Sermon 2641. God's Heart the Source of All Blessing
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 18, 1882.
"According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things." 2 Samuel 7:21.
A FRIEND observed to me, just before the service, that after the earnest endeavor this morning to magnify the Grace of God,he did not want to hear any more for a week. He was perfectly satisfied with what he had heard and was only afraid lest thesermon of the evening should drive that of the morning out of his head. Well, dear Friends, that is my own fear, too! I neverlike driving one nail out by hammering another in and, really, what more can I say than I said this morning? I then pouredout my inmost heart in endeavoring to extol the exceeding riches of God's Grace in His kindness towards us through ChristJesus. [See Sermon #1665, Volume 28- The Exceeding Riches of Grace.] This evening's discourse, therefore, is intended to belike a little supplement to the big book of the morning sermon-just a few additional words upon the theme that we consideredthen.
As we read the chapter from which my text is taken, we noticed that David had a holy purpose in his grateful heart. He saidto Nathan the Prophet, "I dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells within curtains." And he seemed to think thatit was neglectful on his part to have suffered the Ark to remain so long unhoused, so he resolved to build for it, and forthe worship associated with it, a Temple that would be "exceedingly magnificent." He had for years gathered together goldand silver and he meant to continue to do so, that he might erect a shrine for the Lord, his God, more glorious than any thathad ever been built by the greatest heathen prince for his false deity! This was the thought which was in David's mind andhe mused upon it, for it was very sweet to him. It was, in fact, the great ambition of his life that he might be permittedto build this house for the worship of Jehovah. Yet the Lord was not willing to accept the Temple at his hands, for Davidhad been a man of war from his youth up-and God would not have His sanctuary built with blood-stained hands. However necessarythose wars might have been for the liberation and defense of the chosen nation-and they certainly were so-yet, nevertheless,a man of peace must build the house for the God of Peace. And Solomon, the son of David, in whose reign there was no war,must have the honor of raising the great House of Prayer in the name of the Lord.
Yet, dear Brothers and Sisters, observe that though the Lord refused to David the realization of his wish, he did it in amost gracious manner. He did not put the idea away from him in anger or disdain, as though David had cherished an unworthydesire. He honored His servant even in the non-acceptance of his offer and multiplied as many blessings upon the head of theking as could have descended upon it if he had been permitted to carry out his intention!
Now, in imitation of David, let us think of some grand thing that we can do for the Lord our God. Let us, with consecratedspirit and with liberal hand, seek to honor and glorify the Lord our Redeemer! But if we should not be permitted to do thatparticular work upon which we have set our heart, let us not be surprised or disappointed. A servant's true obedience cansometimes be as well seen in what he does notdo, as in what he does. It is not for us to choose our place, or our work and,though the zealous servant may prefer to do something which shall show his loyalty to his master in the clearest light, yetis that loyalty even more fully seen when his master says, "No, I wish you not to do that." And he, without a murmur, sitsdown, or goes to work somewhere else where he may have been bid to go. It is right for you to have in your heart a projectfor God's Glory-it is well that it is in your heart-but if your pet project may not be carried out, it is your duty and privilegeto then say to your Lord, "I am Your servant in the doing or in the not doing. I am absolutely at Your disposal in this matterand, by Your Grace, in all other things, too-and so I wish it always to be."
Nathan was sent to David to reveal to him God's great purposes of Grace towards him and his son Solomon, and the whole ofhis dynasty, and to give the promise that one descended from him should sit upon the throne forever-as He does and will-forthe King of kings and Lord of lords, whom we greet with cries of, "Hosanna!" is the Son of David. And He still reigns andHe shall reign till all His foes shall be trodden beneath His feet. And then He shall reign forever and ever, hallelujah!As this Revelation was given to David, he seems to have been oppressed with the weight of mercy which God had put upon him,so he went in and sat before the Lord to meditate upon what Nathan had said. I think there were two questions that arose inhis mind-and to these questions he tried to find an answer. The first was-Why should God speak such "exceedingly great andprecious promises" concerning such weighty matters, such everlasting blessings? That was his first question. And the otherwas-Why should these great promises be spoken to him? Why to him rather than to anyone else? "Who am I, O Lord God! And whatis my house, that You have brought me this far?" "Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?" He then proceeded to give an answerto his two questions in the words of our text, "According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things."
