“I will be your King.” “You are my King, O God.”
THOSE of you who were present, this morning, will remember that I preached upon the Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ and that I earnestly entreated my hearers to submit themselves to His Kingly authority. [Sermon #1375, Volume 23–“NOW THEN, DO IT”–Read/download the entire sermon, free of charge at http://www.spurgeons.org.] I hope that many who werewith us felt that an Almighty force was operating upon them, making them willing to surrender themselves to the control of the great King of kings. I dwelt, then, mainly upon the need of decision for Christ and upon our duty to yield ourselves up wholly to Him. That is the human side of the question and is, by no means, to be kept in the background, but, on this occasion I want to speak to you upon the privilege of having Christ for our King and upon the graciousness ofChrist in allowing Himself to be our King and permitting us to become His subjects. My purpose, at this time, is rather to set forth what God does for us in this matter than what He demands of us. To me it seems inexpressibly beautiful that while we are, in one place, bid to “kiss the Son” and accept Him as our King, we have, in another portion of Scripture, such a delightful declaration as this, “I will be your King.” It is always interesting to trace great rivers to their sources. You usually find that their springs lie far up among the mountains and, if you trace back to their springs certain practical subjects that you find in the Word of God, you get to the eternal hills of Everlasting Love!
I am going, first, to run away from my text and to take another. If you look in the 10 th Chapter ofHosea, which contains our text, you will see these words near the end of the verse–“Give me a King.” So, our first head is the need of nature. Then, in the second part of my discourse, I shall keep strictly to my first text–“I will be yourKing.” That is the answer of Grace. And then, thirdly, we shall go back to the 44th verse we shallfind the acknowledgment of faith–“You are my King, O God.” That is our program–may we be helped by the Spiritto carry it out and may we be able, in our hearts, to go from step to step all through!
- First, then, we are to consider THE NEED OF NATURE–“Give me a king.”
Man was once happy in Eden, for God was his King. But when he cast off his allegiance to God and became a rebel and a traitor, then he lost both his Paradise and his peace. Ever since then, man has, morally and spiritually, needed a king–and the deep groaning of the natural man is, “Give me a king.”
Now, first, this is the cry of weakness. Man finds himself to be a poor puny creature and he feels that he needs to lookup to someone greater, stronger, wiser, more enduring than himself. There are some plants that cannot grow much unless they can get something stronger than themselves to which they can cling and around which they can twine. You may, perhaps, have seen them when they have been away from a wall or a tree, stretching out their tendrils and seeking for something to climb upon. And if they do not find it, they fall to the ground till, in the damp weather, their leaves grow wet and rot–and the plant is in a sickly state in which it can barely exist. Such is human nature. It is a trailing thing and it gladly would be a climbing thing, and a clinging thing. In some persons, this trait is very conspicuous. They are always needing somebody to whom they can cling–and this tendency is the source of the greatest possible danger and sorrow to them. They select wrong objects for their love and trust and, consequently, they are betrayed, they are disappointed and they sadly learn the meaning of that text, “Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.” That is the result when this clinging tendency is wrongly used, but many people have this tendency. Man is weak and he knows that he is weak and, therefore, he cries, “‘Give me a king’–someone who will guide me, direct me, govern me, rule me, take care of me.”
Besides being the cry of weakness, it is also, oftentimes, the sigh of distress. In the 9th verse of this Chapter, we read,“O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in Me is your help.” Then follows my first text, “I will be your King.” Do you see the connection of the two passages? A King is promised to them because they had destroyed themselves. When a man feels that he has destroyed himself, brought himself down to destruction by his sin and folly, then he, too, cries, “Give me a king.” He needs help that he may be brought up out of his sad condition. When a soul is really convinced of its sin and made to see that it is brought under the sentence of God’s righteous Law, it naturally cries out for something, or someone, that can give it the help which it does not find in itself. And this craving is often the cause of our being duped–for a so-called “priest” comes in and he says, “I can help you. I am ordained of God to rescue you from destruction.” Many people are willing to trust in anything that has certain robes upon it, but, for my part, I will trust neither in chasubles, nor albs, nor stoles, nor any decorations or dresses, whether they are on linen-horses or on men-milliners!
