Sermon 2340. The Best Christmas Fare
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, DECEMBER 24, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THE EVENING OF CHRISTMAS DAY, 1881.
"How sweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103.
THIS is a time of feasting and we may as well have our feast as other people have theirs. Let us see whether there is notsomething for our spiritual palate, something to satisfy our spiritual appetite, that we may eat, and be content, and rejoicebefore the Lord. Do you not think that two of the words in our text are very strange? If you had written them, would you nothave said, "How sweet are Your Words unto my ears"? The Psalmist says, "How sweet are Your Words unto my palate!" for thatis the word in the margin. He did not write, "Yes, sweeter than honey to my hearing!" but, "sweeter than honey to my mouth!"Are words, then, things that we can taste and eat? No, not if they are the words of man-it would take many of our words tofill a hungry belly. "Be you warmed and filled." It would take many tons of that sort of fodder to feed "a Brother or Sisterdestitute of daily food," for man's words are air and airy, light and frothy. They often deceive, they mock, they awaken hopeswhich are never realized. But God's Words are full of sub-stance-they are spirit, they are life, they are to be fed upon bythe spiritually hungry!
Marvel not that I say this to you! It was God's Word that made us-is it any wonder that His Word should sustain us? If HisWord gives life, do you wonder that His Word should also give food for that life? Marvel not, for it is written-"Man shallnot live by bread, alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." God's Words are meat, drink and food-andif bodies live not upon words-souls and spirits feed upon the Words of God, and so are satisfied and full of delight! Thisis the language of an eater as well as of a hearer-of one who heard the words and then ate the words. The expression is oriental,but we are not quite strangers to it, even in our western talk, for we say, "They seem to eat the man's words," that is, whenthe hearers are very attentive to them, when they enjoy them, when the preacher's words seem to comfort them and to ministersustenance to their mind and to their spirit.
I like this way of describing the reception of God's Word as a matter of eating, for a man cannot eat God's Word without living!He that takes it into himself must live thereby. There is a reality about the faith which eats. There is a something theremost sure which contains the elements of salvation, for tasting is a spiritual sense which implies nearness. You can hearat a great distance by means of the telephone, but, somehow, I do not think that anyone will invent an electrical taster.Nobody knows what may be done, but I fancy that I shall never be able to eat anything in New York. I think that we shall hardlyever reach such a triumph of science as that! There will always have to be a measure of nearness if we are to taste anythingand so it is with God's Word. If we hear it, it is music in the ears, but still it may seem to be at a distance from us. Wemay not get a grip and grasp of it-but if we taste it-that means that we really have it here within ourselves! Then has itcome very near to us and we enter into fellowship with the God who gave it.
This idea of tasting God's Word contains the thought of receptiveness. A man may hear a thing and, as we say, it goes in oneear and out the other, and so it often does, but that which a man gets into his mouth till he tastes it, and it is sweet tohis palate, well, he has truly received that. If it is sweet to him, he will not do as they who have something lukewarm, whichis objectionable, which they cast away out of their mouth. But when he finds it palatable, the sweetness will make him keepit where it is till he swallows it down into his inward parts. So I love this thought of tasting God's Word because it impliesnearness, an actual reception and a veritable holding-fast of that which is so appreciated by the taste.
Tasting is also a personal matter. "Friends, Romans, countrymen," said Mark Anthony, in his oration over the body of Caesar,"lend me your ears!" And they go to be lent and numbers of people hear for others. But tasting, surely, is a
personal business-there is no possibility of my eating for you! If you choose to starve yourself by a long fast of 50 days,so you must. If I were to sit down and industriously attempt to eat your portion of food, and my own, too, it would not helpyou in the least! You must eat for yourselves and there is no knowing the value of God's Word till you eat it for yourself.You must personally believe it, personally trust to it, personally receive it into your innermost spirit, or else you cannotknow anything about its power to bless and to sustain! I do pray, dear Friends, that we may, every one of us, tonight, understandwhat the Psalmist meant when he spoke of tasting God's Words and of finding them sweeter than honey to his mouth.
