Sermon 2779. Heart-communing
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MAY 18, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 7, 1878.
"She communed with him about all that was in her heart." 1 Kings 10:2.
Last Sunday evening I mentioned some of the "hard questions" which Jesus is able to answer [Sermon No. 2778, Volume 48-CONSULTINGWITH JESUS]. It appears that the queen of Sheba, when
she had once obtained an interview with the great and wise king of Israel, was not content with merely putting to him variousdifficult questions, for she unloosed herself to him and exposed all that lay concealed in her heart-and Solomon listenedattentively to her-and, no doubt, so spoke to her that he sent her away rejoicing.
It is not generally a wise thing to tell all that is in your heart. Solomon himself said, "A fool utters all his mind; buta wise man keeps it in till afterwards." There are many things which you had better not tell to anybody. Make no one yourcomplete confidant. If you do, you run great risks of making an Ahithophel or a Judas for yourself. David said, in his haste,that all men were liars. That was not quite true. Probably what he meant was that if we trust all men, we shall soon findourselves deceived. But if we could meet with a Solomon-one who had been Divinely endowed with wisdom, as he was-it mightbe safe for us to bring all our questions and tell all our troubles to him. At any rate, we know of One, who is "greater thanSolomon," to whom it is most safe and blessed to tell out all that is in our heart! He is willing to listen to us, and tocommune with us and, the more frank and open we are with Him, the better will He be pleased and the better will it be forus. That is to be our subject-heart-communing with Jesus-spiritualizing the action of the queen of Sheba, when she came toSolomon, and "communed with him about all that was in her heart."
I. We will begin by saying that WE OUGHT TO COMMUNE WITH JESUS ABOUT ALL THAT IS IN OUR HEART.
I do not mean all of you who are present-I mean all those who have been redeemed from among men by His most precious blood-allthose who are believing in Him and who call Him their Savior, their Master, their Lord. You are bound to tell Him all thatis in your heart and to have no secrets hidden away from Him within your soul.
Tell Jesus all that is in your heart, for neglect of communing with Christ, of the most intimate kind, is ungenerous towardsHim. Are there any professing Christians here who have lived for a month without conscious communion with Christ? If I wereto speak of a longer period and to ask, "Are there not some professing Christians here who have lived for three months withoutconscious communion with Christ," I am afraid there are some who, if they were honest and truthful, would have to reply, "Thatis the case with us." If so, think what that means! You profess to belong to Jesus and to be His disciple, yet you confessthat you have lived all this while without real, intimate communication with Him who is your Master and Lord! What is more,you profess to be not only one of His disciples, but one of His friends. "Is this your kindness to your Friend?"
I may go further than that, for you believe yourself to be married to Christ, for that is the union which exists between Himand His people. That would be a strange kind of marriage union in which the wife should be in the presence of her husbandand not even speak to him by the week, by the month, by the three months, by the six months together! For them to have nofellowship with one another, no mutual interchange of love, no communications with each other would be regarded as unnaturaland would be rightly condemned. But do we not, sometimes, act towards our heavenly Bridegroom in just that manner? Are wenot, too often, like the men of the world who do not know Him? Do we not live as if we did not know Him, or as if He wereno longer present with us? It ought not to be thus! Unless we would act contrary to all the dictates of our higher nature,we must be continually be holding intimate conversations with our Lord Jesus Christ.
And we must tell Him all that is in our heart, because to conceal anything from so true a Friend betrays the sad fact thatthere is something wrong to be concealed. Is there anything that you do that you could not tell Jesus? Is there anything youlove that you could not ask Him to bless? Is there any plan before you that you could not ask Him to sanction? Is there anythingin your heart which you would wish to hide from Him? Then it is a wrong thing-you can be sure of that! The thing must be evil,or else you would not wish to conceal it from Him whom, I trust, you really love. O my Lord, why should I desire to hide anythingfrom You? If I want to hide it, then, surely, it must be because it is something of which I have cause to be ashamed! Helpme to get rid of it. O Christian Brothers and Sisters, I beseech you to live just as you would do if Christ Jesus were inyour room, in your bedchamber, in your shop, or walking along the street with you-for His spiritualPresence isthere! May therenever be anything about you which you wish to conceal from Him!
