Sermon 2344. Christ's Dying Word for His Church
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JANUARY 21, 1894.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON. ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 3, 1889.
"It is finished." John 19:30.
IN the original Greek of John's Gospel there is only one word for this utterance of our Lord. To translate it into English,we have to use three words, but when it was spoken, it was only one-an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop,for that is all that we can call one word! "It is finished." Yet it would need all the other words that ever were spoken,or ever can be spoken, to explain this one word. It is altogether immeasurable! It is high-I cannot attain to it. It is deep-Icannot fathom it. "Finished." I can half imagine the tone in which our Lord uttered this word, with a holy glorying, a senseof relief, the bursting out of a heart that had long been shut up within walls of anguish. "Finished." It was a Conqueror'scry-it was uttered with a loud voice! There is nothing of anguish about it, there is no wailing in it. It is the cry of Onewho has completed a tremendous labor and is about to die-and before He utters His death-prayer, "Father, into Your hands Icommend My spirit," He shouts His life's last hymn in that one word, "Finished."
May God the Holy Spirit help me to handle aright this text that is at once so small and yet so great! There are four waysin which I wish to look at it with you. First, I will speak of this dying saying of our Lord to His Glory. Secondly, I willuse the text to the Church's comfort. Thirdly, I will try to handle the subject to every Believer's joy. And fourthly, I willseek to show how our Lord's Words ought to lead to our own awakening.
I. First, then, I will endeavor to speak of this dying saying of Christ TO HIS GLORY. Let us begin with that.
Jesus said, "It is finished." Let us glory in Him that it is finished. You and I may well do this when we remember how veryfew things we have finished. We begin many things and, sometimes, we begin well. We commence running like champions who mustwin the race, but soon we slacken our pace and we fall exhausted on the course. The race commenced is never completed. Infact, I am afraid that we have never finished anything perfectly. You know what we say of some pieces of work, "Well, theman has done it, but there is no, 'finish,' about it." No, and you must begin with, "finish," and go on with, "finish," ifyou are, at last, able to say broadly as the Savior said without any qualification, "It is finished."
What was it that was finished? His lifework and His atoning Sacrifice on our behalf. He had interposed between our souls andDivine Justice and He had stood in our place to obey and suffer on our behalf. He began this work early in life, even whileHe was a Child. He persevered in holy obedience 33 years. That obedience cost Him many a pang and groan. Now it is about tocost Him His life and, as He gives away His life to finish the work of obedience to the Father, and of redemption for us,He says, "It is finished." It was a wonderful work, even to contemplate-only Infinite Love would have thought of devisingsuch a plan! It was a wonderful work to carry on for so long-only boundless patience would have continued at it-and now thatit requires the offering of Himself and the yielding up of His earthly life, only a Divine Savior, very God of very God, wouldor could have consummated it by the surrender of His breath! What a work it was! Yet it was finished while you and I havelots of little things lying about that we have never finished. We have begun to do something for Jesus that would bring Hima little honor and glory, but we have never finished it. We did mean to glorify Christ-have not some of you intended, oh,so much? Yet it has never come to anything. But Christ's work, which cost Him heart and soul, body and spirit-cost Him everything-evenHis death on the Cross! He pushed through all that till it was accomplished and He could say, "It is finished."
To whom did our Savior say, "It is finished"? He said it to all whom it might concern, but it seems to me that He chieflysaid it to His Father, for, immediately after, apparently in a lower tone of voice, He said, "Father, into Your hands I com-
mend My spirit." Beloved, it is one thing for me to say to you, "I have finished my work"-possibly, if I were dying, you mightsay that I had finished my work-but for the Savior to say that to God, to hang in the Presence of Him whose eyes are as aflame of fire, the great Reader and Searcher of all hearts. For Jesus, I say, to look the dread Father in the face and say,as He bowed His head, "Father, it is finished; I have finished the work which You gave Me to do"-oh, who but He could ventureto make such a declaration as that? We can find a thousand flaws in our best works! And when we lie dying, we shall stillhave to lament our shortcomings and excesses. But there is nothing of imperfection about Him who stood as Substitute for usand, unto the Father, Himself, He can say, concerning all His work, "It is finished." Therefore, glorify Him tonight! Oh,glorify Him in your hearts, tonight, that even in the Presence of the Great Judge of all, your Surety and your Substituteis able to claim perfection for all His service!
