Sermon 2696. Wordless Prayers Heard in Heaven
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, OCTOBER 14, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 8, 1881.
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the LORRD will hear them, I theGod of Israel will not forsake them." Isaiah 41:17.
NOTICE, dear Friends, that this double promise to the poor and needy stands in connection with other great promises whichguarantee the gift of wonderful strength and blessing to God's people. These promises seem to me to be such as the mightiestservant of God might well desire to have fulfilled in himself. Look, for instance, at the one in the 15th and 16th verses-"Behold,I will make you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: you shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shallmake the hills as chaff. You shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: andyou shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall glory in the Holy One of Israel." What a great promise that is! How it makes thechild of God to participate in the greatness of Jehovah's strength! The picture here drawn is a very remarkable one. Hereis a man-a poor, feeble man-so strengthened by God that he not only threshes wheat, but he threshes mountains! Nor does hefind that the gigantic enterprise is beyond the strength imparted to him-the rocks and the hills are turned to chaff. Noris that all that happens to them, for this man, Divinely strengthened, takes up a colossal winnowing fan and sets Alps, Andes,Himalayas flying just like the small dust from the threshing floor! This is grand work and it needs a man of God when he hascome to the fullness of his strength through the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
Whenever we quote a great promise like that, it usually depresses some little one in the Lord's family. He (or, more likely,she) begins to say, "But what can Ido? I cannot thresh mountains! No, rather, it seems to me that Satan's threshing me anddesiring to have me that he may sift me as wheat. And, instead of me holding the winnowing fan in my hand, it is the winnowingfan that is being used upon me-and what I thought was a fine heap of wheat is being blown away- and I am afraid there willbe few precious grains left to lie upon the floor. Ah, me! Ah, me!" Well, now, our God has a gracious way of caring for allHis children and, from the very nature of Him, I am quite certain that if one of His children could be forgotten, it wouldnot be the little one! You mothers know that if ever there was one member of the household left out in the cold when you closedthe door at night, it would not be the baby-you would be sure, first of all, to see that the wee mite was safely housed. Andif it were possible that the Divine mind could pass over and forget one of the beloved family, it certainly would not be thelittle one or the tried one!
There are special promises for the child of God in the time of trial-"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and through the rivers, they shall not flow over you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shallthe flame kindle upon you." The Presence of God is with all His chosen ones at all times! But if there could be an exceptionto that rule, it certainly would not be in the case of those who are tried, troubled and depressed. No, the exception wouldbe the other way. If the Good Shepherd left the 99 safely folded in the wilderness, He would be sure to go after the one sheepthat was lost-the weak and wounded one, the feeble and footsore one-even though the cause of its sufferings might be its ownguilty wanderings! Oh, the splendor of the love of God! There is nothing to be compared with it under Heaven, or even in Heavenitself. It stands alone and unapproachable. He is always considering those among His people who are downcast, weak and brokenhearted!
And I think that the promise of our text especially comes in, not for you mountain-threshers-not for you who are made so strongin the Lord and in the power of His might, but for some who cannot as yet get a grip of that grand Word of His to which Ihave referred. There comes in this sweet promise, "when the poor and needy," those who are not trying to thresh mountains,but are looking for that which is necessary for the supply of their own personal needs-seeking water They are in too low acondition to be able to rise to the dignity of service, but are just like poor Hagar and Ish-mael in the wilderness, seekingwater. They have fallen into such a sad and sorrowful state of heart that instead of testifying to the goodness of God, theycannot testify to anything, for "their tongue fails for thirst." It is then, in their extremity, that the blessed promisesshall come to them-"I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them."
I am going to follow the Good Shepherd's example and leave the 99-you Brothers and Sisters who are happy and joyful in theLord, I must leave you to take care of yourselves, or, rather, the Lord will take care of you. I want just now to go afterthat one sheep that is lost! And I would not be surprised at all if there are not more than one out of every hundred herein the condition which our text describes! If so, may the Spirit of God cause the message to reach the hearts of all suchsorrowing ones that God may again be glorified in the abundance of His mercy toward them! Let us begin at the beginning ofthe text and consider it from point to point very briefly. We will start with these people where the text starts with them.
