Sermon 1810. The Lion and the Bear-Trophies Hung Up
A SERMON DELIVERED ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 25, 1884,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Your servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defiedthe armies of the living God. David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the pawof the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:36,37.
DAVID had lived with God. Throughout many a solitary day he had kept his father's flock among the lone hills of Judah andhad worshipped the Unseen but Ever-Present Lord. He had grown into an adoring familiarity with the Most High so that, to him,the name of the one and only living and true God was a deep and solemn joy. As you may have spied far up among the rampartsof the mountains a solitary lake, whose one office it is to mirror the face of Heaven, so had David's hallowed life becomethe reflection of the Light and Glory of the Lord of Hosts. It had not occurred to him, in his meditations, that base menwould dare to challenge the infinite majesty of God, or that proud adversaries would come forward and defy the chosen peopleof the Most High-but now that he hears the defiance and beholds the challenge, all his blood is up. He is amazed! A holy rageis upon him! Yes, it is true-he hears Jehovah blasphemed! How can it be? The youth's holy soul is undergoing a new experience.He is bringing his whole life to bear upon it. He reaches the conclusion that as bears and lions die when they meddle withsheep, so must Goliath fall, now that he dares to attack the Lord and His people.
When David finds himself in the camp and when he hears Goliath of Gath pouring forth his blasphemies against Jehovah and defyingJehovah's people, David has no thought of having been mistaken in his former lofty adoration. He entertains no notion of adoptinga lower style, but he inwardly burns with indignation against the infamous reviler. An insult against God cannot be allowed!This abominable blasphemer must be silenced. Somebody must put him down and so dispose of him that none shall ever dare, again,to do the same. David enquires whether somebody or other is not going to batter the bronze champion. If any man in the campwill meet this huge man-mountain, David will not stand in his way-he is not so covetous of glory as to deprive a more deservingperson of these huge materials for renown. But it is imperative that some hand should silence that hillock of proud flesh!It is driven in upon David's devout heart that this blasphemous mouth must be shut and God's name and God's people must beclear of such a brutal enemy.
About the stilling of this enemy and avenger David has no enquiry to make. It is going to be done, done soon, and done withoutany particular display. When he kept his sheep and the lion came, David did not raise the question whether he could kill thelion-he killed him-and the question was settled. When the bear came and was about to rob him of one of his lambs, he did notsay to himself, "Have I a call to kill that bear?" Not he-he killed him-and then he knew he was called to do it! He feelswithin himself at this moment, "If nobody else will deal with this Philistine difficulty, I must do so, for I cannot liveand see God opposed. Jehovah is All in All and beside Him there is none else-He can put an end to an opponent with a word-itmust not be that He shall be insulted continually after this fashion. I feel an impulse upon me. This Philistine has defiedthe armies of the living God and down he shall come."
And so, yielding to the Divine impulses by which the truly great are led, David puts himself forward to stand in single combatwith an enormous giant. Observe a stripling set over against a son of Anak-but when you have made the observation, be sureto note that the stripling, by no means, seeks your sympathy, or appeals to your pity. It sometimes happens that a tremorwill come over a man when he feels that he has stepped out of the ranks and come forward without any call from his fellowmen-when he feels that he has taken up Jehovah's quarrel and constituted himself the champion of the Most High. If he is notquite sure about his commission and if he is not quite sure that God is with him, he will soon repent his own temerity andmake an ignominious retreat.
In David's case there is no flush of excitement, no fierce light of eyes lit up with a semi-madness. Evidently he is quiteat home and has the entire business well in hand. He tells us why he is so bravely venturesome. It is well worth our whileto see what made David so strong and confident, for if it has never occurred to us, up to now, it may yet occur that we shallbe called out to do some deed of daring for the Lord. Come, let us learn how to be Davids, should a voice call us from amongthe sheepfolds! I wish that young men here would aspire to brave lives for the God of Israel. I would that for the Truth ofGod, goodness and the eternal Glory, they would be ready to rise to the measure of their destined hour. Why should we allbe mean men? Is there not room for a few downright devoted beings who will lift their hands unto the Lord and never go back?If self-sacrifice is needed, let us make it. If someone is needed for a heathen land, or to bear testimony for the Truth ofGod in this almost apostate nation, let us cry, "Here am I! Send me!"
