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Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
Spurgeon Sermon Notes: Rivers in the Desert
Isaiah 32:2—“Each will be like… streams of water in a dry place.”
Our Lord Jesus is nearest and dearest to us as Man
His humanity reminds us of:
- His incarnation, in which he assumed our nature
- His life on earth, in which he honored our nature
- His death, by which he redeemed our nature
- His resurrection, by which he upraised our nature
Consider the Word made flesh, and you have before you "streams of water. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell."
Though humanity seems to be a dry place, a salty and barren land, yet in the case of this man it yields rivers of water, numberless streams, abounding with refreshment.
Benefits in times of drought
Let us learn from the illustration before us:
- Nature's drought does not hinder Christ's coming to us
- He came into the dry place of a fallen, ruined, rebellious world
- He comes to people personally, notwithstanding their being without strength, without righteousness, without desire, without life
- He flows within us in rivers of grace, though the old nature continues to be a dry and parched land
- He continues the inflowing of his grace till he perfects us, and this he does though decay of nature, failure, and fickleness prove us to be as a dry place. "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."
- Nature's drought enhances the preciousness of Christ.
- He is more quickly discovered; as rivers would be in a desert
- He is more highly valued; as water in a torrid climate
- He is more largely used; as streams in a burning wilderness
- He is more surely known to be the gift of God's grace. How else came he to be in so dry a place? Those who are most devoid of merit are the more clear as to God's grace.
- He is more gratefully extolled. People sing of rivers which flow through dreary wastes.
Christ never seems empty to any but those who are full of themselves.
- Nature's drought is most effectually removed by Christ.
Rivers change the appearance and character of a dry place. By our Lord Jesus appearing in our humanity as Emmanuel, God with us:
- Our despair is cheered away
- Our sinfulness is purged
- Our nature is renewed
- Our barrenness is removed
- Our trials are overcome
- Our fallen condition is changed to glory
- The desert of humanity rejoices and blossoms as the rose now that the Man Christ Jesus has appeared in it
- Our own sense of drought should lead us the more hopefully to apply to Christ.
- He is rivers of water in a dry place. The dry place is his sphere of action. Nature's want is the platform for the display of grace
- This is implied in our Lord's offices. A Savior for sinners. A Priest who can have compassion on the ignorant, etc.
- This is remembered in his great qualifications. Rivers, because the place is so dry. Full of grace and truth, because we are so sinful and false. Mighty to save, because we are so lost, etc.
- This is manifested by the persons to whom he comes. Not many great or mighty are chosen. "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." He calls "the chief of sinners." In every case the rivers of love flow into a dry place
- This is clear from the object which he aimed at, namely, the glory of God, and the making known of the riches of his grace. This can be best accomplished by working salvation where there is no apparent likelihood of it, or, in other words, causing rivers to water dry places
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus, though your nature be dry, and your case hopeless.
Come, for there are rivers of grace in him.
Come, for they flow at your feet "in a dry place."
Come, if you have come before, and are just now in a backsliding condition. The Lord Jesus is still the same; the rivers of mercy in him can never be dried up.
Drain yourself and be filled with Jesus
Christ never seems empty to any but those who are full of themselves. He is dry to those who overflow with personal fullness, but he floods with his grace all who are dried up as to all self-reliance.
It is my sweetest comfort, Lord,
And will for ever be,
To muse upon the gracious truth
Of thy humanity.
Men that have dry land spare no cost, refuse no pains, to bring rivulets of waters through it, that it may be moistened. It will, they know, in a little time, quit all their cost, and recompense all their labor. Oh, that men would be as careful that their dry hearts might be watered!
Your words of praise do not have to be your own
The claims of Jesus Christ upon our gratitude and devotion are such that we gladly borrow language from any that may help us to utter his praise. Thus Dr. Marsh adopted Pope's lines, altering only the last words:
Not bubbling waters to the thirsty swain,
Not rest to weary laborers, faint with pain,
Not showers to larks, not sunshine to the bee,
Are half so precious as thy love to me—My Savior.
Seek Jesus like the thirsty seek water
With what joy do travelers through the Bayuda desert come within sight of the Nile! While toiling over the burning sand they have dreamed of rivers, and the mirage mocks them with the image of their daydream. The fiction enchants them because the fact would be so delightful. What must it be actually to drink of the stream after terrible hours of thirst?
Hindus worship their rivers as gods, so precious do they conceive them to be. Do you wonder that the gratitude of the ignorant should take such a form? What would their hot country be without them? What would our hearts, our lives, our present, our future, be without Christ? What would be the outlook of the age—what the prospect of our nation—what the destiny of the world, without the Lord Jesus?
He flows within us in rivers of grace, though the old nature continues to be a dry and parched land.
What we want in Christ, we always find in him. When we want nothing, we find nothing. When we want little, we find little. When we want much, we find much. But when we want everything, and get reduced to complete nakedness and beggary, we find in Christ God's complete treasure-house, out of which come gold and jewels to enrich us, and garments to clothe us in the richness and righteousness of the Lord.