"Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!
I. CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE DUTIES SHOULD BE FULFILLED ERE MEN ENTER UPON DIVINE EXERCISES. The deed had already been executed.
II. CIRCUMSTANCES OF TRIAL AND PERPLEXITY SHOULD LEAD MEN TO THE THRONE OF GRACE.
III. THE KNOWN CHARACTER AND PAST ACTION OF GOD SHOULD INFLUENCE MEN'S JUDGMENTS OF PRESENT EXPERIENCES AND STRENGTHEN THEIR FAITH. It is good to rehearse these even in private devotions.
IV. SINS SHOULD BE FREELY AND HONESTLY CONFESSED.
V. ONE SAINT MAY INTERCEDE FOR MANY SINNERS.
VI. THE PRAYER OF FAITH IS ANSWERED. (Vers. 26-44,) - M.
I. LOOK AT THE POWER OF GOD IN WHAT HE HAS MADE. A little child can take a grain of wheat, and drop it into the earth; by the aid of the earth, the air, the sun, the rain, and the dew, it grows and fills the carol wheat. By a lithe grinding at the mill, the coarse and fine parts are separated, and you have flour. By a little adding of water, and by baking, you have bread. You eat the bread, and it becomes flesh, and blood, and bone. But suppose you had to do all this. Could you make the grain of wheat? Could you make it grow when made? Could you make it turn into blood, and bone, and flesh? What power of God is seen in every grain of wheat! You can bring two drops of water together, and you might, by great digging, and much hard work, turn the channel of the small brook, and make the brook run in a different place; but could you make a basin of waters, ton thousand miles across its top, and so deep, that no man can measure it even with the longest rope? Could you make such basins again and again, till all the oceans on the earth were made? Could you dig great channels, some of them many miles wide, and fill them all with waters, and thus make all those great rivers which pour their waters on towards the great ocean, and which will thus run as long as the world lasts? No, you cannot. No man can. But God can do all this! Men can shoot a bird on the wing; they can subdue the horse and the elephant; they can spear the fish, and crush the insect with the foot. But who has power to make the smallest insect that creeps or flies, or the most tiny fish that swims? God can do all this. Suppose you could see a chain held in the hand of God, which holds every weed and flower, every insect and creature that lives, every mind that thinks, whether in this or in any other world, would you not feel that the hand of God was strong, to hold all up, every moment, from the morning of creation to the end of all things? "He fainteth not, neither is He weary." "There is nothing too hard for the Lord." Men are born and die; trees grow up and fall away; nations grow and perish; but all the works of God continue as they were from the beginning, because from age to age God remains the same, almighty in power, unaltered, undiminished, untired, unceasing! What a being God is!
Thou hast made the heaven and the earth.
I. TO STIMULATE THE EVANGELIST. And who is the evangelist? Every man and woman who has tasted that the Lord is gracious. Here is your encouragement: the work is God's, and your success is in the hand of Him who made the heaven and the earth.
1. Remember that the world was created from nothing. He spake and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The case of the sinner is a parallel one. You say there is nothing in the sinner. Ay, then, there is room here for a re-creating work; for the Eternal God to come, and with His outstretched arm to create a new heart and a right spirit, and put His grace where there was none before.
2. But you have none to help you or go forth in your work with you. When God made the world — and the same God is with thee — He worked alone.
3. But you reply, "My sorrow lieth not so much in that I am alone, as in the melancholy fact that I am very conscious of my own weakness, and of my want of adaptation for my peculiar work. I am not sufficient for these things; but rather I feel like Jonah, that I would flee into Tarshish, that I might escape from the burden of the Lord against this Nineveh." Ay, but cast thy thoughts back again upon creation. The Eternal needed no instruments in creation. He sayeth not by man's strength, nor by human learning, and eloquence, and talent. It is His strength, and not the strength or weakness of the instruments to which we must look.
4. Dost thou still complain, and say — "Alas! it is little I can say! When I speak, I can but utter a few plain words — true and earnest, but not mighty. I have no power to plead with souls with the tears and the seraphic zeal of a Whitfield. I can only tell the tale of mercy simply, and leave it there." Well, and did not God create all things by His naked word? At this day, is not the Gospel in itself the rod of Jehovah's strength? Is it not the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth?
5. Another pleads, "You are not aware of the darkness of the district in which I labour. I toil among a benighted, unintelligent, ignorant people. I cannot expect to see fruit there, toil as I may." Ah! brother, and while you talk so you never will see any fruit, for God giveth not great things to unbelieving men. But for the encouragement of thy faith, let me remind thee that it is the God that made the heavens and the earth on whom thou hast to lean.
6. "Ay," saith one, "but the men among whom I labour are so confused in their notions, they put darkness for light and light for darkness; their moral sense is blunted; if I try to teach them, their ears are dull of hearing and their hearts are given to slumber. Besides, they are full of vain janglings and oppose themselves to the truth; I endure much contradiction of sinners, and they will not receive the truth in the love of it." Did not the Holy Spirit brood with shadowing wings over the earth when it was chaos? Did He not bring out order from confusion?
