Sermon 2031. David Dancing Before the Ark Because of His Election
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, JULY 1, 1888,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet Da vid and said, How gloriouswas the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vainfellows shamelessly uncovers himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before your fatherand before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.And I will yet be more vile than thus and will be base in my own sight: and of the maidservants which you have spoken of,of them shall I be had in honor." 2 Samuel 6:20-22.
DAVID had been soaring up on eagle's wings. Perhaps never in his life before had he so enjoyed the public worship of God.He had forgotten everything in the delight of bringing the Ark of the Lord home to his own city where he had prepared a tabernaclefor its resting place. He had thrown himself into the gladsome service of the Lord that day. Nor had he been alone in joyfuladoration-all the people had been unanimously with him in honoring Jehovah, the God of their fathers. It had been a high day,a day of days, such a day as the nation had not enjoyed in all its history.
The king came home to bless his household, wishing that all his family might share in his joy. Exactly at that moment hiswife, Michal, Saul's daughter, who had felt disgusted at seeing her husband dressed like a common Levite and leading the wayin the midst of the common people, came out to meet him, full of furious scorn. Her language to him must have acted as ifa man had thrown a pail of cold water into his face. With sarcastic words, villainously exaggerating what he had done andimputing to him what he had never done, she scolded the man she had scorned. How he must have felt it for the moment! We neednot wonder if some have thought that his answer was somewhat bitter. Remember that David was not Jesus but only David.
Always suspect some danger near when you perceive too much delight. It may sound like a paradox, but it is true, and experienceproves that we never seem to be so near meeting the devil as when we have just met our God. When our Savior had been on theMount of Transfiguration with His disciples, He met, at the foot of the hill, a father with a child possessed of the devil!Whenever you enjoy a season of peculiarly close communion with God and are full of very high joy, be on your guard. The veryworst side of the world will be turned towards you when you have been nearest to the eternal Throne.
Probably Michal had never spoken so to David. But then David had never danced before the Ark of the Lord. Here stood the manof God confronted by one whose feelings were the very opposite of his own. Like an iceberg, she crossed the path of this greatvessel and chilled it like an Arctic winter. This led David to reaffirm and yet more plainly state his faith in God. As manyof the choicest words of our Lord Jesus were brought out of Him by the Pharisees, so one of the choicest statements of electinglove that David had made was brought out by the sarcasm of Saul's daughter.
I hope it will be for our profit this morning to consider it. David justified what he had done by God's choice of him. Ifhe had arrayed himself like a Levite and danced with all his might before the ark in the presence of the common people, hesaid, "It was before the Lord, which chose me before your father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the peopleof the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord."
Dear Brethren, there is a great power in the truth of election when a man can grasp it. When he knows for himself truthfully,and by indisputable evidence, that the Lord has chosen him, then he breaks forth in songs of Divine adoration and praise-thenis his heart lifted up and he pays a homage to God which others would not think of paying. The Lord
Jesus has manifested Himself to him as He does not unto the world. And therefore he acts towards the Lord Jesus as the worldcan never act and does what the world can never understand.
I am going to speak to those of you who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, for you are chosen-faith is the sure mark of election.If you believe in Jesus and are resting in Him, this is the token that God has chosen you from before the foundation of theworld. For no man yet ever had a true faith in Christ without receiving it from God and that gift from God is the token thatHe will give all other saving gifts, and that He has chosen that man to eternal salvation. The effect upon you of your knowingyour election of God will be similar to the effect which it had upon David when he knew that the Lord had chosen him to bethe ruler over Israel.
I. What effect had this doctrine, this experience, this inward conviction upon David? First, IT MADE GOD THE LEADING THOUGHTWITH DAVID. I believe that in every case where a man is inwardly persuaded of the Holy Spirit that the Lord has chosen himout of the world, the sure and certain effect is that the Lord stands out to him in a clear light and becomes to him the greatestforce in his life, the chief motive power, the main thought of his mind. Observe how David said to Michal, "It was beforethe Lord." And all through the chapter you constantly read that David did this and that "before the Lord."
