Sermon 2864. God Has Spoken!- Rejoice!
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 12, 1876.
"God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth." Psalm 108:7.
THERE is an old promise concerning God's people which says, "Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking,I will hear." This text is one of the instances in which the Lord has dealt with His saints upon the lines of that promise.Read the preceding verse. David there prays, "Save with Your right hand and answer me." And while he is waiting for God toanswer him, he remembers that God has already spoken. In effect, he says to himself, "I am waiting for an answer, but Godhas given it to me." Very often the response to a Believer's petition has been practically received before he presents hisrequest-he only needs that God should open his eyes for him to see that before he called, God had answered his supplication!Indeed, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, in one sense all your prayers-that is, your prayers that ought to be answered-arealready answered, for whatever there may be that you may rightly ask of God, you really have it, since in giving us Christ,He has already given us all things! An important part of the duty of faith is to believe that you have what you ask in prayerand then you shall have it. This is blessed philosophy-may we all learn it!
Oftentimes, when we are crying to God and waiting for an answer to our petition, if we did but look around us- and if we hadmore acute powers of observation-if our spiritual faculties were keener and quicker, we would perceive that we already havethe very thing for which we are asking. Some of you have, perhaps, been saying, "Oh, that we were, indeed, the Lord' s peoplewho have their prayers answered even before they offer them! Well, then, turn to the Book and you will find that the Lordhas there told you that you are His if, indeed, you are believing in His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God has alreadygiven you, by that most sure word of testimony, the clearest possible evidence of your personal interest in Christ! If youare asking for some further kind assuring word to soothe your fears to rest, turn to the Bible, for there is in it the veryWord of God you need. So, seek it out, for I may truly say of God's Revelation in this blessed Book-
"What more can He say than to you He has said, You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?'
This leads me to the practical remark that, possibly, the very thing that you have been praying for so long, you may alreadyhave obtained-and God may not intend you to pray any longer about it, but may say to you, as He did to Moses, "'Why do youcry unto Me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.' Believe that you have the blessing for which you areasking and go forward in that belief! The time for praying about it has passed. This is the time for grasping the blessingby faith and using it to My praise and glory." So it seems to me, in our text, that David had prayed, and then suddenly rememberedthat he had already received the very thing for which he had asked. So he shakes himself from the dust and cries, confidentlyand jubilantly, "God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth."
I. Three things are clear in the text and the first is that GOD'S WORD IS THE FOUNDATION OF FAITH-"God has spoken in His holiness."That is the solid basis on which faith builds.
To me this is a very precious Truth of God, even for the very childhood of Christian life-"Godhas spoken." He has not merelyput before us His works, which are like hieroglyphs, difficult to read at times, but He has actually broken what otherwisehad been eternal silence and spoken to us in words that even a child can comprehend! Unbelieving men still say, as they didof old, "'Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' If there isa God at all, there is a great gulf fixed between Him and men; how can we know anything about Him?" Ah, Sirs, that great gulfwill always be between you and your God if you do not believe in the Revelation that He has given you in His Inspired Word!Until that terrible day comes, when He shall speak in thunder-tones of wrath and summon His guilty creatures to appear atHis judgment bar, you will not hear His voice, except as it speaks to you in His Word.
But "God has spoken in His holiness" and we ought to be thankful that we have not to serve a God who is dumb. He spoke, inthe garden of Eden, when our first parents sinned against Him. To the serpent He said, "I will put enmity between you andthe woman, and between your seed and her Seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." It was a messageof hope to the world when God spoke that great promise concerning His Son. Since then, "at sundry times and in divers manners,"God has spoken unto men by His servants and "by His Son," of which we have the record in this blessed Book. And, since itis a message of mercy and love to us, we ought at once to rejoice that "God has spoken." Sinner, you are pleading with Godfor mercy and He might well refuse to answer you even a word, but, "God has spoken" already, and the answer to your petitionis already recorded in His Word! If, when Adam sinned, He had turned away from our rebellious race and said, "From now onI will hold no communication with you until that day when, with fire and sword, I punish you for your many transgressions,"we would have had no cause for complaining against Him. Certainly we could not have impeached His justice or found fault withHis severity! But, "God has spoken." He has broken the silence which would have been death to us and, blessed be His name,He has Divinely spoken to us by Him who is THE WORD OF GOD-by God's great LOGOS-the only voice by which He could fully speakout His whole soul so that men might be able to comprehend Him! And it is upon what God has spoken to us, by His Son, thatwe have to place our faith, so that, had He not spoken, we would not have had any foundation for our faith-so this is ourjoy, that "God has spoken."