God's David will not hang back through cowardly fear or dread of consequences, but will take up his place, as God shall helphim, and say, like Martin Luther, "I can do no other: so help me, O my God." We shall see what made David so calm and self-possessedas to venture where nobody else would venture and take up the gauntlet and dare to be the champion of the living God. Oh,souls that dwell apart, and wear, each one, a lone star upon his brow, here are kindred flames for you! The first head willbe, the confidence of David. And when I have spoken upon that, as God shall help me, we will then consider, for a little time,David as the type of the great Son of David, and think about that confidence which we ought to repose in Him.
First, THE CONFIDENCE OF DAVID. He does not go to this battle with any kind of hesitation, calculation, or question of fear,but he is quite sure of the result and proceeds about it with a quiet reserve of force. One would have thought that he, himself,was a colossal presence and that the person to be assailed was some pigmy, for he talks with such calm assurance-"Let no man'sheart fail him. Your servant will fight with this uncircumcised Philistine." It would have been fearful brag if it had notbeen simple matter of fact.
I. The confidence of David, in the first place, was grounded upon his own personal experience. Beloved, if you would displaystrong confidence in God-firm, calm, steady-you must look, in a large measure, to the experience you have had of the goodnessand faithfulness of God. The Lord, in mercy, often keeps young beginners from those severe and heavy trials which befall themore advanced because, to them, this fountain of strength, namely, a profound personal experience, is not yet accessible exceptin rare instances. The young have not as yet obtained much experience of the things of God. But those who have been led acertain distance onward in the Divine life have tried and proved the promises- and the promise-keeping power and faithfulnessof God-and they can draw from this well with the highest results.
But, Beloved, I would have you remember that experience does not come to people if they sit still. When David was young inyears, he was old in experience because he had watched the hand of the Lord in its dealings with him. He had not been an idleramong the hills, but a worshipper, a worker, a student, a practical, living man of God. You must go and meet an experienceif that experience is to bring you riches in both its hands. I mean that David's experience was that God delivered him outof the jaw of the lion-but he, first, went and fought that lion by his own dauntless valor! He took the lamb out of his mouthand he laid hold upon his jaws and tore him in pieces. David went forth to meet that experience. And the bear that came toDavid-David did not sit still and watch the bear, let it come and roar, take its prey and then retreat as it liked-he struggledwith that bear and he slew him! And thus he gained his experience by the active discharge of his duties as a shepherd. Hedid what he was called upon to do with holy daring and, in so doing, he learned the faithfulness of God. Many men have lionsand bears, but no experience. Be alive and get something out of all that happens around you!
You younger Christian men and women, I do pray you be faithful to your God and put your trust in Him. Try to do, in your earliestdays, brave things, because in this manner you will be gaining and storing up an experience which will make you strong, inlater days, to attempt yet more for God! I long to see a better race than the present and how shall that be prepared but amongthe brave and loyal-hearted youth of today? Do you not know the way in which God rewards His faithful servants here on earth?He does it, usually, by enabling them to do, in the future, something more than they have done before! You have fought inthat battle. Take this as your reward-you shall fight again tomorrow! You have achieved a second victory? Take this as yourbonus-you shall be led to a still sterner fight! Oh, you who have
frowned down the face of death and have bearded destruction in its own den, you shall lead a second forlorn hope and pluckvictory from the bloody brows of battle! You shall be among the choice warriors of the King, first in every fray!
Some, perhaps, may think this a small reward, but this shows that their hearts are not yet raised into the lordlier chivalry,nor sworn into the innermost love of the great King. When the heart is wholly given up to Christ, our one desire is that wemay glorify Him! Therefore, I would have you take care and kill your lions and kill your bears, that you may store up yourexperiences and be able to kill your Philistines! If David had not killed the first lion and bear, he would not have beenable to meet any other ferocious creatures. There is any quantity of them about, but no one but brave David had speciallycultivated their acquaintance. I say there is plenty of the raw material of experience about, only people do not go in forit. These evil creatures are up and down, all over the place-lions of one kind and bears of another, tearing or roaring, howlingor hugging, drawing down or tossing up-in every way trying to destroy us! And if you are a born hunter, you shall have agesof experience within the next 12 months! Take care that you do it. Do not become constant idlers and then talk about Christianexperience.