In the fourteenth verse we read, "And David danced before the Lord with all his might." It will be so-God will be realizedin every passage of our life. Has the Lord chosen me to be His own? Then I see the hand of the Lord in my parentage, in mybirth, in my bringing up. I see the hand of the Lord in my calling out from the world and in my conversion. I see the Lordin His Providence, in His preservation of me from the paths of the Destroyer. In fact, everywhere I see the Lord.
You will notice in the whole teaching of the Puritans, great believers in this doctrine of Divine Choice, that they saw God'shand in everything. The laws of nature they knew very little about, but the Presence of God they knew a great deal about.And to my mind we have made a very poor exchange when we have given up the Lord for His laws and when the whole bent of ourphilosophy has been to teach us that God is much further off than our fathers thought. I love still to see God when I wakeand watch through the day and believe that I see Him in all that happens.
In a thunderstorm I hear the voice of God and I see His Glory in the flames of fire. I love to think of God as sending usthe genial shower and the cheery sunshine. I know it is all resolved into natural law but I am simple enough to see God ratherthan the law. The man who believes that God has chosen him, from that moment, beholds a living God in nature, in Providenceand in Divine Grace-in fact, the Lord becomes everything to him.
This was especially the case with David in his devotion. David that day worshipped God in spirit and in truth. A great manypeople, when they go up to the assembly, are very particular about their bonnets or their garments. Somebody might, perhaps,notice their bonnets and this thought weighs heavily on their hearts. I have known people say that they could not go to aplace of worship because they had not proper things to go in, their clothes being evidently a great consideration. What aturning aside from God to the tailor! Often people sit in the House of Prayer and profess to worship but they are noticingwho is there and who is not there. And any little slip in the preacher's language is a welcome diversion to them.
They think of anybody and anything rather than God. It was not so with David-to him the Lord was All in All in worship. Hesaid to himself, "I am King of Israel but that I may avow myself to be the true servant of Jehovah I will put on a linen garmenttoday, like a common Levite." This he did "before the Lord." The Lord, who searches the heart, knew what David meant by hisdress, by his playing upon the harp and by his leaping and dancing in the midst of the people. It was "before the Lord" thathe showed his excessive joy. And if others happened to be there as spectators, he did not repel them but he did not restrainhimself.
If the Lord accepted him and his offerings and his praises, he would have all that he wanted, whether the multitude or theprinces of Israel accepted him or not. The man who believes that the Lord has chosen him unto Himself will worship the Lordalone and will neither idolize the creature, nor even cast a side-look upon him when he is adoring his Maker. It is ours toworship always and to worship none but Jehovah. I adore Jehovah. I take His Book in my hand. I read it believing it to beinspired. And while so doing, I do not sit as a judge but as a disciple. I do not criticize but I adore.
I look up to Christ on the Cross and I worship God in Christ Jesus-I do not quibble about the righteousness of substitutionbut I adore the wisdom and the Divine Grace which are displayed therein. He that believes that God has chosen him feels sohigh a regard for God that He becomes his All in All. He says, "This people have I formed for Myself." And we reply, "ThisGod is our God forever and ever."
The effect of this Truth of God upon David was also that, as the Lord had become the great influence of his life and the greatobject of his adoration, so He was to him his supreme Lord. Mark well the language of the twenty-first verse- "The Lord whichchose me to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord." David did not say, "Over my people"-he acknowledged that they werenot his people but Jehovah's people. He was only lieutenant-governor-the Lord was still the great King of Israel.
O dear Friends, if you have a due sense of God's choice of you, you recognize that Jehovah is your Lord and King. You aremindful of your stewardship. You admit that you are God's servant. If you have property, it is not yours but His who has chosenyou. If you are placed in office in Church or State, still the Lord, who has chosen you, has sovereign rights over you whichyou acknowledge in your daily life, only grieving that you fail to be perfectly obedient and that when you have done all,you are still only an unprofitable servant.
Complete subordination to God is the desire of every man who delights in being chosen of the Lord. Oh, that we could practiceit more and more! Those who are chosen are the Lord's portion and are not their own to live unto themselves. Those who hopeto be saved by merit, work for themselves that they may win their wages. But those who have received the gift of God, whichis eternal life, live unto the Lord, alone, that they may show their gratitude for His royal love. Our hearts are stout beforemen but in the Lord's presence we bow in the dust. The words of others we test and weigh but at the Word of Jehovah we tremble.
