"What is this stopping that gets into men's ears? It is, of course, first of all, original sin, that taint of the blood which has spoiled every human faculty, and has closed the ear from hearing even the voice of God himself. Man does not hear God's voice because he does not want to hear it. His will, his mind, his nature altogether is estranged from God.This original sin engenders in men great carelessness about divine things. How quickly they are aroused by talk about politics! With what attention they will listen to a lecture upon matters relating to their health, or upon the fastest method of making money; but when it comes to the soul and its eternal destiny in heaven or hell, when it is concerning the bleeding Savior and the loving Father, and the gentle wooing Spirit, men think we are doting, talking fancies, telling dreams, and they pooh-pooh it all, and cast it behind their backs. If it be a matter of any worth to them, they will possibly think of it to-morrow; but they scarcely imagine it is worth while to trouble themselves about it now. Their ears are stopped by carelessness."
A Hard Case
A Sermon(No. 2453)
Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, February 23rd, 1896,
Delivered byC. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
On Thursday Evening, February 18th, 1886.
"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and bide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword."—Job 33:14-18.
HOW PERSEVERING is divine love! "God speaketh once." I have heard many a father say to his child, "Do not let me have to speak again." But the great Father has to speak again, and when it is written, "God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not," we see how great is the stubbornness of the human heart, and we also see the gentleness of divine love. When Elihu said, "God speaketh once, yea twice," he meant that the Lord speaks repeatedly. Divine lovingkindness hath many voices. God often speaketh to us in our childhood. Some of us hardly recollect when first our Lord called us, as he called Samuel, saying, "Samuel, Samuel," and each for himself answered, "Here am I." We cannot forget the voices of our youth and boyhood,—the messages that the Lord sent to us through loving parents and kind-hearted teachers, or the direct admonitions of the Holy Spirit. God spake to us, and spake to us again, and spake to us yet again; but we regarded not his voice. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear; and we were among those who would not hear even that voice to which heaven and earth attend, that voice which even the dead will one day hear, when they that hear shall live.Do we not admire the great patience of God with us? I am sure we ought to do so; and if we do, it will make us repent of our negligence of the divine voice, so that, henceforth, we shall say with David, "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee," note that, "my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Oh, for the quick ear to catch the faintest sound of the divine voice! Oh, for a ready heart, waiting for those tender condescending admonitions which the Lord is waiting to speak to us!But God has voices which he uses in such a way that men must and shall hear. There is not only the patience of love, but there is also the omnipotence of love. God does not merely attempt to make men hear, but he succeeds in doing it. When the splendor of his love makes bare his holy arm, and he puts forth all his force, the unwilling heart is made willing in the day of his power, the rebel spirit is led in chains of love, a willing captive to his conquering Lord.I am going now to speak somewhat of that matter; and, keeping to our text, I want to say, first, that man as very hard to influence for good. His ear has to be opened; his heart has to be broken off from its evil purposes; his pride has to be conquered; there are many things to be done before men are fully influenced to their eternal salvation. Then, secondly, God knows how to come at them. By day or by night, by voices heard when they are in the midst of their business, or "in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction." Thirdly, thus the Lord accomplishes great purposes for me: "That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword."