Far Better the Bitter Waters

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: – Exodus 15:22,23

Notice that the perils and trials of the wilderness occur very early in the pilgrim life. It is a notion, I have no doubt, of very young Christians who still have the shell upon their heads and are scarce hatched, that their trials are over now that they have become winged with faith; they had far better have reckoned that their trials have begun with tenfold force, now that they are numbered with the servants of the Most High. Whatever else comes not to thee, O servant of God, this will surely be fulfilled, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” “What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?”

When Israel was in Egypt, they drank of the river Nile. No ordinary water that…What a change from the sweetness of the Nile to the bitterness of Marah! Did not the suggestion rise in their hearts, “It was better with us in the bondage of Egypt, with water in abundance, than it is now in the liberty of the wilderness with the bitterness of Marah?” The devil tempted some of us at the very first by saying: “See what you have got by being a Christian. While you were as others are, your mind had mirth; now you have come out and followed the Crucified, you have lost the liveliness of your spirits, the brightness of your wit-that which made life worth having is taken away from you.” Young Christian, is that your case to-day? Be not stumbled, neither believe the enemy. Man, it were better to die at Marah free, than live a slave by the sweet Nile. Even men that know not the Spirit of God have felt it were better to die free than live slaves, and truly to be a slave to Satan is so degrading a thing, that if this mouth were for ever filled with Marah’s bitterness, yet were it better to be so than to be enchanted with the pleasures of sin. Yet these early trials are very severe, and need much grace lest they cause us great mischief.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0987.cfm

In the Hand of Jesus All His People Are

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. – John 10:29

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am… – John 17:24

Now, can I believe that He who promises that I shall be with Him where He is, that I may behold His glory – He who gives the certainty to every believer that He shall enter into everlasting happiness – can I believe that He is perfecting that for me-that the way by which He is taking me, so dark, so gloomy, so full of dangers, is, nevertheless, the shortest way to heaven? that He is using the quickest method to perfect that which concerns my soul? O faith! here is something for thee to do; and if thou canst perform it, thou shalt bring glory to God. The pith of it is this: that if God hath the keeping of us, He will perfect the keeping in the day of Christ. In the hand of Jesus all His people are, and in that hand they shall be for ever and ever…Every child of God is set apart by Christ, and in Christ, and the work of the Spirit has commenced which shall subdue sin, and extirpate the very roots of corruption; and this work shall be perfected; nay, is being perfected at this very moment. The dragon is being trodden down under foot. The seed of the woman within us is beginning to bruise the serpent’s head, and shall clearly bruise it and crush it, even to the death within our soul. He is perfecting us in all things for Himself. He has promised to bring us to glory. We have the earnest of that great glory in us now. The new life is there; all the elements of heaven are within us. Now He will perfect all these. He will not suffer one good thing that He has planted within us to die. It is a living and incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever…What a marvellous thing is a Christian! How mean; how noble! How abject; how august! How near to hell; how close to heaven! How fallen, yet lifted up! Able to do nothing; yet doing all things! Doing nothing; yet accomplishing all things; because herein it is that, in the man, and with the man, there is God, and He performeth all things for us. God, give us grace to look away entirely, evermore, from ourselves, and to depend entirely upon Him.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/3445.cfm

Our Vital Union to Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ – Ephesians 1:3

If I come before God’s throne with my prayers I shall never get them answered unless I bring Christ with me. The Molossians of old, when they could not get a favour from their king, adopted a singular expedient; they took the king’s only son in their arms, and falling on their knees cried, “O king, for thy son’s sake, grant our request.” He smiled and said, “I deny nothing to those who plead my son’s name.” It is so with God. He will deny nothing to the man who comes, having Christ at his elbow; but if he comes alone he must be cast away. Union to Christ is the great point in salvation. Let me tell you a story to illustrate this: the stupendous falls of Niagara have been spoken of in every part of the world; but while they are marvellous to hear of, and wonderful as a spectacle, they have been very destructive to human life, when by accident any have been carried down the cataract. Some years ago, two men, a bargeman and a collier, were in a boat, and found themselves unable to manage it, it being carried so swiftly down the current that they must both inevitably be borne down and dashed to pieces. Persons on the shore saw them, but were unable to do much for their rescue. At last, however, one man was saved by floating a rope to him, which he grasped. The same instant that the rope came into his hand a log floated by the other man. The thoughtless and confused bargeman instead of seizing the rope laid hold on the log. It was a fatal mistake; they were both in imminent peril, but the one was drawn to shore because he had a connection with the people on the land, whilst the other, clinging to the log, was borne irresistibly along, and never heard of afterwards. Do you not see that here is a practical illustration? Faith is a connection with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope of faith, and if we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, He pulls us to shore; but our good works having no connection with Christ, are drifted along down the gulf of fell despair. Grapple them as tightly as we may, even with hooks of steel, they cannot avail us in the least degree.  ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0107.cfm

When The Two Determinations Meet

Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.- Jeremiah 3:22

Sinners are eager and quick to escape from their own mercy. Like the prodigal, they are not satisfied till they get into “a far country”: they cannot rest in the same land with their God: they journey with all speed away from the Lord, and the greater the distance that they can set between themselves and their Father the more are they at ease. In forgetting God they find a horrible peace: the peace of death, a peace which will stupefy them into eternal destruction.

