Sermon 3184. Maroth-or, the Disappointed
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER25,1873.
"For the inhabitant of Marroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem." Micah 1:12.
The village of the bitter spring, for that is probably the meaning of this name, Maroth, experienced a bitter disappointment.At the time when the Assyrians invaded the land, the inhabitants expected that deliverance would come to them from some quarteror other. From the context, I judge that they placed some sort of reliance upon the Philistines. They possibly had some hopethat the king of Egypt would come up to attack Sennacherib. Evidently they looked for help everywhere except to God and, consequently,as no good came to them from the men upon whom they had relied, trial and overwhelming distress came to them from the handof God. He was angry at their trust in men and their lack of trust in Himself and, therefore, He punished their unbelief bytheir total overthrow! The Assyrian swept over them and stopped not till he reached the gate of Jerusalem, where Hezekiah'sfaith in God made the enemy pause and retreat.
The fact recorded in the text suggests to us, first, sad disappointments-"the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good:but evil came." And secondly, strange appointments-evil came down from the Lord." When we have considered these two things,we will change the subject, altogether, and speak about expectations which will not end in disappointment.
I. First, then, we are to think of SAD DISAPPOINTMENTS. "The inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came."
Disappointments are often extremely painful at the time. Even in little things, we do not like to be disappointed. If ourexpectations are not realized, we feel as if a sharp thorn has pierced our flesh. But in great matters, disappointment ismuch more serious. In the case of the inhabitants of Maroth, it was fatal-they expected to be delivered from the Assyrians,but they were either slain on the spot, or carried away captive to Nineveh. It would be the most terrible disappointment ofall if our expectations concerning our souls should not be realized! It would be painful to the last degree to discover uponour dying bed that the good we had looked for had not come-to find that we had built our house upon the sand and that whenwe most needed its shelter, it was swept away! O Lord, disappoint not Your servant's hope! All my expectation is from Youand You have said, "They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me." Any other expectation beside this, concerning our eternalinterests, will only bring us pain and misery forever.
Disappointments in this life, however, although they are at times very painful, are sometimes of such a character that couldwe know all the truth, we would not lament them. There are many who have looked forward to a change in their condition inlife, or their position in society-and they have been disappointed. For a time they have been ready to wring their hands inanguish, yet if they knew what the consequences would have been if their expectations had been realized, they would fall downupon their knees and devoutly praise the Lord for the disappointment which had been so great a blessing in disguise to them!You, my Brother, had expected to be rich by this time, but God knew that had you been rich, you would have been proud andworldly and would have ceased to enjoy fellowship with him-so He kept you poor that you might still be rich in faith! You,my Friend, had expected to be in robust health at this time, but had you been so, you might not have been walking so humblybefore the Lord as you are now doing. You, my oft-bereaved Brother, had hoped to see your family spared to grow up, so thatyou might have had sons and daughters upon whom you could have leaned in your declining days-yet they might have proved aplague and a sorrow to you instead of a comfort and a blessing. Complain not that they were taken from you in their childhoodby that kind hand which made them blest
forever and only deprived you for a while of their companionship, which might not have been an unmixed blessing to you. Restassured, O child of God, that whatever happens to you is as it should be! Believe that if you could have infinite wisdom,and the helm of your life's vessel could be entrusted to your hands, you would steer it precisely as God steers it! You wouldnot always guide the ship through smooth water any more than He does. If you could be unerring in judgment and could be yourown guide, you would choose for yourself the track which God has chosen for you. It is Divine Love and Infallible Wisdom thathave ordered all things for you up to this very moment, so whatever your disappointments may have been, comfort yourself withthe assurance that they have been among your greatest blessings!
