Sermon 2029. Let Him Deliver Him Now
Intended for Reading on Lord's-day, June 17, 1888, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"He trusted in God; let him deliver him now; if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."'Matthew 27:43.
THESE WORDS ARE a fulfilment of the prophecy contained in the twenty-second Psalm. Read from the seventh verse'"All they thatsee me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliverhim: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him." Thus to the letter doth our Lord answer to the ancient prophecy.
It is very painful to the heart to picture our blessed Master in his death-agonies, surrounded by a ribald multitude, whowatched him and mocked him, made sport of his prayer and insulted his faith. Nothing was sacred to them: they invaded theHoly of holies of his confidence in God, and taunted him concerning that faith in Jehovah which they were compelled to admit.See, dear friends, what an evil thing is sin, since the Sin-bearer suffers so bitterly to make atonementfor it! See, also, the shame of sin, since even the Prince of Glory, when bearing the consequences of it, is covered withcontempt! Behold, also, how he loved us! For our sake he "endured the cross, despising the shame." He loved us so much thateven scorn of the most cruel sort he deigned to bear, that he might take away our shame and enable us to look up unto God.
Beloved, the treatment of our Lord Jesus Christ by men is the clearest proof of total depravity which can possibly be requiredor discovered. Those must be stony hearts indeed which can laugh at a dying Saviour, and mock even at his faith in God! Compassionwould seem to have deserted humanity, while malice sat supreme on the throne. Painful as the picture is, it will do you goodto paint it. You will need neither canvas, nor brush, nor palette, nor colours. Let yourthoughts draw the outline, and your love fill in the detail; I shall not complain if imagination heightens the colouring.The Son of God, whom angels adore with veiled faces, is pointed at with scornful fingers by men who thrust out the tongueand mockingly exclaim, "He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."
While thus we see our Lord in his sorrow and his shame as our substitute, we must not forget that he also is there as ourrepresentative. That which appears in many a psalm to relate to David is found in the Gospels to refer to Jesus, our Lord.Often and often the student of the Psalm will say to himself, "Of whom speaketh the prophet this?" He will have to disentanglethe threads sometimes, and mark off that which belongs to David and that which relates to the Son of God;and frequently he will not be able to disentangle the threads at all, because they are one, and may relate both to David,and to David's Lord. This is meant to show us that the life of Christ is an epitome of the life of his people. He not onlysuffers for us as our substitute, but he suffers before us as our pattern. In him we see what we have in our measure to endure."As he is, so are we also in this world." We also must be crucified to the world, and we may look for somewhat of those testsof faith and taunts of derision which go with such a crucifixion. "Marvel not if the world hate you." You, too, must sufferwithout the gate. Not for the world's redemption, but for the accomplishment of divine purposes in you, and through you tothe sons of men, you must be made to know the cross and its shame. Christ is the mirror of the church. What the head enduredevery member of the body will also have to endure in its measure. Let us read the text in this light, and come to it sayingtoourselves, "Here we see what Jesus suffered in our stead, and we learn hereby to love him with all our souls. Here, too,we see, as in a prophecy, how great things we are to suffer for his sake at the hands of men." May the Holy Spirit help usin our meditation, so that at the close of it we may more ardently love our Lord, who suffered for us, and may the more carefullyarm ourselves with the same mind which enabled him to endure such contradiction of sinners against himself.
Coming at once to the text, first, observe the acknowledgment with which the text begins: "He trusted in God." The enemies of Christ admitted his faith in God. Secondly, consider the test which is the essence of the taunt: "Let him deliver him, if he will have him." When we have taken those two things into our minds, then let us for a while considerthe answer to that test and taunt: God does assuredly deliver his people: those who trust in him have noreason to be ashamed of their faith.
