conquering King.

“You shall be like a leaning wall.” You have, perhaps, sometimes seen a wall which has a mass of earth pressing on it on the other side, and therefore it leans out through the excessive weight and through its own weakness. So you have seen a fence which totters, and is ready to fall. The wood has become rotten, the nails have dropped out, and the old posts have perished in the ground. These are true pictures of the enemies of God’s people. They are leaning walls,—a child may push them over; they are tottering fences,—at the blast of God’s breath in his wrath, they shall be blown to the ground at once.

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

This has been the typical character of the enemies of God’s people in all generations,—oily words on their tongues, but sharp daggers in their hearts. If they would speak as they feel, then they would be easily recognised; but they do not, and therefore they are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. May the Lord deliver me from all such enemies! Blessed be his name, if we truly wait on him, we shall be delivered from them all in due time.

5, 6. My soul, wait only on God; for my expectation is from him. He is my only rock and salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 144, “Waiting Only On God” 138}

Some people only pray if they are in a good frame of mind, but we ought to pray to get ourselves into a good frame. That is what David did. You notice that he improves as he goes on. In the second verse, he says, “I shall not be greatly moved”; but now, in this sixth verse, he says, “I shall not be moved.” His faith grows as he prays, and as he praises; and we also ought not only to pray when we feel most in the spirit of prayer, and to sing when our hearts are merry but, sometimes, like David, we may strengthen our faith while we pray, and we may sing our griefs away until the spirit of praise shall fill our souls.

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

Say, with Job, “Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him.” “Trust in him at all times,” even when he seems to be angry, and hides his face from you. “Trust in him at all times,” even in the stormy and dark day. It is among the many excellencies of faith that it can see in the dark, that it can walk abroad in foul weather, that it can ride at anchor in a storm; and that, when lions are in the way, it makes nothing of them. Well, then, troubled Christian, trust in him now; at this present time, leave your cares, and sorrows, and afflictions in this house of prayer, and go away with a song in your heart, if not in your mouth. “Trust in him at all times”;—

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

The prophet Jeremiah told the people to pour out their heart “like water before the face of the Lord”;—not like oil, some of which clings to the cup; but like water, which runs away to the last drop. So, sinner, pour out your whole heart before the Lord, for this is the way to be saved. Bring your heart, all full of sin and sorrow, turn it upside down, pour all of its contents out at the foot of the throne of grace, and then wait until God fills your heart with peace and joy.

8. God is a refuge for us.

Not for David only, but for all who, by a simple, sincere faith, can find shelter and safety under the shadow of his wings.

9. Surely men of low degree are vanity,

They promise what they cannot perform.

9. And men of high degree are a lie:

They often promise what they will not perform. The many-headed multitude are vanity, put all of them into the scales, and how much do they weigh? Just nothing; and as for the aristocrats, those great men who would ride roughshod over the whole world if they could, they are worse than nothing; for, while the “men of low degree are vanity,” the “men of high degree are a lie,” and that is worse than vanity.

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

Put in Caesar, and the senators and nobles of Rome, and then put in the populace of Rome: “they are altogether lighter than vanity.” Therefore it is no use to trust in men. If any man builds his comfort on popularity, he builds on the sand, or if any build their hopes on some great noble or prince, they build on a lie, for he will fail them when they most need his help. Blessed is the man who trusts in his God, but cursed is he who trusts in man.

10. Do not trust in oppression, and do not become vain in robbery: if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

They will be as deceptive to you as the multitude or as the prince.

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

Hear that, Christian, and from this day forward place no reliance on yourself, or on anyone but your God.

12. Also to you, oh Lord, belongs mercy: for you render to every man according to his work.

God gives to each Christian grace proportioned to his work, and then he gives a reward—not of merit, but of mercy, in proportion to the work done. May God grant us the grace to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this most instructive Psalm, until our souls, like David’s, truly wait only on God!

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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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