There are some expectations which are certain to be disappointed. When a man expects to prosper through wrongdoing, his expectationswill certainly not be realized-at least not in the long run, however much he may seem to prosper for a while. When a man thinksthat happiness can be found in the ways of sin, he will be bitterly disappointed sooner or later. When a man expects thatby self-reliance he will be able to gain all that he needs without trusting to a stronger arm than his own, his expectationswill not be realized. When a man is relying upon his fellow creature-when he thinks that the all-important matter for himis to have some rich patron or powerful friend-and he is under the delusion that he can do without any help from Heaven-heis sure to be disappointed! And he who is depending upon his own good works and trusting to his own unaided resolutions tohold on in the way of holiness will be terribly disappointed unless he repents before it is too late! There are some thingswhich only fools will expect-things which are contrary to the laws of Nature, and things which are contrary to the rules ofDivine Grace! The man who never sows good corn, but yet expects to reap at harvest time, is a fool and his disappointmentwill come in the form of thorns and thistles all over his fields! The sluggard who lies in bed and lazily says, "A littlemore sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep," may expert in that way to become wealthy,but Solomon long ago said to him, "Your poverty shall come as one that travels and your need as an armed man." This is truein spiritual things as well as in temporal. God gives blessing to effort and diligence-not to idleness and lethargy!
Besides this, in many cases disappointments are highly probable. Some of our familiar proverbs relate to such cases as these.One says, "Those who wait for dead men's shoes are pretty sure to go barefoot." Another is, "If they never drink milk tillthey get their uncle's cow, they will be long thirsty for the lack of it." Yet there are persons who waste a great part oftheir lifetime in vain expectations of what they call, "windfalls." We know that the "windfalls" in the orchard generallyfall because they are rotten and are not worth picking up! And other "windfalls" are often no more valuable. There are menwho might have prospered if they had not foolishly sat down in the expectation that somehow or other, a great fortune wouldhunt them out and make them independent-such expectations are usually doomed to disappointment. If any of you have falleninto the pernicious habit of reading works of fiction and so have formed romantic ideas of what is likely to occur to you,the great probability is that your daydreams will be only dreams-and your castles in the air will never be inhabited by you!I pray you not to fritter away your time and opportunities in vain expectations which most probably will never be fulfilled.Expect to receive not quite all you earn, nor all you lend, and probably your expectations will not be disappointed, but,as another of our proverbs puts it, if you count your chickens before they are hatched, it is highly probable that your expectationswill not be realized.
There are also other expectations that will possibly end in disappointment. Even the most legitimate hopes are not alwaysrealized. "There's many a slip between the cup and the lips." When we feel almost sure that a certain plan will succeed, suddenlyit turns out to be all a mistake. We think that as prudent men, we have arranged matters so wisely that they have to succeed,yet in the issue we are grievously disappointed. Be not hasty in condemning those who do not succeed in business, for at leastin somecases, failure has come through no fault of theirs. Do not judge harshly all who are in need-no doubt there are alltoo many instances in which poverty is the result of idleness or drunkenness-but there are other cases in which poverty isblameless and even honorable. Men may toil hard, do the very best they can and seek God's blessing upon their efforts-andyet they may not be permitted to secure a competence. If you, my Friend, reckon upon seeing all your schemes succeed, youare very likely to be disappointed. If you, my Christian Brother, imagine that between here and Heaven, the way will be laidwith smooth turf, well-rolled, you will certainly be disappointed! If you think that the sea will always be calm as a lakeand that no storm will ever ruffle it, you will be disappointed. There will be some things that will fulfill your expectations,but there will be others that will not-and in those you will be like that inhabitants of Maroth who "waited carefully forgood, but evil came."
In every case disappointments should be borne with the greatest possible patience and equanimity. I am sorry to say that wedo not all bear them so, not even all of us who profess to be Christians. Remember that God has never promised that all ourexpectations shall be fulfilled-it would have been a doubtful blessing if such a thing had been guaranteed to us-and we mighteasily have expected ourselves into utter misery! Who are you that everything should happen just as you wish? Should the weatherbe fine simply because you want it to be so when a thousand fields are gasping for rain? Should you have the channels of tradeturned in your direction when if that were the case, scores of others would be bankrupts? Is everything in this world to beso arranged that you shall be the darling and pet of Providence? It cannot be right for such a state of things to prevail!Therefore, when we are disappointed, whether it is in little matters or great ones, let us bear the disappointment bravelyand lay the whole case before the Lord in prayer. Let us ask Him why He contends with us. And if there is any reason for itwhich we can discover in ourselves, let us endeavor to remove it. Or if we can find no cause, let us believe that God actsin wisdom and in love-and let us cheerfully submit to whatever He appoints for us.