I. First, then, my beloved brethren, you who know the Lord by faith and live by trusting in him, let me invite you to OBSERVETHE ACKNOWLEDGMENT which these mockers made of our Lord's faith: "He trusted in God." Yet the Saviour did not wear any peculiargarb or token by which he let men know that he trusted in God. He was not a recluse, neither did he join some little knotof separatists, who boasted their peculiar trust in Jehovah. Although our Saviour was separate fromsinners, yet he was eminently a man among men, and he went in and out among the multitude as one of themselves. His onepeculiarity was that "he trusted in God." He was so perfectly a man that, although he was undoubtedly a Jew, there were noJewish peculiarities about him. Any nation might claim him; but no nation could monopolize him. The characteristics of ourhumanity are so palpably about him that he belongs to all mankind. I admire the Welch sister who was of opinion that the LordJesusmust be Welch. When they asked her how she proved it, she said that he always spoke to her heart in Welch. Doubtless itwas so, and I can, with equal warmth, declare that he always speaks to me in English. Brethren from Germany, France, Sweden,Italy'you all claim that he speaks to you in your own tongue. This was the one thing which distinguished him among men'"hetrusted in God," and he lived such a life as naturally grows out of faith in the Eternal Lord. This peculiarity had beenvisible even to that ungodly multitude who least of all cared to perceive a spiritual point of character. Was ever anyother upon a cross thus saluted by the mob who watched his execution? Had these scorners ever mocked anyone before for sucha matter as this? I trow not. Yet faith had been so manifest in our Lord's daily life that the crowd cried out aloud, "Hetrusted in God."
How did they know? I suppose they could not help seeing that he made much of God in his teaching, in his life, and in his miracles. Whenever Jesus spoke it was always godly talk; and if it was not alwaysdistinctly about God, it was always about things that related to God, that came from God, that led to God, that magnifiedGod. A man may be fairly judged by that which he makes most of. The ruling passion is a fair gauge of the heart. What a soul-rulerfaith is! Itsways the man as the rudder guides the ship. When a man once gets to live by faith in God, it tinctures his thoughts,it masters his purposes, it flavours his words, it puts a tone into his actions, and it comes out in everything by ways andmeans most natural and unconstrained, till men perceive that they have to do with a man who makes much of God. The unbelievingworld says outright that there is no God, and the less impudent, who admit his existence, put him down at a very low figure,solow that it does not affect their calculations; but to the true Christian, God is not only much, but all. To our LordJesus, God was all in all; and when you come to estimate God as he did, then the most careless onlooker will soon begin tosay of you, "He trusted in God."
In addition to observing that Jesus made much of God, men came to note that he was a trusting man, and not self-confident. Certain persons are very proud because they are self-made men. I will do them the credit to admit that they heartily worshiptheir maker. Self made them, and they worship self. We have among us individuals who are self-confident, and almost all-sufficient;they sneer at those who do not succeed, for they can succeed anywhere at anything.The world to them is a football which they can kick where they like. If they do not rise to the very highest eminenceit is simply out of pity to the rest of us, who ought to have a chance. A vat of sufficiency ferments within their ribs! Therewas nothing of that sort of thing in our Lord. Those who watched him did not say that he had great self-reliance and a noblespirit of self-confidence. No, no! They said, "He trusted in God." Indeed it was so. The words that he spake he spake notofhimself, and the great deeds that he did he never boasted of, but said "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."He was a truster in God, not a boaster in self. Brethren and sisters, I desire that you and I may be just of that order. Selfconfidenceis the death of confidence in God; reliance upon talent, tact, experience, and things of that kind, kills faith. Oh that wemay know what faith means, and so look out of ourselves and quit the evil confidence which looks within!
On the other hand, we may wisely remember that, while our Lord Jesus was not self-reliant, he trusted, and was by no means despondent: he was never discouraged. He neither questioned his commission, nor despaired of fulfilling it. He never said, "I must giveit up: I can never succeed." No; "He trusted in God." And this is a grand point in the working of faith, that while it keepsus from self-conceit, it equally preserves us from enfeebling fear. When our blessedLord set his face like a flint; when, being baffled, he returned to the conflict; when, being betrayed, he still perseveredin his love, then men could not help seeing that he trusted in God. His faith was not mere repetition of a creed, or professionof belief, but it was childlike reliance upon the Most High. May ours be of the same order!