Oh for true, deep, rich experience! Some of you need it badly enough. What kind of experience will some professors have whenthey come to be 60 or 70 years of age? They never labored in the Sunday school to teach a child, never stood up to preachChrist, never penetrated a lodging house, nor entered a midnight meeting to try and uncover a wanderer for Jesus. These haveno experience-they are hollow as drums! They have done nothing! Their spiritual life has been a blank. If a sharp trial shouldcome to them, upon what experience could they fall back? They are soldiers who have never smelt powder! Warriors who faintat the sight of blood! How shall they win eternal victory who, till this hour, have taken their ease and declined the laborand the danger of the war? I charge you, therefore, my beloved Brothers and Sisters who know the Lord, be up and in earnestto slay your lions and your bears, that you may learn how to kill your Philistines! That is to say-serve God with all yourheart and patiently bear your cross for His name's sake, so that when the time shall come for you to stand as a lone man forChrist, you may do it gloriously and may bring honor to your Divine Leader. As stands a rock in mid-ocean, bearing the fullfury of the storm, so may we, in strength derived from a long, happy, useful experience in the past, be steadfast and unmovablefor the Truth of God and for the Cross.
That is our first note about David's confidence-it comes from experience-and ours must do the same.
II. You will notice, secondly, that in David's confidence there is a blending of the human with the Divine. Observe- "Yourservant slew both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them." That is the human. "Davidsaid, moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver meout of the hand of this Philistine." That is the Divine side of it. In God's Word, the car of Truth runs on two rails of parallelstatement. A great many people want to pull up one of the rails. They will not accept two sets of truth. "Predestination andfree agency do not agree," so the modern Solomon's assert! Who said, "they do not agree"? They do agree as fully as two railson the tram line-but some narrow spirits must set aside either the one or the other- they cannot accept both.
This has long been a puzzle on paper, but in practice it is ease, itself! So here the practical action of the Believer, throwinghis whole might into his Master's service, perfectly agrees with his falling back upon the working of God and knowing thatit is God that works all things for him! David's slaying of the lion and the bear and the Philistine is clear- but God's deliveringhim out of the jaw of the lion, the paw of the bear and the hand of the Philistine is equally clear! Make it plain to yourself!I believe that when I preach, I ought to prepare and study my sermon as if its success altogether depended upon me, but that,when I am thus thoroughly furnished, I am to trust in God as much as if I had done nothing at all. The same view should betaken of your life and of your service for God. Work as if you were to be saved by your works-and then trust Christ, only-sinceit is only by faith in Him that you are capable of a single good work! Work for God with all your might, as if you did itall, but then, always remember that "it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
How is that Philistine to be killed? "By God," says one. True. But not without David. "By David," says another. Yes, but notwithout God! Put the Lord on the march with David and you put the Philistines into untimely graves! When David moves to thefight, God being with him, off comes Goliath's head! Neither champions' heads, nor demons' helmets can stand against the manof God! "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge."
"Oh, but," they say, "Paul may plant and Apollos may water," and yet nothing may come of it, for only God can give the increase.Where is that in the Bible? It is not there at all! The pure word is set to another key. According to the Scriptures the textruns, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." When believing people work and follow up the work of theone, with the service of the other-working together in sacred unity-then God gives the increase. It is not, "Paul may plantand Apollos may water," and they may do this in confidence in God, yet they may be disappointed. Not at all! It is not theLord that is ever in question-we are the questionable! God is never late, though we often are. Do not say, "David may go withhis sling and David may go with his stone." No, but if David goes with his sling and stone, in the name of the Lord of Hosts,nothing can defend Goliath's forehead! He is bound to fall on his face to the earth. If you and I will go in the name of theLord God of Hosts to do what He calls us to do, our work shall be done.
We shall not invoke that sacred name in vain, nor shall we be guarded and belted about with the Divine Omnipotence and, afterall, make a failure of life. That is a happy confidence in God which clearly sees the blending of the human with the Divine-thehuman nothing as to self-confidence, the Divine everything as to the glory-yet the Divine the more Divine, because it condescendinglystoops to use the human!
III. Thirdly, I want you to notice that in David's confidence, he had so practically observed the service of the human sidethat he speaks of it, first. Concerning his experience, David says, first, "Your servant slew both the lion and the bear."In fact, he begins not with what God did, but with what he, himself, did. Hear him-"Your servant kept his father's sheep andthere came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered itout of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him." David does not concealthe fact that he had given both lion and bear their due. There is neither modesty, humility, nor truthfulness in giving thelie to the Grace of God within you. A holy act should not be repudiated by its author any more than a brave boy should bedisowned by his father.