We would bear our disappointments with all the greater equanimity if we would always remember that disappointments are oftenexceedingly instructive. What do they teach us? Well, first they teach us that our judgment is very fallible. We learn fromthem that we are not such prophets as we thought we were! We fancied that if we said that such-and-such a thing was goingto happen, it would surely be so. But when the result proved to be just the opposite, we found that our judgment was not asreliable as we thought it was and, therefore, our forecast was quite inaccurate. So our disappointments teach us our needof greater wisdom than our own-and also teach us the folly of trusting to our own understanding.
They also teach us the uncertainty of everything that is earthly. What is there, here, that can be depended upon for a singlehour? The life of the most robust may suddenly end! The current of affairs may change more rapidly than the tide. Riches taketo themselves wings and fly away. The greatest wisdom becomes the greatest folly. All is vanity and vexation of spirit. Ifour disappointments teach us this lesson, we shall be well repaid for having suffered them!
Let them also teach us to speak correctly, as Christians should. You know how the Apostle James writes, "Come now, you whosay, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas youknow not what shall be on the morrow...For that you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"Let our past disappointments warn us to speak with bated breath about tomorrow and the more distant future, and not to saywithout any qualification what we will do as if all time were at our disposal and we were the disposers of all events. Evenif we do not always use the words, "If the Lord wills," "If God pleases," "If we are spared," or similar expressions, letthe spirit of them always be in our mind so that we do not think and speak unconditionally concerning the unknown future!
Let our disappointments also teach us to submit-absolutely and unquestioningly-to the Lord's will. We wish to have thingsin a certain fashion, but God plainly indicated that they are not to be so. Therefore let us cheerfully surrender our wishto His will. Surely, O child of God, you would not think of wanting to have your way when once you learn that it is contraryto your heavenly Father's way! If you are right-minded, you will at once give up your wish and will say, "Not my will, O myFather, but Your will be done!" You will probably do that all the more decidedly if some disappointment has burnt into yoursoul the Truth that God is wiser than you are-and that His will must always prevail above yours. Stand to the surrender atall times and say to the Lord, "Show me Your way, and let me hear the voice behind me saying, 'This is the way; walk you init.'"
Let me also add that disappointments may be greatly sanctified. They are not always so, for sometimes they irritate and socause sin-or they create a murmuring spirit against God and so make us worse than we were before. But sanctified disappointmentsare part of that rod of the Covenant which is so beneficial in the hands of a chastening God. Sometimes a grievous disappointmenthas changed the whole current of a person's life. A man was looking forward to what he hoped would be a happy marriage, buthis intended bride suddenly died-and then he surrendered his heart to Jesus, who became the Bridegroom of his soul! A sonhad expected to inherit a large estate, but by some means the wealth came not into his possession-and when he found himselfpoor, he sought true riches in Christ! A strong man had hoped to build up a prosperous business, but he was unexpectedly struckwith serious illness, his former prosperity departed from him-and then he fixed his hopes upon the ever-blessed Son of Godand so he attained to bliss which no earthly success could ever have brought him! I remember meeting a man who told me thathe could never see spiritually until he had lost his natural eyesight! And there have, doubtless, been many who were neverrich until they became poor, and others who were never happy until their earthly happiness was blighted and blasted, and thenthey sought and found true happiness in Jesus. What a blessed disappointment it is that leads us to a Savior's love!