What can there be in man, or in his clothes, that can be of help to his fellow man in such a case as this? Besides, God has not entrusted such a ministry as that to any man! God has bid His servants preach the Gospel–and that Gospel conveys help, light and power to all who believe it–but as for forms and ceremonies, musical performances, ornate ritual, masses and the like, they are sheer deceptions through and through! Trust not the weight of a feather to them–much less your souls! But again I remind you that there is in man a craving which makes him long for someone who can rescue him from destruction–and the mercy is that God meets that craving by setting before us His dear Son, who is Prophet, Priest and King! Prophet to reveal to us the mind of God. Priest to cleanse us by His own blood and to make us acceptable to His Father. And King to rule and control us and bring us into conformity to His own will. I know that cry right well and for years I sent it up from the very depths of my soul, “‘Give me a king,’ one who is wise enough, strong enough and willing enough to help my soul in its greatest extremity.”
Further, dear Friends, if sinners were wise, this would also be the prayer of thoughtfulness. I will suppose that I amaddressing a young man to whom God has given a wise and understanding heart. He has passed his majority and is just about to leave his father’s roof. And he now feels that everything must depend upon himself and his own character. He cannot depend upon others as he has done in the past. Now, if he is a wise young man, he will say to God, “Give me a King,” for he will know from observation, I hope, rather than from experience, that anarchy in the soul is a truly terrible thing. There have been men of great talents, who, it seems to me, in the Providence of God, have been permitted to live on purpose to show what a man is when there is no King in his soul–when every passion that rules him, leads the mob of his faculties to tumult and revolt. If his thirst said, “Drink,” the man drank till he was drunk! If his natural appetite and taste said to him, “Gratify us,” he gratified them even though, thereby, he plunged into all manner of licentiousness and excess!
There have been men, I say again, of great talents, who have blazed in the moral firmament like meteors and have astonished many with the brilliance, yet luridness, of their light–yet their influence has been baleful to the nation and mischievous to all men except those who learned from them not to try to govern their own passions in their own strength. To let all the powers within us be without a supreme Ruler is the most terrible thing that can happen to any man! Young man, never believe that it can be for your good to follow the leading of your own evil passions. No, it is in restraining yourself that your welfare and your happiness will lie, not in throwing the reins upon the neck of carnal desires, but in reining in these fiery steeds and keeping them well in hand. And, to do that, you need to pray, “Give me a King.”
It is a dreadful thing to lead an aimless life. I know no person, in the whole world, who is more wretched than a man who has no true objective in life. His father, perhaps, left him all the wealth that he could desire and now the sole occupation of his being is to kill time–and to dig its grave and his own, also–as quickly as he can! He does not live to benefit others, he has no high and noble objective as his guiding star–he simply squanders his time till it is all gone. Now that is the most miserable man I know. A man who is toiling hard to bring up a large family may be, and very often is, among the happiest of men. A man who has an objective in life, especially if it is an unselfish one and who strains all his faculties in order that he may attain it, is sure to be happy! Possibly happier while he is pursuing that goal, than after he has attained it. Trying to win a race warms a man and produces in him joy, the joy of activity, the joy of competition and, often, the joy of success. But there are some young men who start out in life intending to do nothing and they do it very thoroughly–they are great consumers of bread, meat, wine and such-like things, but, beyond that, I know not what is to be said about them! Such poor, aimless beings are always unhappy. They pretend to be merry and they make a great noise which is supposed to imply joy, but it is only like “the crackling of thorns under a pot.” They know nothing of what substantial pleasure means. I would as gladly never have been born as live without an objective and, long ago, I said, “‘Give me a King.’ Give me something to live for, something to die for, something that commands all my faculties and wakens up all my powers, something that stirs my spirit and makes a man of me. ‘Give me a King.’ I must have a King, or else what is life worth to me?”