Many of us are, I trust, at least somewhat acquainted with what God has spoken, though I wish that we were all more perfectlyacquainted with His Word and that our confidence more fully rested upon what the Lord has therein revealed to us.
Why is it that you are able to confide in God's Word? Surely it is because you know that for God to speak is for Him to doas He has said. By His Word He made the heavens and the earth-and it is by His Word that the heavens and the earth continueas they are to this day! When He shall "once more" speak, as Paul says in his Epistle to the Hebrews, then shall He unmakewhat He made and cast away the worn-out vesture, for, as the Old Hundredth Psalm reminds us-
"He can create and He can destroy." God's speaking is very different from man's. Very often man talks about something thathe says he will do, but when he has talked about it, that is the end of the matter as far as he is concerned. Man has spoken.Oh, yes, but you can never be sure that with the talking tongue will go the working hand! He who is quick to promise is notalways so prompt to perform. We have many proverbs which remind us that men set light by one another s promises, and wellthey may, but we must never set light by the promises of God. "He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."So, beloved Brothers and Sisters, if there is a promise of God to help you in a time of trouble, or to preserve you in thehour of temptation, or to deliver you out of trial, or to give you Divine Grace according to your day-that promise is as goodas if it had been already performed since God's Word shall certainly be followed by the fulfillment of it in due season! Ibeseech you, then, as you read the promise, to say to yourself, "It is done as God has said." If any man of means, with whomyou do business, gives you his check for the amount he owes you, do you not say that he has paid you? Yet he has not handedto you even a penny in cash-no notes or gold and silver coins have passed between you-but you rightly say that he has paidyou because his signature on the check is as good as money. And is not God's Word as good as man's? Yes, that it is, and farbetter! Then, so regard it-oh, for faith to do so at this very moment!
Further, what God has spoken shall never be reversed. "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, thatHe should repent." What He has spoken in public, He does not reverse in private. His own declaration is, "I have
not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek you Me in vain." Whatever theremay be in the sealed scroll that records God's purposes in predestination, there cannot be anything there to contradict whatis written on the open scroll of Divine Revelation. As to the Doctrine of Election which often terrifies seeking souls, itnever should do so since there can be nothing, in the secret counsels of God, contrary to the plain promises of God recordedin His Word! He has not said, "Yes," in one place, and, "No," in another. And if He says, "Yes," today, He will not say, "No,"tomorrow. He Himself said long ago, "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed." Once letany message go forth out of His mouth and it shall stand fast forever!
Oh, then, what a firm foundation for faith this is! First, "God has spoken," and that is as good as if He had already doneas He has said! And, secondly, "God has spoken," and that which He has said can never be reversed! If there is a promise inthe Bible made to a penitent sinner-and you are a penitent sinner-that promise must be kept to you! If there is a blessingpromised to a believing soul and you are a believing soul-that blessing is sure to you. If God has promised to sustain youwhen you cast your burden upon Him, and to bring you through the furnace with your hair un-singed, He will do it, for He hasnever yet been false to His promise and He never will be! Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of HisWord shall ever fail. It stands, as an immutable decree, that Jehovah's will shall be done-and this is Jehovah's will-that,of all that He has promised to the sons and daughters of men, not one syllable shall ever fail! Oh, how blessedly faith oughtto rest on such a foundation as this!