So, from his answer we learn, first, that the measure of God's goodness is the heart ofGodand, secondly, the reason of thisgoodness lies in the heart of God.
I. First, THE MEASURE OF DIVINE GOODNESS IS THE HEART OF GOD.
God did great things for David, but not because of David's own greatness. "I took you," said the Lord to him, "from the sheepcote,from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel." He was at first nothing but a shepherd boy, so God didnot choose him because of his greatness. And when the Lord gave these great promises to David, it was not because of the greatnessof David's design of building the Temple, for God seemed to think but little of that and said, "In all the places whereinI have walked with all the children of Israel, spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed Mypeople Israel, saying, Why have you not built Me an house of cedar?" No, the one reason for the great blessings and promiseswhich God gave to David was found in the heart of God! If a king gives presents to his courtiers, why does he make them soprecious and costly! Not because of the extraordinary deserts of the person upon whom he bestows them, but because he is,himself, a king and, therefore, his gifts must correspond with his high position. A man of liberal spirit gives generously,where a churl would scarcely spare the smallest bronze coin. But why does the generous one give so freely! Why, simply becausehe is generous! Men do not always measure their gifts by the worth of those to whom they give them, but if they are, themselves,large-hearted, they reckon according to the largeness of their own hearts and give accordingly. That is what David said-hecould not imagine why God should do such great things for him till this thought entered his mind, "He is a great God. Greatlygracious and full of loving kindness and therefore it is that He has promised all these things to me."
If you look carefully, you will see that this general principle runs through all the gifts of God to us. But, dear Hearers,God gave us one such costly gift that He could never give us another equal to it! I mean, the great gift of the Lord JesusChrist. God had but one only-begotten and well-beloved Son, yet He gave Him to us! Now, if all Heaven and earth were put together,and all that God has anywhere in the universe were added thereto, it could not equal in value that first majestic and unspeakableGift! How came the great Jehovah ever to think of making such a wondrous Present as this to poor worms such as men are? Noone could have suggested the thought to Him! I can well believe that when the holy angels heard that the Son of God was tobe Incarnate, and when it oozed out that in human flesh He was to die, even they could scarcely believe that such a thingwas possible! The thought of Calvary's Sacrifice could never by any possibility have originated in their mind! O God, Youdid give Your Son to us, and for us, because Your heart was Your heart and there is nothing like it even in Your Heaven ofGlory! His infinite heart, in inconceivable compassion, suggested to itself the giving up of its greatest Treasure and itgave up for us, poor sinful men, the very heart of Christ to bleed and die on our behalf! It must be because of the love ofthe heart of God that this unique Gift was given-there could be no other reason for its bestowal.
Then, dear Friends, following the course of the chapter as well as we can, the next promise was concerning the great adoption.God said to David, concerning Solomon, "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son"-and the great honor which was promisedto Solomon has been also conferred upon every Believer in Jesus, for, "as many as received Him, to them gave He power (theright, or privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Have not many of us received withinour hearts "the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father"? Now, what could have induced God to adopt usas His sonsand daughters? What could have made Him say to us, "I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you," except this reasonwhich David gives in the words of our text, "According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things"? The fatherlyheart of God longed to take within itself vast multitudes of the human race, so He said, "My Son shall be the first-born amongmany brethren. He is my only-begotten Son, but there shall be given to Him a numerous seed who shall be joint-heirs with Him,for they shall be adopted into My family." And it is even so. God did not adopt us because of any merit in us which entitledus to be His children-but because He has such a great heart, so full of love-when He made a feast for His Son, He could notendure that there should be any empty seats at that royal banquet, so He said to His servants, "Go out into the highways andhedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled!" Thus you and I, Beloved, were brought in and made to sitthere with Christ Jesus, as we do sit even now, for He is not ashamed to call us brethren. This greatness of the heart ofGod must have been the cause and the onlycause of our adoption, as well as of our redemption!
