Spurgeon, "THE INEXHAUSTIBLE BARREL"
"And the barrel of meal was not used up,
neither did the cruse of oil run dry..." 1 Kings 17:16.
Because God chooses to take the base things of this world,
the things that are despised, and the things that are not;
because he takes these things, to bring to nothing the
things that are, therefore is God hated by men.
God has chosen to himself a people whom he will
bring to himself at last, who are his peculiar
treasure, the favorites of his choice.
But these people are by nature the most unlikely ones upon
the face of the whole world-- those who today are sunken in
sin, immersed in folly, brutal, without knowledge, without
wit-- these are the very ones that God ordains to save.
To them he sends the word in its effectual might,
and these are plucked like brands from the burning.
None can guess the reasons of divine election.
This great act is as mysterious as it is gracious.
Throughout Scripture we are continually startled with
resplendent instances of unlimited sovereignty, and the case
of this widow of Zerephath is one among the many-- electing
love passes by the thousands of widows that dwelt in God's
own land, and it journeys beyond the borders of Canaan, to
cherish and preserve a heathen woman of Zerephath.
Some men hate the doctrine of divine Sovereignty; but those
who are called by grace love it, for they feel, if it had not
been for sovereignty, they never would have been saved.
Ah, if we are now his people, what was there
in any of us to merit the esteem of God?
How is it that some of us are converted, while our companions
in sin are left to persevere in their godless career?
How is it that some of us who were once drunkards,
swearers, and the like, are now sitting here to praise
the God of Israel this day? Was there anything good
in us that moved the heart of God to save us?
God forbid that we should indulge the blasphemous thought!
There was nothing in us that made us better than others, or
more deserving. Sometimes we are apt to think that it was
the reverse. There was much in us that might have caused
God to pass us by if he had looked to us. And yet, here
we are, praising his name! Tell me, you that deny divine
sovereignty, how is it that the publicans and harlots
enter into the kingdom of heaven, while the
self-righteous Pharisee is shut out?
How is it that from the scum and draft of this city,
God picks up some of his brightest jewels, while
among the learned and philosophic, there are very
few that bow the knee to the God of Israel?
Tell me, how is it that in heaven there are more servants than
masters, more poor than rich, more foolish than learned?
What shall we say of this? -- "I thank you, O Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from
the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes.
Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight."
God loves no man for 'anything in' man. The saved ones are
not saved on account of anything they did; but simply
because he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy,
and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion.
Your merits or your demerits have nothing to do with the matter.
If God intends to bless, he looks not to what you are.
He finds his motive in the depth of his own loving will, and
not in you. Oh! can you believe it, that black, and filthy, and
diseased, and leprous though you are, the love of God can
shed itself abroad in YOUR heart?