Our text says, "God has spoken in His holiness." Now, it sometimes happens that our greatest difficulty in believing a promiseof God lies in His holiness. There is, for instance, a promise of pardon to the soul that believes in Jesus. We think of sternJustice, with her majestic, yet severe look. In our heart of hearts we reverence her and we ask, "How can God be just andyet the Justifier of the ungodly?" We have, at times, had some idea of the perfect purity of God-the purity of Him in whosesight the heavens are not clean and who charges His angels with folly. We have trembled, sometimes, as though we were dissolvedinto nothingness when we have thought of His spotless purity-and we have said, "Can this holy God really mean to receive suchsinners as we are whose very clothes, as Job says, abhor us? Can He purpose to bring us to His own right hand in Glory thatwe may be among the courtiers in His heavenly Kingdom?" Yes, He does mean to do even that! Yet the thought of His purity makesus wonder how it can be done. Now, the joy of David was that when God spoke concerning that glorious-
"Stem of Jesse's rod'-
He spoke it "in His holiness," that is, in His whole-ness, with His whole perfectly pure Nature. He knew all that David thenwas and all that David would be, yet He saw it to be consistent with His infinite perfections to make, even with such a man,"an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure." And, beloved Brothers and Sisters, when the Lord entered into Covenantwith Christ concerning those whom He gave to Him to be His portion forever and when, in that Covenant, He wrote down blessingsexceedingly great and precious-and made promises so vast that we cannot, at present, form any estimate of their full value-Heknew quite well what He was doing and He did it, knowing all about your doubts and fears concerning your sinfulness and Hisown holiness! And now, without in the least marring His perfect purity and inflexible justice, "God has spoken in His holiness"to poor lost sinners and said that He will save all of them who trust in Jesus Christ, His Son! And He has also "spoken inHis holiness" to His poor imperfect children and said that He will bless them, and that He will not turn away from them todo them good. This is the Covenant that He has made with His people-"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit willI put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I willput My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them. And you shallbe My people, and I will be your God." All this, which "God has spoken in His holiness," He will do without obscuring thatwondrous attribute, or marring the glory of His adorable perfections!
II. Now, in the second place, let us notice THE JOY OF FAITH-"God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice." Are any ofyou heavy of heart just now? If so, I hope you will catch the spirit of David when he uttered these words. You ought to beglad that "God has spoken in His holiness," and you will be glad if you feel and know that He has spoken to you. "God hasspoken; I will rejoice."
Observe that this joy, which faith has, is a joy in the very fact that God has spoken. Though nothing may yet have been donefor us, God has spoken and, therefore, our heart rejoices! Every Divine promise, if it is rightly viewed by faith,
will make the heart leap for joy. Suppose you do not need that particular promise just now, rejoice all the same, for youwill need it by-and-by. If the promise is not made especially to you, yet it is made to somebody-therefore rejoice that "Godhas spoken" so as to meet the needs of somebody else's case. What if the blessing is too high for you to reach at present?Nevertheless, rejoice that there are mercies stored up for future and more advanced stages of your spiritual growth. And supposethe mercy is one that you long ago enjoyed? Still be glad that you enjoyed it in years past and so rejoice that "God has spoken."Oh, what hymns of praise there are in this blessed Book if this is the theme of our song- "God has spoken"! Then the veryfirst pages of Genesis ought to make us rejoice and we will rejoice because we know how He made the worlds. Pass along throughevery page and feast your eyes upon every line of every page-and say all the while, "'God has spoken in His holiness; I willrejoice.' This shall be the subject of my joy all day long and, in the night watches, will I rejoice in His Word."