Just think also, for a minute or two, now that you have remembered what Jesus finished, and to whom He said that He had finishedit, how truly He had finished it. From the beginning to the end of Christ's life there is nothing omitted, no single act ofservice ever left undone! Neither is there any action of His slurred over, or performed in a careless manner. "It is finished,"refers as much to His Childhood as to His death. The whole of the service that He was to render to God, when He came herein human form, was finished in every single part and portion of it. I take up a piece of a cabinet-maker's work and it bearsa good appearance. I open the lid and am satisfied with the workmanship. But there is something about the hinge that is notproperly finished. Or, perhaps, if I turn it over and look at the bottom of the box, I shall see that there is a piece thathas been scratched, or that one part has not been well planed or properly polished.
But if you examine the Master's work right through-if you begin at Bethlehem and go on to Golgotha and look minutely at everyportion of it, the private as well as the public, the silent as well as the spoken part-you will find that it is finished,completed, perfected! We may say of it that, among all works, there is none like it! It is a multitude of perfections joinedtogether to make up one absolute perfection! Therefore, let us glorify the name of our blessed Lord. Crown Him! Crown Him,for He has done His work well! Come, you saints, speak much to His honor and in your hearts keep on singing to the praiseof Him who did so thoroughly, so perfectly, all the work which His Father gave Him to do!
In the first place, then, we use our Lord's words to His Glory. Much might be said upon such a theme, but time will not permitit.
II. Secondly, we will use the text TO THE CHURCH'S COMFORT.
I am persuaded that it was so intended to be used, for none of the Words of our Lord on the Cross are addressed to His Churchbut this one. I cannot believe that when He was dying He left His people, for whom He died, without a word. "Father, forgivethem; for they know not what they do," is for sinners, not for saints. "I thirst," is for Himself, and so is that bitter cry,"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" "Woman, behold your son!" is for Mary. "Today shall you be with Me in Paradise,"is for the penitent thief. "Into Your hands I commend My spirit," is for the Father. Jesus must have had something to say,in the hour of death, for His Church and, surely, this is His dying word for her! He tells her, shouting it in her ear thathas become dull and heavy with despair, "It is finished." "It is finished, O My redeemed one, My bride, My well-beloved forwhom I came to lay down My life. It is finished, the work is done!"-
"Love's redeeming work is done.
Fought the fight, the battle won." "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it." John, in the Revelation, speaks of theRedeemer's work as already accomplished and, therefore, He sings, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins inHis own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."This Truth of God is full of comfort to His people.
And, first, as it concerns Christ, do you not feel greatly comforted to think that He is no longer to be humiliated? His sufferingand shame are finished. I often sing, with sacred exultation and pleasure, those lines of Dr. Watts-
"No more the bloody spear!
The Cross and nails no more,
For Hell itself shakes at His name
And all the heavens adore.
There His full glories shine
With uncreated rays,
And bless His saints' and angels' eyes
To everlasting days." I also like that expression in another of our hymns-
"Now both the Surety and sinner are free." Not only are they free for whom Christ became a Surety, but He, Himself, is foreverfree from all the obligations and consequences of His Suretyship. Men will never spit in His face again! The Roman soldierswill never scourge Him again! Judas, where are you? Behold the Christ sitting upon His Great White Throne, the glorious Kingwho was once the Man of Sorrows! Now, Judas, come and betray Him with a kiss! What, man, dare you not do it? Come, Pilate,and wash your hands in pretended innocence and say, now, that you are guiltless of His blood! Come, you scribes and Pharisees,and accuse Him and oh, you Jewish mob and Gentile rabble, newly risen from the grave, shout now, "Away with Him! Crucify Him!"But look! They flee from Him! They cry to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitson the Throne!" Yet that is the face that was more marred than any man's-the face of Him whom they once despised and rejected.Are you not glad to think that they cannot despise Him now, that they cannot entreat Him now?-
"'Tis past-that agonizing hour
Of torture and of shame" and Jesus says of it, "It is finished."