If we cannot tell Jesus all that is in our heart, it shows a lack of confidence in His love, or His sympathy, or His wisdom,or His power When there is something that the wife cannot tell to her husband, or there begin to be some secret things onthe part of one of them that cannot be revealed to the other, there will soon be an end of mutual love, peace and joy. Thingscannot go on well in the home while there has to be concealment. O Beloved, I beseech you to love Christ too much to keepanything back from Him! Love Him so much that you can trust Him even with the little frivolous things which so often worryand vex you. Love Him so much that you can tell Him all that is in your heart-and never, for a moment, wish to keep back anythingfrom Him. As the hymn says-
"Tell it all to Jesus, comfort or complaint"
If we do not tell it all to Jesus, it looks as if we have no confidence in His love and, therefore, thought that He wouldnot bear with us. Or that we had no confidence in His sympathy and fancied that He would not take any notice of us. Or thatwe had no confidence in His wisdom and thought that our trouble was too perplexing to bring to Him-or that we had no confidencein His power and dreamt that He could not help us in such an emergency. Let this never be the case with any of you, but, eachday unburden your heart to Christ and never let Him think that you even begin to distrust Him! So shall you keep up a frank,open and blessed fellowship between Christ and your own soul.
I am quite certain that if you will carry out the plan I am commending to you, it will bring you great ease of mind. Whereas,if you do not, you will continue to have much uneasiness. Is there anything that I have not told to Jesus- anything in whichI could not have fellowship with Him? Then, there is something wrong with me! Are you keeping your trouble to yourself andtrying to manage without consulting with Jesus? Well, then, if anything goes wrong, you will have the responsibility of it!But if you take it all to Him and leave it with Him, it cannot go wrong, whatever happens! And even if it should seem to gowrong, you would not have the responsibility of it.
I believe that our trials usually come out of the things that we do not take to the Lord and, moreover, I am sure that wemake greater blunders in what we consider to be simple matters, which we need not take to the Lord, than we do in far moredifficult matters which we take to Him. The men of Israel were deceived by the Gibeonites because they had on old shoes andclothes, and had moldy bread in their packs, and the Israelites said, "It is perfectly clear that these men must have comefrom a long distance. Look at their old boots and their ragged garments." So they made a covenant with them and inquired notthe will of the Lord. If it had not appeared to them to be quite so clear a case, they would have asked the Lord for direction-andthen they would have been rightly guided. It is when you think you can see your way that you go wrong! When you cannot seeyour way, but trust to God to lead you by a way that you know not, you will go perfectly right. I am persuaded that it isso that the simplest and most plain matter kept away from Christ will turn out to be a maze, while the most intricate labyrinth,under the guidance of Christ, will prove to have in it a straight road for the feet of all those who trust in the InfallibleWisdom of their Lord and Savior!
On the other hand, if you do not come to Jesus, and commune with Him of all that is in your heart, you will lose His counseland help, and the comfort that comes from them. I do not suppose anybody here knows what he has lost in this way, and I canhardly imagine how you are to calculate what you have lost of spiritual good that you might have had. There is many a childof God who might be rich in all the intents of bliss, who continues to be as poor as Lazarus the
beggar-he has hardly a crumb of comfort to feed upon and is full of doubts and fears-when he might have had full assurancelong ago! There is many an heir of Heaven who is living upon the mere husks of Gospel food when he might be eating the richfare of which Moses speaks-"Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,with the fat of kidneys of wheat." Very often, Beloved, you have not because you ask not, or because you believe not, or becauseyou do not confide in Jesus and commune with Him. How strong the weakling might be if he would go to Jesus more frequently!How rich the poor soul might be if it would draw continually from Christ's inexhaustible treasury! Oh, what might we not beif we would but live up to our privileges! Might we not live in the suburbs of Heaven, and often, as it were, be close tothe pearly gates, if we would but go and tell all to Jesus and commune with Him concerning all that is in our hearts?