I. Here is, first, POVERTY OF CONDITION-"When the poor and needy seek water."
This description, of course, applies to poverty of spiritualcondition-does it describe you, my Brother, my Sister? Sometimeswe say that we are "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," though, all the while, we are "wretched, andmiserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." But there are other times when, consciously, among the poor, we are the poorest-andamong the needy, our need puts us in the very front rank.
Certainly, I think that most of us here would take the position of great poverty as to anything like merit What have we everdone that can commend us to God? When we have done all that our Master commanded, we must still say, "We are unprofitableservants-we have done that which was our duty to do. But we have not obeyed all His Commands by a long shot. "Self-complacencymay be a very pleasant feeling to cherish, but he who walks near to God is a stranger to it. If ever God honors one of Hischildren in public, I bear witness that He has a way of flogging him behind the door so as to make him feel that he has noglory save only in the Lord! What have you ever done, you who have won many souls for the Savior? You may thank God that Hehas thus honored you, but beware lest you ever take any credit for it, yourself, for that would be a strange perversion ofthe Truth of God. What if you have trained up that family of yours in the fear of God and have seen the Divine benedictionresting upon your house? That is well, but are you the god of your house? What would you have been and what would your househave been if it had not been for the mercy of God to you and yours? Looking back upon the whole of our life, we have to thankGod for it-and we must not let Him be robbed of any of the thanksgiving that is due to Him. As for ourselves, the only fittribute to all that we have done is a tear! Let us thank God that He blots out our faults and our failings with the preciousblood of His dear Son! And let us also weep bitter tears of regret over them that we should ever have sinned against Him.If any here present have any merits in which they think they can glory, there are, on the other hand, some of us who couldsit down in dust and ashes and cry out in the agony of our souls, for we are poverty-stricken to the last degree as to anythingof merit in and of ourselves.
Yes, and we have poverty of another kind, namely, as to anything like strength Not that we would plead that as an excuse fornot doing much for our Lord, for, albeit that we are fully conscious of our own weakness, we never yet learned that God'sLaw was limited by human power. We believe that it is our duty to do thousands of things which, by reason of our impotence,we never do and never, perhaps, can do. Still, the claims of duty remain the same as they always were, for if we have sinnedaway our power, God has not, therefore, lost any of His rights. We ought to have been perfect. Brothers, I say that if youand I had lived absolutely perfect lives, even then we would not have rendered a due return to God for the great debt we oweHim! If we have preached Christ's Gospel, we ought to have preached it like flaming seraphs. If we have suffered for Christ'ssake, we ought to have been ready to die like martyrs. We ought, in our lives, to have reproduced the life of Christ! Butwhen we struggle to attain to this high ideal, there is a shrunken sinew that makes us like Jacob, halt upon our thigh. Andthere is another shrunken sinew that makes us drop our arm-and there is scarcely a part of our mental and spiritual constitutionwhich does not make us cry, with Paul, "To will is present with me; but
how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that Ido."
Truly, we are poverty-stricken as to our strength. The smallest sin is too much for us if God is gone from us. The slightesttemptation blows us over like children who are weak upon their legs-only God can sustain us-and we need to constantly hearour Savior say to us, as He said to His disciples, "Without Me you can do nothing!" When we first heard that message, we usedto think, "Oh, but surely we can do a little." Yet, every day, that word, "nothing," seems to toll the funeral knell of allself-confidence! Christ still says to us, "Without Me you can do nothing," and we know that what He says is true. Some ofus are feeling the truth of this sentence and we are humbled in the dust as we realize that we are, indeed, poor and needyas to strength.
Then, Brothers and Sisters, as to Grace, many of the children of God are, to their shame, obliged to confess that they arepoor and needy where they oughtto be rich and where they mightbe rich-poor in patience, poor in courage, poor in faith, poorin hope, poor in love, poor in private prayer, poor in public influence-poor in every way. Although the Grace of God can makeus so spiritually rich that we may be happy and be able, also, to be the means of blessing others, there are many of God'schildren who scarcely seem to have a penny of spending money, and they never appear to go to the King's treasury and dip theirhands in, and take out great handfuls of the precious gold of Grace. They might do so if they would, but, alas, they continuemiserably poor through their own fault! So this last confession must be made very humbly, as indeed the others I have mentionedought to be. And perhaps I am speaking right home to some Brothers and Sisters here when I say that, as to merit, as to strengthand even as to Grace, you feel yourselves to be "poor and needy."
II. Our next remark is concerning URGENCY OF NEED.
"When the poor and needy seek"-what? Money? No, that is only to be poor and needy. Bread? Yes, that shows a harder povertythan merely being "poor and needy." But it is not bread that these poor and needy ones are seeking, but "water." Why, thatis generally to be had for nothing-a drink of water! It must be very hard times, indeed, when poor souls are in such a statethat they are longing for water and seeking for it afar, as though there were none near at hand. Brothers, Sisters, are anyof you in such a condition, so poor and needy that you are sighing after the Living Water? Though you have drunk of it before,are you still sighing for more of it and feel as if you do not know where to find it?
This is an urgent necessity, for it touches a vital point A man can exist without money. He can live without garments. Hecould live longer without bread than he could without water, for you may relieve hunger, but the pangs of thirst are awful,so those have said who have had to endure it on a raft at sea. Water is a vital necessity of our being and, therefore, Godhas appended to it a feverishness, an agony, a burning, longing and intense desire to obtain it. Thirst is something dreadful!Are you, my Brother, my Sister, thirsting for God, for the living God? Are you crying to Him with David, "My soul thirstsfor You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is"? Do you feel that you must get a visitationfrom God, or else your soul will die? Have you been in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water and have you come heresaying, "Lord, I seek a cup-a necessary cup of Living Water, and I need it to drink, but I am so poverty-stricken that I cannotbuy it. I am so weak that I cannot go far to find it. I am so ignorant that I scarcely know where to look for it! Lord, Iam brought to this point-it is not any fancied Grace that I need, it is not some high-soaring aspiration after perfectionthat I cherish-but I need Grace enough to keep my faith alive! I need it now such a cup of water from the well as shall enableme to realize that I am a child of God"?
Do I address one in whom this vital necessity has become an agonizing thirst? I think that I shall speak your experience whenI say that I have sometimes known what it was to feel that I would sacrifice my eyes, and be blind, if I might but again getnear my God. What difference does it make if you have to lie in bed and suffer, if you might but know that God's Countenancewas lifted up upon your soul, and that joy and gladness were in your spirit? They who have never lost the consciousness offellowship with God are to be envied. May there be many such here! But, if any have once known it and have lost it, I hopethat they will be consumed by a vehement desire to have it back again, that they may once more drink of the Water which isinfinitely better than that in "the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate." It were worthwhile that our blood were shedto get a drink of that Living Water again! It is truly sad when any child of God has sorrowfully to say-
"Where is the blessedness I knew When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view Of Jesus and His Word? What peaceful hours I then enjoyed- How sweet their memory still.But now I find an aching void The world can never fill."
Thank God that the void does ache and that the world cannot fill it! If you, dear Friend, have an agonizing desire to drinkthe Water of Life, you are the person to whom my text applies-"When the poor and needy seek water."
Further, this is an immediate necessity. When a man's tongue fails for thirst and he seeks water, he needs it at once. Whenhe is perishing for lack of water, he is not content if someone tells him that he shall find it, by-and-by-he needs to findit at once. "Water! Water!" he cries. "Give me water!" But as long as a man can cry as loudly as I have just done, he canwait a little while. But if he gets to the point that his tongue fails for thirst, then he needs it immediately, or he willdie. O child of God, if you have lost the Presence of your God, you need to find it, again, while you are in that pew-youwould not like to go home without having a sight of your Father's face, would you? And if you are in such a desperate statethat you feel that you must have it, then you shall have it, depend upon it! I pray that you may be brought to such a conditionthat you shall be ready to die of sickness of heart unless your hope is speedily fulfilled and you can once again behold yourGod.