We derive further comfort and joy as we think that not only are Christ's pangs and sufferings finished, but His Father's willand Word have had a perfect completion. Certain things were written that were to be done and these are done. Whatever theFather required has been rendered. "It is finished." My Father will never say to me, "I cannot save you by the death of MySon, for I am dissatisfied with His work." Oh, no, Beloved, God is well pleased with Christ and with us in Him! There is nothingwhich was arranged in the eternal mind to be done! No, not a jot or tittle-Christ has done it all! As His eyes, those eyesthat often wept for us, reads down the ancient writing, Christ is able to say, "I have finished the work which My Father gaveMe to do. Therefore, be comforted, O My people, for My Father is well pleased with Me and well pleased with you in Me!"
I like, sometimes, when I am in prayer, to say to the great Father, "Father, look on Your Son. Is He not all loveliness? Arethere not in Him unutterable beauties? Do You not delight in Him? If You have looked on me and grown sick of me, as well Youmay, now refresh Yourself by looking on Your Well-Beloved. Delight Yourself in Him-
"'Him, and then the sinner see, Look through Jesus' wounds on me.'" The perfect satisfaction of the Father with Christ's workfor His people so that Christ could say, "It is finished," is a ground of solid comfort to His Church forevermore!
Dear Friends, once more, take comfort from this, "It is finished," for the redemption of Christ's Church is perfected! Thereis not another penny to be paid for her full release. There is no mortgage upon Christ's inheritance. Those whom He boughtwith blood are forever clear of all charges, paid for to the utmost! There was a handwriting of ordinances against us, butChrist has taken it away, He has nailed it to His Cross. "It is finished," finished forever. All those overwhelming debtswhich would have sunk us to the lowest Hell have been discharged-and they who believe in Christ may appear with boldness evenbefore the Throne of God, itself. "It is finished." What comfort there is in this glorious Truth of God!-
"Lamb of God! Your death has given Pardon, peace, and hope of Heaven! 'It is finished,'let us raise Songs of thankfulnessand praise!" And I think that we may say to the Church of God that when Jesus said, "It is finished," her ultimate triumphwas secured. "Finished!" By that one Word He declared that He had broken the head of the old dragon. By His death Jesus hasrouted the hosts of darkness and crushed the rising hopes of Hell. We have a stern battle yet to fight-nobody can tell whatmay await the Church of God in years to come-it would be idle for us to attempt to prophesy. But it looks as if there areto be sterner times and darker days than we have ever yet known, but what of that? Our Lord has defeated the foe and we haveto fight with one who is already vanquished! The old serpent has been crushed, his head is bruised, and we have, now, to trampleon him. We have this sure Word of promise to encourage us, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."Surely, "It is finished," sounds like the trumpet of victory! Let us have faith to claim that victory
through the blood of the Lamb! And let every Christian, here-let the whole Church of God, as one mighty army take comfortfrom this dying Word of the now risen and ever-living Savior-"It is finished." His Church may rest perfectly satisfied thatHis work for her is fully accomplished!