It is evident that the Lord Jesus trusted in God openly since even yonder gibing crowd proclaimed it. Some good people try to exercise faith on the sly: they practise it in snugcorners, and in lonely hours, but they are afraid to say much before others, for fear their faith should not see the promisefulfilled. They dare not say, with David, "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and beglad." This secrecy robs God of his honour.Brethren, we do not glorify our God as he ought to be glorified. Let us trust in him, and own it. Wherefore should webe ashamed? Let us throw down the gauge of battle to earth and hell. God, the true and faithful, deserves to be trusted withoutlimit. Trust your all with him, and be not ashamed of having done so. Our Saviour was not ashamed of trusting in his God.On the cross he cried, "Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breast." Jesus lived by faith. We are sure thathe did,for in the Epistle to the Hebrews he is quoted as saying, "I will put my trust in him." If so glorious a personage asthe only begotten Son of God lived here by faith in God, how are you and I to live except by trust in God? If we live untoGod, this is the absolute necessity of our spiritual life "the just shall live by faith." Shall we be ashamed of that whichbrings life to us? The cruel ones who saw Jesus die did not say, "He now and then trusted in God"; nor "he trusted in theLord yearsago"; but they admitted that faith in God was the constant tenor of his life: they could not deny it. Even though, withmalicious cruelty, they turned it into a taunt, yet they did not cast a question upon the fact that "he trusted in God" Oh,I want you so to live that those who dislike you most may, nevertheless, know that you do trust in God! When you come to die,may your dear children say of you, "Our dear mother did trust in the Lord"! May that boy, who has gone furthest away fromChrist,and grieved your heart the most, nevertheless say in his heart, "There may be hypocrites in the world, but my dear fatherdoes truly trust in God"! Oh, that our faith may be known unmistakably! We do not wish it to be advertised to our own honour.That be far from our minds. But yet we would have it known that others may be encouraged, and that God may be glorified. Ifnobody else trusts in God, let us do so; and thus may we uplift a testimony to the honour of his faithfulness. When we die,maythis be our epitaph'"He trusted in God."
David, in the twenty-second Psalm, represents the enemies as saying of our Lord'"He trusted on the Lord that he would deliverhim." This practical faith is sure to be known wherever it is in operation, because it is exceedingly rare. Multitudes of people have a kind of faithit God, but it does not come to the practical point of trusting that God will deliver them. I see upon the newspaper placards,"Startling New! People in the Planets!" Not a verypractical discovery. For many a day there has been a tendency to refer God's promises and our faith to the planets, orsomewhere beyond this present every-day life. We say to ourselves, "Oh yes, God delivers his people." We mean that he didso in the days of Moses, and possibly he may be doing so now in some obscure island of the sea. Ah me! The glory of faithlies it its being fit for every-day wear. Can it be said of you, "He trusted in God, that he would deliver him"? Have youfaith of thekind which will make you lean upon the Lord in poverty, in sickness, in bereavement, in persecution, in slander, in contempt?Have you a trust in God to bear you up in holy living at all costs, and in active service even beyond your strength? Can youtrust in God definitely about this and that? Can you trust about food, and raiment, and home? Can you trust God even aboutyour shoes, that they shall be iron and brass, and about the hairs of your head that they are all numbered? What we need isless theory and more actual trust it God.
The faith of the text was personal: "that he would deliver him." Blessed is that faith which can reach its arm of compassion around the world, but that faith must begin at home. Of whatuse were the longest arm if it were not fixed to the man himself at the shoulder? If you have no faith about yourself, whatfaith can you have about others? "He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him." Come, beloved, have you such a faithin the living God? Do you trustin God through Christ Jesus that he will save you? Yes, you poor, unworthy one, the Lord will deliver you if you trusthim. Yes, poor woman, or unknown man, the Lord can help you in your present trouble, and in every other, and he will do soif you trust him to that end. May the Holy Spirit lead you to first trust the Lord Jesus for the pardon of sin, and then totrust in God for all things.
Let us pause a minute. Let a man trust in God; not in fiction but in fact, and he will find that he has solid rock under hisfeet. Let him trust about his own daily needs and trials, and rest assured that the Lord will actually appear for him, andhe will not be disappointed. Such a trust in God is a very reasonable thing; its absence is most unreasonable. If there be a God, he knows all about my case. If he made my ear he can hear me;if he made my eye he can seeme; and therefore he perceives my condition. If he be my Father, as he says he is, he will certainly care for me, andwill help me in my hour of need if he can. We are sure that he can, for he is omnipotent. Is there anything unreasonable,then, in trusting in God that he will deliver us? I venture to say that if all the forces in the universe were put together,and all the kindly intents of all who are our friends were put together, and we were then to rely upon those united forcesandintents, we should not have a thousandth part so much justification for our confidence as when we depend upon God, whoseintents and forces are infinitely greater than those of all the world beside. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to putconfidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." If you view things in the white lightof pure reason, it is infinitely more reasonable to trust in the living God than in all his creatures put together.