Any thoughtful man will also have noticed that selfishness, if it controls our life, is a mean thing. Look over there! Do not tell me that So-and-So is a man–tell me that he is one of a herd of swine greedily devouring all that he can grasp. He simply lives that he may be rich, that he may be famous, that he may be called respectable–he lives only for himself. His soul is so small that it is trooped up within his own ribs. His heart, if he has one, is so cramped that it never goes out on behalf of others, but only beats one tune and that is, “Take care of Number One.” That is a wretched kind of life and any thoughtful young man must say, “I don’t want to live like that, ‘Give me a King.’ Let me keep clear of all selfishness. I do not want to be under the sway of the tyrant, Self. Let me have something that will rule and govern me. Give me a constitutional monarchy. Give me someone who is worthy to have the control of my whole life.”
I recollect that the thoughts which passed through my mind, when I was starting in life, were something like these. I distrusted self-guidance, for I saw how unsafe it was. I have told you before that I knew one who was at school with me, who used to be held up as a pattern and example to me, such a good boy, such an excellent young man. He came to London and within a few weeks, London was too much for him–I saw him come home in disgrace, his employer would not have such a fellow in his house! I then said to myself, “That may be my experience if I trust to myself. I should not like to begin life, away from home, in disgrace, to continue it in dishonor and to die with everybody feeling that it was a relief to the world when I was gone.” So I said to myself, “By what means can I ensure my character? Can I get a guarantee that I shall be kept?” And when I turned to this blessed Book and found that the Lord Jesus Christ had promised to keep those who committed themselves unto Him, I accepted Him upon this ground, as well as upon others, that He was able to keep that which I had committed unto Him until the Great Day of His appearing. In that sense, my prayer was, “‘Give me a King,’ somebody who will take charge of me, care for me and protect me.” And I believe that such a cry as that is a very wise one for any young man to utter–and also for anyone else who has not yet acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ as King.
Once more concerning this cry of nature, it often comes up as the result of experience. Ah, how little do we learn except as we go to the school of Dame Experience, who raps us on the knuckles very hard! When a man discovers, to his surprise, that he has played the fool–as soon as he becomes wiser, he says, “Give me a King.” How many a man, who has made shipwreck of his life and has only discovered it when he has been upon the rocks, has at last cried, “Oh, that some strength greater than my own had saved me from this ruin!” I have known men, when they have been under a sense of danger, when they have seen death approaching, begin to cry, “‘Give me a King’–one who can fight the last enemy for me, one who can ensure my safety when I pass through the Valley of Death Shade.”
This experience, too, sometimes makes a man feel the weight of responsibility. He says, “How can I bear it?” And hewants someone who is his superior, someone who will tell him what to do so that, when he does it, the responsibility will no longer be with himself. Have not many of you who are without Christ felt a desire to have somebody with whom you could leave your responsibilities? Well, this is just what the Christian finds in Christ–that he can bring all the difficulties in his life to his great Lord and King, and leave them there–and find in his King, when he obeys Him, the promise that in obedience shall be the path of safety. It is a blessed thing to have such a King! When we have once yielded ourselves to Him, our care is ended and we are at peace.
So much about the need of nature.
II. Now, secondly, and but briefly, I have to speak upon THE ANSWER OF GRACE–“I will be your King.” Listen to this short sentence, you who are longing for a Master-Spirit to rule your spirits–“I will be your King.”