III. Now, thirdly, I want to use this expression, "It is finished," TO EVERY BELIEVER'S JOY. When our Lord said, "It is finished,"there was something to make every Believer in Him glad. What did that utterance mean? You and I have believed in Jesus ofNazareth. We believe Him to be the Messiah, sent of God. Now, if you will turn to the Old Testament, you will find that themarks of the Messiah are very many and very complicated. And if you will then turn to the life and death of Christ, you willsee in Him every mark of the Messiah plainly exhibited. Until He had said, "It is finished," and until He had actually died,there was some doubt that there might be some one prophecy unfulfilled-but now that He hangs upon the Cross, every mark, everysign and every token of His Messiahship has been fulfilled and He says, "It is finished." The life and death of Christ andthe types of the Old Testament fit each other like hand and glove. It would be quite impossible for any person to write thelife of a man, by way of fiction, and then in another book to write out a series of types, personal and sacrificial, and tomake the character of the man fit all the types-even if he had permission to make both books, he could not do it. If he wereallowed to make both the lock and the key, he could not do it, but here we have the lock made beforehand! In all the Booksof the Old Testament, from the prophecy in the Garden of Eden right down to Malachi, the last of the Prophets, there werecertain marks and tokens of the Christ. All these were so very singular that it did not appear as if they could all meet inone Person. But they did all meet in One-every one of them-whether it concerned some minute point or some prominent characteristic!When the Lord Jesus Christ had ended His life, He could say, "It is finished; My life has tallied with all that was said ofit from the first Word of prophecy even to the last." Now, that ought greatly to encourage your faith! You are not followingcunningly-devised fables, but you are following One who must be the Messiah of God since He so exactly fits all the Propheciesand all the Types that were given before concerning
"It is finished." Let every Believer be comforted in another respect, that every honor which the Law of God could requirehas been rendered to it. You and I have broken that Law, as all the race of mankind has broken it! We have tried to thrustGod from His Throne. We have dishonored His Law. We have broken His Commandments willfully and wickedly. But there has comeOne who is, Himself, God, the Law-Giver, and He has taken human Nature, and in that Nature He has kept the Law perfectly!And, inasmuch as the Law had been broken by man, He has in the Nature of man borne the sentence due for all man's transgressions.The Godhead, being linked with the Manhood, gave supreme virtue to all that the Manhood suffered. And Christ, in life andin death, has magnified the Law and made it honorable. And God's Law at this day is raised to even greater honor than it hadbefore man broke it! The death of the Son of God, the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, has vindicated the great moral principleof God's government and made His Throne to stand out gloriously before the eyes of men and angels forever and ever! If Hellwere filled with men, it would not be such a vindication of Divine Justice as when God spared not His own Son, but deliveredHim up for us all, and made Him to die, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God! Now let every Believer rejoice in thegreat fact that, by the death of Christ, the Law of God is abundantly honored! You can be saved without impugning the holinessof God! You are saved without putting any stain upon the Divine statute-book! The Law is kept and mercy triumphs, too.
And, Beloved, here is included, of necessity, another comforting Truth. Christ might well say, "It is finished," for everysolace conscience can need is now given. When your conscience is disturbed and troubled, if it knows that God is perfectlyhonored and His Law vindicated, then it becomes easy. Men are always starting some new theory of the Atonement and one hassaid, lately, that the Atonement was simply meant as an easement to the conscience of men. It is not so, my Brothers and Sisters-therewould be no easing of the conscience by anything that was meant for that, alone. Conscience can only be satisfied if God issatisfied! Until I see how the Law is vindicated, my troubled conscience can never find rest. Dear Heart, are your eyes redwith weeping? Look to Him who hangs on the tree! Is your heart heavy, even to despair? Look to Him who hangs on the tree andbelieve in Him! Take Him to be your soul's atoning Lamb, suffering in your place. Accept Him as your Representative, dyingyour death that you may live His life, bearing your sin that you may be made the righteousness of God in Him! This is thebest quietus in the world for every fear that conscience can raise-let every Believer know that it is so.
Once more, there is joy to every Believer when he remembers that, as Christ said, "It is finished," every guarantee was givenof the eternal salvation of all the redeemed. It appears to me that if Christ finished the work for us, He will finish thework in us. If He has undertaken so supreme a labor as the redemption of our souls by blood and that is finished, then thegreat, but yet minor labor of renewing our natures and transforming us even unto perfection, shall be finished, too! If, whenwe were sinners, Christ loved us so as to die for us, now that He has redeemed us, and has already reconciled us to Himself,and made us His friends and His disciples, will He not finish the work that is necessary to make us fit to stand among thegolden lamps of Heaven and to sing His praises in the country where nothing that defiles can ever enter?-
"The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete!
His promise is yes and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet!
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above,
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love!" I believe it, my Brothers and Sisters. He who has said, "It is finished," will never leaveanything undone! It shall never be said of Him, "This Man began, but was not able to finish." If He has bought me with Hisblood and called me by His Grace, and I am resting on His promise and power, I shall be with Him where He is, and I shallbehold His Glory, as surely as He is Christ the Lord and I believe in Him! What comfort this Truth of God brings to everychild of God!
