Sermon 1547. Samuel and the Young Man Saul
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passedon), but stand still awhile, that I may announce to you the Word of God." 1 Samuel 9:27.
THIS was Samuel's third interview with this goodly young man. He had spoken with him and entertained him in his parlor, givinghim the place of honor. He had afterwards spent the evening with him in quiet on the housetop and now, that they were aboutto part, he took a fresh opportunity of speaking to him. This time he spoke to him with great closeness of personal application,sending Saul's servant away that he might say things to Saul which nobody else might hear. He tried to speak to the youngman's inmost soul. The Prophet felt a deep solemnity-his whole heart saying every word that fell from his lips. He knew thatthis young man was about to be made a king, to take upon him very heavy responsibilities and he might either be a great curseto Israel or a great blessing and, therefore, the man of God, with all the gravity of his years and all the earnestness ofhis loving spirit, said, "Stand still awhile, that I may announce to you the Word of God."
I think I hear his earnest tones and accents sweetened by a great love, for Samuel loved Saul and it was his affection whichmade him speak so earnestly and pointedly. I may have among my hearers at this moment some to whom I have spoken many times,but I should like once more to have a special, personal interview with them. Come, young man, step aside and let me speakwith you. Try and think that no one is here except the preacher and yourself and that he speaks to you when he speaks. I longthis time to do my Master's work thoroughly with you in the power of the Spirit of God. This time the preacher would holdyou fast, as if he said to each one, "I will not let you go unless you give your heart to Christ and become His servant fromthis very hour."
There are two things in the text about which I wish to speak. Here is the first-the attention which Samuel requested and thesecond, on which we shall dwell at greater length, concerns the subject upon which he spoke.
I. First, let us think upon THE ATTENTION WHICH SAMUEL REQUESTED. He said to the servant, "Pass on before us," and he passedon. Will you, also, kindly try to dismiss from your minds any other thoughts besides those which we will try to bring beforeyou? Bid the servant pass on. Forget, for a while, your business. Forget your family. Forget your joys, forget your sorrows.You have had enough of these, I dare say, all week. Perhaps you have been haunted by them in your sleep. Maybe your dreamshave been rendered unhappy by the rehearsal of your trials. By an effort of your mind, in which God will help you, try tomake these servants pass on.
I wish I could so speak that men would say of my preaching what they said of Whitefield's. One man said, "Whenever I wentto Church before, I calculated how many looms the church would hold"-for he was a weaver-"but when I heard Whitefield I neverthought of a loom." Another said, "While I have been in Church I have often built a ship from stem to stern. But when I heardMr. Whitefield I could not lay a plank! He took my mind right away from such things and occupied me with higher thoughts."I pray you, help me in my endeavor to engross your attention. Let the ships go and the looms go and the kitchens go and thebusinesses go-send the servants away and be alone, now, with yourself and your God.
The next point in the attention requested was the desire that Saul would "stand still a white." They had been walking quietlydown the hill till they had gone past the last house in the town. And when they had come fairly into the fields, Samuel said,"Stand still awhile"-as much as to say, "I have something important to say and you will hear it better if you are quiet andmotionless as to your body, but especially if your mind can be still. Forget the asses that you sought after and your father'shouse and all home concerns and calmly listen to me." It is a very desirable thing when we are listening to the Gospel, tolet it have its full effect upon us, to give our minds up to it and say-"Let it come like the dew
and soak into my mind as the dew into Gideon's fleece. Let it come like a shower and let it enter into my very nature as therain into the clods which are softened by the gentle influence of the showers."
I pray you bask in the Gospel as men do in the sunlight when they would be warm. Let the Gospel have its own legitimate effectupon you. Lay bare your bosom to it. Ask that your soul may have no stone of carelessness laid upon it, as though it werea dead thing in a sepulcher, but that it may come forth in resurrection life through the quickening Word of the Divine Spirit.Is not this what the Word of God deserves? Should it not have our living, loving attention? When God speaks, let all be silent!Hush, you senators, if God speaks! Sit still, you princes, if the King of kings lifts up His voice! Quiet, even you celestialchoirs, if Jehovah speaks! An obedient homage should be paid to the voice of God by the deep awe and reverence of the spirit.
