Hearken and Hear!
by James Smith, 1860
The present is intended to impact upon the future. Time is given, to prepare for eternity. We should therefore send our thoughts forward, and act now as we shall wish we had acted, when our last hour comes. The Lord speaks to us now, and requires us to "hearken and hear for the time to come." Isaiah 42:23. Much of God's Word refers to the future, and what does not exactly refer to the future, if properly used, will impact upon the future. Let us then pay attention to:
The Communication Made.
God speaks to us of SIN:
that it is detected — there is no sinning in secret;
that it is hated — and never seen but with abhorrence;
that it must be punished — law and justice forbid that it should be passed over.
God speaks to us of WRATH:
his just and holy wrath against sin;
wrath provoked by sin;
wrath treasured up against the day of wrath, to be poured on sinners;
wrath which will last forever;
wrath which kindles Hell, generates despair, and produces unspeakable terrors!
God speaks to us of REPENTANCE — commanding us to repent
and turn to him, so that iniquity may not be our ruin. When God commands
every man, everywhere to repent — he requires us . . .
to seriously consider,
to be sorry for our sins,
to confess them before him,
to seek the pardon of them,
and also to forsake them.
God speaks to us of MERCY:
mercy in Jesus,
mercy for the vilest.
Mercy that will . . .
save the sinner, and
glorify God in doing so!
God has detected sin in you,
your sin deserves his wrath,
he commands you to repent, and
repenting, he promises you mercy.
Let us then attend to,
The Duty Required.
"Hearken," give attention as one deeply interested in what is said — in order to be greatly impressed by the communication — that you may remember and turn to account — with a view to reduce to practice what is said.
"Hear," and hear . . .
with the seriousness which the subject demands;
with fervent prayer that God may make it a blessing;
as one who must give an account, and
believing that whoever is the instrument — it is God who speaks.
"Hearken and hear for the time to come." Trying times are coming, for which we should be prepared:
Times of affliction are coming, and we shall need the promises to comfort us then.
Times of judgment are coming, and we shall need assurances of safety to sustain us then.
The solemn hour of death is coming, and we shall need the gospel in all its fullness and grace, to qualify us to meet it.
Eternity is coming, and we had need be prepared for
it — but we can only be so by . . .
hearing what God speaks,
believing what God says,
accepting what God offers,
doing what God commands, and
avoiding what God prohibits.
Let us then hearken and hear — that we may escape condemnation. This can only be done by believing in Jesus, and seeking union with Jesus. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus — but to the sinner there is condemnation everywhere else.
No matter what we have — if we have not living
faith in Christ;
no matter what we do — if we do not betake ourselves to Christ;
no matter where we are — if we are not in Christ —
we shall surely be condemned, and must endure the wrath of God forever!
Let us hearken and hear — that we may ensure Heaven.
Heaven is a free gift. It is presented to us in Christ, and Christ is
presented to us in the gospel. If we receive Christ — we receive a title to
Heaven; if we reject Christ — we pass sentence on ourselves as unworthy of
everlasting life. The divine testimony is, "This is the record, that God has
given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son,
has life; and he who has not the Son of God, has not life." The wrath of God
abides on him. If therefore we would make sure of Heaven . . .
we must read God's record — and believe it;
we must attend to God's invitation — and accept it;
we must see Christ as God's gift — and receive him to be our Savior.
Let us hearken and hear — that we may be prepared
for all events. We know not what a day may bring forth — but . . .
if we are in Christ,
if we possess Christ,
if we embrace and believe the promises,
if we observe and walk by the precepts —
we shall be prepared, let what will come.
Especially let us seek to possess the Spirit of Christ,
the holy and ever blessed Comforter; that being . . .
quickened by his power,
taught by his word,
sanctified by his grace,
sealed by his love, and
assured of eternal life by his indwelling and witness
— we may . . .
rejoice in hope,
be patient in tribulation,
be diligent in duty, and
be more than victorious in death.
Lord, give both writer and reader grace that we may, "Hearken and hear for the time to come!"