III. The third step down-and it is a very long one, is this-DISAPPOINTMENT OF HOPE. "When the poor and needy seek water, andthere is none."
Ah, "there is none" even where they have found it before. They have sought it in the right places. They have gone where theyused to go-where there are wells of water-yet they are bitterly disappointed, for "there is none." Have not some of you, attimes, found it so in attending the means of Grace? You have gone again to the same place where, before, your heart was refreshedas you drank deep draughts of the Living Water. You listened to the same preacher whom you heard there before and, perhaps,to others there was as much sweetness as ever in his message-but to you there was none. Does not the preacher himself knowwhat it is, sometimes, to have a subject that is just like a springing well and then, at another time, to find that he maypump as long as he pleases, but not a drop of water comes forth? If it is so with the preacher, it is certainly so with thehearers!
Sometimes, there is an unction from the Holy One resting upon the Word so that it is like the ointment from the alabasterbox-the heavenly perfume fills the whole house! At another time it is the same Truth of God that is preached and by the samelips and, possibly, with the same earnest desire for a blessing-yet the blessing is not given. "The wind blows" not only "whereit wills," but as it wills-and there are times when not a breath of the heavenly breeze stirs the still air! And then, when"the poor and needy seek water" even where they used to find it, "there is none."
It makes their case even more disappointing when they have, side by side with them, others who are seeking water and findingit, yet, "there is none" for them. Have you ever been to the Lord's Table-say, with your own wife-and when she has been goinghome, she has said, "Oh, what a precious Communion service! Was not the Lord manifestly among His people in the breaking ofbread?" And you have been ashamed to tell her that you had not seen the Lord, even in His own ordinance? Your eyes had beenblinded. You have been sitting here sighing and crying and no joy has come to you. I am sure it is often so in the hearingof the Word. It is so in the private reading of the Scriptures. It is so in all those means of Grace which God blesses toHis people. We sometimes find Him blessing one and missing others, just as, sometimes, the rains are partial-one piece ofground is rained upon-and another piece, close by, is not rained upon. Thus it comes to pass that where others drink deepdraughts, you poor and needy ones come seeking water, "and there is none."
"And there is none." Of course, if you go to places where there is none of the Living Water, why, then, you have only yourselfto blame when you cannot find it! If you go where the modern divinity is taught. If you go where you hear the new doctrines,you will find no Water of Life there. "There is none." That stream has been dried up long ago-the Sirocco of doubt has sweptacross it and it has vanished-and there is nothing left but the dry bed of the river. People who constantly go to hear thatkind of teaching must not blame the Lord, or complain if they seek water and find none! When a bucket has the bottom out andthe well has long since ceased to hold any water-if you go there for it-you will simply find that "there is none." But thepain of it is that, sometimes, the earnest child of God frequents a ministry which
God has formerly blessed to him and others, yet he turns away sorrowfully from the well which has yielded him no water, andhe says, "there is none." God is showing him the emptiness of the creature, the vanity of all mortal help. He has a greatand a wise design in it all, and it may be that He will keep His child in that condition for a long time, as poor and needy,seeking water-and finding none.
IV. Fourthly, we have here THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER-"And their tongue fails for thirst." They cannot speak. They cannot telltheir fellow Christians about their trouble-"their tongue fails for thirst."
They are ashamed to tell others what they feel. It is a sad state for any to be in, yet many are in it and, knowing that theyare guilty and that it is their own fault that they have fallen so low, they cannot tell their fellow Christians anythingabout their condition. And so they miss one very useful means of comfort. And their tongue so fails for thirst that now, ifa hymn is given out, they feel as if they must not sing it. If there is a promise quoted, they feel as if they could not appropriateit! And sometimes the prayer of a joyous Brother seems to shoot over their head-they cannot attain to his experience. Yes,"their tongue fails for thirst." They do not know how to express what they feel.