The Lord also promised to David that when He had adopted Solomon as His son, He would be constant to him, and never forsakehim-"If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercyshall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul." Brothers and Sisters, that great constancy of lovefinds a parallel inyour case and mine! God does not adopt us as His children, today, and then cast us off tomorrow. I speak with all reverencewhen I say that it is not possible for Him who, "according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a lively hopeby the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," to unchild us and permit us to lose that hope! My sons, whatever theymay be, must always be my sons. And they who are born of God shall forever be the children of God. I venture to repeat thelines that have often been spoken against, but which are true every whit-
"Once in Him, in Him forever! Nothing from His love can sever!" He gives us eternal life and we shall never perish, neithershall any pluck us out of His hands.
And why is this? Because of some good thing in us that will make us constant and keep us holding fast to Him? No! Here isthe answer, let me read the text again-"According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things." God's heart isconstant in its affection. He does not cast away His children. He will not divorce the soul that has been espoused unto Him.Christ has made us members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones-we can neverbe cut off from Him-no, not even a littlefinger of Christ shall ever be taken away, else would He be a mutilated Savior and that He can never be! His own declarationis, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." He will securelyand forever keep all the sheep that were given to Him by His Father! Not one of them will be lost.
This has always seemed to me to be one of the supreme blessings of the Covenant of Grace. I confess that I would hardly givea penny for any salvation that I could lose. I would not go across the street to pick up a sort of quarterly or yearly salvation!Everlasting life is the thing we need-the life of God which can never change or be taken from us-and that is what is givento all of you who believe in Christ Jesus! But why is it given? The only answer is-According to the heart-the faithful, immutable,gracious, loving heart-of the ever-blessed Father. Even under the old dispensation, God said, "I am the Lord, I change not;therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed." "The Lord, the God of Israel, says that He hates putting away." He cannot endureit and, therefore, He will not put away those who are espoused to
Let me mention another great favor which we get from God, and that is, the promise of blessing for the future. The Lord spokeconcerning Solomon and David's house, "for a great while to come," and He has spoken after the same fashion concerning uswho believe in Jesus. Paul asked, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" And then answered his own question, "Iam persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesusour Lord." Unless Christ shall come first, we shall all die-but death will not divide us from the living Savior! It will onlyknock off the fetters from this decaying body and give us liberty to soar away to the bosom of our Lord! You and I, if weare believers in Him, shall be there with Him. If we are among the called, and chosen, and faithful, we shall, by-and-by,stand at His right hand and we shall reign with Him, in His Glory, forever and ever, in yonder land of blessedness-in theKingdom of the Father! "You have spoken also of Your servant's house for a great while to come," said David. But, in our case,it is far more than a great time to come, for it is a great eternityto come! God has appointed bliss for us forever and forever-"pleasuresforevermore." "A crown of glory that fades not away." "A city which has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." "A kingdomwhich cannot be moved."
That last passage suggests one thing more which I find in this chapter. That is, the promise of the kingdom. The Lord said,concerning David's son, "I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throneof his kingdom forever." And here is the parallel in our case, for we are made kings and priests unto our God and we shallreign forever and ever! To us, also, belong our Lord's words to His disciples, "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Fatherhas appointed unto Me." "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." You shalleven judge angels and sit as co-assessors with the great Judge in that Last Tremendous Day! And concerning the mighty fallenangel, himself, to you shall be fulfilled the promise, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Oh,the glory of which He has spoken concerning us and the kingdom that is yet to be revealed!
Now, why does the Lord lavish such marvelous mercy upon such insignificant and undeserving creatures as we are? Why does Heseem to use His utmost powers in inventing new blessings for us, such as must astonish the angels that stand before His face?Oh, why does He thus lift the beggars from the dunghill and set them among princes, even the princes of His people! Our textcontains the only answer-"According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things." What an immeasurable measureof goodness and Grace there is in the heart of God!
