Tuesday, September 17, 2013


(Because of the wretched state of Red Deer’s pulpit space, it is now, as predicted by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3, the time to ‘pluck up that which is planted…a time to break down…a time to weep…a time to cast away stones’ and even ‘a time to refrain from embracing.’ And it is certainly more ‘a time to speak’ than ‘a time to keep silence.’ Be that as it may, the wrecking ball of negative criticism should be followed by the laying down of truth. To this end, we introduce the sermon sketch as an intermittent blog feature. As the term ‘sketch’ implies, this kind of post, in distinction from the usually lengthy analysis, will be pithy. The source for each sketch will be indicated at the bottom of each post.)

A View of God's Glory

“And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory” (Exodus 33.18.)

Introduction. Moses could not have asked for more. This is the highest elevation that faith ever gained. Did Moses not wonder at himself for asking so much? Where did such faith come from? It was by communion with God. Had Moses not received grace through communion and intercession, this petition might have been too large for him to carry to the throne. Do you want faith like this? Be much in secret prayer. Refer to verse 13 where Moses asked God to show him the way. He asked for a lesser favor before he requested greater. Build on your past petitions. Faith can scale the walls of heaven. She is a giant grace. Be like the beggars who don’t give up asking.

(1) The Gracious Manifestation. It is likely that Moses, with all his knowledge of the Most High, had a vague idea that divinity might be seen. Subtler than the secret power of electricity is the existence we call a spirit. We could just as soon bind the winds with cords as to behold spirits with our eyes. No form passed before Moses. He looked from behind a covering and saw, not a person, but an attribute. What attribute will God show Moses? His justice? His holiness? His wrath? His power? Will he bring Moses’ sins to remembrance to show that he is omniscient? No; hear the still small voice—“I will make all my goodness pass before thee.” Ah! the goodness of God is God’s glory. Consider the goodness of God in creation. Who can tell it? The ravens peck food from his liberal hands. The fishes leap. Every insect is nourished by him. And while man lives and dies as a flower, the Lord does not forget him. And then, think of his sovereign goodness toward his chosen people. See your name in God’s book of predestinating, unchanging grace! Then come down to the time of redemption, and see your Saviour bleeding and agonizing. O my soul, there were drops of goodness before, but O, rivers now! God’s goodness is ‘past finding out.’ I would invoke all creation to be vocal in his praise. God’s goodness is not all that Moses saw. There was something more. God said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” There is sovereignty. God’s goodness without his sovereignty does not completely set forth his nature. God has the right to save any one in this chapel, or to crush all who are here. Put goodness and sovereignty together and see God’s glory. Sovereign grace is the glory of the gospel.

(2) A Gracious Concealment. God said to Moses, “Thou canst not see my face and live.” Robert of Normandy lost his sight when his brother passed a red-hot copper bowl before his face. Some doctrines, if we understood them, would scorch our eyes out. The sinner can’t see God’s face while clothed in his own righteousness. He must be cast into the fire of hell. The saint can’t see God’s face and live, not because of moral disability, but because of physical inability. I wonder if even the saints in heaven see God. We can leave that till we get there. Certainly, no man on earth can see God’s face and live. All we can see are the ‘back parts’ of God.

(3) The Gracious Shielding. Moses had to be put in the cleft of a rock before he could see God. O, my soul, enter into the hole in Jesus’ side. That is the cleft of the rock where you must abide and see God. Precious Christ! may I be found in thee when the world melts away!

Selection from Conclusion. “There is an hour coming, when we must all, in a certain sense, see God. We must see him as a Judge…I pray God deliver you from hell…if you have no hiding-place, woe unto you. See you that cleft in the rock, see that cross, see that blood. There is security…only there.”

{This sermon by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) is sketched by M. H. Gaboury.}

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