Every man who recognizes himself as chosen of God will loyally serve the glorious Lord who has chosen him. It is not oursto follow our wills, wishes, or whims-but ours to fulfill our life's mission at all costs knowing that He who has appointedus has an absolute right to do as He wills with His own.
The great system known as "The Doctrines of Grace" bring before the mind of the man who truly receives it, God, and not man.The whole scheme of that doctrine looks God-ward and regards God as first and the plan of salvation as chiefly arranged forthe glory of the Most High. If you believe that everything turns upon the free will of man, apart from any purpose of God,you will naturally have man as the principal figure in your landscape. But if you believe that there is a choice on the partof the Lord, then God will become prominent in your thoughts. If you look to be saved by your own works you will, of course,think much of yourself.
If you believe your faith and your repentance to have come to you without the work of the Spirit of God, you will think wellof yourself. And if you believe that your future perseverance depends upon your unaided self, you will look to yourself foreverything and you will rely upon your own wisdom and strength. The doctrines which are not of Divine Grace lead you awayfrom God and throw you upon self.
On the other hand, if you fully believe the doctrine which Jonah learned in the belly of the great fish-"salvation is of theLord"-then you will trust in God, hope in God, love God, worship God, serve God and God will be even unto you as the risingsun, shining more and more in your heart unto the perfect day. I do pray that God may be great and greatly to be praised inthe heart of everyone of us. May we serve Him with gladness and come before Him with thanksgiving. For we are His people andthe sheep of His pasture.
II. Secondly, IT WILL CREATE IN US A PROPER DISREGARD FOR HUMAN OPINION. I have already told
you that in his worship David did not allow the opinions of men to weigh with him. He worshipped "before the Lord," and therehe left it. Men might judge him mad, as Michal seems to hint that he was. Or they might condemn him as fanatical, extravagantand rabid-but this was as the chaff of the threshing floor to him. If any despised him in their hearts he was not moved. Solong as he knew that his heart was right before God and that his worship was accepted of God, he would let others commendor censure at their own sweet wills.
God's chosen servant is not the servant of men. He could not serve two masters and he does not try to do so. He goes abouthis Master's business with a holy liberty of soul, for his bonds are loosed towards man. He does not seek honor from the many.You remember Saul and what he said to Samuel. Samuel turned away from him in indignation and was about to leave him when Saullaid hold upon him and said, "Honor me before the people." That was the great idea of
Saul's mind. "Honor me before the people. Let the people think well of me. O Prophet of God, do not disgrace me in the eyesof the multitude, but let the people still have me in esteem."
David sought not the honor which comes from men. It would have struck some minds that if the king wore the ordinary garmentof a Levite, if he mixed with the crowd, if he became one of the people, if he walked in procession with them, if he evenled them in the holy dance, then the common crowd would say in their hearts, "Is this a king? Why should we obey a man whois one of ourselves?" Potentates surround themselves with pomp and keep themselves apart- that they may have glory in men'seyes. But it did not occur to David to provide against such a danger when the glory of God was concerned.
The populace might think as they pleased of him-he was the elect of God and therefore he did not consider his standing withthe people. In the Presence of God it became him to abase himself and he did so, whether it was good policy or not. Kingsbefore God are only men-and however bright their crowns or high their thrones-when they worship, they must lay aside theirtrappings and affectations of superiority and must bow before Jehovah in the dust. So King David did and in doing it he hadno fear lest the multitude should hold him in the less esteem. O child of God, have a holy disregard of that Vox Populi whichis profanely said to be Vox Dei-but which once cried, "Crucify Him, crucify
David did not even consult the judgment of the few. Of course he had around him a little set of special people, the eliteof Israel, who had great reverence for royalty and all its dignity. Michal was the representative of these. Looking out ofthe window she looked down upon David in a double sense, for she could not bear to see a king dressed as a servant, a kingdancing before the ark. She thought him light-headed and frivolous, if not distinctly mad. No doubt there are particularlynice and dainty people who will censure God's chosen if they live wholly to His praise and they will call them eccentric,old-fashioned, obstinate, absurd, and I don't know what besides.
