THE PSALMIST’S DYING SONG

THE PSALMIST’S DYING SONG

 C.H. Spurgeon

 These be the last words of David. They are something more than human utterances; for we are told that the Spirit of the Lord spake by him, and His word was in his tongue. He began, “Although my house be not so with God;” and as he winged his flight to heaven, he still sang, “yet hast Thou made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: “and now before the throne he constantly hymns the same strain—”yet hast Thou made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” I hope, my friends, there are many of us who can join in this verse this morning, and who hope to close our earthly pilgrimage with this upon our tongue.

We shall notice first, that the Psalmist had SORROW IN HIS HOUSE—” Although my house be not so with God.” Secondly, he had CONFIDENCE IN THE COVENANT—” yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” And thirdly, he had SATISFACTION IN HIS HEART, for he says—” this is all my salvation, and all my desire.

The Psalmist says he had SORROW IN HIS HOUSE—”Although my house be not so with God.” What man is there of all our race, who, if he had to write his history, would not need to use a great many “althoughs”? If you read the biography of any man, as recorded in the Sacred Word, you will always find a “but,” or an “although,” before you have finished. Naaman was a mighty man of valour, and a great man with his master, but he was a leper. There is always a “but” in every condition, a crook in every lot, some dark tint upon the marble pillar, some cloud in the summer sky, some discord in the music, some alloy in the gold.

So David, though a man who had been raised from the sheepfold, a mighty warrior, a conqueror of giants, a king over a great nation, yet, had his “althoughs;” and the “although” which he had, was one in his own house. Those are the worst troubles which we have in our own household. We love not an evil beast abroad, but we hate the lion most when it prowls upon our own estates, or croucheth on the floor of our dwelling. The greatest trouble with the thorn is when it lieth in our bed, and we feel it in our pillow. Civil war is always the fiercest—those are foes indeed who are of our own household. I think, perhaps David intended, when he said “Although my house be not so with God,” to speak partly of his AFFAIRS.

If any man else had looked at David’s affairs—the government of his country—he would have said, “David’s government is the mirror of excellence.” His house was so rightly ordered, that few of his subjects could murmur at him; but David recollected that a greater and keener eye than that of man rested on him; and he says, speaking of his empire and his house—for you know the word “house” in Scripture often means our business, our affairs, our transactions, (“Set thine house in order, for thou must die, and not live,”)—he says, although before man my house may be well swept, and garnished, yet it is not so with God as I can desire. Though in the person of Jesus we are free from sin, and white as angels are: yet when we stand before God, in our own persons, we are obliged to confess, that honest as we may be, upright as we have been, just and holy before men, yet our house is “not so with God.”

Before we leave this point: What must I say to any of those who are thus tried and distressing in estate and family? FIRST, let me say to you, my brethren, IT IS NECESSARY THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE AN “ALTHOUGH” in your lot, because if you had not, you know what you would do; you would build a very downy nest on earth, and there you would lie down in sleep; so God puts a thorn in your nest in order that you may sing. It is said by the old writers, that the nightingale never sang so sweetly as when she sat among thorns, since say they, the thorns prick her breast, and remind her of her song. So it may be with you. Ye, like the larks, would sleep in your nest did not some trouble pass by and affright you; then you stretch your wings, and carolling the matin song, rise to greet the sun. Trials are sent to wean you from the world; bitters are put into your drink, that ye may learn to live upon the dew of heaven: the food of earth is mingled with gall, that ye may only seek for true bread in the manna which droppeth from the sky. Your soul without trouble would be as the sea if it were without tide or motion; it would become foul and obnoxious. As Coleridge describes the sea after a wondrous calm, so would the soul breed contagion and death.

But secondly: David had CONFIDENCE IN THE COVENANT. Oh! how sweet it is to look from the dullness of earth to the brilliancy of heaven! How glorious it is to leap from the ever tempest-tossed bark of this world, and stand upon the terra firma of the covenant! So did David. Having done with his “Although,” he then puts in a blessed “yet” Oh! it is a “yet,” with jewels set: “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.”

Now let us notice these words as they come. First, David rejoiced in the covenant, because it is DIVINE IN ITS ORIGIN. “Yet hath HE made with me an everlasting covenant.” O that great word HE. Who is that? It is not my odd-father or my odd mother who has made a covenant for me—none of that nonsense. It is not a covenant man has made for me, or with me; but yet hath HE made with me an everlasting covenant.” It is divine in its origin, not human. The covenant on which the Christian rests, is not the covenant of his infant sprinkling: he has altogether broken that scores of times, for he has not “renounced the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” as he should have done, nor “all the lusts of the flesh.” Nor has he really become regenerate through those holy drops of water which a cassocked priest cast on his face. The covenant on which he rests and stands secure, is that covenant which God has made with him.

“Yet hath HE made.” Stop, my soul. God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a covenant with thee; yes, that God, who in the thickest darkness dwells and reigns for ever in his majesty alone; that God, who spake the world into existence by a word; who holds it, like an Atlas, upon his shoulders, who poises the destiny of all creation upon his finger; that God, stooping from his majesty, takes hold of thy hand and makes a covenant with thee. Oh! is it not a deed, the stupendous condescension of which might ravish our hearts forever if we could really understand it? Oh! the depths! “HE hath made with me a covenant.” A king has not made a covenant with me—that were somewhat: an emperor has not entered into a compact with me; but the Prince of the kings of the earth, the Shaddai, the Lord of all flesh, the Jehovah of ages, the everlasting Elohim. “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” O blessed thought! it is of DIVINE ORIGIN.