Sometimes, our naughty habit of reticence towards Jesus is aggravated by our eagerness to tell our troubles to others. Inthe time of trial, we often imitate King Asa, who, when he was sick, "sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians." It wasnot wrong to go to the physicians, but he should have gone to the Lord first. It is the same with many of you as it was withAsa-away you go to your neighbor over the fence, or you call in a friend, and have a talk with Him in your own drawing room,or you go to some great one, and tell him all your trouble-yet how much have you gained by doing so? Have you not often foundthat you would have been wiser if you had followed Solomon's advice, "Go not into your brother's house in the day of yourcalamity?" Have you not also frequently discovered that when you have talked over your griefs with your friends, they stillremain? Cowper truly wrote-
"Have you no words? Ah, think again- Words flow apace where you complain And fill your fellow creature's ears With the sadtale of all your cares. Were half the breath thus vainly spent To Heaven in supplications sent, Our cheerful song would moreoften be, 'Hear what the Lord has done for me!'"
You say that you need a friend, yet He who is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother is neglected by you! Suppose theLord Jesus Christ were to meet some of you and you were to say to Him, "Good Master, we are in trouble"? And suppose He shouldsay to you, "Where have you been with your trouble? You have not been to Me." And suppose you were to reply, "No, Lord, wehave been consulting with flesh and blood-we have been asking our friends to help us"? And suppose He were to say to you,"And have they disappointed you?" You would have to reply, "Yes, Lord, they have." And suppose He looked at you and said,"Where you have already gone, you had better go again. You went to your friends first-are you coming to Me last? Am I to playthe lackey to you and do you only come to Me after having tried all the others?" Ah, if He did talk like that, what couldyou reply? Why, I think your only answer could be, and I trust your answer now will be, "Jesus, Master, I have too much forgottenYou. I have not regarded You as a real present Friend. I have gone to my neighbors because I could see them, speak with themand hear what they had to say to me. But I have thought of You as if You were a myth, or, perhaps, I have not thought of Youat all. Forgive me, Lord, for I do believe that You Are and that Your Word is true, which declares that You are always withYour people, and help me, henceforth, by Your Grace, to always go to You."
That is my first remark-that we ought to commune with Jesus concerning all that is in our hearts.
II. Secondly, WE NEED NOT CEASE COMMUNING WITH CHRIST FOR LACK OF TOPICS.
The queen of Sheba and Solomon came at last to an end of their talk. They could not go on speaking to one another forever.But with regard to ourselves and our Lord, there need never be an end to our communion with Him, for the subjects upon whichwe can have fellowship with Him are almost innumerable. Let me mention just a few of them.
There are, first, your sorrows. Are you very grieved? Are you smitten of God and afflicted? Then, Brothers and Sisters, youmay well go to Jesus with your sorrows, for He is the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows all about you andall about your sorrows, too. There is not a pang that you have ever felt but He has felt the like. If you will only talk withHim, you will find an open ear, a sympathetic heart and a ready hand, all placed at your disposal. "What do you mean, Sir?Do you mean that I am to sit down in my room and tell Jesus all about my troubles?" Yes, I mean just that! And as you woulddo if you could see Him sitting in the chair on the other side of the fire, sit down and tell it all to
Him. If you have a quiet and secluded chamber, speak aloud if that will help you, but, anyway, tell it all to Him-pour intoHis ears and heart the story which you cannot disclose to anyone else. "But it seems so fanciful to imagine that I can reallyspeak to Jesus." Try it, Beloved-if you have faith in God, you will discover that it is not a matter of fancy, but the mostblessed reality in the world! If you can only see what your eyes perceive, it is no use for you to do as I say-in fact, youcannot do it. But if you have the inner eyes that have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and if your heart discerns theinvisible Presence of the once-crucified but now glorified Savior, tell Him the whole story of your grief. Oftentimes, afteryou have done, you will find that it will cease to grieve you anymore.