Disappointments are also sanctified to Believers when they help to wean them from the world. There is a sort of glue aboutthis world that makes it adhere to us and makes us adhere to it. David found it so when he wrote, "My soul cleaves unto thedust." Earth naturally clings to earth, but I will guarantee you that David cared little enough for earth when his handsomeson, Absalom, became a rebel and when his house, which had been such a comfort to him, became a terror and when his subjects,who had almost worshipped him, joined in rebelling against him! Then did he plaintively sigh, "Oh, that I had wings like adove, for then would I fly away and be at rest." Yes, disappointments wean us from the world and makes us plume our wings,ready to be up and away to that fair country where hope shall reach its full fruition and disappointment shall be unknownforever!
Moreover, Brothers and Sisters, when we meet with disappointments in this life, we prize all the more, the faithfulness ofour God! When you have had an unkind word from one whom you have loved, how much more closely you have nestled down in theembrace of your ever-loving Savior! When you have been betrayed by a friend in whom you trusted, what sweet communion youhave had with the Friend that sticks closer than a brother! When your gourd above you has withered and you have lost its welcomeshade, however more you have prized the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land! It is a good thing for us to have all earthlyprops knocked away, for then we value more than ever the faithfulness of the God who never fails those who put their trustin Him. Those who always remain on dry land will never learn by practical experience what the sailors know-"They that go downto the sea in ships, that do business in great waters: these see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep." And itis when, like the storm-tossed mariners, our soul is melted because of trouble, that our dear Lord and Master, coming to usupon the crest of the wave, becomes tenfold more precious to us than He had ever been before! If our disappointments wouldonly make us hold with a loose hand all we have- house, lands, children, health, reputation and everything else, so that ifGod should take them all away, we would still continue to bless His name because we never reckoned that they were ours tokeep, but were only lent to us during our Lord's good will and pleasure-if our disappointments only brought us to such a conditionas that, they would be, indeed, most soul-enriching things!
II. Now I must leave this part of the subject and turn to the second portion which is STRANGE APPOINTMENTS-"The inhabitantof Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the Lord."
This expression must not be misunderstood. "Evil came down from the Lord." The word, "evil," here means trial, affliction,chastisement, and to a Christian this kind of, "evil," is often for his highest good! It does seem singular to a child ofGod that even that which he thinks to be evil should come down from the Lord. How can it be that God is loving and kind whenHe deprives one of His children of her husband, or takes away her babe from her bosom? How can it be that God is InfinitelyWise, yet He sometimes casts His poor weak children into difficulties where they are at their wits' end and know not whatto do? How is it that He loves the righteous and is gracious to them, yet He puts some of the best of them into the hottestpart of the furnace and makes it burn most furiously like that of Nebuchadnezzar of old? If our aches and pains came fromSatan. If our losses were the result of chance, or if our sufferings arose only from the malevolence of the wicked-they wouldbe comprehensible-but it is oftentimes a marvel and a mystery to a Christian why the Lord sends the trials which lays uponhim! Be patient, Brothers and Sisters! What you know not, now, you shall know hereafter-so be content to wait until God revealsthe mystery to you if He pleases to do so-and then it will make you marvel that your Lord should have taken such pains intraining you for the service He has for you yet to render Him!
Perhaps I am addressing some child of God who is sorely puzzled as to why certain things have happened to him. But, Father,does your child always understand all that you do to him and for him? It was not long ago that your boy was sent away to school-perhapshe thought you unkind in treating him so-yet is was real love to him that prompted you to send him away from you to be allthe better trained for whatever may lie before him in his later life. He does not understand all that is in your mind andyou can never comprehend all that is in the Infinite Mind of your Father who is in Heaven. Be satisfied that whatever Goddoes must be right.