You perceive, as I have said, that this joy comes to the Believer even before thepromise is literally fulfilled to him. Itis the joy of faith. You have not yet had the promise fulfilled to your sight, but, seeing that it is fulfilled to your faith,begin to be glad about it! Praise the Lord for all the good things He has laid up in store for you! Take upon your lips thewords of that sweet singer who wrote-
"And a 'new song' is in my mouth,
To long-loved music set-
Glory to You for all the Grace
I have not tasted yet"
When you are ill, bless God for the health you will enjoy when you get well! When you are down-hearted, bless God for thejoy that you will have when He shall again lift up the Light of His Countenance upon you! When you go to the grave of a Christianfriend, bless God because you will meet that friend again! Though you cannot yet see the joys that await you inside the gatesof pearl, begin to bless the Lord for all that He has prepared for them that love Him! Borrow from the eternal future-youmay, for there is plenty of it. There is an infinity ofjoy, therefore, antedate it a little while. Send your messengers acrossthe Jordan to bring you some of the Eshcol clusters. You may do so, for they are yours and you may have some of them, evennow, as foretastes of the bliss that is yet to be revealed. "God has spoken" to His servants of the great things that He willdo for them for many years to come and throughout eternity! He has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." He hassaid, "Where I am, there shall also My servant be." Therefore, as "God has spoken," though as yet my soul abides in the landof darkness, drought and barrenness, yet, because He will fulfill His promise, my heart shall rejoice! David says, in the11th verse of this Psalm, "O God, who hast cast us off," yet here, though he is one of the cast-offs, he says, "God has spokenin His holiness; I will rejoice."
Perhaps I am addressing a minister whose public labors are apparently unsuccessful. My Brother, you have been exceedinglygrieved because your people have been like the children of Ephraim who "being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in theday of battle." Well now, you must not give way to discouragement, or fall into a dull and sad state of mind. You must say,'God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice.' Though I have not, as yet, seen any success attending my efforts, He hassaid, 'They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,' and I believe I shall do so, for I have often sowed in tears and sowed thegood Seed of the Kingdom with many tears and many prayers. Therefore, though I seem, at present, like one of the cast-offs,and little good has come of all that I have done, yet, 'God has spoken in His holiness' and, therefore, I will rejoice.'"
I may be speaking to a Brother or Sister who is tried in another way. You, dear Friend, have not enjoyed the means of Graceas you used to do. You blame yourself for the change and it is right and proper that you should do so. You have not now thosehappy experiences that you once had-neither do you enjoy such blessed visits from your Lord as you had a year or so ago. Youknow that the fault lies with you. Still, remember that faith is never dependent upon feeling and our confidence is neverto rest upon our inward condition. Otherwise it rests on the shifting sand. But, if this is the case with you, now is thetime for you to exercise faith and to say, "Though I am, as it were, a cast-off and the Word of the Lord is not just now solacingmy heart, yet, 'God has spoken,' and, sinner as I am, if I am not a saint, I trust to what God has said to believing sinnersand 'I will rejoice,' even though I seem to be only a cast-off."
Once more, notice that David, at the time he wrote this Psalm, had discovered the vanity of human confidence. He says, inthe 12th verse, "Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man." "My best friend has proved to be a traitor;
he that ate bread with me has lifted up his heel against me. Those who said that they would never leave me and who never didleave me while there was anything to be gotten out of me, are all gone. I said in my haste, 'All men are liars,' but 'Godhas spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice.'" It is grand faith that can rejoice in God when friends go as the swallows flyaway in the autumn, or drop off as the leaves fade when the summer comes to an end! That was the kind of faith that Habakkukhad when he sang, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines; the labor of the olive shallfail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
This is a good crutch for Mr. Ready-to-Halt-no, better than that, surely this will take Ready-to-Halt's crutches away andenable him to run without weariness in the ways of the Lord! Why, Brothers and Sisters, here are the wings of eagles for you,if you only know how to use them! "God has spoken." What a mighty power your soul will have in prayer if you go to God andsay, "Do as You have said." What a sword this is to flash in the face of the foe-"God has spoken." "It is written"is thatwhich makes old Rome tremble and her seven hills to quake for fear! Get a rejoicing grip of this great Truth of God and thedwarf shall become a giant, the feeblest among us shall be as David and the house of David shall be like the angel of theLord!
III. The latter part of the text shows us THE ACTIVITY OF FAITH-"God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divideShechem and mete out the valley of Succoth."