I. First, tonight, I call your attention to AN EXCLAMATION. The text contains two notes of exclamation or admiration-"Howsweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" I cannot throw the notes of admiration and exclamationinto my speech, as I would like to do, but this verse is evidently the utterance of one who is somewhat surprised and amazed,one who has a thought which he cannot adequately express. The thought is also one that gives much delight to the writer, forhe exclaims, "How sweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Now, I believe that it is a matter of wonder to many to find the Gospel so sweet when the soul first tastes it. Until I believedin Christ, I could not have imagined that a man was capable of so much delight as I then experienced. When I first lookedto Christ and was lightened, the ease I felt when my burden rolled from off my shoulders quite astonished me. It seemed tome as if a man could never know such rest as I then enjoyed! When I beheld my sin all put away through Christ's atoning bloodand knew myself to be "accepted in the Beloved," I could have said, with the queen of Sheba, "Behold, the half was not toldme." I had heard my father and other Christian men say that blessed are the people who trust in the Lord, but I never thoughtthere really was such blessedness as I found. I fancied that they would decoy me with some sweet declarations of what, afterall, might be very commonplace, but I did not find it to be so. And I am here to bear my witness that when I believed God'spromise, I was so amazed and overpowered with joy that, even now, I cannot tell you the delight I felt, yes, and I, in theWord of a faithful God to all who trust in Jesus Christ, His Son!
This, then, may be the exclamation of a soul tasting the Gospel for the first time, but it may also be the exclamation ofa soul cheered by still tasting the Gospel-"How sweet are Your Words unto my taste!" "I have known the Lord," says one, "these40 years." Another says, "I have known Christ these 30 years, but He is as precious to me as ever He was, His Word is as freshand novel as if I had never heard it, before, and His promise comes to my soul with as much of life and power as if He hadonly spoken it yesterday and I had never heard it till this moment."
Are you not surprised, sometimes, you who are getting into middle life, or even verging on old age, to find how sweet God'sWord still is to you? And if, perhaps, you have been away from the House of God traveling in foreign lands, or you have beenlaid aside by sickness, or, if, perhaps, you are a preacher and do not often hear a sermon, is it not a very delightful thingto sit in your pew and, when you are hearing the Gospel, to say, "Oh, it is sweet! It is coming home to me now"? I heard asermon some years ago-I do not often get the opportunity of hearing-and when my tears began to flow under a simple statementof the Gospel, I said to myself, "Yes, I am not a mere dealer in it, who hands it out to others, for I relish the flavor ofit myself." Why, I have had to stand here, sometimes, like the butchers at Christmas time, cutting and chopping off jointsof meat for you all, and I have not had even a snack, myself, all the while! But when I get the opportunity of sitting downat the table and listening, it may be, to a poor, humble preacher talking about Christ, I seem to set my knife and fork towork and I say, "Yes, that is just the very food for me, give me some more of it! My soul can feed upon such fare as that."And I have felt glad, with an inward and unspeakable delight, to find how sweet it was to my taste-"Yes, sweeter than honeyto my mouth!" Rejoice, dear Friends, if you find it so.
I reckon that this language of exclamation and admiration will also come from the most advanced saint, increasing in knowledgeof the Gospel-the Believer who has studied the Word of God most earnestly and who has had the deepest experience in it. Otherbooks are soon done with, but the Bible is never fully understood. I think that most readers will tell you that the more theyread, the fewer books they treasure, whereas, to the young, there is a whole library to go through! The man who has been adiligent and careful reader all his life finds only some few books that he now cares to read. He knows the rest-he could writethe most of them-perhaps could write them better than they are written! Now he keeps on striking out this one from the listand that other, for he has gone beyond them-and the book which charmed him
when he was young ceases to have any value to him when he gets beyond it in his riper years. He has seen through its mistakesand now he yearns for something more accurate.