Certainly, dear friends, it is extremely comfortable to trust in God. I find it so, and therefore speak. To roll your burden upon the Lord, since he will sustain you, is a blessedway of being quit of care. We know him to be faithful, and as powerful as he is faithful; and our dependence upon him is thesolid foundation of a profound peace.
While it is comfortable, it is also uplifting. If you trust in men, the best of men, you are likely to be lowered by your trust. We are apt to cringe before these who patronizeus. If your prosperity depends upon a person's smile, you are tempted to pay homage even when it is undeserved. The old sayingmentions a certain person as "knowing on which side his bread is buttered." Thousands are practically degraded by their trustingin men. But when our reliance is uponthe living God we are raised by it, and elevated both morally and spiritually. You may bow in deepest reverence beforeGod, and yet there will be no fawning. You may lie in the dust before the Majesty of heaven, and yet not be dishonoured byyour humility; in fact, it is our greatness to be nothing in the presence of the Most High.
This confidence in God makes men strong. I should advise the enemy not to oppose the man who trusts in God. In the long run he will be beaten, as Haman found it withMordecai. He had been warned of this by Zeresh, his wife, and his wise men, who said, " If Mordecai be of the seed of theJews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him." Contendnot with a man who has God at his back. Years ago theMentonese desired to break away from the dominion of the Prince of Monaco. They therefore drove out his agent. The princecame with his army, not a very great one, it is true, but still formidable to the Mentonese. I know not what the high andmighty princeling was not going to do; but the news came that the King of Sardinia was coming up in the rear to help the Mentoneseand therefore his lordship of Monaco very prudently retired to his own rock. When a believer stands out against evil he maybe sure that the Lord of hosts will not be far away. The enemy shall hear the dash of his horse-hoof and the blast ofhis trumpet, and shall flee before him. Wherefore be of good courage, and compel the world to say of you, "He trusted in theLord that he would deliver him."
II. Secondly, I want you to follow me briefly in considering THE Test WHICH IS THE ESSENCE OF THE TAUNT which was hurled bythe mockers against our Lord'"Let him deliver him now, if he will have him."
Such a test will come to all believers. It may come as a taunt from enemies; it will certainly come as a trial of your faith.The arch-enemy will assuredly hiss out, "Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."
This taunt has about it the appearance of being very logical, and indeed in a measure so it is. If God has promised to deliver us, and we have openly professed to believe the promise,it is only natural that others should say, "Let us see whether he does deliver him. This man believes that the Lord will helphim; and he must help him, or else the man's faith is a delusion." This is the sort of test to which we ourselves would haveput others before our conversion,and we cannot object to be proved in the same manner ourselves. Perhaps we incline to run away from the ordeal, but thisvery shrinking should be a solemn call to us to question the genuineness of that faith which we are afraid to test. "He trustedon the Lord," says the enemy, "that he would deliver him: let him deliver him"; and surely, however malicious the design,there is no escaping from the logic of the challenge.
It is peculiarly painful to have this stern inference driven home to you in the hour of sorrow. Because one cannot deny the fairness of the appeal,it is all the more trying. In the time of depression of spirit it is hard to have one's faith questioned, or the ground onwhich it stands made a matter of dispute. Either to be mistaken in one's belief, or to have no real faith, or to find theground of one's faith fail is an exceedingly grievous thing. Yet as our Lordwas not spared this painful ordeal, we must not expect to be kept clear of it, and Satan knows well how to work thesequestions, till the poison of them sets the blood on fire. "He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliverhim;" he hurls this fiery dart into the soul, till the man is sorely wounded, and can scarcely hold his ground.
The taunt is specially pointed and personal. It is put thus: "He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him"; "Do not come to us with your fiddle-faddle about God's helping all his chosen. Here is a man who is one of his people, willhe help him? Do not talk to us big things about Jehovah at the Red Sea, or in the Desert of Sinai, or God helping his people in ages past.Here is a living man before us who trusted inGod that he would deliver him: let him deliver him now." You know how Satan will pick out one of the most afflicted, and pointing his fingers at him will cry, "Let him deliverHIM." Brethren, the test is fair. God will be true to every believer. If any one child of God could be lost, it would be quiteenough to enable the devil to spoil all the glory of God for ever. If one promise of God to one of his people should fail,that one failure would suffice to mar the veracity of the Lord toall eternity; they would publish it in the "Diabolical Gazette," and in every street of Tophet they would howl it out,"God has failed. God has broken his promise. God has ceased to be faithful to his people." It would then be a horrible reproach'"Hetrusted in God to deliver him, but he did not deliver him."