That is, David says, "As God has given me these places to be parts of my kingdom, I will go and take possession of them."Some people's so-called faith is of this order-God has promised a great blessing! Let us go-and sleep." Their philosophy is-Gods promise will be sure to be fulfilled-therefore, let us eat and drink, and not trouble at all about the matter. The Lordwill have His own people and He will carry out His own purposes and decrees. They stand fast forever, so the best thing forus is to do nothing at all! God says that there shall be a harvest-so there is no need for our sowing and we can stay in bedas late as we like." That is the kind of fatalism that many carry even into their Christianity-they make the eternal purposesand blessed promises of God to become reasons for inaction! But it is not so with any sane child of God. He girds up his loinsand says, "God has spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem and mete out the valley of Succoth."
Whenever you look into the Word of God and read what "God has spoken" to you, see that you appropriate it Suppose that Hehas promised you comfort-do not rest satisfied without that comfort. Suppose He has promised you joy and peace in believing-neverrest till you have that joy and peace. Suppose He has promised you complete sanctifica-tion, full deliverance from the powerof evil-do not be satisfied till you are delivered from it all. Never say, "Ah, that is a constitutional sin-that is the resultof my temperament." No, Brother, Sister, if the Lord has promised you the victory over your enemies, be not satisfied tillyou have planted your foot on their necks and they are in subjection to you. Some Christian people are living, spiritually,on a penny a week, when their income might be ten thousand a day! You might live like kings, yet you are starving like paupers!Your faith might lay hold on God s exceedingly great and precious promises and so fill her mouth with good things, but, insteadof doing so, you are quivering with the palsy of unbelief and so not grasping what God has put within your reach! There liesSuccoth, but you do not mete it out. There lies Shechem, but you do not divide it. Yet they are both of them yours by Divinedonation! Oh, if our faith did but really grip the promises and believe in the promise-keeping God, she would never rest tillshe possessed all the blessings that are really hers!
I think that every young Christian should say, when he joins the Church, "Now, I do not want to be merely an average Christian.I am nothing and less than nothing in myself, but, if there is any blessing to be had from God I will have it. If I can havea closer walk with God than others have, I will have it. If there is more of Christ's likeness to be had than others possess,I will have it. By God's Grace, 'I will divide Shechem and mete out the valley of Succoth!' If God has given me permissionto take anything, why should I not have it?" If you have leave given you to go to Windsor Castle, or Buckingham Palace asoften as you like and to take whatever you please that is there, and to be treated as a prince, I guarantee that you wouldnot need anyone to remind you that you had not been to either place for weeks! If you had such privileges accorded to you,you would be sure to avail yourselves of them. Yet here are the gates of the palace of prayer always open to you and the doorsof communion never shut against you-and Jesus, the great King of kings, not only inviting you to come to Him, but even urgingyou to abide in Him and never to depart from Him-yet, alas, you do not
have fellowship with Christ by the month together! Be no longer like the starving professors that, now and then, taste a littleof the heavenly manna, but, generally, live on the leeks, the garlic and the onions of Egypt.
So, if we have faith in God, we ought to take possession of all that is ours and, further, we ought to know what we reallypossess. It is delightful to see David here mentioning his various possessions-"I will divide Shechem and mete out the valleyof Succoth. Gilead is mine. Manasseh is mine. Ephraim is also the strength of my head. Judah is my law-giver, Moab is my washpot.Over Edom will I cast out my shoe. Over Philistia will I triumph. Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead meinto Edom?" Perhaps you say, "That is very uninteresting-I do not understand it." No, but David did. He had seen Shechem andhe knew that it was a place worth possessing. And Gilead and Manasseh and all the other places interested him even if theydo not interest you. And when a child of God looks over his spiritual treasures and mentions them one by one, he takes aninterest even in the very mention of them. The Bible is a dull book to a person who has no part or lot in it. There is nodrier reading, in all the world, than the reading of a will in which one has no interest-but there is nothing that would interestyou more than listening to the will of your old uncle in which he had left you a large fortune! You would lean forward andyou would put your hand to your ear lest you should lose any of it, and you would think that you had never heard a more eloquentdiscourse than that! And when a man gets to know what "God has spoken," what He has written for him in this blessed Book whichcontains His will-every word is music to him and he is ready to pick out some of the choicest words and say, "Regenerationis mine! Justification is mine! Adoption is mine! Sanctification is mine! Union to Christ is mine! Resurrection is mine! Eternallife is mine! Yes, all things are mine!" And he would dwell upon each one with a holy unction, at least to his own soul.
