Sermon 2675. Jehovah's Challenge
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MAY 20, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 31, 1882.
"Is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27.
A Truth of God may be sincerely believed by us and yet it may do us good to have it put in the form of a question. As I readthe chapter, I called your attention to Jeremiah's confident declaration to God, "There is nothing too hard for You." Yetin our text, which is only a few verses further on in the chapter, the Lord says to this same Prophet, "Is there anythingtoo hard for Me?" I think the explanation of this mystery is that we do not always thoroughly believe even all that we dotruly believe. We may believe it so as to have no doubt about it, but not so believe it as to be prepared to put it into practice.Jeremiah might say to the Lord, "There is nothing too hard for You," and he might be confident of the truth of his words,yet there might be, in the background, so much mistrust, possibly imperceptible to himself, that it might be necessary forGod to put the matter to him in the form of a question and to say, even to believing Jeremiah, "Is there anything too hardfor Me?" Ah, we little know what unbelievers we really are! The most of us are scarcely aware of what an awful amount of skepticismstill lies lurking within our breasts, only waiting for the opportunity to show itself.
Besides, dear Friends, you must always remember that it is one thing to believe a general doctrine, but it is quite anotherthing to make a particular and personal application of it. Jeremiah believes that God can drive away the Chaldeans and leavethe land free for the use of its owners-but can he believe that the little plot of ground at Anathoth, for which he has justpaid 17 shekels of silver, will ever be worth the money it has cost him? I expect the devil began to inject doubts into hismind concerning that transaction by saying to him, "Can you trust God about that purchase of land?" So the Lord does not,at once, accept Jeremiah's declaration when the Prophet says, "There is nothing too hard for You," but He puts to him a directquestion relating to that very point, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" Some of you think you could believe concerningthe conversion of a nation, but do you never have doubts concerning the conversion of a perverse child? You believe in thepeacefulness that is to reign during the millennium, but have you never had a doubt about the peace of your own domestic circle?You could trust God, you say, in a storm at sea, but can you trust Him about that bad debt on your books? You could dependupon Him, you say, in death and throughout eternity, but can you depend upon Him about that trifling matter which is justnow bothering you and giving you so much vexation? Is there anything, great or small, that is too hard for God? That is thequestion I am going to try to answer. I throw down the challenge, in the name of the glorious God who said to Jeremiah, "Isthere anything too hard for Me?" Now is your opportunity to bring up your hard things, your difficult things, your apparentlyimpossible things and to see how they are affected by this challenge of the Most High-"Is there anything too hard for Me?"
In calling attention to this challenge of Jehovah, I ask you to remember, first, that the hardest conceivable things havealready been done by God. Next, I will mention some of the hard things which remain to be done. And, lastly, since nothingis too hard for the Lord, I will try to answer the short and simple question, "What then?"
I. First, then, I want you to remember that THE HARDEST CONCEIVABLE THINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE BY GOD.
Let us begin at the beginning, with God's work of creation, as Jeremiah does in this very chapter, and we shall then say,with him, that Jehovah "made the Heaven and the earth." There was a time when there was nothing that had been
created and God dwelt alone. There was no raw material out of which to construct the universe, yet, when it pleased Him todo so, everything was formed and fashioned by God out of nothing. What, then, can He not do after having done that? I askyou to also think what God did afterwards. At first, when He made the world, He left it for ages in an unfinished state, for"in the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void." But, long afterwards, whenHe came to put it in order, and make it fit for man's abode-and then to create man to have dominion over all the earth-whowas with Him to help Him? "With whom took He counsel and who instructed Him?" With His own hands He piled up the mountainsand dug the foundations of the great deep. His unaided power achieved it all! Everything was in darkness even after He hadmade it, but He spoke, and said, "Light, be," "and there was light." Everything was in confusion and chaos. The earth andthe waters were mingled together, but again He spoke, and divided the land from the sea, and the clouds rose up to paint thesky, the rivers sought their bed and old Ocean was girt about with his belt of sand!