Before I leave this part of my subject, I want you to turn it to practical account. Try, dear Friends, to use this thoughtwhenever you are exercising faith. The devil will say to you about many a promise which God has given, "Oh, that is too goodto be true!" Tell him that it is not so-it might seem too good if God gave only according to the measure of our merit, orthe limit of our understanding, or the extent of our faith. But He does much better than that- "exceeding abundantly aboveall that we ask or think." God'sheart, not mine, is the measure of His giving! Not my capacity to receive, but His capacityto give! Get that thought thoroughly fixed in your mind. I can only receive like a man, but God can give like a God! He doeseverything Divinely and He certainly makes no exception to His rule when He is dealing with His people. If it is God who isto give, then I can believe in the greatness of the gift, be it what it may, for nothing can be too great for Him!
You know the old and somewhat hackneyed story about Alexander promising to a man in his army that he would give him whateverhe chose to ask. He was to send his request to the imperial treasurer, but, when it was written out, it was for so huge asum that the treasurer refused to pay it. It was too much, he said, for a common soldier to receive. But when Alexander heardof it, he said, "I like that man's faith-he has honored me by such a large demand, for he asks something that it is worthyof Alexander to give." Now, if that man had been foolish enough to measure his request by his own poor rank, he would haveasked for a few pounds in ready cash, or a pension of a few pence a day might have contented him. But, instead of doing so,he reckoned according to the vastness of Alexander's empire and asked great things, and so he did Alexander honor! Wheneveryou are exercising faith, Beloved, remember that it is according to the heart of God to give with exceeding generosity.
So, when you are praying, if unbelief would stop you, and say, "Do not ask for this or that, for it is too much for you tohave," I advise you to say to yourself, "I will not be stinted in my desire and I will not commit the sin of limiting theHoly One of Israel. But, as He gives according to His own heart, I will ask great things of Him, for He has said, 'Open yourmouth wide, and I will fill it.'" You know, I suppose what some people say is the meaning of that passage. I am not quitesure that it is so, but it is said that, sometimes, the kings of Persia have been known to bid a prince open his mouth andthey have put in diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds, and all manner of precious things, as many as it would hold. If thatkind of thing should happen to any of you, I expect that you would open your mouths very wide-I have no doubt that your capacityto receive would be greater, on that occasion, than you have ever yet known it to be! But when you are coming before the Godof the whole earth, oh, for a big mouth to ask great things of Him! Oh, for a wide mouth, then, to take in every conceivableblessing from Him! In our prayers, let us not ask according to the measure of our poor little heart that is so shriveled,cold and weak, but according to God's great heart that is infinite and full of Grace and love!
Just once more, use this thought of the greatness of God's heart in the exercise of your delight in the Lord. Sometimes weare afraid of being too happy, but that is scarcely possible. Oh, how happy Christians have a right to be, with Heaven fortheir home, God for their Father, Christ for their Savior, the Holy Spirit for their Comforter and the Sacred Trinity pledgedto defend and bless them! Oh, sit down and delight yourselves in the Lord! Let me not hear anything about cares and troublesfor a while-I need to get into my secret place of communion with my God, shut the door and just turn over and over in my mindsuch a passage as this, "They shall be My people, and I will be their God." Or this, "Fear you not; for I am with you: benot dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand ofMy righteousness." David wrote, "Delight yourself also in the Lord," not merely be thankful, or peaceful, or happy, but, "delightyourselfin the Lord." Do not go paddling about in the shallows-take a header and dive into the depths of Divine joy! Plunge yourselfinto the Godhead's deepest sea and be lost in His immensity! You shall never so fully and so truly find yourself as when youhave lost yourself in God! "Oh, that is saying too much!" says someone. No, it is not-it may be too much for you if you aremeasuring with your poor little bushel-but now take God's great measure as it is revealed to us in our text-"According toYour own heart, have You done all these great things, to make Your servant know them." The next time I find a little mercy,I will say, "Thank God for that," but I shall not be quite sure whether it is not one of the common, ordinary mercies thatHe gives, alike, to His friends and His foes. But when I get hold of a great mercy that is so enormous that I cannot comprehendit, I shall say of it, "That came from God! I am sure it did. Great mercies come from the great God, the great Giver of allgood things." The greatness of the mercy is the proof that it is Divine-and my soul will appropriate it, and rejoice in it,for God has given it to me according to His own heart!