But it is never so with the Words of God. It is never so with the Word of God, the Incarnate Word, the Christ. The more youknow of Him, the more you wish to know. And the more you taste of Him, the sweeter He becomes till in Heaven the sweetnesswill be far more intense than it is now-and Christ will be more precious and more delightful to us through the eternal agesthan He is at this present moment! I believe that in Glory the saints will often lift up their hands and say, "How sweet areYour Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" When those words shall have been completely fulfilled, thevery retrospect of the promise will charm our immortal spirits till Heaven shall become as a forest, like that of Jonathan,which dripped with honey-and every Word that God spoke to us, when we were here below, shall come back to us with matchlesssweetness as we remember it in the world to come.
II. But now, secondly, take the text not only with its two notes of admiration, but as A STATEMENT, a cool statement of mattersof fact. David is one who, when his heart boils with holy fervor, and his hand wields the pen of a ready writer, still writesaccurately. He never speaks more than the Truth even when he is most emphatic, so that I am sure that David means to tellus, here, that God's Words were truly sweet to him.
First, they were unutterably sweet. "How sweet!" But he does not tell us how sweet they were. He says, "How sweet are YourWords unto my taste!" as if he could not tell us what delightfulness he found in the teachings of God's Word- it was unutterable!We can tell you, dear Hearers, that God's Words of promise are very, very sweet, but we can convey to you no sort of ideaof how great that sweetness is! Oh, taste for yourselves and see that the Lord is good! There is no describing the flavorsof a royal banquet! There is no picturing to a man who has not the sense of smell, the fragrance of a delicious perfume. Andyou must personally know the sweetness of the Word of God, for to us it is positively unutterable!
This much, however, the Psalmist does utter. He tells us that God's Words are surpassingly sweet, for he said, "They are sweeterthan honey." Honey is supposed to be the sweetest of all known substances. So David means that if there is anything that candelight the heart of man, God's Word could charm his heart better than that! David means that if there is anything that couldcheer a man, God's Word could comfort him better than any other consolation. If there is joy, if there is peace, if thereis rest, if there is bliss to be found in anything else-all that, and more than that-can be found in a higher degree in theteachings of God's Word and in the blessings of the Covenant of Grace! Sweeter than sweetness, itself. Sweeter than the sweetestthing that God, Himself, has made, is God's Word which He has spoken! Oh, that we did but know how to taste it!
The Psalmist also makes this statement, that all God's Words are thus unutterably sweet to him. He does not say that theyare so to all men, but he says, "How sweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" He speaks thusof all God's Words. We know some people who love God's promises, but they do not care much about His Laws. If God speaks aWord of Grace, they like that. But if it is a word of command, they do not care about that. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I hopewe have a taste for every Word that God has spoken! A man ought not to say, "I do not like a sermon from the Old Testamentas much as I do a sermon from the New Testament." There must be no picking and choosing with God's Word! It is virtually atheismwhen men begin to set one Word of God over against another, for the man who dares to criticize God's Revelation makes himselfgreater than God-and therein he has undeified the Deity, and there is no God to him!
My God is such to me that if I know a Word to be Inspired by His Spirit, I value it beyond all conception! It is not for meto say, "This Word of my Master is nothing compared with another Word." All these Words came from the same mouth and, comingfrom the same mouth, they are all equally true to me. And, if not all alike rich in comfort, yet "all Scripture is given byInspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." From oneend of it to the other, it answers some Divine purpose-who am I that I should sit in judgment upon it? I pray you, Brothersand Sisters, value every Word of God, and let no man lend you into the error of setting this one above the other, for, ifthey are God's Words, they are all precious-and you ought to count them so.
David seems to imply that God's Words were precious to him at all times. They were sweet to him when he wrote the text-I cannottell in what condition of body and mind he was at that time-but this I do know, lying upon the bed of sickness, racked withpain, many of God's saints have said, "How sweet are Your Words to my taste!" And this I also know that, lifted up with gratitudefor the blessings of Providence-health, wealth, friends-yet God's saints have
found greater sweetness in His Word than in all temporal things and they have still said, "How sweet are Your Words unto mytaste!" This is an abiding mark of a child of God, that God's Words are sweet to him, yes, sometimes very sweet even whenhe is half afraid to partake of them! "Oh," he says "would God they were mine! I need nothing sweeter than God's Word and,even if I am a little fearful of appropriating it to myself, yet still it is very, very dear to me." If the name of Jesusis sweeter than honey to your taste, then be glad, for this is a mark of a child of God that never failed yet-and never willfail while the world stands!