Notice the condescension of this promise. Here is a ruined Kingdom–“O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but inMe is your help. I will be your King.” Who will care to wear the battered crown of a desolate kingdom, whose metropolis is destroyed and whose land is sown with salt? The great Lord and King of Mercy says, “I will. Lost and ruined as you are, I will accept the monarchy of your soul. I will be your King. You have had many lords who have had dominion over you, yet I will be your King. And I know those pretenders are yet alive and seek to set up their old claims over you and to get the mastery over you again. It is an uneasy throne, yet I will occupy it. I will be your King. Besides this, you are very unruly subjects. In this Kingdom there are many thoughts, forgings and lusting that are in rebellion against Me, yet I will be your King. Many disloyal subjects are there within My town of Mansoul, yet I will be the Prince of it and drive out all the followers of Diabolus. Enemies are threatening on the right hand and on the left, and whoever becomes king must carry on a long and serious war, yet I will take this crown of thorns and wear it–I will be your King.” Is not this wonderful condescension on God’s part? Do not you, Beloved, feel ready to spring up and say, “Blessed Lord, if You will be our King, we will gladly be Your subjects, rejoicing that we may have such a King as You”?
Notice next, how suitable and satisfactory such a King as this is to be! If a man must have a king and yet can have hischoice as to which king shall be his, it is well for him to have the One whom Wisdom, itself, would select, for there is none to equal Him! He is a King who is able to subdue the whole territory of our nature through His Almighty power by which He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. O blessed King, we are glad to have You to rule over us and to have our stubborn and rebellious passions brought under the power of Your Grace! This gracious King is in every way worthy to rule over us. Think, Beloved, what your God is, what your Savior is. Ought He not to be King over you? Yes, verily, then let us set Him up on a glorious high throne and let us rejoice that we can bow down before One whom it is an honor to obey! What wisdom He has to govern us aright! Fools should not be kings, but Infinite Wisdom is fully qualified to rule us altogether! Then, what perfect goodness there is in the Lord Jesus Christ! What unspeakable goodness in the Divine Father and in the ever-blessed Spirit! Happy are the people whose King is the Lord of Hosts! Besides, think what love He has shown to His subjects! Behold His head, His hands, His feet! Look upon the spear-mark in His side, for it was by those wounds that He bought us! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to be crowned as our King and to receive the loyal homage of our hearts–
“Let Him be crowned with majesty
Who bowed His head to death.
And be His honors sounded high
By all things that have breath!
Jesus, our Lord, how wondrous great
Is Your exalted name!
The glories of Your heavenly state
Let the whole earth proclaim.”
So, it is a proof of Infinite Condescension, on God’s part, for Him to say, “I will be your King,” and we realize whata suitable King He is for us and how satisfactory it is for us to have such a blessed Master and Lord!
Then, Brothers and Sisters, how unspeakably consoling it is that the Lord should be our King! I say, “consoling,"for who could feel unsafe or uneasy when Jehovah becomes his King? If the Eternal and Invincible God becomes our King, what foe can harm us? His shield can protect us from all the arrows that fly by night or by day! How consolatory it is for us to submit to such a God–no longer to stand up in opposition to Him, but to lie down at His feet as His loyal subjects–no longer to have a will and a way of our own, but to submit unreservedly to the will of God, to lie passive in His hands and let Him be our King! Have you ever experienced this kind of consolation in a time of deep affliction or bereavement? You have lost the delight of your heart, the joy of your eyes, the dearest one you ever had–and you have somewhat rebelled. In that rebellion has been the very bitterness of your grief, but you have said, "The Lord has done it. He is my King, so He has the right to do with me just as He wills.” That is the great source of your consolation–you never get relief from the anguish of your spirit till you see Jesus as your crowned King and only Lord and lay your hand upon your mouth and, in the silence of your soul say, ‘It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him."
And, oftentimes, this same precious Truth has consoled you when you have been in great difficulties and embarrassments. I often sing to my Lord those lines by F. T. Faber–
“When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do,
And leave the rest to Thee.
And when it seems no chance nor change
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And patiently waits on Thee.”