If you worked valiantly by the help of the Spirit of God, you did it, and should not refuse to say so. How are you to glorifyGod by denying the fruit of His Spirit? It is the Glory of God that He led you to holy labor and helped you in it. And thoughyou would not speak to your own honor, yet the Lord must be praised-praised out of the weakness and unworthiness of our humannature. David speaks of the human side, first, because Saul had said to him, "You are not able to go against this Philistine."In effect, David replied, "Hear what I did, and see whether I am not able to meet the case." Sometimes when the question isasked, "Is this possible?" let the Lord's anointed one say, "Yes, for I have done it myself." In a slothful Church, a Churchthat has no faith in God-and there are many such-the question is asked, "Can this be done-done by such poor creatures as weare?" It is not an ill thing if one who has had experience of the Lord's power bears a bold testimony and says, "This canbe done, for in days gone by I did the same." What is needed is to give facts and dates and get into the region of reality!
David put the human into the very forefront. I wish you would remember this when you hear the idle night-birds hooting atour working for the Lord. The lazy-bones of our orthodox churches cry, "God will do His own work"-and then they look for thesoftest pillow they can find and put it under their heads and say, "The eternal purposes will be carried out-God will be glorified."That is all very fine talk, but it can be used with the most mischievous design. You can make opium out of it which will lullyou into a deep and dreadful slumber-and prevent your being of any kind of use at all. God delivers David and Israel, andslays Goliath-but David is also there in full force-and nothing is done without his sling and stone. David does not hesitateto state it and the Holy Spirit does not hesitate to record it-why should it be otherwise? Personal action-keep that alwaysbefore your reverent eyes. Every man has his own place to fill. Fill yours. There is something for you to do. By God's Grace,do it!
IV. But now again, although David thus speaks of the human, first, yet he speaks of the Divine most. "No, you say- he doesnot speak of the Divine the most-there are several verses about the human and we have only one upon the Divine." Listen! Allthe points which David makes concerning the human are about the Divine, too, for when a man who has faith in God speaks, ifhe says, "I did this, I did that"-it is but another and, sometimes, a braver way of saying that God did it! Of course, weall believe in miracles and that God can do anything and everything. But listen-we do not believe in God using such poor creaturesas we are, though that would be the greatest miracle-and the most astonishing
marvel! It would be a marvelous thing, indeed, if at any time one of us would cry, "I did it! I did it! The Lord has workedthrough such a creature as I am." It is a solemn pleasure to feel that the ever-blessed Lord has used you for His praise.
I have felt it to be a joy too great for words and I have bowed my head to worship under a sense of so high an honor. Be notslow to see the hand of the Lord working with you and by you. It may sometimes be more practically useful to Believers tohear of what God did by you than to hear abstractly of what God has done by His own bare arm. It redounds more to God's Glorythat He has worked acts of Grace by such poor creatures as we are than if He had worked them by seraphim and cherubim. Notwithout men does God aim at His highest Glory, or else they would not have been created. But in men and by men will the Lordbe great to the ends of the earth.
V. Now I want to go a little farther and show that David's confidence rested mainly in the Immutability of God, the DivineWorker. He says, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver meout of the hand of this Philistine." In the Divine Character there are usual features and ordinary lines of action. God has"ways." He does not behave in one manner, today, and in another tomorrow, but His tones and methods are fixed. Our God isnot capricious-we know what to expect from Him, for He has revealed to us "the way of the Lord." All through the Bible youread of God's way. Therefore, when certain events happen, we know where they will end. From experience of the past, we gatherprophecies of the future and we foretell things to come.
Let me show you a few objects in conjunction-and let us take observations. Look! Before my mind's eye there pass a lion anda believing man-God gives that believing man victory over the lion. Study the second picture-A bear and a believing man. Godhelps that believing man to get the victory over the bear. God, who is the same today, as yesterday, will be the same tomorrow.A third picture is before me-a huge giant and the same believing man-well, God will give him victory over the Philistine.I am sure of it. It is His way! I want you, my dear Brother, to feel that if God has blessed you in the past, He will blessyou still! You were helped-you can never forget it-you were helped right through. It was a severe crisis in your life andyou were wonderfully carried over it. Does not this fact fill you with hope?