III. Now, thirdly, look at the text, again, and you will see that it contains A REPETITION-"How sweet are Your Words untomy taste!" Well, that is all right, David-we understand you. "Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Why do you need to saythat? Is not that saying the same thing twice? Yes, and intentionally so, because God's Word is sweet to His people in manyways and many times over!
As I have already said to you, it is very sweet in its reception. When we first take it into our heart and feed upon it, itis very precious, but, spiritually, men are something like ruminating animals-they have the power of feeding again, and again,and again-on that which they have once received. Look how the cattle lie down and chew the cud. And it is when they chew thecud, I suppose, that they get the sweetness out of that which they have eaten. And so, spiritually, when men have once receivedChrist, they get increasing sweetness out of Him by meditation. Having taken Him into their souls, they afterwards inwardlydigest the precious Word of God and get the secret juice and latent sweetnesses out of the promises of God's most holy Revelationand out of Jesus Christ, Himself! It is thus that the Psalmist first says, "How sweet are Your Words unto my taste!" And thenhe rolls them around, again, in his mouth by meditation, and so he repeats himself as he says, "Yes, sweeter than honey tomy mouth!"
But do you not think that the repetition in the text means something else, namely, that while, first of all, Christ's Wordis very sweet to our taste, there is another sweetness when we get it into our mouth-not so much for our own eating as speakingof it to others? There is great sweetness about the declaration of God's Words! Some of you who love the Lord have never yettold anybody. You are secret Christians-you hide away behind pillar and post. Oh, but God's Word is very sweet to you, yousay, as you eat your morsel of bread in the corner! So it is, but you would have another and a greater sweetness if you wouldcome out and avow that you love the Lord! I am sure you would. In fact, there is many a child of God who never enjoys thefull sweetness of religion because he has not had the courage to confess Christ before men. I wish that some of you haltingones, you who are much afraid and fearing, would obey the whole of the Gospel. You know the Gospel-"He who believes and isbaptized shall be saved." "With the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Now, obey the whole of the Gospel and then you shall get the whole of its sweetness. But, perhaps, there is some peculiarflavor in the Word which you have never known as yet because you have been disobedient children. Did you ever notice thatsaying of our Lord, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"? Yes, you know all aboutthat, you say. Christ says to you, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." Now go a little farther- what is the next verse?"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; and you shall find rest." Why, that is another rest! I thought you had rest-did notJesus say that He would give you rest? Yet in the next verse He says, "You shall find rest." Yes, that is another rest, astill deeper one which you find when you willingly take Christ's yoke upon you and become His disciples, learning of Him.So I believe my text means just that. God's Word is very sweet to the taste when you receive it by faith, but it has anotherand a special and deeper sweetness when you bring it into your mouth and confess Christ before men.
And let me add to this that there is a very special sweetness about preaching Christ-in the public proclamation of His Word.It may be that some Brother, here, has the gift of speech, but has never used it for his Master. Let me put in my witnesshere. God's Word has been unutterably sweet to my own heart, as I have believed it-it has been remarkably precious to me asI have confessed it as a Christian man-but still there is a something, I cannot tell you what, of singular delight about thepreaching of this Word. Oh, sometimes, when I have prepared my sermon, it has been bitter in my belly, but it has been ashoney in my mouth when I have preached it to the great congregation gathered here! If I might choose my destiny and if I had,even, to stay out of Heaven for the purpose, it would be Heaven to me to be permitted to always be preaching Christ and theglories of His salvation! And I do not know that I should have any choice between that and Heaven-if I might be privilegedto be, without ceasing, lauding and praising and extolling that dear Word of
God-the Christ who was born at Bethlehem. If I might proclaim to sinners everywhere that God is in him making reconciliation,no, that He has made reconciliation for all who believe in Him, this might be Heaven enough, at least for one poor heart,world without end.