Much emphasis lies in its being in the present tense: "He trusted in God that he would deliver him: let him deliver him now." I see Thee, O Lord Jesus, thou art now in the wilderness, where the fiend is saying, "If thou be the Son of God, commandthat these stones be made bread." No. Thou art nailed to the tree; thine enemies have hemmed thee in. The legionaries of Romeare at the foot of the cross, the scribes and Pharisees and raging Jews compass theeabout. There is no escape from death for thee! Hence their cry'"Let him deliver him now." Ah, brothers and sisters! this is how Satan assails us, using our present and pressing tribulations as the barbs of his arrows.Yet here also there is reason and logic in the challenge.
If God does not deliver his servants at one time as well as another he has not kept his promise. For a man of truth is alwaystrue, and a promise once given always stands. A promise cannot be broken now and then, and yet the honour of the person givingit be maintained by his keeping it at other times. The word of a true man stands always good: it is good now. This is logic, bitter logic, cold steel logic, logic which seems to cut right down your backbone and cleaveyour chine. "He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him now." Yet this hard logic can be turnedto comfort. I told you a story the other day of the brother in Guy's Hospital to whom the doctors said that he must undergoan operation which was extremely dangerous. They gave him a week to consider whether he would submit to it. He was troubledfor his young wife and children, and for his work for the Lord. A friend left a bunch of flowers for him, with this verseas itsmotto, "He trusted in God; let him deliver him now." "Yes," he thought, "now". In prayer he cast himself upon the Lord, and felt in his heart, "Come on, doctors, I am ready for you." When the next morningcame, he refused to take chloroform, for he desired to go to heaven in his senses. He bore the operation manfully, and heis yet alive. "He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him" then and there, and the Lord did so. In this lies the bruntof the battle.
A Christian man may be beaten in business, he may fail to meet all demands, and then Satan yells, "Let him deliver him now." The poor man has been out of work for two or three months, tramping the streets of London until he has worn out his boots;he has been brought to his last penny. I think I hear the laugh of the Prince of Darkness as he cries, "Let him deliver himnow." Or else the believer is very ill in body, and low in spirit, and then Satan howls,"Let him deliver him now." Some of us have been in very trying positions. We were moved with indignation because of deadly error, and we spoke plainly,but men refused to hear. Those we relied upon deserted us; good men sought their own ease and would not march with us, andwe had to bear testimony for despised truth alone, until we were ourselves despised. Then the adversary shouted, "Let himdeliver him now." Be it so! We do not refuse the test. Our God whom we serve willdeliver us. We will not bow down to modern thought nor worship the image which human wisdom has set up. Our God is Godboth of hills and of valleys. He will not fail his servants, albeit that for a while he forbears that he may try their faith.We dare accept the test, and say, "Let him deliver us now."
Beloved friends, we need not be afraid of this taunt if it is brought by adversaries; for, after all, no test will come tous apart from any malice, for it is inevitable. All the faith you have will be tried. I can see you heaping it up. How rich you are! What a pile of faith! Friend, you arealmost perfect! Open the furnace door and put the heap in. Do you shrink? See how it shrivels! Is there anything left? Bringhither a magnifying glass. Is this all that isleft? Yes, this is all that remains of the heap. You say, "I trusted in God." Yes, but you had reason to cry, "Lord, helpmy unbelief." Brethren, we have not a tithe of the faith we think we have. But whether or not, all our faith must be tested.God builds no ships but what he sends to sea. In living, in losing, in working, in weeping, in suffering, or in striving,God will find a fitting crucible for every single grain of the precious faith which he has given us. Then he will come tous andsay'You trusted in God that he would deliver you, and you shall be delivered now. How you will open your eyes as you seethe Lord's hand of deliverance! What a man of wonders you will be when you tell in your riper years to the younger peoplehow the Lord delivered you! Why, there are some Christians I know of who, like the ancient mariner, could detain even a weddingguest with their stories of God's wonders on the deep.