Yet, remember that in a certain sense, all trials do come from God. There may be secondary agents coming in between, but letus not quibble at them, or quarrel with them. When Shimei cursed David, Abishai said to the king, "Why should this dead dogcurse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray you, and take off his head." But David said, "Let him curse, because the Lordhas said to him, 'Curse David.'" He felt that he deserved to be cursed so he looked upon Shi-mei's insults as being a formof chastisement from God. If you strike a dog with a stick, he will bite the stick-but if he had more sense, he would tryto bite you. And when we are chastened, it is foolish for us to be angry with the rod that God employs-and we dare not beangry with God! There may be sin in the person who causes us to suffer, as there was in the case of Shimei, but we must lookbeyond him even as David did-and learn what God's intention is in thus chastening us-and submissively accept whatever Godappoints.
There are some trials which come very distinctly from God. Perhaps you have lost one who was very dear to you. Let it comfortyour heart that it was the Lord who took away your loved one. There is an empty chair in your house and every time you lookat it your eyes fill with tears-yet never forget that it was the Lord who called to Himself the one who used to occupy thatchair. Or possibly your trouble is that you are gradually fading away by consumption or some other deadly disease. Well, ifit is so, that is God's appointment for you in the order of His Providence, so do not rebel against what is clearly His will.Or it may be that your trial is that you have struggled hard to gain an honest livelihood for yourself and your family, butinstead of attaining that end, you are constantly getting further and further away from it. If it is so, look upon your troubleas coming from God and bear patiently what you are unable to alter!
This leads me to say to every Christian whose trial is distinctly from the Lord-my Brother or Sister, this makes it all theeasier for you to submit without murmuring at God's will When such a trial comes, there is nothing for a Believer to say butthis, "It is the Lord: let Him do what seems good to Him." There may be cases in which submission will best be indicated bysilence before the Lord. When Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, offered strange fire before the Lord and there went outfire from the Lord and devoured them, it must have been a terrible trial to their father, yet we read, "Aaron held his peace."As if he thought, "Since God has done it, what can I say?" You know the oft-repeated story of the gardener who had a favoriterose, and when it was plucked, he was very angry. But when he was told that the master had taken it, he said no more aboutthe matter. May not the owner of the garden take any flowers in it that he pleases? And may not the Lord take away His belovedones from us whenever He chooses to do so? We ought not to be vexed with Him when He does so, but we ought to say with Job,"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." No, my Lord, I must not and I will not quibbleat anything that You have done. Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth, but let not man strive with his Maker.In our case, it would not only be striving with our Maker-it would be striving with our best Friend, our Father, our All-in-All-andthat we must never do. So, if the trial has come distinctly from God, it should be easy to submit to it.
And, further, if it comes distinctly from God, it gives us all the more powerful plea in prayer. One may plead thus, "O Lord,this trouble is not of my own making. You have sent it to me for Your own wise purposes-will You not bring me through it?"Another may say, "O Lord, I am very poor, yet this is not because I have been imprudent or extravagant, but because You havepermitted it-so will You not help me in my time of need?" A Sister pleads, "O Lord, I am in deep distress. My dear husbandhas been taken away and I am left with many children and with very scanty means. But as You have put me into this furnace,will You not be with me in it and keep me from being consumed?" When a soldier is sent on a campaign, he is not expected tobear his own charges. And if the great Captain of Salvation has sent you out to fight for Him, He will meet your expenses.He will also cover your head in the day of battle and make you more than conqueror through His might. Did the Lord ever laya heavier burden on any man than that man was able to bear unless He also gave him extra strength to enable him to bear it?Rest confident concerning the trial which God sends you, that He will also send you deliverance from it, or Divine Grace toglorify Him in it! If His left hand smites you, His right hand will support you. If He frowns upon you, today, He will smileupon you tomorrow. If He leads you into deep waters, He will bring you up again to the hills where He will gladden you withthe light of His Countenance! The deeper your sorrows, the higher shall be your joys! As your tribulations abound, so alsoshall your consolations abound by Jesus Christ! The groans of earth shall be surpassed by the songs of Heaven and the woesof time shall be swallowed up in the hallelujahs of eternity! Therefore if in any of these senses evil comes down upon youfrom the Lord, I pray that He may give you the Grace to accept it and even to rejoice in it!