If they were called upon to state their own feelings and convictions before the living God, it may be that they have becomeso mournful and sad that they could not describe themselves. Indeed, this is one of the painful parts of some men's condition-thatit is indescribable. If they could only put it down in black and white, they might hope to get over it, but it is mysterious,singular, strange, unaccountable. They have fallen into such a strange condition-they have got down so low that "their tonguefails for thirst."
Now I think we have gone about as low as we can. Here is a man who, to begin with, is poor and needy. Here is a man who islacking water, who has sought it, but who cannot find it. Here is a man whose tongue is so parched with thirst that he cannotsay a single word-he must sit down in sorrowful silence.
V. Yet, strange to say, now is the time that he learns that SALVATION IS OF God!
Look again at the text. It says, "I the Lord will hearthem." What? Why, they cannot speak! "Their tongue fails for thirst."Yet it says here, "I the Lord will hearthem." Well, but their tongue fails them! Yes, but He says it, "I the Lord will hearthem." So that brings me to this point-that God's great objective in bringing His people down so low as this is to make thempraydirectly to Him-that now they may not seek any water, but just cry to Him who is the Fountain of living waters-that now theymay not tell their friends about their need, nor even tell it to themselves-but in the very silence of their soul, they speakwith God, for there is a kind of speech which is perfectly consistent with silence-the speech of sorrow-the exhibition ofthe wounds of misery-the opening up of the brokenness of the heart-the setting before God, not in eloquent descriptions, butin indescribable revelation, the intolerable need which lies within the soul! God means you, dear Friend, to turn right toHim!
The text does not even say that they pray, because, sometimes, even prayer becomes a mechanical act and we are apt to relyupon it for comfort instead of upon our God. So the Lord says that He will hear them, though there is no mention of prayer,and they feel that they cannot pray. You feel, perhaps, as if you could not pray? Well, then, now turn yourself to God! Restyourself on God. You feel that all is over with you, that your case is desperate? Then roll yourself upon the living God.This is the point to which He means to bring you, so do not let even your desire to pray be an obstacle between the Lord andyour soul! If you cannot utter a word, pray in this sense-that your very heart, with unutterable groans, pours itself outlike water before the living God! This is where He would have us come and, oftentimes, it needs all this bursting of the tempest,all this sorrow, all this grief, before the Lord can get us to really speak with Him, not in words, but from our very soul.
The prayer which is hidden away in the texts-for, although there is no mention of prayer in it, yet it is hidden away there-isthe prayer of inward thirst You know that it is useless to say to a man who is in distress of soul, "You must groan everymorning, and you must groan every night." No, no-he groans when he cannot help it! And though I wish that all would have theirspecial seasons for prayer, yet I believe that the most mighty prayer in the world is that which cannot be timed, or regulated,but which comes out because the suppliant must pray. "Oh, God!" There may be more real prayer in that abrupt prayer, whenit is forced out of you by the overwhelming sense of your need, than there is when you put yourself into a comfortable positionand kneel down to pray, for sometimes you may get up from that posture and say to yourself, "There, I think I prayed verywell," yet, all the while, there may not have been any true prayer in it at all! But when, at another time, you say, "O Lord,I cannot pray! I feel as if I cannot pray"-why, dear man, you are praying!
You are praying with all your might! There is more prayer, oftentimes, in that sense of not being able to pray than thereis in the Pharisaic thought of having discharged the holy duty acceptably, for, in the one case it is the soul speaking bythe Holy Spirit and, in the other case, it may be nothing more than the lips speaking into the air!
This is the prayer of one who despairs of all means. I wish I could drive every sinner into that corner so that he would understandthat as no Popish priest can save him, and as no good works can save him, as no sermon-hearing can save him, as no Bible-readingcan save him, no praying can save him-NOTHING that he can do can save him! He must get to God and cast himself upon Christor else he will be lost! To many of you I might say, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life,but you will not come to Christ that you might have life." That is where the true life lies, in Christ, not in the Scriptures,blessed as they are! I hope that no one will mistake my meaning, for I am only putting the Scriptures as the Lord Jesus Christput them when He was speaking to the Jews. I desire to put the actual coming to Christ higher than anything else that is possibleto you. Get away from all means, and just say, "Now they are all gone, and I will go to God and say, 'O God, if You do nothelp me, from where shall I be helped? Neither the barn floor nor the winepress can help me now-there is a famine in Samaria!I would gladly eat up the fruit of my own soul, yet it cannot satisfy me! I must go to You, my Father, for all around me Isee husks which swine may eat, but I cannot. I must have You.'"