I have only a few minutes left for the second part of my subject, which happens to be a Truth of God which I have so oftenpreached to you, that I may the less regret that I have but a short time to speak upon it now.
II. Secondly, THE REASON OF GOD'S GOODNESS TO US LIES IN HIS OWN HEART.
Why does God bless His people? What is the cause of it? Here it is in the text-"According to Your own heart, have You doneall these great things." Why did God have mercy at all on any sinner? Because mercy was in His heart and "He delights in mercy."When God was willing to pardon sin, why did He not save the fallen angels? Why did He pass by them and look in pity on men?For no reason that I know of, but that it was according to His own heart. And when He did turn to men to save them, why didHe take pity on you, and why did He look with love on me? I cannot tell you, except for the reason which our Lord Jesus, Himself,gave, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." When God elected His people, why did He elect themP. Here isthe reply-"According to Your own heart, have You done all these great things." Sovereignty ruled the hour! God chose whomHe had a right to choose, for this is one of the attributes which He strictly guards-"I will have mercy on whom I will havemercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Some people bite their tongues whenever they hear me quotethat text. Well, they will have to bite them very often, for it is one of the most grand Truths of God revealed in the Scripturesand I shall delight to repeat it as long as I live! And to any objector, I have simply to say what Paul wrote, "No but, Oman, who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Hasnot the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" It is God'swill that chooses His people unto eternal life. We know no other reason.
Will you, who are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, tell me why you were thus favored? Why were you given to Christand put into His Church? Yes, why, but that it was according to the heart of God? And when you were called effectually byHis Grace and made willing in the day of His power, while so many others refused to come, and willfully perished, what wasthe reason for the distinction in your case? Some good thing in you? Far from it! Our text explains the mystery-"Accordingto Your own heart, have You done all these great things." And when you were pardoned, Brother, why were you forgiven? Forthe sake of your repentance, or in hope of your doing better in the future? By no means, for, if you did better, it wouldbe the resultof the pardon, not the causeof it! The only satisfactory explanation is that it was according to God's own heart!Is not that a grand passage, in the 43rd of Isaiah, (oh, how often I have admired God's Grace as revealed in it), where Godspeaks of His people having wearied Him with their iniquities? He says that He never wearied them, nor caused them to servewith an offering, yet they had not bought Him any sweet cane with money, nor filled Him with the fat of their sacrifices.But they made Him to serve with their sins, and wearied Him with their iniquities. Yet, even then, He goes on to say, "I,even I, am He that blots out your transgressions"-for what reason? "For My own sake"-not, "for your sakes," but, "for My ownsake"-"and will not remember your sins."
The reason for God's mercy lies not in man, but in God's own heart! He looked and He could see no good of any kind in man,nor the slightest hope of there ever being any good. But within His own bosom He found the motive for the display of His Grace-andthen His own arm brought salvation! Oh, how blessed it is to see this great Truth of God-that the cause of the salvation ofany man lies in God's own heart, not in the man's own goodness or worthiness, or in any works foreseen in him-or in anythingat all that comes of the creature!
Now, I want you who are coming to God for mercy to see how you can make use of this Truth. I know what you have been doing.You have been looking inside yourheart to find a reason why God should forgive you and, as you cannot find any reason there,you think that there is none. Now just turn your eyes the other way and look up to the great heart of God, and say, with David,"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness according to the multitude of Your tender mercies blot out mytransgressions." Try to spy out the reason for mercy in God-there is not any reason for it in yourself. You deserve His fiercestwrath and hottest Hell! And if that is your portion, you will never be able to complain of any injustice having been doneto you, for you will have no more punishment than your sins have brought upon you! But look away to God's heart and you willsee that He loves to forgive-that it is His Glory to forgive! So plead with Him to pardon you for His own name's sake, forthat is the best of all arguments.