III. Now we are to close by thinking of EXPECTATIONS WHICH WILL NOT END IN DISAPPOINTMENT.
For instance, I expect, and so do you if you are the Lord's children, that God will keep His promises. It is not always sowith men, for they make many promises which they never fulfill. There are men who are so rich and so reliable that their signatureto a check is as good as gold to the full value of the check-and God's promise is His check which can be cashed at the Bankof Faith in every time of need! We are all too apt to rely upon our fellow men, even though they have failed us again andagain. But we sometimes find it difficult to depend upon our God, although He has never failed anyone who has trusted Him.O Beloved, what wickedness lurks in that fact! If you believe every promise that God has given, you will be able to endorsethe testimony that Joshua gave to the children of Israel just before he died, "You know in all your hearts and in all yoursouls, that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you; all are come topass unto you and not one thing has failed thereof."
Then next, expect much from the merits and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have really believed in Him, expect to bejustified by Him. Expect that He will answer every accusation that can be brought against you either now or at the last greatJudgment Day. Expect also to be preserved and kept by Him. Expect that He will go before you as your Shepherd, making youto lie down in green pastures and leading you beside the still waters. Expect that He will plead for you in Heaven and thatHe will soon come to take you up to dwell at His right hand forever! You cannot expect too much of Christ-and large as yourexpectations may be-none of them shall be disappointed.
And, Beloved, expect much from the work of the Holy Spirit If the Spirit of God has quickened you from your death in sin,what is there that He cannot and will not do? Are you in trouble? He can comfort you. Are you depressed? He can cheer you.Are you in the dark? He can enlighten you. Are you at this moment fighting against sin? He can enable you to gain the victory!I am sure that many of God's children do not expect half as much as they ought from the Holy Spirit. They seem to imaginethat there are some sins that cannot be driven out of them! They do not, in the power of the Spirit, put the sword to thethroat of all their sins. Yet this should be the constant aim of every Christian-to drive out the Ca-naanites and kill thelast Amalekite with the edge of the sword! The Spirit of God is able to subdue the fiercest temper. He is able to impart activityto the most slothful nature. He is able to repress the wildest and most evil desires. He is able to excite us to those virtueswhich seem to be directly opposite to our natural temperaments and characters. "All things are possible to him who believes."If he will but wholly trust to the Holy Spirit, he shall be able to do great exploits in the war that has to be waged withinhis own heart and also in the fight against evil which is raging all around him!
If time would permit, I might go on urging you to cherish expectations which are not likely to be disappointed, but I canonly summarize them very briefly. Expect tonight that God will bless you as you offer up your evening prayer. Expect thatthe Lord will be with you tomorrow sustaining you amid all the cares and toils of the day. Expect for all the days of youractive life that as your days, so shall your strength be. And when your declining years come, expect that consolation willbe given to you to meet every emergency. In sickness, expect to receive sustaining Grace. In death, itself, expect the Lord'svery special Presence. Expect a glorious Resurrection! Expect the triumph that you shall share with Christ in His millennialGlory. Expect an eternity of bliss with Him as He has promised, and rest assured that none of these expectations shall bedisappointed!
I fear that there are some here who have no right to cherish any of these expectations. You have probably had disappointmentsabout many things. I cannot pity you very much concerning the trivial disappointments of this life-but if you do not seekthe Savior where He is found, there is a disappointment in store for you that might well fill all Christian hearts with tenderpity and compassion. There is a man who has lived a life of selfish pleasure. He has been clothed in scarlet and fine linenand has fared sumptuously every day. But all of a sudden the voice of God declares that he must die. What will be his horrorwhen he sees all his treasures melting away and himself doomed to depart out of this world as naked as when he entered it?Imagine the case of the man who has been what he calls religious, who has attended to all the ceremonies of his church, orwho has been orthodox after the fashion of the sect to which he belongs-but who has had no new birth and, consequently, noneof the life of God in his soul-no indwelling Spirit, no vital connection with the Lord Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior!Yet he has expected to be ferried across the bridgeless river by one called Vain-Hope-and when the hour of death has come,God has opened his eyes to let him see his real position and the dread future that is awaiting him! Oh, the terror of thatman when his vain and unfounded hopes are disappointed! We have read of some who have offered a great portion of their wealthif they might only be allowed to live another hour, but it
was all in vain, for die they must! God save all of you, my dear Hearers, from such a doom as that! In order that it may beso, put not your trust in things below-be not like the inhabitants of Maroth who looked to the Philistines and the Egyptiansto help them-and so waited in vain for the good that never came. But turn your eyes unto Him who says, "Look unto Me, andbe you saved," and then your expectations shall not be disappointed. So may it be, for Jesus' sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: HEBREWS 4.