Then, also, tell Him your joys, for He can have as much true fellowship with the joyous as with the sad. Go, young Sister,young Brother, in the gladness of your first youthful joy, and tell it all to Jesus! He rejoiced in spirit when He was uponthe earth and, now He has the joy that was set before Him when He endured the Cross and despised the shame. If you tell Himyour joys, He will sober them-not sour them. He will take away from them their earthly effervescence and impart to them aspiritual flavor and an abiding sweetness, so that, even in common things, your joy shall not become idolatrous and sinful.You who are bereft of creature comforts should pray that you may find all things in God. But you who have such comforts andare full of joy, should pray this prayer-that you may find God in all things. They are both good prayers. That latter petition,you joyous souls may well pray to Jesus, and He will answer it, and you shall find that the marriage feast is all the betterfor Jesus being there to turn the water into wine, and that to all earthly joys He adds a bliss which they could not otherwisepossess.
Some people say that we Christians get into ecstasies and raptures and then we hardly know our head from our heels, and weare so excited that we are not fair witnesses as to matters of fact. I do not think that the Church has often had too muchexcitement-the fault has usually been something quite in the opposite direction! But my own conviction is that we do not seethe Glory of Christ when we are excited, or when we are in an ecstasy, one half as well as we do in our cool, calm, reflectivemoments. I know a great many Christian people who are by no means fools. If you try to do business with them, you will findthat they are as shrewd and wide awake as any men. I would like to appeal to them about this matter. I believe that I have,myself, a certain degree of common sense and I venture to say that Christ never appears to me so glorious as when I am perfectlycool and collected-just as I would be if I were sitting down to write out some statistics, or to work out a mathematical problem,or to make up an account and strike a balance.
Whenever, in the very calmest and quietest manner, I begin to think of my Lord and Master, He then, most of all strikes meas glorious. Our religion does not require the excitements and stimulants upon which some seem to live, but when we are inthe most serene state of mind and heart, then we can best see the glories of Christ. O Sirs, my Master would have you sitdown and count the cost of being His servants! He would make you mathematicians, that, after you have counted the cost, youmay see that He is worth ten thousand times more than He could ever cost you! He would have you survey Him and look upon Himfrom all points of view-look at His Person, His work, His offices, His promises, His achievements-that in all things you maysee how glorious He is! I ask you calmly to see what kind of Lord and Master He is and what sort of Glory it is that surroundsHim. And if you will do so-that is, if your hearts have really been changed by His Grace-you will say, "Oh, yes! Tell thewide world over that it is simple common sense to believe in Christ, that it is irrational to reject Him! Tell them that thebest use of your reason is to lay it at His feet-and that the truest wisdom is to count yourself but a fool in comparisonwith Him-and to sit with Mary and listen to His wondrous words."