God did it all, but, even then, the world was dead. No life was anywhere to be seen. But again God spoke and, straightway,the earth was green with grass, herbs and trees! The waters teemed with fish, all kinds of birds began to fly in the openfirmament of Heaven and multitudes of beasts ranged the plain. Then, last of all, God said, "Let Us make man in Our image,after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, inthe image of God created He him; male and female created He them." Now, whenever we doubt the power of God to do anything,let us read again the first chapter of the Book of Genesis and then say, with Jeremiah, "Ah, Lord God, behold, You have madethe Heaven and the earth by Your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for You!" There is nothingwhich the Lord did not make and He made it all unaided. He did it all alone, by His own unguided wisdom and skill. Therefore,one of the hardest things that ever could be done, was done by God when He accomplished His great work of Creation!
Now let us think of His work under a different aspect, that is, His work of destruction. And let any who doubt the power ofGod tremble as they hear or read how He has displayed it. Again and again has the Lord shown how easily He can rid Himselfof His adversaries and shake them off, as Paul shook off the viper into the fire. Go far back in the history of the worldand note how all mankind had become corrupt-they who ought to have been holy and separate from sinners, had mixed themselveswith the ungodly-and on a certain day, when God's patience had at last reached its limit, He spoke and down came torrentsof rain, descending with tremendous power and, at the same time, the sluices of the great deep were unlocked and up leapedthe fountains that, till then, had been sealed! And, very soon, over the whole earth, there was one great sheet of water,for God had determined that He would destroy all flesh from off the face of the earth, save a "few, that is, eight souls,"whom He had housed within the ark. Terrible as the work of destruction must have been, it was done as God determined and,after that, let none ever think that God cannot overcome His enemies! Let no one ever imagine that a warfare can be successfullywaged against Him! When He bares His arm for battle, His foes shall all flee before Him like chaff before the wind, or theyshall fall before Him like the wheat falls before the reaper. He can create and He can destroy! In looking back upon whatHe has already done, we can see that He has accomplished inconceivably great and difficult things both in making and in unmaking."Ah," you say, "perhaps these are sublime things on an enormous scale." Yes, but God is great on anyscale, and almighty whereveryou perceive the signs and tokens of His working!
Think, next, of His work for the defense and deliverance of His chosen people. Read the Book of Exodus-you cannot too oftenread the wondrous story of how, when the children of Israel were few in Egypt, God nevertheless preserved them. And how, whenthey multiplied and the cruel Pharaoh arose and tried, first, to curb and then to crush them, God remembered His people anddetermined to bring them out of the land of bondage. Moses and Aaron said to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, LetMy people go." How that proud monarch bridled up when he heard those words! "Who is the Lord," he said, "that I should obeyHis voice to let Israel go?" He soon knew who Jehovah was, for plague followed plague till everything that Egypt had was destroyedand, last of all, God "smote all the first-born in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham." Then theoppressors opened wide their gates and Egypt was glad when Israel departed. With a high hand and an outstretched arm, theLord brought forth His people! And when they came to the Red Sea and the Egyptians pursued them-and the tyrant thought thathe would surely destroy them, for the wilder-
ness had shut them in-then the Lord divided the sea and led His people through the depths in safety! "But the sea overwhelmedtheir enemies," and on the farther shore, Miriam and the women joined in the jubilant refrain to the triumphant song of Mosesand the Israelite host, "Sing you to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has He thrown intothe sea."
Brothers and Sisters, after this mighty act of Jehovah, you need never imagine that He cannot deliver His people! You neednot suppose that a little Church, or a little island, or a little nation shall be domineered over by the proud ones of theearth! If God shall but repeat that ancient command, "Touch not My anointed, and do My Prophets no harm," it will be a caseof, "Hands off," for the oppressors, however mighty they may be-and they will have to learn that they must not touch the electof the Most High to do them harm!