I do not know a stronger force in all the world than utter helplessness–for that is the end of all care. Many and many a time I have tried till my head has ached, to work out a problem in Church government, but have not discovered the solution–I could not see any way out of it. So I have just done as a schoolboy would who shuts up the two parts of his slate and puts it on the shelf. I have said to myself, “I will never have anything more to do with the matter, but will leave it for the Lord to solve.” And I have found that the proposition has been worked out for me in due time.
So, dear Friends, your strength is to sit still and to feel that you have a King who can settle all your difficulties! When the servant at the door is puzzled by the many questions that are put to her, she says, if she is wise, “I cannot answer you, but I will go and ask my master.” And when she has received the message from her master, she has no further trouble about the matter–she simply says, “I have told you what my master says. If you do not like it, I cannot help that, for I am only his messenger.” That is the way to end all controversy! A young man, or anyone else who has a number of questions put to him by various persons, will be wise if he says, “Well, I have searched my Bible and found what the King says about these points. If that does not satisfy you, I am sure I cannot. Your quarrel is no longer with me, but with my Master–you must settle the matter with Him.” This is a blessed consolation! It gives joy to the spirit to have God for your King. No man is so free, no man is so happy as he who loyally bows before the King of kings–to serve God is to reign! He who has God for his King, is, himself, a king!
Further, think how gloriously inspiring it is to have God as our King. I should not like to be a soldier in the armiesof certain kings whom I might mention. If I were in their service, I would try to run away as soon as I could, for I would feel ashamed to have anything to do with them. If you were a soldier in the army of some little, mean, beggarly tyrant, I think that you would be glad to leave your regimentals at home whenever you could. It is strange that any man could be found to fight for some of the miserable miscreants who have been found in the ranks of kings. But, with Alexander as leader, every Greek became a hero! He was so great a warrior that each man in his army felt that he was, himself, great. Now, when the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our King, it is most inspiring to us, for He leads us on to fight with sin, to fight with selfishness, to overcome evil by love and to conquer hate by kindness! It is a grand thing to serve the King whose fights are all of that sort and to have Him for a King who never shirked a battle, but who was always to the front, the bravest of the brave!
It is grand, even, to unloose the laces of His shoes. To be trodden on by Him would be a high honor. To do anything, however little, in His cause, makes us feel ourselves elevated! My dear young Friend, if you have God in Christ Jesus to be your King, your life will be sublime! With Him for your Example, with His Grace to lead you on, you shall continually rise higher and yet still higher until even your common life shall be made sublime! Oh, blessed, blessed, blessed, thrice blessed, is everyone to whom Jesus Christ is King and Lord! If we are linked with Him, we are ready either to live or to die!
III. Now turn with me to my second text, which you will find in the 44 th verse–“You are myKing, O God.” That is THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF FAITH.
Let me just pause a moment and ask each one of you here, “Can you say that?” Can you say that, my Brother? Can you say that, my Sister? At the close of this morning’s service, we sang–
“‘Tis done, the real transaction’s done!
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine,”
and it was noticed by careful observers that there were some persons in the congregation who did not sing that verse. They shut their mouths quite firmly while others around them were singing. I was glad that they were honest enough to do so and that they would not sing what they could not truthfully sing. At the same time, I was very sorry that their honesty compelled them to make such a silent confession of their lack of subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not your King, then? He is your Creator, but not your King? He is your Preserver, but not your King? He will be the Judge of the quick and the dead, yet He is not your King? He is the one and only Savior of the lost, yet He is not your King? Sadly, sorrowfully, let this thought eat into your spirit, “Then, I am a rebel against the Lord Jesus Christ.” For He is, lawfully and rightly, your King–and you are a traitor, for your heart plots against Him! Remember, also, that if you die without accepting Him as your King, there is a text which I scarcely dare to quote, yet I must–and, as I do so, let it fall like fiery hail upon your spirit–“But those My enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring here and slay them before Me.” God grant that none of you may ever know what that terrible verse means!