Are there any of you, here, who are trying to do something to make a righteousness of your own? How dare you attempt sucha work when Jesus says, "It is finished"! Are you trying to put a few of your own merits together, a few odds and ends, figleaves and filthy rags of your own righteousness? Jesus says, "It is finished." Why do you want to add anything of your ownto what He has completed? Do you say that you are not fit to be saved? What? Have you to bring some of your fitness to ekeout Christ's work? "Oh," you say, "I hope to come to Christ one of these days when I get better." What? What? What? What?Are you to make yourself better and then is Christ to do the rest of the work? You remind me of the railways to our countrytowns! You know that, often, the station is half-a-mile or a mile out of the town, so that you cannot get to the station withouthaving an omnibus to take you there. But my Lord Jesus Christ comes right to the town of Mansoul! His railway runs close toyour feet and there is the carriage door wide open-step in! You have not even to go over a bridge, or under a subway-therestands the carriage just before you. This royal railroad carries souls all the way from Hell's dark door, where they lie insin, up to Heaven's great gate of pearl where they dwell in perfect righteousness forever! Cast yourself on Christ! Take Himto be everything you need, for He says of the whole work of salvation, "It is finished."
I recollect the saying of a Scotchwoman who had applied to be admitted to the communion of the Church. Being thought to bevery ignorant and little instructed in the things of God, she was put back by the elders. The minister also had seen her andthought that, at least for a while, she should wait. I wish I could speak Scotch, so as to give you her answer, but I am afraidthat I would make a mistake if I tried it. It is a fine language, doubtless, for those who can speak it. She said somethinglike this, "Aweel, Sir; aweel, Sir, but I ken ae thing. As the lintbell opens to the sun, so my heart opens to the name ofJesus." You have, perhaps, seen the flax flower shut itself up when the sun has gone and, if so, you know that whenever thesun has come back, the flower opens itself at once. "So," said the poor woman, "I know one thing, that as the flower opensto the sun, so my heart opens to the name of Jesus." Do you know that, Friends? Do you know that one thing? Then I do notcare if you do not know much else! If that one thing is known by you, and if it is really so, you may be far from perfectin your own estimation, but you are a saved soul!
One said to me, when she came to join the Church, and I asked her whether she was perfect, "Perfect? Oh, dear no, Sir! I wishthat I could be." "Ah, yes!" I replied, "that would just please you, would it not?" "Yes, it would, indeed," she answered."Well, then," I said, "that shows that your heart is perfect and that you love perfect things; you are pining after perfection-thereis a something in you, an, 'I' in you, that sins not, but that seeks after that which is holy. And yet you do that which youwould not, and you groan because you do, and the Apostle is like you when he says, 'It is no more I, the real I, that do it,but sin that dwells in me.'" May the Lord put that "I" into many of you, tonight, that "I" which will hate sin, that "I" whichwill find its Heaven in being perfectly free from sin, that "I" which will delight itself in the Almighty, that "I" whichwill sun itself in the smile of Christ, that "I" which will strike down every evil within as soon as ever it shows its head!So will you sing that familiar prayer of Toplady's that we have often sung-
"Let the water and the blood From Your riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power!"IV. I close by saying, in the fourth place, that we shall use this text, "It is finished, TO OUR OWN AWAKENING. Somebody oncewickedly said, "Well, if Christ has finished it, there is nothing for me to do, now, but to fold my hands and go to sleep."That is the speech of a devil, not of a Christian! There is no Grace in the heart when the mouth can talk like that. On thecontrary, the true child of God says, "Has Christ finished His work for me? Then tell me what work I can do for Him!" Youremember the two questions of Saul of Tarsus. The first enquiry, after He had been struck down, was, "Who are You, Lord?"And the next was, "Lord, what will You have me to do?" If Christ has finished the work for you which you could not do, nowgo and finish the work for Him which you are privileged and permitted to do. Seek to-
"Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the gra ve. Weep over the erring one, Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the Mghty to save." My inference from this saying of Christ, "It is finished," is this-Has He finishedHis work for me? Then I must get to work for Him and I must persevere until I finish my work, too-not to save myself, forthat is all done-but because I am saved! Now I must work for Him with all my might and if there comes discouragements, ifthere comes sufferings, if there comes a sense of weakness and exhaustion, yet let me not give way to it, but, inasmuch asHe pressed on till He could say, "It is finished," let me press on till I, too, shall be able to say, "I have finished thework which You gave me to do." You know how men who go fishing look out for the fish. I have heard of a man going to KestonPonds on Saturday to fish and staying all day Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! There was another man fishing there andthe other man had only been there two days. He said, "I have been here two days and I have only had one bite." "Why," repliedthe other, "I have been here ever since last Saturday and I have not had a bite yet! But I mean to keep on." "Well," answeredthe other, "I cannot keep on without catching something'" "Oh!" said number one, "but I have such a longing to catch somefish that I shall stay here till I do." I believe that fellow would ultimately catch some fish if there were any to be caught!He is the kind of fisherman to do it and we need to have men who feel that they must win souls for Christ-and that they willpersevere till they do! It must be so with us, Brothers and Sisters-we cannot let men go down to Hell if there is any wayof saving them!