Notice, also, dear Friends, that this is the prayer of faintness-"their tongue fails for thirst." Oh, what blessed prayercomes out of a heart that faints away on the bosom of Christ! What powerful pleading there is in that very act! It is abjectweakness making the most mighty appeal it can to Almighty Love. "There, Lord, there is nothing more that I can do. There isno hope for me, in Heaven or on earth, apart from You. Now, if I perish, I perish. But will You-can You-let me die?" No, Hecannot and He will not let us die, for now comes the step upwards! You have taken one already in that silent heart-prayer.
Now comes the declaration of God-"I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them." Is it not somethingthat God hears you? I think that I have frequently had to explain this word by speaking of the poor woman who was so pleasedto see her minister. She was very poor and so was her minister. What good, then, did he do her? Did he speak to her a verycomforting word? No. The good man did not happen, that day, to be in much of a mood to do so, yet he did that Sister a dealof good, she said. Why? Because he let her talk and she just told him all her troubles-and he looked sympathetic, for thatis how he felt-and that was just what she needed! She needed somebody who would listen to her. It is wonderfully condescendingon God's part to listen to us. Many of our complaints are only rubbish, yet He hears them patiently. Sometimes when peoplebegin groaning and grumbling, I wish I was down the next street-but God is so patient and long-suffering that He hears allthat His people say. Oh, what things you and I have had to tell Him! We did not like to tell anybody else, but we have feltthat we must reveal it to Him. And we have done so very faintly and feebly, yet He has been listening to us-"I the Lord willhear them."
You know, dear Friends, that you have only to get a hearing from God and you know what the consequence will be when your HeavenlyFather knows what things you have need of. He only needs to know and He will surely supply all that you lack. So when youhave got a hearing from God, you have got everything! There it is in our text, "I the Lord will hear them." We say that Godis "a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God." That is quite true, but it is not a Biblical expression. David said, "OYou that hears prayer, unto You shall all flesh come." It is enough for Him to hear it. If He hears it, He will be quite certainto be moved with compassion and to come to the help of His child. It is all well with you, my Brother. It is all well withyou, my Sister, though you cannot pray to God in words. Only exhibit your wounds-let their poor dumb mouths plead for you.They have pleaded! God has heard them and He will answer you. You shall yet come up out of the dungeon and from this timeforth He will fulfill the promise, "I the God of Israel will not forsake them."
You know what work God had with Jacob that night when the Angel wrestled with him. The trouble with Jacob was that he wasso terribly strong-the chief work that had to be done upon him was to make him weak. The Angel wrestled with him and he wrestledwidth the Angel. He was a strong fellow, yet he never prevailed by his strength-and he would not have prevailed had not theAngel touched him, so that his sinew shrank and down he went. Then, as he fell, he still clung to the Angel and said, "I willnot let You go, except You bless me." That fall of his won the day-it was the lame Jacob who took the prey! It is the Godof Israel, also, who will bless you, but He must first touch you and make the sinew
shrink. You must be nothingand nobodybefore God will help you. I have observed that whenever God has given success to my ownpreaching, I have had a time of sore soul-trouble either before it or afterwards. I have noticed that some Brothers who havesuddenly come to the front and have apparently been very useful, have generally become top-heavy if the press has not abusedthem, or if they have not had some trying affliction-and you hear the sad news concerning them that they have gone astray.But when God ballasts the ship well-when He takes down the topsails-when He makes the vessel have a trial trip in stormy weather,then He is often pleased to put many of His saints on board such a ship as that! So, Brother, be thankful if you are a triedman, and believe that God is going to bless you. Be thankful, Brothers, if you have had an experience of this horrible thirst-ifyour tongue has been made to cleave to the roof of your mouth in anguish of ungratified desire after God. If you have beenground to pieces, like fine flour in the mill, now may you be offered unto God! If you have been slain, now may you be a sacrificeunto the Most High! But there must be the sentence of death in yourselves. There must be a breaking, and a grinding, and atearing, or else it is not likely that there will be the sweet shining of Jehovah's face and perpetual joy and peace!