There came another somewhat different trial, as different from the former trouble as a bear may be from a lion, but you wereagain helped-very remarkably helped. You have not forgotten it-you cannot forget it though your hair is gray. Are not suchencouragements very many and very sweet? Why, I can furnish my whole house with the bears' skins and lions' skins! Are wegoing to be discouraged, now? Here is another crisis and there is another difficulty-are you dismayed? The way of God-haveyou not learned it, yet? Do you not know God's habits by now? If He helped you, then, and then, and then, and then-He willsurely help you now! Why, you must feel, I should think, like Drake, when he had been round the world and yet was nearly wreckedat the harbor's mouth! He was coming up the Thames when a fierce storm broke over him and his ship was well-near driven onshore!
He cried to his sailors, "No, no, this won't do! We have been safely round the world and we are not going to be drowned ina ditch like this! We shall get safe up to London." Your present affliction is a mere ditch of a trouble compared with whatyou endured years ago! You who have breasted Atlantic billows-are you doomed to drown under the languid ripples of an everydaylife? Let it not be so! "Your servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircum-cised Philistine shall be as oneof them. The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out ofthe hand of this Philistine."
We serve an immutable God! We change a thousand times a day, but He never changes! Our pilgrimage leads us along a good oldway! Our chart and our compass are the same as those of our youth-and the Divine consolation, upon which alone we rely is,in every respect, unaltered and unalterable! Hear Jehovah speak-"I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacobare not consumed."
VI. This leads me to close by observing that David's confidence also proceeded upon his firm conviction that, the ImmutableGod being with him, he, himself, would be sufficient for the present emergency. Now, you see, I bring the man in again, butit is that you may think of God all the more! We want immutability applied to ourselves, or we are not comforted. It is avery easy thing to say, "Yes, God is unchangeable," and then we turn round and say-"God is glorious, but I am such a poorcreature." Yes, and you were such a poor creature when you slew the lion-and just such a poor creature when you slew the bear!If you are still such a poor creature, it is probable that by such a poor creature God is going to get to Himself one morevictory to the Glory of His great Grace!
Does it ever come over you, who are getting into years, to tremble at times? To tremble involuntarily, with a sore sense ofutter nothingness? Your trembling is partly physical weakness and partly mental weariness. You say, "For what God has helpedme to do, to His name be praise!" But you go on to enquire, "Can I continue under so great a pressure? Shall I do this presentdeed and bear this present burden which my Lord has laid upon me?" Why, dear Friend, of course you will! What you have donebefore, you will do again-and greater things than these will you do! I want you to unite with David in a sense of personalcapacity for all the outlying future. Not only say, "The Lord who delivered me will deliver me," but say, also, "Your servantslew both the lion and the bear and your servant can slay this Philistine, too. Yes, I killed the beasts and, in God's name,I will kill the champion."
Old battles lend us new weapons. Yesterday's griefs are the mothers of today's joys. An old affliction may prove to be thebest cure for new distress. Poor, poor Mary! She weeps for Lazarus, but Jesus will comfort her concerning her brother. Arenot His former mercies laid up in store in her soul? Her heart had known secret passages of gracious experience which preparedher to see her brother rise again. And you, poor Thomas, beginning to doubt-why, Thomas, you are the very man who lost estateand health-and yet glorified God! Oh, Brother Thomas, we shall not believe your hard speeches against yourself! You are theman who bore the brunt of poverty, slander, persecution, bereavement and sick-ness-and you triumphed in them all!
You sometimes tell other people how wonderfully, when you were in the fire, Another walked with you amid the glowing coals.And have you not, sometimes, said that your afflictions are among your most precious possessions? Well, and God will blessyou still! It shall not only be the same God, but it shall be the same Mary and the same Thomas still working as God wouldhave them work-and bearing up under trials-and proving themselves to be more than conquerors through Him that loved them.
"Ah, you do not know my trouble, dear Sir!" No, my dear Friend, and you do not know mine-and I am not going to tell you. Itwould not comfort you if I told you my distresses and it certainly would not comfort me if you told me all your airing, moaningand sighing! I expect that we have each to suffer the best trouble that could have been appointed us. If you had my cross,it would be an unsuitable burden for you. And if I had yours, it would be a grievous load for me. Never let us dream of changing,nor even of comparing our different lots-the settlements of Providence are wiser than our fancies! The will of the Lord isbetter than the wit of man! Let each man choose the cross which God has chosen for him. He knew our weight and how to adaptour burden to our strength. If any good is to come of the rod, it will be a rod that is handled by the Lord in His own way-notunder the direction of our daily folly-but under the guidance of His infinite wisdom and prudence.