If you need another instance of God's wonderful working, I remind you that harder things than we need to have done for usby God have been done by Him in the work of His Providence. Think how He led His people through the wilderness and fed themfor 40 years, though all that time they never stirred a plow in the furrow, or gathered fruit from fig trees or from olivetrees. A pathless desert was the highway of the millions who were His people! Heaven dropped with daily manna for them andthe smitten Rock yielded a perennial stream to quench their thirst. When they craved flesh to eat, the Lord sent them innumerablefeathered fowl. Their garments waxed not old upon them, neither did their feet swell for 40 years in that great and terriblewilderness. When you think of all this, my poor Brother, you may well say, "If God could do that great work, surely He canprovide for mylittle family." Of course He can! The God who could, for 40 years, feed three millions of people who marchedor stopped with nothing but bare sand beneath them, can much more feed you, O you of little faith!
All these are great things that God has done, but I am going to take you into much greater depths than we have traversed yet,for all this is as nothing compared with what God has done in His great work of Redemption. Creation is shorn of its glory.The terrors of God at the deluge may almost be forgotten. The deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea may take quite a secondaryplace and the leading of the people through the wilderness may be put quite in the background when I begin to tell the storyof our redemption! This is the hardest thing, the most amazing thing God has ever done! His Son came down to live among men!He took on Him a human form and was born of the Virgin Mary, sheltered in a stable, cradled in a manger! This is such a miraclethat all the other miracles I ever heard of seem commonplace affairs compared with this wonder of wonders-that God shouldtake upon Himself the nature of man and then- still more marvelous- take upon Himself the sin of His people and bear the awfulload of their transgression, all the burden of their punishment and endure it even to the last pang, drinking up the cup ofInfinite Justice to its dregs! Never was God so Godlike as when Jesus died upon the Cross! Never was Omnipotence so potentas when He died that men might live, crushing the old dragon as He bled, leading captivity captive while He was, Himself,bound to the accursed tree, casting death into an eternal grave when He, Himself, was laid in the sepulcher! I cannot adequatelytell you the story of all these marvels! The very angels in Heaven have been set a-wondering ever since that day-and theyhave been continually telling to one another, over and over again, the story of the God that loved and died and, by His love,death and living again, defeated Satan, conquered death and led captivity captive for all His people! I feel more inclinedto burst out with, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" than to say even a single syllable more concerning this greatest of all God'sworks!
Certainly, in what I have said, I have fully proved that the hardest conceivable things have already been done by God and,therefore, He may well ring out the challenge of our text, "Is there anything too hard for Me?"
II. Now, secondly, I am going to mention SOME OF THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN TO BE DONE.
The hardest things have been done by God-what remains to be done? Look within you, look around you. Find all the difficultthings that you need to have done for you and then see how easy it is for the Lord to meet your every need! Some of the hardthings relate to temporal matters. ' 'It would be a great thing for God to deliver me out of all my troubles," says one, "forI am sorely afflicted and tried." But, really, my dear Friend, after all that God has done, will you, canyou, dareyou thinkto yourself that He cannot deliver you? Are you His child? Do you love Him? Do you trust Him? Then, surely, you will not saythat He will leave you-that He will forsake you-or that He cannot help you! I am certain that you would be ashamed to leadanybody to think that God could not deliver you, yet you have, perhaps, allowed the thought to creep into your own mind. Thendrive it out at once! Do not let it remain there a moment longer. God can help you and in very simple ways, too.
I have known Him deliver His people in very extraordinary and unexpected ways. There was a poor man, not long ago, who hadno bread for his family and they were almost starving. One of his children said to him, "Father, God sent bread to Elijahby ravens." "Ah, yes," he replied, "but God does not use birds in that way now." He was a cobbler and a short time after hespoke those words, there flew into his workshop a bird, which he saw was a rare one, so he caught it and put it in a cage.A little later, a servant came in and said to him, "Have you seen such-and-such a bird?" "Yes," he answered, "it flew intomy shop, so I caught it and put it into a cage." "It belongs to my mistress," said the maid. "Well, then, take it," he replied,and away she went. Perhaps you think that there was not anything very remarkable in that incident, but when the girl tookthe bird to her mistress, the lady sent her back to thank the cobbler for his care of her pet-and to give him half a sovereign!So, if the bird did not actually bring the bread and meat in its mouth, it was made the medium of feeding the hungry familyalthough the father had doubted whether such a thing could happen! God has blessed ways of delivering His people if they willbut trust Him. I do not doubt, if this were the time for such testimony to be given, that every Christian here could tellsome story of the way in which God has delivered in time past. "Oh, yes," says one, "I could, I know." What, you? Yet youare the very one who doubts God's power to deliver you! Cover your face for shame and cry, "Lord, have mercy upon me! Forgivemy unbelief and help Your poor child to trust Your fatherly care and to know that You will provide for me."