From the window of their superiority they look down upon us. Suppose they do. They may wait until it is their turn to lookup and that will come sooner than they think. The man who says, "God has chosen me," can afford to let others think and speakafter their own nature. It is his business to take his stand separately and deliberately and distinctly to do what he believesto be right and let the many or the few do as they will. Beloved, the Doctrines of Grace put the very idea of honoring manout of court with us. Go and listen to certain preachers and hear how they enlarge upon the dignity of human nature.
My friend Dr. Pierson, who prayed just now, has accepted very little of modern teaching upon that point. For he confessedunto God that we were worse than the worms we trod upon. What do you say to that? We are not very dignified creatures accordingto that statement. And I fully endorse it. Dignity of human nature? Dignity of flesh which goes to corruption and the worm?Let those who will, extol the creature of an hour-I glorify the Creator, who is everlasting. Fallen human nature deservesno praise. It is not easy to find terms humiliating enough to describe the degradation into which sin has brought us, andthe helplessness in which sin has left us, and the need of Sovereign Grace to save us from perishing forever.
If any think that we should magnify man, we are of another mind. We wonder that the Lord should be mindful of him and visithim. The Lord of Hosts will not endure that man should magnify himself. For He has purposed to stain the pride of all gloryand to bring into contempt all the excellent of the earth. Proud man-worshippers will despise you if you hold to the Doctrinesof Grace-they want something novel-and so they sneer at you as a piece of antiquity. Be content to be old-fashioned-God'schoice of you is older than the fashions-and if that stands, you may well stand by the truth of it.
Some will despise you for your simplicity and insinuate that you are destitute of culture and science and are repeating explodeddogmas only believed in by the illiterate. This refutes itself. For the truly wise never show contempt of others. After all,God's Truth is more profound than all the speculations of men. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men." Hold to God's Truth,challenge it who may. If you find a doctrine in God's Word which flatters human nature, let me know of it. I find thereingreat Truths which lay our nature among the diseased, the condemned and the dead. But none which sing our praises.
The Scriptures tell us that we must be born again and called out of our spiritual graves by a miracle. They also tell us thatwe are not saved by our works and that "it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs but of God that shows
mercy." We are saved by Divine Grace and Divine Grace alone. And that Divine Grace is free and sovereign according to thatwondrous word, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So,you see, the effect of this doctrine, when it is really grasped is to set the Lord on high in the soul but to put human opinionin a lower place.
III. Then, thirdly, A SENSE OF ELECTION CAUSES A LOW OPINION OF SELF. David said, "I will yet be more vile than thus and willbe base in my own sight." David would more and more abase himself before the Lord. He felt that whatever Michal's opinionof him might be, it could not be more humbling than his own view of himself. Brother, if any man thinks ill of you, do notbe angry with him. For you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied,for if he knew you better he might change the accusation and you would be no gainer by the correction.
If you have your moral portrait painted and it is ugly, be satisfied. For it only needs a few blacker touches and it wouldbe still nearer the truth. "I will be base in my own sight." This was well said. Perhaps if David had carried it out morefully and had been rendered watchful thereby, it might have saved him from his great fall. A sense of electing love will renderyou base in your own sight. I will tell you why.
First, you will never understand why the Lord has chosen you. Often will you sing-
"What was there in me that could merit esteem, Or give the Creator delight? "It was even so, Father,'I ever must sing, 'Becauseit seemed good in Your sight.'" The more sure you are of the Divine choice and the better you understand it, the more willyou enquire-"Why me?"
I dare say David, in a few quick thoughts, reviewed his former estate. He saw himself as the shepherd's boy keeping a fewsheep in the wilderness. He saw himself fetched home all in a hurry because Samuel had asked for him. The Prophet had cometo anoint one of Jesse's sons and each one of the big brothers imagined that he, himself, must be the Lord's chosen. But hishopes were quenched as the Prophet cried, "Neither has the Lord chosen this." David must be brought in.
What a change from the shepherd boy with a crust in his wallet, to the king who "dealt among all the people, even among thewhole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to everyone a cake of bread and a good piece of flesh and a flagonof wine"! David could not remember the change without feeling that he was unworthy of such goodness. Is it not the same withus?
Then the king remembered the dangers and troubles he had experienced. Oh, that some persons who talk so proudly could butknow a little of the rough side of life! Hunted like a partridge on the mountains, bearing his life in his hand for many aday, David had at last passed out of persecution and had become the accepted king of all Israel! Because the Lord had chosenhim, He had helped and saved him from the hand of all his enemies. His bitter experiences made him wear his honors meekly.