"How sweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Try, Brother, whether it will not sweeten yourmouth if you begin to preach Christ! Perhaps you have been too quiet and too silent. Get up and speak for Jesus and see whetherthe honey does not come into your mouth at once! In the olden times they pictured the orator with bees buzzing round his lips,storing up the honey that dropped from his sweet utterances. This may be but a fable concerning the human talker, but certainlyit is true of the man who preaches Christ-that his lips drop honey, and the more he speaks of his dear Lord and Master, andthe less he tries, with human eloquence, to magnify himself-the more of sacred sweetness shall there be in every word thathe utters!
So I think I have accounted for the repetition, have I not? It is no repetition after all. At least it is no tautology-itis only a right and necessary repetition.
IV. And now I am going to wind up, in the fourth place, with AN EXAMINATION-the examination of everybody here present, tonight.It is the close of the year and one may not object to a few personal enquiries at such a time.
The first and chief enquiry is this-Are God's Words sweet to me? Is Christ, Himself, the Master-Word of God, the Logos? IsHe sweet to me? For, if not, what is the reason?
First, may it be that I have no taste? Have I spiritual taste? It would be a sad thing to be wholly without natural taste.I do know one such person, who has no taste at all. The poet Wordsworth was for years without the power of smell. His wasa very remarkable case, with a mind so dainty, so delicate, so beautiful. Once upon a time, for a very short season, the powerof smell came to him among the heather and you know how every primrose by the river's brim had words for Wordsworth and talkedwith him-and when the sweet perfume came from the dear May flowers, the poet was quite enraptured, as if he had, for a littlewhile, entered into Heaven! But the power of smell soon went away and he was, again, unhappily bereft of it. The richest flower,the sweetest shrub could be nothing to the man whose nostril was not sensitive to its perfume.
And what if that should be so with me spiritually? Perhaps, my dear Hearer, you have heard all we have been saying about Christand you have heard many rich and rare hymns about Him. But you never felt that there was any sweetness in Him. Then I begyou to enquire whether you may not be lacking in a sense which others have. If a person were to say to me, "How lovely isthat Italian sky! What a deep blue it has!" and if I turned my face that way and said, "I see nothing at all." If, when hepointed to the sea, or to the green fields, I looked in that direction, and saw nothing, what should I infer? Why, that hepossessed a power called sight, which I did not possess! Of course I might be foolish enough to say, "There is no blue sky.There is no such thing. There are no green fields. There is no ocean. There is no sun. I am sure there is not, for I neversaw them."
One day I saw a man sitting at a table with his napkin under his chin, enjoying his dinner, and he overheard an observationthat I made about a sinner, and he said, "I never had a spiritual sensation in my life and I do not believe that there isanything spiritual in this world." Now, if I had been standing near a sty and a pig had made that observation, I should nothave contradicted him-and I did not contradict this man-for I thought that he spoke the truth! I believed that he had neverexperienced a spiritual sensation in his life! And when some men say, "I perceive no sweetness in Christ and, therefore, thereis none," I wish that they would draw another inference-"Therefore I have not that taste which would enable me to perceiveHis sweetness"-for that is the truth. A man who has never been born again is dead as to all spiritual things and he cannothear, or see, or taste anything that is spiritual. He is not alive unto God as yet. I put this solemn enquiry to everyonewho says, "I see no beauty in Christ"-may it not be that you have no eyes? If you say, "I hear no music in His voice. In fact,I do not hear that voice," may it not be that your ears are sealed? And if you say, "I taste no sweetness in the Word of God,or the Christ of God," may it not be that you are still dead in trespasses and sins? If so, may God quicken you in His infinitemercy!
Still, there is another answer to the question which I beg to put by way of examination. If the Word of God is not very sweetto me, have I an appetite? Solomon says, "The full soul loathes honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."Ah, when a soul is full of itself, of the world and of the pleasures of sin, I do not wonder that it sees no sweetness inChrist, for it has no appetite! Oh, but when a soul is emptied. When a soul hungers and thirsts after God.