Do you ever get alone and sit still and say, as Samuel did, in the dead of night, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears"? Ifyou never do that, the little child Samuel may well rebuke you. He was willing that God should speak to him. But, oh, we areso busy! So busy! So sadly busy! I have heard that the great clock at St. Paul's can scarcely be heard in Cheapside becauseof the traffic that is going by-and so the most solemn voices are drowned amidst the din and uproar of our business and wedo not often hear God's voice unless we are accustomed to give ourselves a little quiet and holy stillness and sit in ourchamber alone and say, "Now, Lord, commune with me. I wish to hear Your voice. I open my Bible. I am about to read a few verses.Oh, speak with me."
I do not believe there would be very many persons left unconverted if it were their habit and practice, day by day, to openthe Word of God with the desire that God should speak to them. Come then, dear Friends, send your servants away! Forget yourbusiness and stand still that I may announce to you the Word of God! As the Word of God deserves such quiet attention, itcertainty is only by such attention that it is likely to bless us. Faith comes by hearing, but not by such hearing as somemen give, for the Word goes in one ear and out the other. They hear the Gospel as though it were an idle tale, or a merrysong to which they listen at a street corner and then go their way. No, if you would get the blessing, you must hear as foreternity, with your ears and with your whole heart, praying while you hear, "Lord, bless this to me! Lord, bless this to me!"
I remember a child who used to be noted for great attention during sermons and his mother, noticing his deep earnestness,asked him why. He said, "Because, Mother, I heard the preacher once say that if there was a piece of the sermon that was likelyto be of good to our souls, Satan would try to make us lose it. And as I do not know which part God will bless me by, I tryto hear it all and to remember it all." Oh, when people come to listen to the preacher with such a spirit as that, it is sweetwork to preach! You can easily feed hungry horses and you can easily feed souls that hunger and thirst after righteousness-"Theyshall be filled." The Lord help us to give earnest heed to His own saving Word! "Stand still awhile, that I may announce toyou the Word of God."
But many things arise to prevent this attention. You cannot get some folks to sit still-they are so frivolous you cannot makethem think. Some men dread the process of thinking almost as much as they would a touch of the "cat" on their backs. Theycannot bear to consider and meditate. God has distinguished them above brutes by giving them the faculty of thought, but thishigh privilege they try to ignore! Any silly tale, or idle song, or light amusement, or pastime will entice them, but theyhave no soul for serious things. They go through life, not as the bee, which sucks honey from every flower, but as the butterflywhich regards the garden as only a place over which it may flit and where it may occasionally alight, but gather nothing andso begins and ends its gaudy day and has nothing in store. Let us not be the fluttering insects of an idle day. God grantwe may not follow the fashion of this foolish world. May frivolity and levity be taken away from us and may we, in sober earnestness,attend to things eternal.
Others, on the other hand, are so exceedingly careful about the things of this world that you cannot get them to think ofthe Word of God. What is Heaven to them? They know a plan for making a large profit. You shall talk to them of Christ andall His beauties, but they will not afford you a thought. But jingle a half-sovereign near them and you shall excite all theirdesires! Inform them how they could be rich and famous and they will pay you for the prescription. But tell them about Christand you must beg and pray them to read half a page of Scripture. And as to listening to your ser-mon-the thing is dry-theyturn away from it! O you money-grubbers, have you souls at all, or are you nothing else but bodies? Are you mere leather pursesfor holding money?