Brothers and Sisters, if you have had a tried experience you will look back upon it with deep gratitude and self-abasement.The tears will be in your eyes as you sing of judgment and mercy and abundantly utter the memory of His great goodness. Icannot exalt myself, nor talk of my works, my prayers, my desires, my seeking of the Lord, or anything that is my own. Formy salvation was all of Divine Grace and the Lord worked all my works in me. The doctrine of Distinguishing Grace sinks us,and our experience in connection with it sinks us. We cannot lie low enough before the Lord.
David's high position must have made him feel lowly when he knew to whom he owed it all. When a man prospers little by littlehe may become used to it and grow proud. But when the Lord heaps on His bounties we become like Peter's boat, which was sofilled with fish that it began to sink. Well may we be humbled by the great mercies of the Lord. "Behold, what manner of lovethe Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." A little while ago we were heirs of wrath evenas others. How could the Lord adopt such poor creatures? I cannot make it out.
I, that once loved sin, am now made to hate it. I, that was a stranger to God and to His service, am enriched with accessto the Throne of God. I, that was without strength, have now Grace to do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Ohthe greatness, the unspeakable greatness of almighty love! Brothers and Sisters, if this does not humble you, then you arenot really Believers. If you have really obtained the mercies of the Covenant through the Lord's gracious choice of you, theknowledge of this fact will lay you low and keep you there. Your cry will be, "Why me, Lord? Why me?"-
I once had a dear Friend, a man of God who is now in Heaven, a clergyman of the Church of England. His name was Curme andhe used, with a pleasant smile, to divide his name into two syllables and say-"Cur me," which in the Latin signifies, "Whyme?"
"Why was I made to hear Your voice, And enter while there's room;
When thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come?"
All the while David had a deep sense of his personal unworthiness. He did not know his own heart fully-no man does so. Buthe knew enough of himself to make him base in his own sight. For he could never think himself worthy of the choice of Godand all that it involved. Our heart adores and wonders as we think of the election of God. As we rise in the assurance ofthe Divine choice, we sink in our valuation of ourselves.
IV. A SENSE OF DIVINE ELECTION FOSTERS A FEELING OF HOLY BROTHERHOOD. There is David arrayed as a common Levite. He is downamong the people and he is leading them in the holy dance before the Ark of the Lord. David, why, you ought to have had toomuch self-respect to be acting so! Kings should keep themselves to themselves. Dignities should be worn with decorum. Yes,but David does not feel that he is in the least degraded by associating with the people of the Lord.
It is wonderful how democratic the Doctrines of Grace are and how aristocratic they are, too. The chosen are all kings andwhen we mix with the poorest of them we are kings with kings. Free Grace strips the proud but it adorns the humble. If wecan fare as God's people fare, we are well content. We despise not one of the least of Christ's little ones. David was theLord's servant, like the rest of them and he was not ashamed to show it. No, he rejoiced that it was so and said, "O Lord,I am Your servant. I am Your servant and the son of Your handmaid; You have loosed my bonds." Specially had the bonds of pridebeen broken from him and he had been made to feel it a joy to be numbered with the least of the people of God.
David honored the most humble of the Lord's chosen. For when Michal talked about what the handmaids of his servants wouldsay, he answered, "Of the maidservants which you have spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor." To be esteemed by themwas a cheer to him. I would rather have the esteem of the maidservant who loves the Lord than the respect of her mistresswho is a stranger to the Divine life. It is better to have the love of the poorest man in the workhouse if he is a child ofGod, than to have honor from the most eminent of those who know not the Lord.
We do not measure you, my Hearers, by the amount of your money or the breadth of your acres-to us there are only two classes-theLord's people and the Lord's enemies. To which class do you belong? If you are not among His believing people, may the Lordhave mercy upon you and bring you to His feet. But if you are among the heirs of Divine Grace, we value you above the goldof Ophir. How beautiful it is to see the learned and the illiterate, the great and the lowly made one family by the Graceof God! It is marvelous what power this has had in the Christian Church.