(This Exposition belongs to sermon No. 3182, Volume 56-"Boldness at the Throne," but there was no space available for it there.
Verse 1. Let us therefore fear lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come shortof it.Not only dread coming short, but dread the very appearanceof it! Oh, that we might now enter into that rest and so clearlyenjoy it that there should not even be a seeming to come short of it!
2. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being
mixed with faith in them that heard it [See Sermon #2089, Volume 35-PROFITABLE MIXTURE.] They were not united to it by faith.Consequently, as they did not receive the Word, it was taken away from them.
3. For we who have believed do enter into rest.[See Sermons #866, Volume 15-REST-and #2090, Volume 35-A DELICIOUS EXPERIENCE.]Faith brings us into this rest, even as unbelief shut them
3. As He said, As Ihave sworn in My wrath they shall not enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundationof the world. That is God's rest, the rest of a finished work-and into that rest many never enter. The work by which theymight live forever, the finished work by which they might be saved, they refuse, and so they never enter into God's rest.
4, 5. For He spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.And in this place again, they shall not enter into My rest There are many professing Christians who do not understand whatit is to rest because the work of salvation is done. They do not even seem to know that the work is done! They understandnot that dying word of the Lord Jesus, "It is finished." They think there is something still to be added to His work to makeit effectual. But it is not so.
6-8. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in becauseof unbelief, again He designates a certain day saying in David, Today after so long a time; as it is said, Today if you willhear the voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of anotherday. We read of this in the 95th Psalm, where David was urging those to whom he was writing to hear God's voice, and not belike the unbelievers in the wilderness, so that the rest still remained to be entered upon by somebody. Joshua had not giventhem rest, or else David would not have spoken of entering into rest.
9, 10. There remains, therefore, a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased fromhis own works, as God has from His. He says, "It is finished. I am no longer going to do my own works, I have done with them-Inow trust the finished work of Christ-and that gives me rest. But as to all that wearied me, before, and made life a continualtask and toil, it is now ended." God is not a cruel taskmaster to His people. He gives rest to those who trust in Him-andsome of us have entered into that rest.
11. Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest lest any man fallafter the same example of unbelief. Let us not repeatthe story of unbelieving Israel in our own lives. Let us not live and die in the wilderness, but let us go in and take possessionof the promised land, the promised rest, in the power of the Holy Spirit!
12. For the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunderof soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. This verse maybe interpreted with reference to the Incarnate Word or to the Inspired Word-they are so closely united
and related to one another that we need not attempt to separate them, but see Christ in the Word, and the Word in Christ-andlearn that both Christ and the Word do for us all that the Apostle here declares!
13. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes ofHim with whom we have to do. However great a revealer the Word of God may be, however clear a discerner of the thoughts andintents of the heart, the God who gave the Word is even more so!
14. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fastour profession. Shall we desert Him, now that He has gone into Heaven to represent us? Now that He has fought the fight andwon the victory on our behalf, and gone up to Heaven as our Representative? God forbid!
15. 16. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all
of charge, at http://www.spurgeongems.org.] Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercyand find Grace to help in time of need.
as we are, yet without sin. [See Sermon #2143, Volume 36-THE TENDERNESS OF JESUS