Do you expect to live in the future-to live in eternity-or do you think that you shall die like the dog that follows at yourheel? O my Hearer, if you are not immortal, I can well excuse you that you think not of immortality! But if, indeed, you area man made in the image of God and destined to live forever, it is but the most common common sense that you should beginto prepare for those eternal abodes in which you are to dwell world without end! Stand still awhile and let nothing come into break the silence of your spirit while you listen to the voice of God! I would earnestly persuade everyone here who isnot saved to get an hour alone somehow. Make up your mind to do so! Shut yourself up and give an hour to solemn, earnest thoughtand consideration of your condition before God. I am persuaded that scarcely one would do that solemnly and earnestly butwhat it would end well and we should have, by-and-by, to bless God for the happy result of that hour.
II. We now leave the point of the attention to be given, to consider THE SUBJECT UPON WHICH SAMUEL DISCOURSED with Saul, orrather the subject about which I would discourse at this time, if I am so happy as to have secured your ears. He says, "Standstill awhile, that I may announce to you the Word of God." The subject is the Word of God! That God should give us a Wordat all is very gracious. It is wonderful that He should condescend to speak to us because we cannot understand much-we arelike little children at the very best. For our heavenly Father to bring down the great meanings of His vast mind into humanlanguage is something very wonderful!
When He spoke on Sinai with the accompaniment of tempest and lightning, it was a gracious thing for God to speak to man-butin these last days He has spoken to us by His Son Jesus Christ who is the Word-Jesus has come down into this world on purposeto interpret God to man! A man's mind goes to another man's mind by a word-the word tells what was in the speaker's thought.So Christ comes from God to us. God says to us, "You wish Me to speak-that is My speech-My SON. Read My love to you in thefact that I gave My Son! Read My justice, for I made Him bleed! Read My Mercy, for in Him I pass by transgression, iniquityand sin."
Does God speak in such golden language? Does He really speak by His own Son, the Eternal Word? And need I ask that He shouldhave a hearing? Shall it have come to this, that God shall give up the darling of His bosom to a cruel death and yet we willturn aside and will not regard it? The Lord grant us deliverance from such madness and wickedness and help us to feel if salvationis worthy of the death of the Son of God, it must be worthy of our attention! If Jesus thought it worth His while to bleedupon the Cross for man's salvation, it is worth my while to put everything aside till I am saved! It is worth my while toget to my chambers and shut the door and feel as if I never would rise from my knees till I had found peace with God throughJesus Christ! God is engaged in man's salvation, even the Father! Jesus was engaged in it, even the blessed Son! And the HolySpirit is engaged in it, even the Divine Convincer of sin! Surely that which occupies the Infinite mind of the three blessedPersons of the Divine Unity, must surely call to every wise man to lend his ears and give it all his thoughts that he mayreceive, obtain, possess, enjoy and delight himself in the precious things which God gives us freely in Christ Jesus!
Then, dear Hearer, be thoughtful and, "Stand still awhile, that I may announce to you the Word of God." In the particularWord of God which Samuel spoke to Saul there was some likeness to the message which I am bound to deliver to you. For, first,Samuel spoke to Saul about a kingdom of which this young man should be the king. He never dreamed of that before. He had thoughtof his father's donkeys, but a throne and a crown had never entered his mind. Do you know, O strange young man, you who havestolen into this service, that there is such a thing as the Kingdom of God? Jesus said, "Seek you first the kingdom of Godand His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
Do you know, young man, that you may be a king? Yes, if you give good heed to the Gospel, you shall be a king and sing withus unto the Lord Jesus, for He has made us kings and priests unto God and we shall reign with Him. Are you occupied entirelywith your business, with seeking after a degree at the University, with striving to pass an examination or gain employment?I will not call you away from such pursuits, yet there is something higher than these. You may not be contented with suchthings as these, for God calls you, He calls you to a higher destiny, to something noble, so noble that those who share init rank higher than the kings of the earth!
Little did Saul dream that on this day the kingdom would be given to him and little do you dream of it, perhaps, as yet. ButI pray you, let me announce to you the Word of God, for you may yet find a kingdom there, a kingdom for you, a crown of lifefor you which fades not and a seat at the right hand of God with Christ in the day of His appearing! Samuel not only spokeabout the kingdom, but he announced to Saul the Word of God by an anointing. He took out a flask
which contained a little oil and he poured it on his head. "O my Hearer, stand still awhile" and I will tell you of an anointing!If you regard this present voice of God and do heartily incline your ears and come unto Christ that you may live, you shall,by so doing, receive an anointing from the Holy One by which you shall know all things that concern your soul and your God!