The next inference is that we can finish our work, for Christ finished His. You can put a lot of "finish" into your work andyou can hold on to the end and complete the work by Divine Grace! And that Grace is waiting for you, that Grace is promisedto you. Seek it, find it, get it! Do not act as some do, ah, even some who are before me now! They served God, once, and thenthey ran away from Him. They have come back-God bless them and help them to be more useful! But future earnest service willnever make up for that sad gap in their earlier career. It is best to keep on, and on, and on, from the commencement to theclose. May the Lord help us to persevere to the end, till we can truly say of our lifework, "It is
One word of caution I must give you. Let us not think that our work is finished till we die. "Well," says one, "I was justgoing to say of my work, 'It is finished.'" Were you? Were you? I remember that when John Newton wrote a book about Gracein the blade, and Grace in the ear, and Grace in the full corn in the ear, a very talkative body said to him, "I have beenreading your valuable book, Mr. Newton. It is a splendid work and when I came to that part, 'The full corn in the ear,' Ithought how wonderfully you had described me." "Oh," replied Mr. Newton, "but you could not have read the book rightly, forit is one of the marks of the full corn in the ear that it hangs its head very low." So it is and when a man, in a careless,boastful spirit, says of his work, "It is finished," I am inclined to ask, "Brother, was it ever begun? If your work for Christis finished, I should think that you never realized what it ought to be." As long as there is breath in our bodies, let usserve Christ! As long as we can think, as long as we can speak, as long as we can work, let us serve Him! Let us
even serve Him with our last gasp and, if it is possible, let us try to set some work going that will glorify Him when weare dead and gone! Let us scatter some seed that may spring up when we are sleeping beneath the hillock in the cemetery. Ah,Beloved, we shall never have finished our work for Christ until we bow our heads and give up the ghost!
The oldest friend here has a little something to do for the Master. Someone said to me, the other day, "I cannot think whyold Mrs. So-and-So is spared-she is quite a burden to her friends." "Ah," I replied, "she has something yet to do for herLord, she has another word to speak for Him." Sister, look up your work and get it done! And you, Brother, see what remainsof your lifework yet incomplete. Wind off the ends, get all the little corners finished. Who knows how long it may be beforeyou and I may have to give in our account? Some are called away very suddenly-they are apparently in good health one day-andthey are gone the next! I should not like to leave a half-finished life behind me. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "It is finished,"and your heart should say, "Lord, and I will finish, too-not to mix my work with Yours, but because You have finished Yours,I will, by Your Grace, finish mine."
Now may the Lord give us the joy of His Presence at His Table! May the bread and wine speak to you much better than I can!May every heir of Heaven see Christ, tonight, and rejoice in His finished work, for His dear name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITIONS BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 121. AND 122.
Psalm 121:1. I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from where comes my help. No help comes from anywhere else but from the eternal hills.Let us lift up our eyes, therefore, hopefully expecting help from the hills-it is on the road-it "comes." The Psalmist, withthe eye of faith, could see it coming, so he watched its approach.
2. My help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and earth. He would sooner unmake them than desert His people. He that madeHeaven and earth could certainly find shelter for us either in Heaven or in earth. He cannot, He will not leave us, He willmake room for us in Heaven when there is no room for us here. What a blessed thing it is to look right away from the creatureto the Creator! The creature may fail you, but the Creator is an ever-springing well of all-sufficient Grace.