You may also go to Jesus and tell Him all about your service. You have begun to work for the Lord and you are very pleasedwith the opportunity of doing something for Him, but you do not find it to be all sweetness. Perhaps you are like Martha whowas "cumbered" with her service for Christ. When she was preparing a dinner for Him, she was greatly worried over it. Theservants might burn the meat, or she was afraid that one very special delicacy would be spoiled altogether. Besides, somebodyhad broken the best dish and the tablecloth did not look as white as she liked to see it. Martha was also troubled becauseMary did not help her, so she went to the Master about it, which was the most sensible thing she could do. I can speak verysympathetically about this matter, for I get to worrying concerning it sometimes. I want to see Christ served with the bestthat I have, and with the best that all His people have. And if things go a little awry, and will not work quite right, Iam apt to become fidgety. But this will not do, either for me or for you. We must go and tell the Master about it. He willset it all right and make us see that it is all right. Suppose any of you have not been treated kind-
ly by your fellow members even when you were trying to do good? Suppose that the girls in your class have grieved you? Supposethat you have been rapped over the knuckles when you really meant to be serving your Lord, what are you to do? Again I say,as I said before-
"Tell it all to Jesus, comfort or complaint"
Do not come and tell me! If I could help you, I would, but there is One who is far better than any pastor on earth to go to,even the Great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Then, next, go and tell Jesus all your plans. You think you will do something for Him, do you? Do not begin till you havetold Him all about what you mean to do. He had great plans for the redemption of His people and He communicated them all toHis Father. No, I should rather say that He drew them out of His Father's eternal decrees. Go and tell Him what you are planningfor the Glory of God, and the good of men, and you may, perhaps, discover that some of it would be a mistake.
When you have any successes, go and tell Him. The 70 disciples returned to Jesus with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devilsare subject to us through Your name." If you have the high honor of winning a soul, tell Jesus-and be sure to give God allthe glory of it! Sing, "Non nobis, Domine"-"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory, for Your mercy,and for Your truth's sake."
And when you have any failures-when your hopes are disappointed-go and tell it all to Jesus. I do not know whether I makemyself clearly understood upon all these points, but I feel that working side by side with Christ is the only style of workingat which a man can keep on year after year. If you get alone away from your Master-if you have sorrows or joys which are allyour own and which you do not tell Him, you will get into a sad state. But if you feel, "He is near me, He is with me"-andif you act upon that belief by constantly communicating with Him concerning what you feel, and what you believe, and whatyou do-you will lead a holy and blessed and useful, and happy life. I have not time to complete the long list of topics onwhich we are to commune with Jesus, but, in brief, let me urge you to tell Him all your desires. If you desire anything thatyou ought to desire, and may desire, let Him know it. Tell Him, also, all your fears. Tell Him that you are sometimes afraidto die. Tell Him every fear that distresses you, for, as a nurse is tender with her child, so is Christ with His people.
Tell Him all your loves. Bring before Him, in prayer, all upon whom your love is set. Tell Him especially all you can aboutyour love to Himself and ask Him to make it firmer, stronger, more abiding, more potent over the whole of your life. Oftensing a song to Jesus, your Best-Beloved and say, "Now will I sing to my Well-Beloved a song touching my Beloved." Sing andspeak often to Him and whenever you have any mysteries which you cannot explain or tell to anyone else, go and ask Him toread the inscription that is engraved upon your heart and to decipher the strange hieroglyphics which no one else can read.
III. Now, dear Friends, I will close when I have briefly shown you, in the third place, that WE SHALL NEVER CEASE COMMUNINGWITH CHRIST FOR LACK OF REASONS.
I am not now speaking to those who have never communed with my Lord. I have often communed with Him. I still commune withHim and so do many of you. And I say that we shall never cease communing with Him for lack of reasons.
For, first, it is most ennobling to have fellowship with the Son of God. "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, andwith His Son Jesus Christ." I have heard it said of some men that to know them is a liberal education. If you are only slightlyacquainted with them, you are sure to learn much from them! But to know Christ is to know everything that is worth knowing-andHe is our All-in-All.
It is also highly beneficial to commune with Christ. I know of nothing that can lift you up so much above the evil influencesof an ungodly world as constantly abiding in close fellowship with Christ and telling Him all that you feel in your heartof hearts.
How consolingit is to do this! You forget your griefs while you commune with Him. How sanctifying it is! A man cannot takedelight in sin while he walks with Christ. Communion with Him will make a man leave off sinning, or else sinning will makehim leave off communing. You will not be perfect while you are in this world, but the nearest way to perfection lies alongthe pathway where Jesus walks. How delightfulit is, too, to commune with Jesus! There is no other joy that is at all comparablewith it-and it prepares us for the higher joys above. When those who walk with Christ on earth come to live with Him above,there will certainly be a change in some respects, but it will be no new experience to
them. Did He not love His saints and seek their fellowship while they were here below? Then they shall have that fellowshipcontinued above! Did you not walk with God here? They you shall walk with Jesus up there!