You say, "I know little about religion." You shall be taught of God, for this is the promise-"All your children shall be taughtof the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children." You say, "I am not capable of high and noble things." You shallbe made capable, for in the day when God anoints you, you shall receive strength-"To as many as received Him, to them gaveHe power to become the sons of God." You shall receive enlightenment and illumination by the Divine unction of the Holy Spirit!Have you ever thought of this? There is not only water to wash you, but oil to anoint you! Christ can take away your sin atthis moment and He can also give you Grace so that you shall leave off the habits which up to now have bound you down! Youcan become a new creature in Christ Jesus! Is not such a gracious visitation worth standing still to receive?
Samuel spoke to Saul about another matter, namely, about a change that he would undergo. For as he talked with him, he said,"You shall meet a company of Prophets and you shall prophesy and become another man." Little can you tell, my dear Friend,what God will do with you. If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land. If the Spirit of God shalllead you in penitence to confess your sin and in humble, childlike faith to lay hold on Christ, you shall become, in a highersense than Saul ever was, "another man!" You shall be born again! You shall be a new creature in Christ Jesus! Listen to thesewords of the blessed Covenant, for I would hold you and announce to you the Word of God. "I will put a new spirit within you;and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and will give them an heart of flesh." "I will put My fear in their hearts,that they shall not depart from Me."
"I could never be a Christian," says one. No, not as you are, but you shall be made a new man and the new man is made in theimage of Christ and is a Christian! Have you ever heard of this? This being changed? This being totally changed? Have youever heard that God can create you for the second time? That He can destroy in you the power of sin and bring you under anotherdominion and make you as eager after right as you have been after wrong and make you as happy in the service of Christ asever you were in the service of the devil, yes and 10,000 times more so? And oh, I would not wonder, though you think it cannotbe, He will open your mouth to talk to others about Christ!
Though, young man, you little dream of such a thing at this moment, it may be the Lord has sent me to call you to Himselfthat you may surrender yourself to Jesus and then, in some future day, you shall-
"Stand and announce to sinners round What a dear Savior you have found," and be as enthusiastic in the service of the LordJesus as ever you have been in the frivolities of the world! Does something in your heart say, "I wish that it would so happento me"? Is there a secret something in your heart echoing to that which I am saying? Oh Lord, grant that it may be so! Thisis what we want you to think about, then, the Kingdom, the anointing and the change that God can work in you. If you willcome and think well of the Word of God, you will see in it that which will meet all the past of your life, whatever it hasbeen. There may be blots upon it, but in the Word of God you will find that which will wash them all away.
You may have wept over your life and yet cannot wash away its stains-but the Word of God will tell you how you shall be madewhiter than snow and made to start again in life, delivered from every crimson stain! As to the present, does it puzzle you?Ah, well it may, for life is a tangled skein to those who know not God. But you shall find the clue of it, you shall threadthe labyrinth, you shall see how even your afflictions work for your good, how your sickness means your health, how your beingout of work and in poverty is to make you rich, how even your lying at death's door is sent to give you life and you shallso understand the present as to feel that with all its apparent evil it is working for your good!
And as to the future, would you read aright your destiny? My Lord can tell you the future by making you know that, "Surelygoodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Oh thatmen would not neglect the Word of God, either in the hearing of it preached, or in the private reading of it in their homes!For believe me, there is something in the Bible which suits just you. Poor fallen woman, have you strolled in here tonight?There is something for you in the Holy Scriptures! Poor despairing man, far gone in despera-
tion, there is something in the Book on purpose for you! I used to think that a certain text in the Bible was written witha special view to my case. It seemed to me that it might have been penned after I had lived, so accurately did it describeme.