Yes, the test will come again and again. May the gibes of adversaries only make us ready for the sterner ordeals of the judgmentto come. O my dear friends, examine your religion. You have a great deal of it, some of you; but what of its quality? Canyour religion stand the test of poverty, and scandal, and scorn? Can it stand the test of scientific sarcasm and learned contempt?Will your religion stand the test of long sickness of body and depression of spirit caused byweakness? What are you doing amid the common trials of life? What will you do in the swellings of Jordan? Examine wellyour faith, since all hangs there. Some of us who have lain for weeks together, peering through the thin veil which partsus from the unseen, have been made to feel that nothing will suffice us but a promise which will answer the taunt, "Let himdeliver us now."
III. I shall finish, in the third place, dear friends, by noticing The Answer to the test. God does deliver those who trustin him. God's interposition for the faithful is not a dream, but a substantial reality. "Many are the afflictions of the righteousbut the Lord delivereth him out of them all." All history proves the faithfulness of God. Those who trust God have been inall sorts of troubles; but they have always been delivered. They have been bereaved. What ahorrible bereavement was that which fell to the lot of Aaron, when his two sons were struck dead for their profanity inthe presence of God! "And Aaron held his peace"! What grace was there! Thus will the Lord sustain you also should he takeaway the desire of your eyes with a stroke. Grave after grave has the good man visited till it seemed that his whole racewas buried, and yet his heart has not been broken; but he has bowed his soul before the will of the ever-blessed One. Thushas the Lorddelivered his afflicted one by sustaining him. In other ways the bush has burned, and yet has not been consumed. Rememberthe multiplied and multiform trials of Job. Yet God sustained him to the end so that he did not charge God foolishly, butheld fast his faith in the Most High. If ever you are called to the afflictions of Job you will also be called to the sustaininggrace of Job. Some of God's servants have been defeated in their testimony. They have borne faithful witness for God, buttheyhave been rejected of men. It has been their lot, like Cassandra, to prophesy the truth, but not to be believed. Suchwas Jeremiah, who was born to a heritage of scorn from those whose benefit he sought. Yet he was delivered. He shrank notfrom being faithful. His courage could not be silenced. By integrity he was delivered.
Godly men have been despised and misrepresented, and yet have been delivered. Remember David and his envious brethren, Davidand the malignant Saul, David when his men spake of stoning him. Yet he took off the giant's head; yet he came to the throne;yet the Lord built him a house.
Some of God's servants have been bitterly persecuted, but God has delivered them. Daniel came forth from the lions' den, andthe three holy children from the midst of the burning fiery furnace. These are only one or two out of millions who trustedGod and he delivered them. Out of all manner of ill the Lord delivered them. God brought this crowd of witnesses through alltheir trials unto his throne, where they rest with Jesus, and share the triumph of their Master at thisvery day. O my timid brother, nothing has happened to you but what is common to men. Your battle is not different fromthe warfare of the rest of the saints; and as God has delivered them he will deliver you also, seeing you put your trust inhim.
But God's ways of deliverance are his own. He does not deliver according to the translation put upon "deliverance" by the ribald throng. He does not deliver accordingto the interpretation put upon "deliverance" by our shrinking flesh and blood. He delivers, but it is in his own way. Letme remark that, if God delivers you and me in the same way as he delivered his own Son, we can have no cause of complaint. If the deliverance which he vouchsafed to us is ofthe same kind as that which he vouchsafed to the Only Begotten, we may well be content. Well, what kind of a deliverancewas that? Did the Father tear up the cross from the earth? Did he proceed to draw out the nails from the sacred hands andfeet of his dear Son? Did he set him down upon that "green hill far away, beyond the city wall," and place in his hand a swordof fire with which to smite his adversaries? Did he bid the earth open and swallow up all his foes? No; nothing of the kind.Jehovah did not interpose to spare his Son a single pang; but he let him die. He let him be taken as a dead man down fromthe cross and laid in a tomb. Jesus went through with his suffering to the bitter end. O brothers and sisters, this may beGod's way of delivering us. We have trusted in God that he would deliver us; and his rendering of his promise is, that hewill enable us to go through with it; we shall suffer to the last, and triumph in so doing.