But, next, some of the hard things relate to spiritual matters. I fancy that I hear someone say, "I have a trouble which causesme more anxiety than the things you have just mentioned. I know that God can provide for me in temporal matters, but I havea very hard fight of it, spiritually. I am tempted, first in one way, and then in another, till I sometimes fear that I shallnot be able to hold out. Satan appears to know just where I am weakest. He shoots at the joints of my harness and all hisfiery darts seem to sorely wound me. I shall one day fall by the hand of the enemy." David said something very much like that,yet he did not perish by the hand of his enemy, King Saul. He died in his bed, rejoicing in his God! And very likely it willbe the same with you. At any rate, if you are trusting in Christ, you shall not be overcome, for greater is He that is foryou than all that can be against you! Do you believe that you, a child of God, cannot be so helped by Him that you shall beable to overcome any kind of sin? Surely you cannot believe anything so dishonoring to your Heavenly Father?
If you do, I do not. I cannot tell how God's mind comes into contact with man's mind, but I know that it does-that His Spiritcomes into most intimate connection with our spirit and so influences our spirit that the sin, which once seemed to fascinateand charm us, loses all its attractions and delights. And the doubts and fears, which for a while depress us, have, by-and-by,no depressing power whatever! You remember how Eliphaz said to Job, "At destruction and famine you shall laugh," and God oftenhelps His servants to laugh at those very things which before seemed great burdens to them. There is nothing in your spiritualcase that is too hard for the Lord-so bring it before Him in faith and prayer this very hour!
I fancy that I can hear someone else saying, "But I am not God's child! Oh, how I wish that I could be! Alas, I am a greatsinner." What has been your sin, my Friend? I do not want you to tell me-I only ask you what it was that you may tell it toyourself, and then answer the Lord's question, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" If Christ had not died, it would havebeen useless to ask you that question, but since Jesus died, "the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." Andsince it is written, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin," can there be anything conceivable thatis too hard for the Lord? There is no sin which you have committed which the blood of Christ cannot wash out if you believein Him! Though you were even red with murder, black with blasphemy and covered from head to foot with the filthiness of lust,yet, on your believing in Jesus, you will be made, then and there, as white as snow! Free pardon for every kind of sin isproclaimed to every soul that will believe in Jesus Christ. "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,"if they will only trust in Christ. So, in this sense, there is nothing too hard for the Lord. There is no sinner too guiltyfor the Lord to forgive when he trusts the Savior's Sacrifice on Calvary.
"Yes," says another friend, "I can understand that I can have forgiveness, but this is a greater difficulty to me-I have beenso long a transgressor of God's Law that I do not think I ever could conquer my sin." No, I know that you could not and Iwant you to be fully persuaded that you could not! And then, when you are perfectly convinced upon that point, let me askyou this question, "Is even this thing-this power of overcoming sin-too hard for the Lord?Your successful resistance is outof the question-you cannot accomplish anything in this great conflict, for you are nobody
and nothing-but is the struggle too hard for the Lord?" It often happens that a man says, "Well, I know that I have been agreat drunkard. Drinking has been my besetting sin, but I can leave it off when I like, and become a sober man at once." Sohe does and he signs the pledge and wears his blue ribbon. But, by-and-by, the color of that ribbon ought to be ruby ratherthan blue, for the man has given way to strong drink again! The reason of his fall is that he cured himself and so the diseasecame back. But the drunkard who says, "I am afraid to trust myself, for this intemperance has got such a hold on me that Inever can get out of its clutches by my own power. O God, deliver me! I trust You to save me! I look to Jesus Christ to saveme!" He is the man who shallfe helped and he shall be more than a conqueror through the might of God! Let me assure you, mydear Friend, that there is no form of sin from which you cannot be delivered by the Grace of God. After many years of vice-prolonged,continued, inveterate, horrible vice-men have not only been reformed and reclaimed, but they have been renewed, sanctifiedand made pure and holy!