I want you not only to do that, when you first come to Him, but to do the same as you continue to cling to Him. I can assureyou that I am clinging to Christ, at this moment, in exactly the same way as I did when I first found Him. I got rid of everythingthat I could confide in. In fact, I would have had to laugh at myself if I had set up any righteousness of my own, for I hadnot a stick or stone out of which I could have made a righteousness fit to present to God! Then I came to Christ, not becauseI had any right of my own to cling to, but because He seemed a dear, kind Savior who loved me to cling to Him! And that isjust why I am still clinging to Him. I say to Him, "Lord, I will not go away from You, for as I look up to You, I perceivethat You are all goodness, and all mercy, and all love. And therefore, by Your Grace, I intend to cling to You as long asI live. Sink or swim, I will always hold to You." In like manner, dear Friend, your reason for continuing to cling to Christmust be found only in the heart of Christ and not in yourself. Cling on, then, because it is according to His heart neverto cast away a single soul that puts its trust in Him!
And this is the reason, dear Brothers and Sisters, why we must cast all our care upon Him. I invite you, and I urge you todo so. If you ask yourself, "Why should I cast my care on Him?" The reply is, because it is His heart's wish that you shoulddo so. Christ loves you to leave your cares with Him. The more you trust Him, the better He loves you, if that can be. Atleast, the more you shall realize His love. You know the pretty story of the poor girl in India whose teacher was very sickand weak, so the girl begged her teacher to lean upon her. But the English lady did not like to lean too heavily, so the girlpleaded, "O dear Teacher, if you love me, lean hard! I shall be happy to feel your weight upon me." And it is just so withthe Lord Jesus! He loves you to lean hard upon Him, to cast yourself wholly upon Him and give up trying to help yourself!You will never be so blessed and never realize so much of the preciousness of Christ as when you do that! Perhaps you ask,"May I?" May you?! He wants you to do so and that is the very reason why you may! According to His own heart, He bids youcome and cast yourself entirely upon Him!
Now, dear Hearers, what do you say to this subject? Does it not glorify God? Have I preached up man? No, I have preached himdownand I have tried to preach God up to the very highest-and so I will while this tongue can move! Let my right hand forgether cunning before I shall begin to preach about the dignity of human nature and the grandeur of the miserable wretch calledman! No, God is glorious over all and if man is plucked from the burning, it must be the hand of God that delivers him-andthe reason why he is rescued is because the heart of God has moved His hand to save the poor sinner from going down to destruction!I am quite content with the poet's reason-
"What was there in you that could merit esteem, Or give the Creator delight? 'Twas even so, Father,'you always must sing,'Because it seemedgood in Your sight.'"
But, O Beloved, what a wide door this Truth of God sets open for poor lost men! You self-righteous people will not come inby it, for you do not like this God-made entrance. You want to try to save yourselves-but you will only the more effectuallyruin yourselves-that is all that will come of it! But every poor sinner who is worried by the devil and brought to the lowestextremity, will say, "If there is a reason in the heart of God why I should be saved, I will come and trust myself on Christ'sfinished work and, trusting in Him, I will see whether I shall not be saved." O you lost and ruined! O you helpless and hopeless!O you far-off ones! O you who lie at death's door and Hell's door-look to Jesus on the Cross! Your hope lies there! Turn youreyes away from yourself, for there is nothing in yourself but that which you will have to weep over and groan over! Man'sextremity is God's opportunity-if you have come to the end of self, I invite you to begin with Christ! Yes, if you have donewith self, Christ has already begun with you! And when He begins, He never ceases till He perfects His work! The Lord blessand save you! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 2 SAMUEL 7:1-22.
Verses 1, 2. And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all hisenemies; that the king said unto Nathan the Prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells withincurtains. He said no more, but his intention was very plain, namely, to build a house that should be a more suitable abodefor the Ark of the Lord.
3. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in your heart; for the LORD is with you. He spoke too fast. Even Prophets,who are Inspired of God, must wait upon their Master for their message! And when they utter words which only come out of theirown mouths, they say what they will have to unsay before long. It did look very clear that this was the proper thing for Nathanto say to David, but he had not a, "Thus says the Lord," for it.