Yet God's way of delivering those who trust in him is always the best way. If the Father had taken his Son down from the cross, what would have been the result? Redemption unaccomplished, salvationwork undone, and Jesus returning with his life-work unfinished. This would not have been deliverance, but defeat. It was muchbetter for our Lord Jesus to die. Now he has paid the ransom for his elect, and having accomplished the great purpose of atonement,he has slept awhile in the heart of the earth, and now has ascended to his throne in the endless glories of heaven. It was deliveranceof the fullest kind; for from the pangs of his death has come the joy of life to his redeemed. It is not God's will that everymountain should be levelled, but that we should be the stronger for climbing the Hill Difficulty. God will deliver; he mustdeliver, but he will do it in our cases, as in the case of our Lord, in the best possible manner.
Anyhow, he will deliver his chosen: the taunt of the adversary shall not cause our God to forget or forego his people. I knowthat the Lord will no more fail me than any other of his servants. He will not leave a faithful witness to his adversaries."I know that my Avenger liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroythis body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shallbehold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Is this also your confidence? Then do not sit down insorrow, and act as though you despaired. Quit yourselves like men. Be strong, fear not. Cast yourselves on the love that neverchangeth and never fainteth, and the Lord will answer all the revilings of Rabshakeh, and the blusterings of Sennacherib.
There are times when we may use this text to our comfort. "Let him deliver him now," saith the text, "if he will have him."You, dear friends, who have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ before, how I wish you could try him now! You feel thismorning full of sin, and full of need. Come, then, and trust the Saviour now. See whether he will not save you now. Is there one day in the year in which Jesus cannot save a sinner? Come and see whether the 17th ofJune is that day. Try whether he will not deliver you now from the guilt, the penalty, the power of sin. Why not come? You have never, perhaps, been in the Tabernacle before, andwhen coming here this morning you did not think of finding the Saviour. Oh, that the Saviour may find you! Jesus Christ isa Saviour every day, all the year round. Whoever cometh to him shall find eternal life now. "Oh," you say, "I am in such an unfit state; I am in all the deshabille of my carelessnessand godlessness." Come along, man, come along, just as you are. Tarry not for improvement or arrangement, for both ofthese Jesus will give you; come and put your trust in the great Sacrifice for sin, and he will deliver you'deliver you now. Lord, save the sinner, now!
Others of you are the children of God, but you are in peculiar trouble. Well, what are you going to do? You have always trustedin God before; are you going to doubt him now? "O my dear sir, you do not know my distress; I am the most afflicted personin the Tabernacle." Be it so; but you trusted in the Lord the past twenty years, and I do not believe that you have seen anyjust cause for denying him your confidence now. Did you say that you have known him from your youthup? What! you seventy years of age? Then you are too near home to begin distrusting your heavenly Father. That will neverdo. You have been to sea, and have weathered many a storm in mid-ocean, and are you now going to be drowned in a ditch? Thinknot so. The Lord will deliver you even now. Do not let us suppose that we have come where boundless love and infinite wisdomcannot reach us. Do not fancy that you have leaped upon a ledge of rock so high as to be out of reach of the everlasting arm.If you had done so I would still cry'Throw yourself down into the arms of God, and trust that he will not let you be destroyed.
It may be that some of us are in trouble about the church and the faith. We have defended God's truth as well as we could,and spoken out against deadly error; but craft and numbers have been against us, and at present things seem to have gone wrong.The good are timid, and the evil are false. They say, "He trusted in God: let him deliver him now." Sirs, he will deliverus now. We will throw our soul once more into this battle, and see if the Lord does not vindicate histruth. If we have not spoken in God's name we are content to go back to the dust from whence we sprang; but if we havespoken God's truth we defy the whole confederacy to prevail against it.
Peradventure, I speak to some missionary, who is mourning over a time of great trial in a mission which is dear to his heart.Ah, dear friend! Christ intended that the gospel should repeat his own experience, and then should triumph like himself. Thegospel lives by being killed, and conquers by defect. Cast it where you will, it always falls upon its feet. You need notbe afraid of it under any trial. Just now, the wisdom of man is its worst foe, but the Lord will deliverit now. The gospel lives and reigns. Tell it out among the heathen, that the Lord reigneth from the tree, and from that tree of thecurse he issues his supreme commands. The self-same day in which Jesus died, he took with him into his kingdom and his inmostparadise a thief who had hung at his side. He liveth and reigneth for ever and ever, and calleth to himself whomsoever hehath chosen. Let us drown the taunts of the adversary with our shouts of Hallelujah! The Lord shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah. Amen!
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON'Psalm 119.
HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"'196, 34, 37 (Part II).