I have been all this while trying to fish-I wonder whether, by God's Grace, I have caught the one for whom my hook was baited?Is there anybody here who has not any good thing in himself at all? Is there any poor wretch who feels that he is only fitto be swept up by the devil with a broom, and to be cast into the fire? Is that how you feel-as if you were the offscouringof all things and, in your own esteem, not worthy for God to tread on-such a thing as never should have been in existence-and,being here, ought to be put out of existence as soon as possible? O you nothing, Christ is willing to be your All-in-All!
O you naked one, here is a garment to cover you! O you hungry one, here is food for you! My Lord seeks after you who are downtrodden,you who lie on the dunghill, forked out and ready to be spread on the field as if you were only so much manure. Still He callsyou! Come and trust Him. You have nothing else to trust to. You have no other refuge, so fly to Christ! Fall down before yourGod, fall flat on your face, man, woman-and then, when the great shell bursts, which you are now dreading-not a fragment ofit shall strike you! Your safety lies in casting yourself upon the mercy and Grace of God!
Say, "It must be mercy, great mercy, nothing but mercy, that can meet my case. I am a lost, ruined, undone sinner, but I believein the great love, Grace and mercy of God in the Person of His dear Son. And now, down I fall, trusting in Jesus crucified."You are a saved man if there lives one! Trust thus in Jesus and you have, in that very act, passed from death unto life! Therefore,go your way in peace. The Lord who killed you, has made you alive! The Lord who wounded you, has healed you. May His blessingabide upon everyone of you, for Christ's sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ZECHARIAH 12:10-14; 111, 2.
Zechariah 12:10. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplications.This is a promise concerning Israel. Long have the Jews rejected the Christ, but the day is coming when they shall acknowledgeJesus of Nazareth to be the promised Messiah. In that day this promise will be fulfilled. God must always give "the Spiritof Grace" before men will pray aright. And wherever Grace is given, there is always true prayer.
10. And they shall look upon Me whom they havepierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shallbe in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Discovering that they have rejected the true Messiah,they will be overcome with the most acute grief that was ever endured-grief altogether inconceivable.
11. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Me-giddon. Oneof the greatest mourning that was ever known was that when Josiah was slain in battle and the people lamented that their bestof kings was so early taken away from them. Such shall be the sorrow that shall fall upon repenting Israel.
12. And the land shall mourn, every family apart. There shall be universal mourning throughout the whole land, yet it shallbe special and particular to each household-"every family apart."
12-14. "The family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and theirwives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart True repentance is the distinct act of each individual.It cannot, as a rule, be performed in the mass. There is a general repentance which, like that of the Ninevites, has a specialexcellence about it because it affects a whole city or nation, but that is not the kind of repentance which is described here.In this case, the sharpness of personal conviction of sin cuts and wounds the conscience of each individual and there is abitter cry uttered by each one as if he were the only sinner in the world. Oh, how sincerely you and I would repent if wefelt as if we were the only ones who had ever broken God's Law. Yet such a repentance as that we must feel if we would bepersonally forgiven.
Zechariah 13:1. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.They shall see their pardon when they have truly seen their sin. When once the foulness of their transgression is perceived,then the fountain of cleansing shall be perceived, too. No man ever knows the precious-ness of the God-given remedy till hehas felt the force of the terrible disease. No one by faith plunges into the crystal Fountain of perfect cleansing withoutfirst lamenting the filthiness which needs to be removed!
2. And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of Hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land,and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. Wherethere is pardon, there is sure to be sanctification. The idols must fall and the false prophets must go. We cannot have oursins and have a Savior, too. If we have Christ to blot out our sin, we must have the same Christ to remove sin as to its authority,power and dominion over us!