And I pray its power may be felt more and more until everything like caste and class is abolished in the Church of God andwe shall become Brethren, indeed, and of a truth. As the chosen of God, our names are written in the same book, we are redeemedwith the same blood, we are called by the same Spirit, we are quickened by the same life and hope soon to meet in the sameHeaven. This is the true confederation, the union of hearts in the common Lord. As the elect of God, we break away from theworld, but we come together in one body in Christ.
V. I have been quick upon that point, for time is flying with six wings and I want to dwell a minute upon this point.
A SENSE OF BEING CHOSEN OF GOD STIRS A DESIRE FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD.
Such service will be personal. Look at David. He must serve God himself. He cannot let the priests and Levites do it. He musttake a turn as a Levite himself. Lots of people allow their ministers to serve God for them, or they subscribe to societiesthat by means of a committee they may serve God secondhand. The man that God has chosen must have a personal religion andhe must offer a personal service. The woman who had had much forgiven did not come to Peter and say, "Please, Mr. Peter, Ihave an alabaster box of ointment-will you at some proper time or other be pleased to pour it upon the Master?"
No, she must break the alabaster box and pour out the ointment herself. David cannot be satisfied with all that priests andLevites can do for him. He must honor the Lord Himself. This personal service will be cheerful. "David went and brought upthe Ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness." Who should be so
glad as God's elect? If the Lord has chosen me, He has put a chime of bells into the belfry of my soul. Let the slaves whoare earning their salvation serve Him with gloom and terror. As for me, to whom salvation has been freely given, I must comeinto His Presence with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.
The oil of gladness which is poured upon our Lord Jesus as our Head runs down to the least and lowest of us. If you are reallychosen of God you will take pleasure in what you can do for Him. Your duty will be your delight. You cannot do enough foryour Lord. You are always wanting to do more when you have done most. And gifts which you can present and deeds which youcan perform are the greatest enjoyments of your life.
This service will be in connection with the great sacrifice. David served God by offering sacrifices. All along the way bywhich he brought the ark he left a track of blood, the blood of appointed burnt offerings and peace offerings. If you serveGod aright, you will be forever remembering the Cross and the substitutionary death there accomplished for our redemption.You will only hope to be accepted in your work of faith through the one great Sacrifice for sin. We need more of Jesus inall that we do for our God.
This service should be thoughtful. David set to work and wrote Psalms in honor of the Lord that chose him. He who loves Godwill take a turn at almost everything. He will sing and bless and pray and preach and a thousand other things, if he can.I would not like a string of my harp to rust. You do not know what is in you yet. Try to do something more for your Lord.Write sonnets to the praise and glory of His wondrous Grace if you can.
This service must be obedient. David was careful that day in bringing back the ark into the tent in a proper manner. Everythingwas done according to Law. The chosen of God feels bound to be careful of the will of Him that chose him. If God commandsa thing, it must be done. It may be that he belongs to a Church which does not see it. But if he sees it, he does not excusehimself by the blindness of others. If he believes that the Lord has commanded a thing, although it is said to be non-essentialand secondary, he obeys. God's precepts bind His chosen. They delight to run in the way of His Commandments.
This service should be practical. See what David did to show his love to God. He fed the people of God. Was there ever sucha flock? I do not know how many millions there were but David fed them all. "Feed My sheep," said Christ to Peter. David fedthe flock committed to his charge that day. Brethren, let us look after the sheep and the lambs and never weary of givingthem food convenient for them. The Lord has chosen us on purpose that we may feed His people.
This service must be seen at home. If you are chosen of God you will, like David, bless your household. You will long to seeyour sons and daughters brought to God. Oh, how you will cry to God, even as Abraham did-"O that Ishmael might live beforeYou!" How glad you will be if your child turns out to be an Isaac! There will be family prayer in your house if you know thatGod has chosen you. For the Lord might say of you what He said of Abraham-"For I know him, that he will command his childrenand his household after him."
It is one of the marks of God's people that they never set up a tent without building an altar. There is no roof to a houseif daily prayer is neglected. Saints will have God in the house for their children and their servants as well as for themselves.May the Lord's choice of you impel you to His constant service.