Then, if you know what God has given you, mind that you use it all. What does David say? "Moab is my washpot. Over Edom willI cast out my shoe." As an Oriental who is weary, throws his sandals to one servant and then puts his foot out, that anotherservant may wash it with flowing water, so David says, "I will use Moab and Edom as my servitors." Now, Christian, if youhave true faith and mean to do real business with God and for Him, say to yourself, "I have this, and that, and the otherblessing-and I am going to use them all for His Glory. I have been adopted by God. I am His child, so I will plead with Himand will get all I can from my Father to use in His service! I am justified, I have peace with God, so I will go forth and,in the power of that peace, I will let others see what bliss Christians know! Then I also have sanctification given me inChrist, so I will use that and seek to be a true saint, that my life may be a blameless, holy, gracious, Christ-like life.By God's Grace I will not have even one unused privilege!
Once more, David, being in the spirit of full faith in God, now manifests the spirit of enterprise, for he says, "God hasgiven me Edom-then I will have it. There is that strong city of Petra, the rock city. It is like an eagle's nest upon a crag-whois the bold man that can capture it and take the spoil? The fierce sons of Edom, in the gorge, will be sure to slay the firstmen who dare to march into that rocky chasm." "Who will bring me into the strong city?" he asks, "who will lead me into Edom?"The spirit of enterprise and of conquest is in his soul! And then he adds, "Will not You, O God, go forth with our hosts?""Since You have spoken as You have done, You will surely lead us to victory." In like manner, every man who has faith in God'sWord ought to be a man of enterprise. I wonder, Brothers and Sisters, how many of you have any enterprise for God in viewjust now-storming some rocky sin, some Petra-like evil in your soul that seems almost impregnable! You know that your Savior'sname is "Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." Then, in the strength of that name, go up and kill your bosomsin and your constitutional sin-and never rest till you have driven your dagger through every evil that lurks within yoursoul!
Then think what room for enterprise you have among your fellow men. "The earth is the Lord s, and the fullness thereof," yetvast multitudes of mankind still sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Have any of you enterprise enough to go up againstthe strong cities that are still in rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ? Can any of you go and look after those who walkthe streets-and seek to bring them to Christ? That would be conquering Edom itself. Have any of you enterprise enough to godown into the slums and dens of London to seek out the poorest and the vilest of the people? Have you confidence enough tobelieve that the Lord Jesus Christ can give you that Petra-like city, that dark spot where thieves congregate, where blasphemyis the current language and where profanity seems even to pollute the very air? Have you "pluck" enough to undertake suchan enterprise as that? Is there manliness enough in any one of you to attempt it? Then, having asked the question, "Who willlead me into Edom?" do not forget to pray, "Will not You, O God? You have spoken; will You not also act, through Your people,so that all flesh may see the salvation of God?"
Let each child of God say, "O my Father, I believe that weak and feeble as I am, my weakness and feebleness need be no hindranceto me if I go to Your service in Your strength! You have spoken in Your holiness; I will rejoice and, in Your name, I willconquer the foe, and gather the spoil for You." "Through God," says David, in the 13th verse, "we shall do valiantly: forHe it is that shall tread down our enemies." Therefore, if you believe in God, hasten to the spoil of His enemies! Be strong!If you really are linked with Omnipotence, prove it! Do not talk about it, but let your deeds show that the Lord of Hostsis with you and that the God of Jacob is your refuge. If, indeed, the Lord's arm is with you, smite as the Lord would smite!If, indeed, He speaks through you, speak as He would speak! Be strong, very courageous and press forward in the name of God!Set up your banners and who knows whether even this feeble message of mine, in rousing you to action upon the basis of confidencein the Word of God, may not cast down some stronghold of the enemy and make the walls of some mighty Jericho to fall flatto the ground? The Lord grant it for His name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON:
PSALMS 57:7-11; 108.