Are there any of Christ's followers who seldom commune with Him? Beloved, shall I not chide you if that is true of you? MyMaster is looking down upon you at this moment. Does He need to speak to you? He did not speak to Peter when the boastfulApostle had denied His Lord. Jesus turned and lookedat Peter and I trust He will look upon you- that those dear eyes, whichwept for you, will gaze right down into your soul-and that His blessed heart that bled for you will look out of those eyesof His upon you. He seems to say, "Do you, indeed, love Me, as you never wish for My company? Can you really love Me?"
And then, I think that my Master looks upon some here who have never had any communion with Him at all, and He says, "Is itnothing to you that I loved mankind, and came to earth, and died to save sinners? Is it nothing to you that I bid you trustMe, and that I promise to save you if you do? Will you still refuse to trust Me? Will you turn upon your heels away from Me?Oh, why will you die!? Why will you die!?
And then, lastly, He speaks to those of you who have long enjoyed fellowship with Him and, as He looks at you, He says, "Abidein My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." Beloved, if you have ever enjoyed fellowshipwith Christ, never lose it! Oh, to hold on-to hold fast-to hold through life and to hold in death to Him whose face we havenever seen, yet whom we know to be among us now! O Beloved of our souls, never leave us! No, You will not do so-we will constrainYou to abide with us! Give us Divine Grace, we pray, to never vex You or grieve Your Holy Spirit. Come very near to us justnow-nearer than You have ever been since the first day we saw You. Come near to all of Your people, Immanuel-God With Us-andbe always with us and go with us wherever we go-and never leave us again, for Your love's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 KINGS 10:1-13; MATTHEW12:38-45.
Let us first read part of the 10th Chapter of the First Book of Kings and, afterwards, a part of the 12th Chapter of the Gospelaccording to Matthew.
1 Kings 10:1. And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hardquestions. Her visit, you see, had a religious aspect. She "heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord."He had wisdom of various kinds, but it was his knowledge of God, and of God's ways, that seemed chiefly to attract this rulerfrom a far-distant land.
2. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bore spices, and very much gold, and precious stones:and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him about all that was in her heart. She came with a price in her handto get wisdom. Well did Solomon say, "Buy the truth, and sell it not." No price is too dear to pay for it, but any price wouldbe too cheap to sell it.
3. So Solomon answered all her questions: there was nothing to difficult for the king, that he could not explain it to her.His wisdom came from God and, therefore, it was full and complete, and could not be confounded by man. Let us seek after theWisdom which comes from above, and remember that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Indeed, is it not thesum total of wisdom, really, to fear, in a filial sense, the Lord Most High?
4. 5. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the food of his table,and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascentby which he went up unto the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her She was a queen, but she had never seen suchroyal magnificence as Solomon's! "The ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord" appears to have been a marvelousviaduct constructed of the most ponderous stones, by which the king went from his own house up to the Temple itself. I haveread that an arch of that viaduct is standing at the present day and it is still a marvel. To this princess, it must haveseemed a wonder of wonders!
6-12. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts and of your wisdom. However,I believed not the words until Icame, and my eyes have seen it: and, behold, the half was not toldme: your wisdom and prosperityexceeds the fame which I heard. Happy are your men, happy are these, your servants, which stand
continually before you, and that hear your wisdom. Blessed be the LORD your God, which delighted in you, to set you on thethrone of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore made He you king, to do judgment and justice. And she gavethe king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more suchabundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought goldfrom Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillarsfor the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, also harps and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees,nor were seen unto this day. Probably these "almug trees" were trees of sandal-wood. Whatever they were, they seem to havebeen the best timber known to the Easterns and, therefore, Solomon very properly used them in the house of the Lord. Let theharps of our praises be made of such wood that there shall be no others equal to them in the whole world! Let us give to ourLord our best young blood, our warmest zeal, our highest thoughts, our most careful attention. Let us give Him, in fact, thewhole of our being, the love of our heart. He should be served with the best of the best, "for He is good, and His mercy enduresforever."