But now, having given you that word of warning, I ask you to think of the blessedness of having the Lord to be your King. If you look at this 44 th when God is our King, we may confidently expect to enter upon ourinheritance in the skies–“You did drive out the heathen with Your hand, and planted them.” That is to say, each one of the tribes that entered Canaan under Joshua, obtained its proper portion in the Covenant-given land of promise. And we who are under the leadership of King Jesus, the true Joshua, the one and only Savior, shall win the heritage above–and each one of us shall stand in his lot at the end of the days, blessed forever and ever in our portion in the heavenly Canaan!
Notice, next, that, if the Lord is our King, we may expect help in the time of trouble. Read the whole of verse four–“You are my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.” If ever you are in poverty. If ever you are in sickness. If ever you are under slander and reproach, if ever your spirit is depressed–if ever family trials affect you, if ever the clouds in your sky are heavy and the days are dark–you may go to your King and tell Him all and expect Him to “command deliverances” for you, for, if He is your King, He will see you through, bear you up and make what appears to be evil to work for your good and cause your troubles to prove to be the best of blessings to you! Who would not have such a King as this?
Next, notice that if the Lord is our King, we should repose entirely in Him, as the Psalmist says, “For I will not trustin my bow, neither shall my sword save me.” What a mercy it is to be able to put up your weapons away–to feel that there is Another who fights for you–to have done with care, worry, distress and just to feel that you have left everything with Jesus your King! If He cannot do it, then it must be left undone. Oh, it is blessed to feel that you have put the affairs of your soul into your King’s hands and that you have left the whole of them with Him, in the utmost confidence! Who would not have a King upon whom it is perfectly safe to rely?
More than this, he who has God for his King knows that he is saved. Read the 7th verse–“But You have saved usfrom our enemies, and have put them to shame that hated us.” He who acknowledges Christ as his Lord and Master knows that he is saved. His salvation is not a thing that is to be accomplished tomorrow–it is done now. It is not a privilege to be enjoyed only in the last few moments of our life, but it is to be enjoyed now, for our King has covered us with the garments of salvation! “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God,” even now. Our salvation is finished! Our great Messiah said so on the Cross and He spoke the Truth. “He that believes on Him is not condemned.”
And, last of all, he who takes Christ to be his King has cause for great joy and rejoicing. In the 8th verse, the Psalmistsays, “In God we boast all the day long, and praise Your name forever.” He who has Christ for his King need never be ashamed of his Monarch, or of his Monarch’s livery, or of his Monarch’s laws, or of his Monarch’s friends. He may, rather, adopt the high strain of boasting in his God and triumphing in Him all the day long.
So I end by repeating the question I asked earlier in my discourse–can each of you say, “You are my King, O God”? If not, what is your position with regard to Him? If you do not acknowledge Him as your King, you are a rebel! Yet, if you are ready to acknowledge that fact, you come under the act of amnesty which is available for regicides–for you rebels are just that, and even Deicides in having conspired to put the King of Glory to death by your sin–and you shall have even this high crime of God-killing blotted out from the King’s records! You shall be just as though you had never sinned at all if you are willing to take Christ to be your King and Savior! “Him has God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”
Will you have Him? I mean, the Son of God, who was also the Son of Mary. I mean the Man of Nazareth, who is also very God of very God. Trust to the Atonement which flowed from His wounds! Accept the power which God has given to Him, for all power in Heaven and in earth is given to Him! God has given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as His Father has given Him. Only trust Him! Cast your souls upon Him! Yield yourselves to His sway! Repent of your sin! If you lay hold upon His perfect righteousness at once, the guilt of the past is gone and you shall be admitted into the full privileges appertaining to citizens of the heavenly Kingdom and subjects of the great King of kings! I trust that even before this service closes, some of you will say. “By the Grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I yield myself to Jesus, my Lord and King, to be His loyal subject and faithful servant forever and ever.” God grant it, for His dear Son’s sake! Amen.