He knows where each one of us requires to come under discipline. He knows the specific nature of each Believer, even as acareful vinedresser understands the peculiarity of each of his vines. In the season of pruning, the Great Husbandman knowswhich branch needs cutting off. You cry, "Not so, Lord. Here is a branch lower down! If I must be pruned, cut that off." TheLord is going to spare that shoot, for it is a fruit-bearing one. But the other which you like so much would only run to woodand so He is going to cut it away. Afflictions sent us according to our own desires would not be afflictions, but amusements!The rod applied by the culprit, himself, would not amount to much. I do not know that we would be able to make a wise selectionof afflictions even if we had the choice of them. I am afraid that we would be like the soldier who was never pleased by thedrummer. When he cried, "Do not hit me so high," the drummer tried him lower down. But he did not like that any better, forhe cried, "Higher! Higher! Don't cut me in pieces!"
Now, in very truth, our afflictions anywhere, or anyway, are grievous. We would rather escape them altogether and, therefore,it is not left to our choice. But the infinite wisdom of God appoints the affliction and appoints it suitably to the man.I fall back on that fact. David is confident that God is with him. He is confident, also, that he is with God. He is confidentthat God has helped him-confident that he was enabled to do valiantly, in years gone by, by Divine help, and that he willdo so again. And so he comes forward to meet the present emergency. I do not know for whom my message at this hour may beespecially meant. It comes to me ruggedly, but with a good deal of impressiveness. I have an inward conviction that thereare some here to whom it is sent-children of God who are placed in positions where it is incumbent upon them to stand outand bear open witness for the Truth of God.
There is little doing for the Master-everybody is cowardly and backward. Awake, you brave! Speak out, speak out, and silencethe foe! Like packs of hounds, the proud "thinkers" mouth it against the Lord, but a single fearless voice will
quiet the whole kennel of them! Come to the front of the fight, you that are truly men, and the Lord will be with you! Rememberhow He has helped you in times past and let the God of your salvation be your God forever and ever. Now, I am going to closewith a few remarks upon the second head.
DAVID IS A VERY FIT AND WONDERFUL TYPE OF THE GREAT SON OF DAVID, THE LORD JESUS
CHRIST. If Saul had really believed David-which I am afraid he did not-the story that David told him would have encouragedhim to have placed much confidence in the young hero. Any believing man in the camp who really trusted Jehovah, as David did,would have said, "I see in you, young man, one whom God has smiled upon. He has enabled you to slay both a lion and a bearand, therefore, I am assured that you will give a good account of this uncircumcised Philistine before long." Transfer allthis from David to David's Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, and it comes to this-what He has already done should convince us tobelieve in Him.
I speak both to saints and sinners for a moment tonight. If you have any doubt about whether Jesus Christ is able and willingto help you in your present trouble-and to deliver you from your present doubt, despondency and despair- remember what Hehas already done! He has left the thrones and royalties of Heaven to be born into this world as a Babe and to hang upon awoman's breast. It is a marvel! We speak of it as though we understood it, but we do not. The Incarnation is a miracle amongmiracles and rises like an Alp above all other mountains of mystery! It is a wondrous thing that the One Almighty God shouldveil Himself in a human form, but Christ has done so. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth." Being found in fashion as a man, our Lord bowedHimself to learn obedience by the things which He suffered. He lived a life of sorrow, temptation, slander and reproach, thatHe might finish the work entrusted to Him.
In nothing, failing, He fulfilled the obedient life and prepared for the atoning death. The time came for Him to encountergreater foes than He had met before, but this did not disturb Him. Calmly He met all things as they were appointed Him. Hecame, at last, to His Cross, and there the stupendous load of human guilt was laid upon His shoulders and He bore it all!As in righteousness He was strong to labor, so in atonement He was strong to suffer. It needed Deity to bear the weight ofhuman guilt, but He did bear it and He so bore it that He finished transgression and made an end of sins-and made reconciliationfor iniquity-and brought in everlasting righteousness for His people. You see, He slew each lion and bear as it came, andin nothing was He dismayed. Then He went down into the grave, met with death and grappled with it. Death, by dying, He destroyed.He rifled the sepulcher and brought resurrection to light for all His people!