4. 5. Andit came topass that night, that the Word ofthe LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell My servant David, Thussays the LORD. "You have already let him know what Nathanhad to say about the matter. Now go and tell him what Jehovah says."
5. Shall you build Me an house for Me to dwell in?The conception was altogether too low. He has made all space- time is Hiscreation and the arch of Heaven stands by His almighty power-shall God, Himself, have a housein which He can dwell?
6. Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to thisday, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. A structure to be set up, and taken down, and to be moved about whereverthe people journeyed. That was sufficient to be a central shrine of worship, and God cared for nothing else.
7. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel, spoke I a word with any ofthe tribes of Israel,whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, Why build you not Me an house of cedar?Did God ever put to the childrenof Israel such a question as this? No, and it is very remarkable that, from the time that the Temple was built, you may datethe decay of true religion in Israel! And the same thing has happened many times since-whenever religion is surrounded byelaborate ceremonies and gorgeous architecture, it is almost certain to suffer loss of power and efficacy. The simplicityof worship may not be the life of it, but it has a very intimate connection with that life.
8-11. Now therefore so shall you say unto My servant David, Thus says the LORD of Hosts, I took you from the sheepcote, fromfollowing the sheep, to be ruler over Mypeople, over Israel: andI was with you wherever you went, and have cut off all yourenemies, out of your sight, and have made you a great name, like unto the name ofthe great men that are in the earth. MoreoverI will appoint a place for Mypeople Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move nomore; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, and as since the time that I commandedjudges to be over Mypeople Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He willmake you an house. God has a way of returning men's generosity in kind. Since David wished to build God's house, God wouldbuild David's house!
12-15. And when your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, which shallproceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, andI will establish thethrone of his kingdom forever I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him withthe rod ofmen, and with the stripes ofthe children of men: but My mercy shallnot depart away from him, as I took it from Saul,whom Iput away before you. Here is our warrant for believing in the final salvation of Solomon! Perhaps that Book of Ecclesiastes,the work of his old age, shows us by what rough and thorny ways God brought the wanderer back. He had tried to satisfy himselfwith the things of time and sense, but he was constrained, at last, to utter this verdict, "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher;all is vanity." And He had to go back to His God, and find his comfort there.
16-18. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you: your throne shall be established forever.According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. Than went king David in andsat before the LORD. Like one weighted down with a great load of mercy, too heavy for him to stand up under it and, therefore,he must sit down and consider and meditate upon the wonderful words of God to him!
18, 19. And he said, Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me to this point? And this was yeta small thing in Your sight, O Lord GOD; but You have spoken also of Your servant's house for a great while to come. And isthis the manner of man, O LORD GOD?1 'All that You have done for me, therefore, in overcoming my enemies, and making me kingover this people, has seemed to be but a small thing to You, for, 'You have spoken also of Your servant's house for a greatwhile to come.'" That astonished David and, therefore, he asked, "Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?" "Man gives afterhis own grudging fashion, but You give in a lordly, kingly, Divine way." David's question may be rendered, "Is this the lawof the Man? Am I to be the parent of that Man who shall be my Lord as well as my son, who shall reign forever and ever, andof whose Kingdom there shall be no end?" David was spelling out the inner mystery hidden in the words of the Lord, readingbetween the lines and discovering that the Covenant which God had made with him was, at least in some respects, a repetitionof that greater Covenant made with Christ on his behalf.
20. And what can David say more unto You? He had not said much, but he could not say much under such circumstances. He wasutterly overwhelmed, just as when some wondrous kindness has been shown to us, we wish rather to sit still, in grateful silence,than to stand up and speak acknowledgments, for our heart is too full for utterance!
20-22. For You, LORD GOD, know Your servant For Your word's sake, and according to Your own heart, have You done all thesegreat things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O LORD GOD: for there is none like You, neither isthere any God beside You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. God had said to David, in the message He sentby Nathan, "I have made you a great name, like unto the name of the great that are in the earth." And now David brings backthe words to God, and says, "You are great, O LORD GOD: for there is none like You, neither is there any God beside You."