When it is conscious of its needs and miseries, as I hope some here present are, then is Christ sweet, indeed! O hungry ones,take Him into your souls, suck down His precious Word! Christ has come on purpose to feed hungry spirits. If you need Him,you may have Him-and the more you need Him, the more free He is to you-and the more freely may you partake of Him! He is justsuch a Christ as you need. May God make you ravenous after Him-so ravenous that you may never rest till you have receivedHim as altogether your own!
Yet there is another answer. If I do not taste sweetness in Christ, am I in health? When a man is ill, his soul "abhors allmanner of meat." Nothing tastes nice to a man whose palate is out of order through sickness. Now, does it happen, tonight,that some of you do not feel any joy in Christ? Then you are ill! Brothers and Sisters, put out your tongue, let us look atit. Ah, it has got furred up with the world, I am sure! Something ails you if Christ is not sweet. Sometimes you have satin these pews, some of you, and you have heard Christ preached till you hardly knew how to keep your seats. You have beenready to stand up and clap your hands to the praise of His dear name-but now you do not feel anything at all. You can almostgo to sleep, if you do not actually slumber. The preacher is quite willing to share the blame with you, for he is not allhe ought to be. But he does not mean to take all the blame of it, for, as far as he knows how, he preaches the same Savior,now, as always, and tries to preach Him with as much earnestness as ever. May it not be possible, Brother or Sister, thatyou are not quite right spiritually, that you are getting ill, that your heart is growing feeble? Go home and pray the Lordto set you right. Oh, that He would cleanse you, purify you, make you yet to be strong and vigorous-and then this would beone of the first tokens of it-that Christ would once more become inexpressibly sweet to you!
I must also get you to ask yourself this question-Have I savored the world or sin? People sometimes lose their appetite forsweetness by eating something sour. You may have had one flavor in your mouth, but when you have eaten something with a differentflavor, you cannot taste the first. If a man gets fond of the leeks, the garlic and the onions of Egypt-strong things, those-ifhe once gets the savor of them into his mouth, he is not likely to have any very dainty tooth for the precious things of God.Spiritual flavors have need of great spirituality to enjoy them, I know not what other word to use. They need that the palatebe kept clean, for otherwise, if the world is sweet to us, if sin has any hold upon us-to that extent and degree shall webe incapable of appreciating the sweet things of God.
This is my last question-Have I habituated myself to this food? All earthly sweetness spoils-he who eats honey for a longwhile will care no more for honey. But it is very different with the Christ of God. The sweetness of Christ is not fully knownexcept to those who have known Him long, who by reason of constant use have had their senses fully exercised. There is noneso greedy after Christ as the man who has had most of Him. Paul had been a Believer at least 15 years and yet he said thiswas his ambition, "That I may know Him." Had he not known Christ before? Yes, but the more he knew Him, the more he longedto know Him. Come, Brother, if you do not taste the sweetness of Christ, tonight, in the preaching of the Word of God, surelyit must be because you have not of late been feeding upon Him. Make haste and come along-and let your soul be filled withHim, even from this glad hour.
I have done when I have reminded those here present who see no sweetness in the Words of God, that there is a time comingwhen they will be compelled to hear the Word of God in a very different way from that in which they hear it tonight. One ofthe first works of the Resurrection will be the creation of the ear. I do not know by what process we shall be raised fromthe dead, except that the Lord Jesus said this, "The hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voiceand shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrectionof damnation." When the voice of the Son of God shall strike upon that ear of yours, what a sensation it will cause! God hasspoken to you, now, by the voice of one like yourself, and He has spoken according to the printed page-and you have chosennot to hear it.
But when, in that Last Day, He shall speak by the angel's trumpet and by the voice of His Son! You will be obliged to hearand, rising from your grave, bursting your cerements, you must obey and you must stand-willing or unwill-ing-before that lastdread tribunal, to answer for every deed done in the body, for every idle word that you have spoken, yes, and for every thoughtthat you have imagined against the Most High God! It may be a thousand years before that will happen, it may be ten thousandyears, I cannot tell, but it will happen in God's time-and that space between will be but as the twinkling of an eye-and therewill you be before the face of the great Judge and you will not be able to say with David, "How sweet are Your Words untomy taste!" But, you will cry out, in the agony of your spirit, "Oh, the gall and wormwood!" Oh, the fire that shall burn intoyour very soul when God shall say, "Because I have called, and
you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but you have set at nothing all My counsel, and would noneof My reproof: I, also, will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes." "Depart from Me you cursed, into everlastingfire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
God grant that you may not be told so to depart! And, that you may not, I pray you to now listen to the voice of God whichbids you trust Jesus and live! I can only speak with these poor feeble lips and there is no power in anything that I can say-butGod the Holy Spirit can speak with irresistible might to your hearts and constrain you to taste of Christ, tonight, by hearingthe Word of God, in your very soul! I pray that He may do it, for His dear name's sake! Amen and Amen
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 119:89-112.