Even so, dear Friend, there is something in the Bible for you! Just as when you have lost a key and you cannot open a draweryou send for a locksmith, God turns over no end of skeleton keys till, at last, He has got the right one and He moves thebolt for you! So is it with the Scriptures-there is a key for every lock, there is a clue for every difficulty-a help forevery trouble and a comfort for every grief. Only stand still awhile and let us announce to you the Word of God! Some ChristianBrother may find the key for you, or you may stumble on it while searching the Word for yourself. Or the Holy Spirit may bringit to you. There is a word to suit your case-therefore give the Book a fair opportunity and stand still and hear the Wordof God.
Let me say to you, you may not know the Word of God, but the Word knows you! You know not the Scriptures, but the Scripturesknow you as you will never know yourself, for the Word of God is quick and powerful and is a discerner of the thoughts andintents of the heart. Many and many a time have persons written to me, or spoken with me and said, "Did you intend, in thesermon, to make a personal allusion to me?" I have said, "Yes, I did. Most certainly I did! But I never saw you in my lifeand never knew anything about your case, only He that sent me bade me say this and that and He knew who would be there tohear it and He took care to guide His servant's thoughts and words so as to suit your case to the letter so that there couldbe no mistake about it." The letter came to the man's house, as it were, with precise directions and there was no questionthat God had sent it to his soul. Now, therefore, my Hearer, go to the Word of God and it will speak home to you, if you gowith the desire to be personally dealt with.
Dear Friends, he who speaks to you at this time can honestly say that he is speaking out the burden of his heart. I came nothere to speak with you, young man, without first earnestly asking to be directed in each word I say. And what motive can Ihave in all the world in urging you to seek the Savior's love but your good? Will it concern me, do you think, at the LastDay, whether you are saved or not? If I set Christ before you faithfully, I shall be clear of your blood-fully clear evenif you reject my Lord. But I would put my hand on you, as I do not doubt Samuel did on Saul, and plead with you for your ownsake, for the sake of all the future that lies before you, for the sake, perhaps, of some in Heaven whose last words were,"Follow me"- for the sake of a mother who prays for you and is praying while you are sitting in this House of Prayer.
Above all, I plead with you for His sake who loves to save and delights to bless. Oh, by the wounded hands we sung ofjustnow and by the broken heart and by the intense affection of the ever-loving Intercessor for sinners, stand still awhile andseek to know the Word of God! It may be that at this moment you are put into a position in which you will have to make a choice-achoice for eternity-for Heaven or for Hell. God save you from making a fatal choice! There is an engagement for tomorrow which,if you follow it, will be your ruin. Do not fulfill it! May God's Spirit lead you to say at once, "I am on God's side! I mustbe and I will be. It is done, it is done! If He will have me, He shall have me! If He will wash me, I am ready to be washed!If He will renew me, I am pleading to be renewed! If He will but take me in hand and bring me to Himself, here I am, hereI am! My Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before You and am no more worthy to be called Your son. But receive me!Take me back again."
Ah, you backslider over there, I pray that you may be led to decide for the kingdom and the anointing and undergo a changeat this very hour! Let this be the time, the set time of mercy for your soul! I should not wonder but that for many yearsto come, if we are spared, you and I, my Friend, who have never spoken together before, may have to rejoice over this presentmeeting! Samuel was very pleased with Saul for a long time, though, unhappily, Saul disappointed all his hopes. But I hopeI have met with someone anointed of the Lord, whom He intends to bless at this good hour, to whom He will say, "From thisday will I bless you. Young heart, you have yielded yourself to Me and from this day I will comfort you, bless you, cheeryou, sanctify you, instruct you, cause you to grow and become strong and I will use you in My service and you shall be Minein that day when I make up My jewels."
Oh that the clock of destiny would strike tonight and you would hear it and solemnly declare-
"'Tis done! The great transaction's done!
I am my Lord's and He is mine!
He drew me and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice Divine." God grant it for Christ's sake! Amen.