VI. Now I come to my last point. A SENSE OF DIVINE ELECTION WILL EXCITE SACRED ENTHUSIASM. David had an inward delight inGod. God was his exceeding joy. Personally, I have overflowing joy in the doctrines of eternal, unchanging love. It is blissto know that the Lord has chosen me. When I am down very low in spirit, I crave for those old books which, like the Lord Jesus,are full of Grace and Truth. You who are at ease in Zion can do with the chaffy modern theology. But when your heart is heavy,and especially when your conscience is under a sense of sin, you will want these two dishes on the table-Free Grace and dyinglove-and you cannot do without them.
We must have an atoning sacrifice and Free Grace to make us partakers thereof. I cannot give up the Doctrines of Grace, forthey are my life. I do not so much hold them as they hold me. The five fingers of the great Doctrines of Grace have enclosedmy heart. I can die. But I cannot deny the imperishable Truth of God. The doctrine of the eternal choice gives forth joy asmyrrh and cassia give forth perfume May you all know it!
In David's case his inward peace boiled over in holy excitement. Before the ark he was singing, he was harping, he was worshippingand at last must show it by the joyful motion of his body. His body danced because his soul danced. It was a way of worshipwell known in Oriental countries but we do not find it adopted, except when Miriam took a timbrel
and went forth with the daughters of Israel, saying, "Sing you to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse andhis rider has He thrown into the sea."
As Michal would not come to lead the way, as she ought to have done, David did it himself. I think I hear him as he singsand shouts and sings again. I think I see him throwing his whole soul into the joyful motion with which he expresses his exultingjoy. Election sets the soul on fire with enthusiastic delight in God. Certain doctrines would not make a mouse move one ofits ears. But the grand old Doctrines of Grace stir our blood, quicken our pulse and fill our whole being with enthusiasm.
They make me "feel like singing all the time." Free Grace wakes me up at night and makes me wish that I were a nightingale.And all day long it makes me wish that I were an angel, that I might never cease my praise. O my Friends, let us praise theLord-
"Come, give all the glory to His holy name, To Him all the glory belongs; Be ours the high joy still to sound forth His fame,And praise Him in each of our songs." If my salvation were of my own working, I might fitly praise myself. If I had a fingerin it, I might justly praise that finger. If I reached Heaven by my own might and merits, I might justly throw up my cap inthe golden streets before the cherubim. But, Brothers and Sisters, it is all of Divine Grace from first to last-and thereforewe exult and rejoice and leap for joy as we praise and bless the name of God!
To conclude, David felt so exultant that he wished everybody to know of his joy in God. He told all the crowd around of hisdelight in God. And he sang that day, "Declare His Glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people." They speak of thenarrow, selfish spirit of the Hebrews-why David had a missionary spirit and often does it flame out in his Psalms. They saythat those of us who believe that we are the chosen of God are narrow and selfish. We will prove the contrary by our Evangelisticzeal. The greatest missionaries that have ever lived have believed in God's choice of them.
And instead of this doctrine leading to inaction, it has ever been an irresistible motive power and it will be so again. Itwas the secret energy of the Reformation. It is because Free Grace has been put into the background that we have seen so littledone in many places. It is in God's hand the great force which can stir the Church of God to its utmost depth. It may notwork superficial revivals but for deep work it is invaluable. Side by side with the blood of Christ it is the world's hope.How can men say that the doctrine of Distinguishing Grace makes men careless about souls?
Did they never hear of the evangelical band which was called the Clapham sect? Was Whitefield a man who cared nothing forthe salvation of the people? He who flew like a seraph throughout England and America unceasingly proclaiming the Grace ofGod-was he selfish? Yet he was distinctly a Free Grace preacher. Did Jonathan Edwards have no concern for the souls of others?Oh how he wept and cried and warned them of the wrath to come! Time would fail me to tell of the lovers of men who have beenlovers of this Truth of God. This doctrine first makes sure to the man himself that he is the Lord's and then fills him witha desire to see myriads brought to bow before the Lord of love.
Oh, that the Lord would speedily accomplish the number of His elect! Oh, that Christ might see of the travail of His souland be satisfied! O my dear Hearers, how I wish that you would all believe in the Lord Jesus unto eternal life! If you donot believe in Him yet I pray that you may do so this very day and then this very day you may share with me the exulting delightthat God has chosen you from before the foundation of the world. The Lord bless you, for Jesus' sake!