Verse 89. Forever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in Heaven. Other things come and go, and change. Moons wax and wane, tidesebb and flow, everything earthly is changeable. But, "Your Word is settled-settled in Heaven," with the eternal settlements.No truth of it can fail, no promise of it can be broken. What a joy this is to our hearts tonight! There is something sure,after all-"Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven."
90. Your faithfulness is unto all generations: You have established the earth, and it abides. That is, God has spoken to Natureand that Word has established the earth, and made it to stand securely.
91. They continue this day according to Your ordinances: for all are Your servants. It was God's Word that made the sun, andthe moon, and the stars. And it is God's Word that bids creation still exist. And that is the almighty Word upon which youand I are resting if we are truly trusting in the living God-
"His very Word of Grace is strong As that which built the skies!
The voice that rolls the stars along Speaks all the promises."
92. Unless Your Law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction. Let us remember how God's Word haskept some of us alive when we had nothing else to live upon. Hope would have quite failed and we should have been driven todespair if it had not been for the precious, priceless Word of God.
93. I will never forget Your precepts: for with them You have quickened me. Nothing sharpens the memory like having been quickened.If we have been at death's door and the Word of God has brought us renewed life, we shall never forget it.
94-96. I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Your precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will considerYour testimonies. I have seen an end of all perfection. No matter who it is that boasts of being perfect, "I have seen anend of all perfection."
96. But your Commandment-There lies the perfection-
96. Is exceedingly broad. Covering the whole life-covering the thoughts, the intents, the desires of the inner and secretnature.
97, 98. O how I love Your Law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your Commandments, have made me wiser than myenemies for they are always with me. If we have God's Law always with us, we shall be wiser than the most crafty of our enemies,for, after all, there is nothing that puzzles and baffles cunning men like simple honesty. Do that which is right and youwill cut through the nets in which men would entangle you. They cannot trip you up if your feet are settled in God's ways.
99, 100. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than theancients because I keep Your precepts. There is more wisdom in obeying God than in all the ethics of heathen philosophers.It matters not from where they take their precepts and maxims-there is no wisdom like yielding one's heart to God.
101-104. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your Word. I have not departed from Your judgments:for You have taught me. How sweet are Your Words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your preceptsI get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. The man who cannot hate does not love. But he who
loves that which is right is, by no means, indifferent to the wrong and to the false-he hates it and the more intensely heloves God, and loves right-the more intensely does he hate every false way. Especially does he hate it in himself. Oh, tobe delivered altogether from every trace of falsehood!
105. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. It shows me the way. It cheers me in the way. It revealsto me the difficulties of the way.
106, 107. I have sworn and I will perform it, that I will keep Your righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quickenme, O LORD, according unto Your Word. Are any of you afflicted tonight? I commend this prayer to your use. One would haveexpected that David would have prayed, "I am afflicted very much: comfort me, O Lord." Or, "Relieve me, O Lord." Instead ofpraying so, he cries, "Quicken me, O Lord," and he did well. Let us imitate him, for if we get more spiritual light and life,we shall, by that means, get more comfort, and the trouble from which we are suffering will soon cease to vex our spirit.
108-112. Accept, I beseech You, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Your judgments. My soul is continuallyin my hand: yet do I not forget Your Law. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from Your precepts. Your testimonieshave I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutesalways, even unto the end. Oh, that everyone of us might be able to make this declaration of the Psalmist our own! God grantit, for Christ's sake! Amen.