Wondrous was that battle of Christ with the lion of the Pit for our sakes! He kept His flocks by night and by day, never failingto protect His own. The lion prowled around and sought to enter the sheepfold, but the Shepherd's watchfulness was alwaysthere to keep him off. At last, with a tremendous roar, the monster leaped into the sheepfold. He had hoped that all wereslumbering, but Divine love never sleeps. The Shepherd received him on His breast and held him aloft till He had strangledhim. As Samson tore the lion of old, so did our Good Shepherd destroy the destroyer when He laid down His life for the sheep.
All this is done and finished-and you may trust our Divine Immanuel to do all that remains. Nothing remains to be done fora sinner that is at all comparable to the far greater things which have been already done. Infinitely more has been workedfor and in a child of God than he will ever need between now and Heaven. He may trust Jesus for that little remainder, ifany remainder there is, since so much has been already achieved. As I see our great David going forward, now, to meet anylion that lurks in the way against His people, or any Goliath that stalks abroad and defies the host of God, I feel perfectconfidence that He who slew the lion and the bear will make sure work of all that is yet to arise!
Dear Friends, at the present time we may be comforted, whatever our adversary may be, by the full conviction that there isas much necessity for Christ to meet our present adversary as for Him to meet the former ones. David slew the lion and thebear-it was necessary that they should be slain. When the time came, it was equally necessary that Goliath of Gath shouldbe slain. And so, today, if your sin has been removed by Christ, one great necessity has been supplied. If you have now beenbrought to a dead halt, another necessity has arisen-and another supply will be forthcoming! Our Lord never fails to do everythingthat is necessary for His people! He never has bungled anything, yet, and He never will. He will not fail nor be discouragedtill the Eternal purpose is fulfilled and the blood-bought ones are safe at the right hand of God, even the Father. Comfortyourself with that full conviction.
I believe, also, that an imperious necessity to work rests upon the heart of Christ, now, even as it did before. Our eversympathetic, ever immutable Lord, has the same power at this moment with which to meet the renewed necessities of His Beloved.Power? He has infinite power! If when He were here in weakness, He destroyed sin and death and Hell, what will He not do,now that all power is given unto Him in Heaven and in earth? Oh, my Soul, how delightful it is to plunge into a bath of faithand rest in Jesus! Not trust Christ? Not trust Christ, Sinner, now that He is at the right hand of God? Why, His childrenof old trusted Him when He was a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief! Not trust Him at whose belt swing the keys of Heavenand death and Hell? Not trust Him whose very wish is Law throughout all worlds that God has made? Be gone, O base suggestion!Oh, come and trust Him, whatever the difficulty! Trust Him over the head of Goliath, for He has already slain both the lionand the bear!
It comes to this, that we must go forward against everything that stalks before us in opposition, for there can be no reasonwhy Christ should not overcome it, since He has overcome all that has gone before. I know that we are always apt to thinkthat our present trial is peculiar and surprising-but there are no surprises with Jesus. He foreknew all that would happento His people before He undertook to save them. He shed not His blood in the dark-He knew what they would be. If they wanderand fall into sin, He foreknew it all-and all hardness of heart and everything else that we lament and deplore. Jesus sawit all and made provision to save us "notwithstanding all." All that can interpose between us and Heaven, Jesus can driveaway, even as the shadows flit before the sunlight. All has been foreseen and steadfast love is resolved to see the businessthrough.
Our great redeeming Substitute did not pledge His name as our Surety without counting the cost. Nor did He enter upon Covenantengagements blindly, as silly men too often do. He knew that it would cost Him His own heart's blood, but He drew not back!He knew what power would be requisite for the achievement of His purpose and He was not daunted. He has undertaken and Hewill go through with it! As the Lord lives, Christ will suffer no defeat. You have not to do, today, with a puny mortal manthat can be put aside and huffed-and made to fear and turn His back! You have to do with a greater than David-and if Davidresolutely ran to meet his foe and paused not till he came back with his gory head, a grizzly trophy of his courage-you neednot be afraid that Christ will return defeated! He has taken up this glove and He will fight this battle through.
He will have the victory all along the line and when the last great "Hallelujah" goes up to Heaven, there will be no lamentsto mingle with it! Neither will Christ have to put away His escutcheon with a sinister bar upon it because He was in partdefeated. Never! "The Lord reigns!" The Breaker has gone up before us and the King at the head of us. We shall march through,even to the dividing of the spoil! He has led captivity captive and we shall triumph through His name if we are resting inHim. Oh, that you would trust Him-you that do not as yet rely upon Him! May His great Spirit bring you to believe in Him,for His name's sake. Amen.