I wonder how you would have felt, if you had been visiting in certain of the South Sea Islands, and you had been sitting atthe Lord's Table with some good old deacon, and then, after you had been eating and drinking with him at the Communion andhad heard him pray and preach, somebody had whispered in your ear, "That man used to be a cannibal. He has murdered many.""Oh," you would say, "and has the Grace of God changed such a lion as that into a lamb?" It would have struck you as a veryremarkable illustration of the power of Divine Grace, yet there are, even in this Tabernacle tonight, cases that are quiteas striking as that! If you could know all about them, you would agree with me that it is so. God's Grace can do marvelousthings! It can change lions into lambs, ravens into doves and sinners into saints! In fact, the proof of Christianity is themoral change which it is continually working in the minds and lives of men and women. Above all other miracles stands thisone-the miracle by which the dishonest are made just, the impure are made clean and the disobedient are brought to the obedienceof faith.
Truly, there is no case that is too hard for the Lord. I suppose a good many of you never heard that "Satan" came into thisplace, one Sabbath, and was converted. [The remarkable story of this man's conversion is related at greater length in C HSpurgeon's Autobiography, Volume IV, with other similar narratives. Visit Pilgrim Publications for availability and pricingat http://www.pilgrimpublications.com/spurgeon.htm# biographies.] "No," you say, "surely that has never happened." Yes, ithas! I can vouch for the truth of the story. There was a sailor who lived at Wivenhoe, in Essex, a man who was such a vileblasphemer and who lived altogether such a disgraceful life, that the people called him, "Old Satan." When the ship in which"Satan" sailed, came to London, a godly seaman, who was on the same vessel, persuaded the man to come to hear me. He was themore willing to do so because I once lived at Colchester, which is not far from Wivenhoe. As he heard the Word, the Lord touched"Old Satan's" heart and there was never before such a stir in Wivenhoe as when he went home, a converted man, to tell othersinners the power of the Grace of God! If there is anybody here who might be called a very devil, let him come and trust Christ,and he shall be saved straightway. Come along with you, poor slave of Satan! Leave your old master this very minute! Do notgive him even a moment's notice, but speed away to the great Father's house and He will receive you, for He is expecting you!No, more-it is He who is drawingyou, by His gracious Spirit! And it is His Son who has said, "All that the Father gives Meshall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out." God grant that many who have been hard sinners, maycome to Christ and find in Him eternal life!
Once more, Jehovah's challenge, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" contains a lesson for you who are trying to serve theLord. I want you also to catch the meaning and the message of my text-there is nothing too hard for God, so He can save thechildren in your Sunday school class! He can bless the people of the district where you visit. He can help you to talk tothat dying person whom you went to see yesterday. There is nothing too hard for the Lord, so He can bless you, city missionary,to that dark slum which gives you so much anxiety. He can bless you, dear Friend, at that street corner where you scarcelyget through a dozen sentences before you are interrupted! This question of Jehovah, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" seemsto be like a rallying cry from God to urge all His followers to press on, like heroes, without a doubt about the victory!"Courage, my comrades," said Mohammed to his troops, one day, when the battle was going against them-"I can hear the angelscoming to our rescue." There were no angels flying to help him, but they are always coming to aid uswhen we need them, for,"are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" If we are truly trustingin the living God, He will surely send the heavenly principalities and powers to help us, so that, in our weakness, His strengthshall be glorified and sinners shall be saved!
I can believe in the conversion of the Jews when I hear Jehovah's challenge, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" I can believein the spread of His Gospel over the whole world when I hear Him ask, "Is there anything too hard for Me?" I can believe inmy Master setting up a Kingdom that shall have no bounds and no end, when I hear His royal enquiry, "Is there anything toohard for Me?" Very often, when we get among men and women, we seem to be surrounded by a lot of children playing with toys,for they bother, hinder, hamper and only increase our own helplessness. But when we get clear of them and just look to God,alone, then we seem to have elbowroom for our work. A thoroughly consecrated man can do something, by God's Grace, when hehas got rid of the intolerable nuisance of having too many human helpers who are often only hindrances-and who has not anyother helper but his God. Oh, it is a blessed thing to be flung back upon the bare arm of Omnipotence-to be gloriously compelledto rest on God and on God alone! May many of us know, by happy, personal experience, how blessed it is!
