posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Royal Prerogative," a Sunday-morning sermon on Psalm 68:21 ("God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses"), preached 15 February 1880, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London. Spurgeon's message struck me as a fitting answer to the article Shane Claiborne wrote for Esquire last month.
new god has been lately set up among men, the god of modern Christianity, the god of modern thought, a god made of honey or sugar or lead. He is all leniency, gentleness, mildness, and indifference in the matter of sin. Justice is not in him, and as for the punishment of sin, he knows it not.
The Old Testament, as you are no doubt made aware by the wise men of this world, takes a very harsh view of God, and therefore modern wisdom sets it aside. Forsooth, one half the word of God is out of date, and turned to waste paper. Although our Lord Jesus did not come "to destroy the law or the prophets," but to fulfill them, yet the advanced thinkers of these enlightened times tell us that the idea of God in the Old Testament is a false one. We are to believe in a new god, who does not care whether we do right or wrong, for by his arrangement all will come to the same end in the long run. There may be a little twisting about for awhile for some who are rather incorrigible, but it will all come right at last. Live as you like, go and swear and drink, go and oppress the nations, and make bloody wars, and act as you will; by jingo you will be all right at last.
This is roughly the modern creed which poisons all our literature. But let me say, by Jehovah, this shall not be as men dream. Jehovah, the Judge of all the earth, must do right. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob is the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: the God of the whole earth shall he be called. He hath not changed one whit in the stern integrity of his nature, and he will by no means spare the guilty.
Read, then, the last verse of our text, and believe that it is as true to-day as when it was first written, and that if Jesus himself were here, the meek and lowly one would say it in tones of tearful solemnity, but he would utter it none the less. "God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses."
It is clear from these words that God is not indifferent to human character. Our God knows his enemies, he does not mistake them for friends, nor treat them as such. He regards iniquity as a trespass, and therefore he has not broken down the bounds of law, nor the hedges of right: there are trespasses still, and God perceives them, and notes them down, and such as go on in their trespasses are trying his longsuffering and provoking his justice. God sleeps not, neither does he wink at human sin, but calls upon all men everywhere to repent.
And it is clear too that God has the power to smite those who rebel against him. Dream not of natural laws which will screen the wicked"He shall wound the head of his enemies." They may lift up those heads as high as they please, but they cannot be beyond the reach of his hand. He will not merely bruise their heels, or wound them on the back with blows which may be healed, but at their heads he will aim fatal blows, and lay them in the dust. He can do it, and he will.