7. "Ah," say you, "they are all so dead, so dead!" Ay, and remember how the waters brought forth life abundantly; and how the earth brought forth the creeping thing, and the cattle after its kind; and how, at last, man was made out of the very dust of the earth.
8. See how fair and glorious this earth is now! Well might the morning stars sing together, and the sons of God shout for joy! And dost thou think that God cannot make as fair a heart in man, and make it bud and blossom, and teem with hallowed life?
II. TO ENCOURAGE THE INQUIRER. Many really desirous to be saved are full of doubts, and difficulties, and questionings.
1. Your mind is so dark. "I cannot see Christ," says one; "I feel benighted; it is all darkness, thick as night with me." Yes, but then there is the question, Can God roll this night away? And the answer comes, He who said, "Let there be light," and there was light, can certainly repeat the miracle.
2. Another of your doubts will arise from the fact that you feel so weak. You cannot do what you would. You would leave sin, but still fall into it; would lay hold on Christ, but cannot. Then comes the question, Can God do it? And we answer, He who made the heavens and the earth without a helper, can certainly Bare thee when thou canst not help thyself.
3. "Ay," sayest thou again, "but I am in such an awful state of mind; there is such a confusion within me; I cannot tell what is the matter with me; I know not what I am; I cannot understand myself." Was not the world just so of old, and did not all the beauty of all lands rise out of this dire confusion?
4. There is more hope in thy case than there was in the creation of the world, for in the creation there was nothing done beforehand. The plan was drawn, no doubt, but no material was provided; no stores laid in to effect the purpose. But in thy case the work is done already, beforehand. On the bloody tree Christ has carried sin; in the grave He has vanquished death; in resurrection He has rent for ever the bends of the grave; in ascension He has opened heaven to all believers; and in His intercession He is pleading still for them that trust Him.
5. Yet again, God has done something more in thee than there was done before He made the world. Emptiness did not cry, "O God! create me." Darkness could not pray, O Lord. give me light." Confusion could not cry, "O God! ordain me into order." But see what He has done for you. He has taught you to cry, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
6. It was in God's power to make the world or not, just as He pleased. No promise bound Him; no covenant made it imperative upon Him that His arm should be outstretched. Sinner, the Lord is not bound to save thee except from His own promise, and that promise is, "He that calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." He cannot withhold saving thee if thou callest upon Him.
7. It is certain that there is more room in your case for God to glorify Himself than there was in the making of the world. In making the world He glorified His wisdom and He magnified His power, but He could not show His mercy.
III. TO COMFORT BELIEVERS. You are greatly troubled, are you? It is a common lot with us all And you have nothing on earth to trust to now, and are going to be cast on your God alone? Happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father! Blessed storm that wrecks thee on the Rock of Ages! Glorious billow that washes thee upon this heavenly shore! And now thou hast nothing but thy God to trust to, what art thou going to do? To fret? Oh, do not thus dishonour thy Lord! Show the world that thy God is worth ton thousand worlds to thee.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
II. LOOK AT THE POWER OF GOD AS HE GOVERNS THE WORLD. God made the body, and the spirit in the body, and knows just how to reach and guide the spirit. Herod and Pilate may lay their plans just as will please themselves; and the wicked in hell may curse and swear day and night for ever, if they wish; but God knows how to make all this wickedness turn, so as to bring honour to His own name.
1. He can make great joy to come from great sorrows.
2. The power of God can keep His people when in danger.
3. The power of God is seen in turning the plans of Satan, the greatest sinner, against himself.
III. HAVING PROVED THAT GOD HAS ALMIGHTY POWER I INFER SOME THINGS.
1. I infer that He can aid us to carry the, Bible to all people.
2. That the power of God gives us faith in His government.
3. That the power of God is terrible to wicked people. What an eye God has! No darkness can hide from it: no cave shut it out!
4. That the power of God should make His people feel happy.
(John Todd, D. D.)
Christian Age.I see a mother that, as the twilight falls and the baby sleeps, and because it sleeps out of her arms, goes about gathering from the floor its playthings, and carries them to the closet, and carries away the vestments that have been cast down, and stirring the fire, sweeping up the hearth, winding the clock, and gathering up dispersed books, she hums to herself low melodies as she moves about the room, until the whole place is once again neat and clean, and in order. Why is it that the room is so precious to her? Is it because there is such beautiful paper on the walls? because there is so goodly a carpet on the floor? because the furniture in the room is so pleasing to the eye? All these are nothing in her estimation except as servants of that little creature of hers — the baby in the cradle. She says, "All these things serve my heart while I rock my child." The whole round globe is but a cradle, and our God rocks it, and regards all things, even the world itself, as so many instruments for the promotion of our welfare. When He makes the tempest, the pestilence, or the storm, when He causes ages in their revolutions to change the world, it is all to serve His own heart through His children — men. when we are walking through this world, we are not walking through long files of laws that have no design; we are walking through a world that has natural laws, which we must both know and observe; yet these must have their master, and Christ is He. And all of these are made to be our servants because we are God's children.
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