III. I have done, dear Friends, when I have, in the last place, very briefly answered a short and simple question. Since nothingis too hard for the Lord, WHAT THEN?
I want that we, as a people, should be true to the very core to our blessed God and, to that end, as there is nothing thatis too hard for Him, let us trust Him, all of us, whatever our trials or our difficulties may be. Let us have no sham faith,no pretended confidence, but real trust in a real God!
Then, next, I want that we should act as if we trusted God. Do not let us waver, "for he that wavers is like a wave of thesea driven with the wind and tossed."
And, then, believing in God, let us always do what is right Let us believe that to do the right is always right-that policy-that"hedging" a little, and doing what we call a "slight wrong," can never be justified in the sight of God.
Finally, let us live a life of love, a life of forgiveness and kindness, trusting that God will cause love to overcome humanhate and kindness to conquer all misrepresentation. Live in all respects so as to glorify God.
Beloved in the Lord, who are one with us in Christ Jesus, do be out-and-out Believers and let your faith be as evident asthe color on a healthy cheek, that all men may see that the very life-blood of your spiritual being is your faith in God andin His Christ! What made brave Oliver Cromwell, in the days gone by, so terrible an enemy to all who loved not liberty andright? It was his faith! And he had gathered about him a band of men who also believed and so, when the Ironsides marchedto the fight, you might as well have hoped to stop the stars in their courses as to keep those men back from victory! Andtoday, what England needs is men of faith whose watchword is, "The Lord of Hosts!" and whose confidence it is that "with Godall things are possible," and also that "all things are possible to him that believes." May all of us be such Believers, forour Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JEREMIAH32:1-27.
Verses 1-5. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenthyear of Nebuchadnezzar For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the Prophet was shut up in thecourt of theprison, which was in the king of Judah's house. For Zedekiah, king of Judah, had shut him up, saying. Thereforedo you prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and heshall take it; and Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be deliveredinto the hands of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; and heshall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, says the Lord: though you fight with the Chaldeans,you shall not prosper So you see that Jeremiah was shut up in prison at the time here mentioned. Zedekiah, the king of Judah,had treated him very harshly because of his faithful utterance of the Word of the Lord. He was a true servant of Jehovah,yet he suffered much at the king's hands. One very remarkable event, which happened at that time, is here recorded.
6-8. And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Behold, Hanameel, the son of Shallum, your uncle, shallcome unto you, saying, Buy you my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is yours to buy it. So Hanameel,my uncle's son, came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, Ipray you, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is
yours and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. The Lord had toldhim beforehand that it would be so and, therefore, in due time, his cousin came to him with the offer of this plot of landin the country of Benjamin.
9, 10. Andlbought the field ofHanameel, my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighedhim the money, even seventeen shekelsof silver. And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. Thiswas, in every respect, a very extraordinary transaction! Remember that the Chaldeans were already besieging Jerusalem andthey were all over the land, carrying fire and sword into every part of it. Jerusalem was shut up, so that none of the inhabitantscould get out of the city-yet here is Jeremiah, himself a prisoner, buying land which was virtually worth nothing whatever!But he believed so firmly that the Chaldeans would yet permit the Jews to live unmolested in that land that he paid down thepurchase money for the field and saw to the legal execution of the deed of transfer, just as you or I might have done if wewere purchasing a plot of land in our own country. This is a notable instance of the triumph of faith over unfavorable surroundingsand, also, of the Prophet's obedienceto the Word of the Lord.