Now, Christian, thou canst apply this personally. The covenant is made with thee. Man, open thine eyes; there is thy name in the covenant. What is it? It is some plain English name, perhaps. It never had an M.P. nor an M.A. after it, nor a “Sir,” before it. Never mind, that name is in the covenant. If you could take down your Father’s family Bible in heaven, you would find your name put in the register. O blessed thought! MY name—positively mine! not another’s. So, then, these eyes shall see him, and not another’s for me. Rejoice, Christian; it is a personal covenant. “Yet hath he made WITH ME an everlasting covenant.”

Furthermore, this covenant is not only divine in its origin, but it is EVERLASTING IN ITS DURATION. My Arminian friends, did you ever sing that verse in your meeting?—of course you have—

“O yes, I do love Jesus,
Because he first lov’d me.”

That is a glorious Calvinistic hymn, though we know whose hymn book it is in. Well, then, if Jesus loved you before you loved him, why cannot you believe that he always did love you? Besides, how stupid it is to talk so, when you know God does not change. There is no such thing as time with him; there is no past with him. If you say, “he loves me now,” you have in fact said, “he loved me yesterday, and he will love me forever.” There is nothing but NOW with God.

But notice the next word, for it is a sweet one, and we must not let one portion go, ” It is ordered IN ALL THINGS.” “Order is heaven’s first law,” and God has not a disorderly covenant. It is an orderly one. When he planned it, before the world began, it was in all things ordered well. He so arranged it, that justice should be fully satisfied, and yet mercy should be linked hand-in-hand with it. He so planned it that vengeance should have its utmost jot and tittle, and yet mercy should save the sinner. Jesus Christ came to confirm it, and by his atonement, he ordered it in all things; he paid every drop of his blood; he did not leave one farthing of the ransom-money for his dear people, but he ordered it in all things. And the Holy Spirit, when he sweetly applies it, always applies it in order; he orders it in all things. He makes us sometimes understand this order, but if we do not, be sure of this, that the covenant is a well-ordered covenant.

Our Father’s covenant is drawn up according to the strictest rules of justice; and so is ordered in all things. If hell itself should search it—if it were passed round amongst a conclave of demons, they could not find a single fault with it. There are the technical terms of heaven’s court; there is the great seal at the bottom, and there is the signature of Jesus, written in his own blood. So it is “ordered in all things.”

That word THINGS is not in the original, and we may read it persons, as well as THINGS. It is ordered in all persons—all the persons whose names are in the covenant; it is ordered for them, and they shall come according to the promise: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” O my beloved Christian, stop at this promise a moment, for it is a sweet well of precious water to slake thy thirst and refresh thy weariness. It is “ordered in all things.” What dost thou want more than this? Dost thou need constraining grace? It is “ordered in ALL THINGS.” Dost thou require more of the spirit of prayer? It is “ordered in ALL THINGS.” Dost thou desire more faith? It is “ordered in ALL things.” Art thou afraid lest thou shouldst not hold out to the end? It is “ordered in ALL THINGS.” There is converting grace in it; pardoning grace in it; justifying grace, sanctifying grace, and persevering grace; for it is “ordered in all things, and sure.” Nothing is left out; so that whene’er we come, we find all things there stored up in heavenly order.

But now, to wind up our description of this covenant, it is SURE. If I were a rich man, there would be but one thing I should want to make my riches all I desire, and that would be, to have them sure, for riches make to themselves wings, and fly away. Health is a great blessing, and we want but to write one word on it to make it the greatest blessing, that is the adjective “sure.” We have relatives, and we love them; ah! if we could but write “sure” on them, what a blessed thing it would be. We cannot call anything “sure” on earth; the only place where we can write that word is on the covenant, which is “ordered in all things and SURE.”

 Now to close our meditation. The Psalmist had A SATISFACTION IN HIS HEART. “This is,” he said, all my salvation, and all my desire.” I should ill like the task of riding till I found a satisfied worldly man. I suspect there is not a horse that would not be worn off its legs before I found him; I think I should myself grow grey with age before I had discovered the happy individual, except I went to one place—that is, the heart of a man who has a covenant made with him, “ordered in all things, and sure.”

Behold David: he says, “As for my salvation, I am secure; as for my desire, I am gratified: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” HE IS SATISFIED WITH HIS SALVATION. Bring up the moralist. He has been toiling and working in order to earn salvation. Are you confident that if you died you would enter into heaven? “Well, I have been as good as other people, and, I dare say, I shall be more religious before I die;” but he cannot answer our question. Bring up the religious man—I mean the merely outwardly religious man. Are you sure that if you were to die you would go to heaven? “Well, I regularly attend church or chapel, I cannot say that I make any pretensions to be able to say, ‘He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.”‘ Very well, you must go. So I might introduce a score of men, and there is not one of them who can say, “This is all my salvation.” But a Christian CAN. He can walk through the cholera and the pestilence, and feel that should the arrow smite him, death would be to him the entrance of life; he can lie down and grieve but little at the approach of dissolution, for he has all his salvation; his jewels are in his breast, gems which shall shine in heaven.

Then, the Psalmist says, he has ALL HIS DESIRE. There is nought that can fill the heart of man except the Trinity. God has made man’s heart a triangle. Men have been for centuries trying to make the globe fill the triangle, but they cannot do it: it is the Trinity alone that can fill a triangle, as old Quarles well says. There is no way of getting satisfaction but by gaining Christ, getting heaven, winning glory, getting the covenant, for the word covenant comprises all the other things. “All my desire,”—says the Psalmist.

“I nothing want on earth, above,
Happy in my Saviour’s love.”

I have not a desire; I have nothing to do but to live and be happy all my life in the company of Christ, and then to ascend to heaven, to be in his immediate presence, where

“Millions of years these wondering eyes
Shall o’er my Saviour’s beauties rove,
And endless ages I’ll adore
The wonders of his love.”

[Read the full sermon –  http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0019.htm

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