13. Andking Solomon gave unto the queen ofSheba allher desire, whatever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of hisroyal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. The king first of all bountifully gave hera present which he thought most fitting. And then, afterwards, permitted her to ask whatever she would. How much is this likeour King Solomon, who has already given us all our hearts can wish for and yet, if there is any right desire that is stillungratified, He provides the golden Mercy Seat at the foot of His Throne where we may present our petitions to Him, encouragedby His gracious word, "Ask what you will; according to your faith, so shall it be unto you."
Matthew 12:38, 39. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you. But He answeredand said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but thesign of the Prophet Jonah. The queen of Sheba did not ask for a sign. She did not expect Solomon to work a miracle, but, sittingdown in his presence, she proposed her hard questions and meekly awaited his answers. So should these scribes and Phariseeshave done with the Lord Jesus Christ. These were His signs-
40, 41. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and threenights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and condemn it, because theyrepented at the preaching of Jonah and, indeed, a greater than Jonah is here. Jonah was a servant-Jesus was the Master. Jonahpreached only one sermon-Jesus preached many. That sermon was a short one-Jesus Christ labored long after souls. Jonah wasa man full of infirmities and with an unloving heart-Jesus was tender and compassionate. Jonah did but hurry through the streets,crying, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown"-without a word of mercy-Jesus lived long among the people, givingthem directions, warnings and invitations to seek and find salvation. "Behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
42. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends ofthe earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. As I have so recently
preached upon this verse, [Sermon No. 2777, Volume 48-THE QUEEN OF SHEBA, A SIGN-Read/download the entire sermon, free ofchargeat
http://www.spurgeons.org ] I need not say anything about it just now.
43. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man. Mark, not when he is turned out of him by superior force, but when he hasgone out of his own accord.
43. He walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. The devil was in the Jews of old, but he went out of them atthe time of the Babylonian captivity-that heavy punishment cured them of idolatry. But the devil could never find a restingplace in Gentile hearts so pleasant to himself as among God's own people.
44. Then he says, I will return to my house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished."I will go back to those Jews," says the devil and, when he comes back, he finds them without any true love to God-"empty,swept, and garnished." See how correctly the Pharisee is dressed and note with what sanctimonious unction he repeats his hypocriticalprayers! He fasts twice in the week and pays tithes of his mint and anise and cummin. The devil finds the house "empty, swept,garnished" and, as he does not care whether he lives in a foul heart or a clean one, so long as he can but live in it, hetakes up his abode there again.
45. Then he goes and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: andthe last state of that man is worse than the first. If idolatry did not come back to the Jews, the devil of pride and self-conceitand many more came and fought against the Son of God, so that they became worse than they were before! And the first devilof the Jewish people was nothing compared with the seven devils which afterwards possessed them. We have seen some men ofthis kind. Under temporary conviction, they have given up certain outward sins, but, afterwards, they have been 10 times worsethan they were before. We have known a man to be a drunk and we have rejoiced to see him leave his cups but, yet, when hehas made a self-righteousness out of his temperance and set himself up against God and His Truth, we have verily believedthat he has had within him seven devils worse than the first! A man may reform himself to blacker stains and wash himselfwith the waters of his self-righteousness till he becomes more hard to clean than he would have been at the first. Oh, forthe mighty hand of One who is stronger than the prince of Hell to throw the devil out! And then he will never come back again-butif he goes out by mere human persuasion, or by our own wills and wishes, he will most certainly come back to us! If the HolySpirit turns him out, he will never gain an entrance any more.
45. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.