Let me say, before we begin our reading, that the 108th Psalm is made up partly of the 60th and partly of the 57th, yet weare sure that the Holy Spirit is not short of language so that He needs to repeat Himself. It is always a pity to think thatany portion of Scripture can be repetitious. It cannot be! There is some good reason for every repetition and you will seethat in the two Psalms which we are about to read, the latter part of the 57th coincides with the first part of the 108th.And also that in the 57th Psalm we have prayer and praise and, in the 108th, we have praise and prayer. It is well that weshould see how these two holy exercises can change places-so that sometimes we begin with prayer and pray ourselves up intopraise and, at other times we begin with praise and find in it the strength we need to aid us in prayer.
Psalm 57:7. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Let the lions open their cruel mouths and roar,and let wicked men, "whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword," do their worst against me-let myevery footstep be among the nets and pits that they have set and dug to catch me. Even in the midst of danger, "my heart isfixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I still sing and give praise."
8. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.' 'I will awake the dawn"-so the Hebrew has it-"Iwill wake up the morning and chide it for being so long in opening its eyes to look upon God s works!" David did this, notwithstandingall the trials of his surrounding circumstances. He calls on his "glory"-perhaps he means his tongue-possibly his poetic faculty-perhapshis musical skill. It may be that he means his intellect. Whatever his "glory" is, he calls upon his highest powers to awaketo praise his God. Then he takes his psaltery and harp-strange companions for a man whose soul is among lions-but saints knowhow to evoke sweetest music even when their enemies are fighting fiercely against them. And he sings-
9-11. I willpraise You, Olord, among thepeople: I willsing unto You among the nations. For Your mercy is great unto the heavens,and Your Truth unto the clouds. Be You exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Your Glory be above all the earth. Have notsome of you found God s mercy to be "great unto the heavens"? It even seemed to reach above the heavens and, as for God'sTruth, you followed it till you could follow it no further, for it had ascended above the clouds! We could scarcely, I think,ever expect to understand, here, all the Truth which God has pleased to let us hear or read. It reaches "unto the clouds"and there we must leave it for the present. When God ceases to reveal anything, we may cease to enquire concerning it.
I saw, in Florence, a picture of "The Sleeping Savior." He is represented as sleeping in the manger at Bethlehem and the artistdepicts the angels hovering round Him with their fingers on their lips as though they would not wake Him from His holy slumbers.So, when God bids the Truth of God sleep, do not try to wake it! There is enough revealed for you to know and more that youwill know, by-and-by, so pry not between the folded leaves, but wait your Lord s appointed time to teach you more of His will.
Psalm 108:1-5. O God, my heart is fixed; I willsing and give praise, even with my glory. Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awakeearly. I willpraise You, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto You among the nations, for Your mercy is greatabove the heavens: and Your Truth reaches unto the clouds. Be You exalted, O God, above the heavens: and Your Glory aboveall the earth. Here we begin with praise-the very praise with which we finished the
other Psalm-praise in a very joyous, confident spirit, for the praise which precedes prayer has more of the "Jubilate" notein it than ordinary praise has. The prayer in Psalm 57:1 which preceded the praise, was earnest, and fervent and confident, yet it did not reach so high a note as this.
6-9. That Your beloved may be delivered: save with Your right hand, and answer me. God has spoken in His holiness, I willrejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is thestrength of my head; Judah is my law-giver; Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Phi-listia will Itriumph. David is claiming the kingdom which God promised to him by the mouth of Samuel the Prophet- looking first upon thekingdom, itself, and then upon the surrounding territories, and laying hold upon them all as his own because God had giventhem to him.
10. Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me into Edom? the spirit of a truly courageous leader, he meansto fight with that ancient foe of Israel and, wisely, appeals to God to lead his army.
11-13. Will not You, O God, who has cast us off? And will not You, O God, go forth with our hosts? Give us help from trouble:for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.