11, 12. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that whichwas open: and I gave the evidence of the purchase to Baruch, the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel,my uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that satin the court of the prison. Jeremiah did all this openly. What they may have thought to be an absurd action, he did not doin private, but in the presence of them all! True faith in God does not go in for hole-and-corner transactions. Faith cando its business in the light of the sun! Faith believes God under all circumstances and believes that the truest common senseis to obey His Word. Therefore she is not ashamed of what she does-neither shall she ever have cause to be ashamed or confounded,world without end! There is a living God and if we do what He bids us, good must come of it. No harm shall happen to the manwho confidently rests in the Most High.
13-17. And 1 charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus says the LORD ofHosts, the God ofIsrael; Take these evidences, thisevidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that theymay continue many days. For thus says the LORD ofHosts, the God ofIsrael; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessedagain in this land. Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch, the son of Neriah, I prayed unto theLORD, saying, Ah Lord GOD!Faith cannot live without prayer. When she has performed her most heroic deeds, she turns to Godand humbly asks for renewed strength, for oh, my Brothers and Sisters, the best of men are but men at the best-and those whohave the most faith never have any to spare. Jeremiah says, "I prayed unto the Lord, saying, Ah Lord God!" It looked, at firstsight, as if the Prophet was going to utter some mournful complaint, or to express some doubt or misgiving concerning thepurchase of the land, but it was not so. Having allowed that exclamation to escape from him, his faith came to the rescueand he continued-
17. Behold, You have made the Heaven and the earth by Your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hardfor You. Is not that a grand sentence? "There is nothing too hard for You." He that could make the Heaven and the earth cando anything! Read, in the Book of Genesis, the story of the creation, and see how, "He spoke, and it was done; He commanded,and it stood fast." And then judge as to what can ever be a difficulty for the Almighty. Surely you must say to Him, as Jeremiahdid, "There is nothing too hard for You."
18. You show loving kindness unto thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children afterthem; the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD ofHosts, is His name. See how these godly men, in their times of trouble, delightedin the great names and glorious attributes of God. There are, nowadays, many namby-pamby, fashionable religionists, wrappedin luxury, who have only a little God-they never seem to know "the Great, the Mighty God"-but Jeremiah, with the smell ofthe prison still clinging to him, talks grandly! "The Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of Hosts, is His name."
19-21. Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for Your eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give everyoneaccording to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: who has set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, evenunto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and have made You a name, as at this day; and have brought forth Your peopleIsrael out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and withgreat terror. Those ancient Jews, in the time of their trouble, always looked gratefully back to the wonders worked by Jehovahin Egypt. That great deed of God, when He smote the might of Pharaoh,
was always present to the Hebrew mind and the people, in every season of tribulation, refreshed themselves with the remembranceof it. Well, then, dear Friends, as they sang the song of Moses, shall not we sing the song of the Lamb? Will not we go backin thought to the glorious triumphs of our Redeemer and recount again and again, for the encouragement of our faith, whatChrist did for us upon the Cross, even as the Jews thought often, for the strengthening of their confidence, of their wondrousdeliverance from Egypt by the high hand and the stretched out arm of Jehovah?
22-24. And have given them this land, which You didswear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey,and they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not Your voice, neither walked in Your Law; they have done nothing ofall that You commanded them to do: therefore You have caused all this evil to come upon them: behold the mounts. The marginrenders it, "the engines of shot," which we see, by the next chapter, were powerful enough to throw down the houses in Jerusalem.
24, 25. They are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans, that fight againstit, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence; and what You have spoken is come to pass and, behold,You see it. And You have said unto me, O LORD GOD, Buy you the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is giveninto the hands of the Chaldeans. I suppose that, although Jeremiah, with unquestioning faith, had done as God had commandedhim, yet afterwards, when he was alone in his prison cell, he began to think the whole matter over. And though he may nothave had any actual doubts, yet he probably had some anxieties as to the issue of the whole affair. He could not quite understandit, so he wisely put it before the Lord. Some of you who have truly trusted God, may yet be just now perplexed with anxietyof one kind or another. Well, then, tell it to the Lord-go at once into His Presence and spread the case before Him, as Jeremiahdid.
26, 27. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anythingtoo hard forMe?That question we will try to answer presently. [Remember, the exposition was before the sermon.]