3. He will not suffer your foot to be moved. He will not endure it, He will not suffer it. Many would like to trip you up,but He will not allow it-He loves you too well.
3. He that keeps you will not slumber. You may slumber, for you are frail, but He is a Watchman to whose eyes sleep nevercomes. You are always safe. Alexander went to sleep, he said, because Parmenio watched. And you may take the sleep of thebeloved because Jehovah watches over you.
4. Behold, He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Behold it, that is, mark it-put a nota bene at the side ofit, take cognizance of this as a great and sure Truth of God! Jacob went to sleep with a stone for his pillow, but He thatkept him did not sleep. He came to him in the night watches and revealed to him His Covenant.
5. The Lord is your keeper: the LORD is your shade upon your right hand. Oh, what a Keeper we have! Can you not trust Him?Will you not be at peace in your mind if it is, indeed, true that Jehovah keeps you and is your Guard in the hour of danger?
6. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. Then, when can you get hurt? If you are protected both day andnight, these make up all the time! God does not make a new sun for His people, the sun would smite us as well as others, butHe takes the sting out of the sun's excessive brightness. And we have the same sickly moon as others have, with the same influencesover us, but God takes care that the moonbeams do not harm His people. Neither the sun of prosperity nor the night of adversity-neitherthe light of Truth of God nor even the dimness of mystery shall injure one of the chosen seed.
7. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil: He shall preserve your soul. That is the soul of our preservation-if the life,the soul, is kept, then are we altogether kept.
8. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in-Your early days of youth, when you are going out into life-andyour coming in when the older days creep over you and you are coming into God and Heaven. Your going out into business andyour coming in to private devotion.
8. From this time forth, and even forevermore. Let us, therefore, feel restful at this time, and even forevermore, havingthe Lord for our Keeper and Preserver.
Psalm 122:1. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. I was glad for their sake, glad to think they wereso willing to go. I was glad, also, for my own sake, for I was glad to go, too.
2. Our feet shall stand within your gates, O Jerusalem. Happy men who were citizens of such a city! Happy worshippers comingtogether to the place whose very name signifies the vision of peace, the metropolis of God, type of the New Jerusalem whichis from above!
3. Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together. Not a conglomeration of huts, but built as a city with substantialstructures. And not a straggling city, like some we read of, that have been called, "cities of magnificent distances"-butit was "compact together." Happy is the Church that is at peace-blessed are the people who are joined together by a graciousbrotherly love.
4. Where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.The Church is the point of meeting-"Where the tribes go up." The Church is the place of "testimony"-and saints go to heartestimony and to bear it. I wish there was more of this bearing testimony among Christian people and that they looked uponit as a sacred duty to tell others what God has told them. "To give thanks unto the name of the Lord"-that is another partof true worship-praise, joyful thanksgiving should be one of the saints' continual avocations. Let us not forget it at thistime. Some are here who have been sick-let them give thanks unto the name of the Lord. Some are here who are still weak, yetable to come up with God's people-let us give thanks unto the name of the Lord. We have all some special mercy, some choicefavor for which to praise His name. Then let us all give thanks unto the name of the Lord!
5. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. If any of the people had been wronged by thepetty magistrates, they went up to Jerusalem and made their appeal to the king. Here may we bring our suit before God andorder our case before Him, for He is true and just, and nothing shall go amiss that is left with Him.
6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for it now, breathe a silent prayer to God.
6. They shall prosper that love You. God loves those who love His Church and love His cause-and He rewards them with prosperity,as much of earthly prosperity as they can bear, and prosperity to their souls beyond measure.
7. Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palace. The Psalmist bade us pray and now he, himself, prays. Hewho bids others do a thing should be prepared to set the example.
8. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now pray, Peace be within you. Let us say it, for the sake of beloved onesin Heaven, and dear ones on earth who are on the way there, "Peace be within you."
9. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good. Not only pray for it, but work for it, give for it, livefor it! "I will seek your good!" God bless to us these two Psalms and put us all in a right state of heart tonight! Amen.