By admin | February 23, 2009
1. Spurgeon’s treatment of the Psalms teaches us something about the reverence in which we should hold the Word of God. As we read the Treasury of David, we may rightly say that Spurgeon is our master-teacher of the truth of the Psalms. But he never viewed himself as a master of Scripture. His simple faith, childlike reverence, and gentle humility should serve as examples for us of our own responsibility to the Word of God. It is given by divine inspiration, and we must treat it appropriately. It is a good question for each preacher to ask himself: Do I show my people, by my example, how to have a reverent submission to God’s word? Every time that we preach, even when we read the Word in worship, we demonstrate our attitude toward the Bible. It can be easy to become too familiar with it, and lose the wonder of what it really is—God’s book, given for his glory and our benefit. Brothers, let us be men who sit humbly at the feet of the Holy Scriptures.
2. The Treasury of David teaches us something about the importance of the book of Psalms for the Christian life. Spurgeon was right in seeing the Psalms as an essentially Christian book—not just because they are part of the canon of Scripture, but because Christ is there, and because all of the genuine spiritual experiences of the believer may be found there. What did Spurgeon intend for his readers? Something like this: “My dear friends, I should like you so to read the Bible that everybody in the Bible should seem to be a friend of yours. I should like you to feel as if you had talked’ with Abraham, and conversed with David. I can truly say that there is hardly anybody in the world that I know so well as I know David. In making The Treasury of David, I have labored, year after year, in that rich field of inspiration, the Book of Psalms, till I do assure you that David and I are quite familiar friends, and I think I know more about him than about any man I ever saw in my life, I seem to know the ins and outs of his constitution and experience, his grievous faults and the graces of his spirit. I want you to be on just such intimate terms with somebody or other in the Bible, — John, if you like; or Mary. Sit at Jesus’ feet with her.”(2)
3. Spurgeon’s balance of doctrine and duty is a wonderful example of how Christian preachers should present the truth to their people. As we have said, what we do must always be based on what we believe. The work of God has priority. It does no good to people simply to tell them “Do this and live”. That is law, pure and simple. The grace of God in the gospel is the first work—it motivates our obedience. The Heidelberg Catechism’s outline: Guilt, Grace, Gratitude is exactly right. We are sinners by nature and birth; we are redeemed by the work of God in Christ; we love him because he first loved us. Do you preach doctrine and duty in this way? Please don’t simply press the law on people—duty, duty, duty. Give them the gospel, and show them how to live in thankfulness to God.
4. Spurgeon’s ability to bring the reader into the life of the psalms is something we ought to develop in our own preaching ministries. All of the books of the Bible were written by real humans like us, and they are full of the realities of life. We showed how he began his comments abruptly, simply because the Psalm did this; he did the same with abrupt endings—Psalm 88 is an example: “Here he breaks off, and anything more from us would only spoil the abruptness of the unexpected finish.” This only serves to heighten the desperation of the emotion present in the psalm. Brothers, let us find ways to bring our readers into the world of the Bible. Let us help them live it and breathe it—to feel its pulse; the throb of life; its pain and joy; it is the record of God’s gracious dealings with people just like us. When our people see this, the book will be all the more precious to them.
In conclusion, let us listen to Spurgeon’s final words about his Treasury of David: “In these busy days, it would be greatly to the spiritual profit of Christian men if they were more familiar with the Book of Psalms, in which they would find a complete armoury for life’s battles, and a perfect supply for life’s needs. Here we have both delight and usefulness, consolation and instruction. For every condition there is a Psalm, suitable and elevating. The Book supplies the babe in grace with penitent cries, and the perfected saint with triumphant songs. Its breadth of experience stretches from the jaws of hell to the gate of heaven. He who is acquainted with the marches of the Psalm-country knows that the land floweth with milk and honey, and he delights to travel therein. To such I have aspired to be a helpful companion.”
A helpful companion indeed. The Treasury of David is a precious gift given to the church. It will assist us to draw near to God, and grow to be like Christ, every time we read it. But it is not the Treasury of David that is the most important. It is the book of Psalms. Let us preach these Psalms with all of our might, for in them we will find everything the Christian needs. To God alone be glory. Amen.
(2) Sermon #2679.
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