I admire the overflowing riches of the grace of God, that He should call men to Himself when they are altogether taken up with other things, when every thought, and every word, and every act is in rebellion against Him…The two determinations meet, and we shall see which of the two will prove itself the stronger one. We soon find that the determination of God overcomes the determination of man. The iron breaks the northern iron and the steel. “Thus saith the Lord; your covenant with death is broken, and your league with hell is disannulled:” for there was a prior covenant, a covenant of grace made by God Himself, which stands fast for ever; and there was a prior league which God made with His Son on our behalf, and that league shall overthrow our league with death and hell. Glory be to God that even when the sinner is still rebellious, and shows no signs of repentance, nor is conscious of any wish to turn from the error of his ways, even then, while his heart is black as night, and his spirit is choke-full with rebellion, God calls to him, “Return, O backsliding children.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

Yet the Lord Follows the Lost Sinner

…thine ears shall hear a word behind thee…-Isaiah 30:21

…for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. – Jeremiah 2:27

How does God find men when He declares that they shall hear a word behind them? First, He finds them with their backs turned to Him. This is clear enough, if you remember that the word is to be heard “behind” them. The sinner has gone away from God, and God calls after him from behind. He has turned his back upon his true Friend, his best Friend, his only capable Friend, but that Friend does not therefore change His temper and resent the insult; nay, He is provoked to a love more pleading and persuasive than ever, and calls to him to come into the right way. After having transgressed wilfully and wickedly, the rebel now distinctly turns his back on God and truth; according to the Lord’s complaint, “they have turned unto Me the back, and not the face.” He turns his back on the law, on the gospel, on mercy, on eternal life. He turns his back on the adoption of the great Father, on pardon bought with the blood of Jesus, on regeneration which can alone be wrought by the Holy Spirit: he turns his back upon holiness, happiness, and heaven. He turns away from sunlight, and wanders down into deeper and yet deeper night, striving to get away from God and holy influences. Yet the Lord follows him, and with a voice of touching love and tender compassion He calls to him, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” The word of warning, instruction, and entreaty follows the wanderer, and with ever-increasing pathos beseeches him to turn and live. Again and again the wise, earnest, personal voice assails his ear, as if love resolved that he should not perish if wooing could win him to life. The wanderer seeks not God, but his God seeks him. Man turns from the God of love, but the love of God turns not away from him.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

Look to His Dear Son

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. – Psalm 103:10

One single night of frost will destroy millions upon millions of creatures that were happy and enjoyed life; and this is done by that God of whom we are often assured that He cannot possibly punish sin, or put men to pain. But He does it. Hear the cry of the poor seamen, when the storm tosses the great barque, and drives it on the rock. See how everywhere the Lord is a great God and terrible. Even though He condescends to be a Father to those of us who trust in Jesus Christ, His Son, and is gentle as a nurse to us, yet is He the God of thunder and of fire, the great and almighty God, the King who will not be questioned by His subjects, and who will not alter His arrangements to please their fancies.

It is well for us to speak of God as we have found Him. He has dealt kindly and graciously with us: “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities; “else had we been cast away for ever. We long that others may be able to speak of God in the same way; not saying what they would have Him to be, but what He has revealed Himself to be, in nature, and in providence, and especially in grace. Let us all come humbly to His feet. He bids us look to His dear Son, and so find peace and salvation. If we will not do so, there is nothing for us but to be driven from His presence, and from the glory of His power, world without end. Will we dare to defy Him? Have we the impiety so to do? O God, humble us! Beneath the terror of Thy majesty, and the glory of Thy righteousness, and the supreme splendour of Thy love, bow us down, to accept Thy grace, and to become Thine for ever and ever! God grant that it may be so, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/2670.cfm

A Message for the Ungodly

And of Asher He said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. -Deuteronomy 33:24-25

I am sorry, very sorry, for those among you who have no portion and lot in such a promise as this. Whatever you may have in this world, you are very poor in losing such a promise as this. You are shoeless, or if you have some wooden sabot, it will soon be worn out. You will never be able to travel to heaven in any shoes that mortal men can make for you. You need to go to the great Father, who alone can say, “Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.” I am sorry for you in your present condition, for you have no strength but your own, and that is a poor piece of weakness. You are troubled even now: what will you do in the swellings of Jordan? The common footmen of daily life have wearied you: what will you do when you have to contend with horses? O souls, what will you do when you are ushered into the presence of the dread mysteries of another world? O sirs, you are without strength; but is not that a grand verse, “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”? Ungodly as you are, clutch at such a word as that. “Without strength” as you are, yet lay hold upon the Lord’s strength. It is for those who have no strength that Christ came into the world. It is for the ungodly that He laid down His life. Come, and trust Him. Let Him become your strength and your righteousness from this time forth; and may He manifest Himself to you in a special and gracious way; and unto His name shall be praise, for ever and ever. Amen.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/2062.cfm