Robinson Crusoe's Scripture Text
There is a treatment update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
DORIS STAM has written a book. Please take a look.
MOUNTAIN EDUCATORS: THE DOUGHERTY FAMILY
AND THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF APPALACHIAN
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from the introduction to a sermon on prayer by Charles Spurgeon. He uses the novel ROBINSON CRUSOE as his launching pad for a message based on a single verse: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). That verse has a formula for turning our hearts to worship: call for help, be delivered by God, and worship Him for His mercy and grace.
ROBINSON CRUSOE'S SCRIPTURE TEXT
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you
and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15
One book charmed us all in the days of our youth. Is there a boy alive who has not read it? “Robinson Crusoe” was a wealth of wonders to me—I could have read it over a dozen times and never have wearied. I am not ashamed to confess that I can read it, even now, with fresh delight. Robinson and his man, Friday, though mere inventions of fiction, are wonderfully real to the most of us. But why am I running on in this way on a Sabbath evening? Is not this talk altogether out of order? I hope not. A passage in that book comes vividly before my remembrance tonight as I read my text and, in it I find something more than an excuse. Robinson Crusoe has been wrecked. He is left on the desert island all alone. His case is a very pitiable one. He goes to his bed and he is smitten with fever. This fever lasts upon him long and he has no one to wait upon him—none even to bring him a drink of cold water. He is ready to perish. He had been accustomed to sin and had all the vices of a sailor, but his hard case brought him to think. He opens a Bible which he finds in his chest and he lights upon this passage, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” That night he prayed for the first time in his life and there was in him, always after, a hope in God which marked the birth of the heavenly life!
De Foe, who composed the story, was, as you know, a Presbyterian minister. And though not overdone with spirituality, he knew enough of religion to be able to describe very vividly the experience of a man who is in despair and who finds peace by casting himself upon his God. As a novelist, he had a keen eye for the probable, and he could think of no passage more likely to impress a poor broken spirit than this. Instinctively he perceived the mine of comfort which lies within these words.
Now I have everybody’s attention and this is one reason why I thus commenced my discourse. But I have a further purpose, for although Robinson Crusoe is not here, nor his man, Friday, either, yet there may be somebody here very like he—a person who has suffered shipwreck in life and who has now become a drifting, solitary creature. He remembers better days, but by his sins he has become a castaway whom no man seeks after. He is here, tonight, washed up on shore without a friend, suffering in body, broken in estate and crushed in spirit. In the midst of a city full of people, he has not a friend, nor one who would wish to admit that he has ever known him. He has now come to the bare bones of existence. Nothing lies before him but poverty, misery and death.
Thus says the Lord unto you, my Friend, this night, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” You have come here half hoping that there might be a word from God to your soul—“half hoping,” I said—for you are as much under the influence of dread as of hope. You are filled with despair. To you it seems that God has forgotten to be gracious and that He has, in anger, shut up the heart of His compassion. The lying fiend has persuaded you that there is no hope on purpose, so that he may bind you with the fetters of despair and hold you as a captive to work in the mill of ungodliness as you live. You write bitter things against yourself, but they are as false as they are bitter. The Lord’s mercies fail not. His mercy endures forever and thus in mercy does He speak to you, poor troubled spirit, even to you—“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” I have the feeling upon me that I shall, at this time, speak home, God helping me, to some poor burdened spirit. In such a congregation as this, it is not everybody that can receive a blessing by the Word that is spoken, but certain minds are prepared for it by the Lord. He prepares the Seed to be sown and the ground to receive it! He gives a sense of need and this is the best preparation for the promise. Of what use is comfort to those who are not in distress? The Word of God, tonight, will be of no use and have but little interest in it to those who have no distress of heart. But, however badly I may speak, those hearts will dance for joy which need the cheering assurance of a gracious God and are enabled to receive it as it shines forth in this golden text, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” It is a text which I would have written in stars across the sky, or sounded forth with trumpet at noon from the top of every tower, or printed on every sheet of paper which shines through the post! It should be known and read by all of mankind!
— Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), Delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on August 30, 1885. From TWELVE SERMONS ON PRAYER BY CHARLES H. SPURGEON, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1973 Third Printing, pp. 105-06. ISBN 0-8010-7923-3. You can actually find this entire sermon at www.spurgeon.org/sermons/1876.htm
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
TOPICAL INDEX FOR FORTY-THREE
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
October 26 Treatment Update
Dear friends and family,
Once again, thanks for loving us and praying for us during this long (really long!) cancer journey. More complete journal entries and some new pictures are found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam.
GRAFT VS. HOST DISEASE
Still more of the same, actually! Praise our gracious God that there is still no sign of active Lymphoma in my body. The daily concern about Graft vs. Host Disease continues. My pillbox was adjusted again this morning. The steroids kept me up ALL night, but thankfully today is the day that they are dialing back the dose on those. The CMV numbers are tame this week, the rash is itching (but not too badly), the bladder infection situation has improved a bit. I have had incredible swelling in my ankles and feet—actually throbbing, so I spend a good deal of the day with my legs elevated. My blood pressure is up and down and up and down, appetite is good, strength is terrible, and spirits are high. There you go! Pick something in that to bring to the throne of grace.
BIG FAMILY NEWS: DORIS HAS WRITTEN A BOOK
Question: What can a seminary professor do when he is in the hospital or propped up in the clinic getting infusions every single day? Answer: He can do text editing for the book his wife has been writing for the last several years. Doris's book is finally in hand—it is so beautiful. Please take a look at the material on the web site: MOUNTAIN EDUCATORS: THE DOUGHERTY FAMILY AND THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF APPALACHIAN. Doris's relatives started Watauga Academy in 1899 (Boone, NC), a little mountain school that finally became Appalachian State University. I am so happy for her and proud of her for this huge accomplishment. (My mother will be reminding me that "pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18). (www.tinyurl.com/mountaineducators)
Please keep praying fervently for Doris, our family, my caregivers, and me; and don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Pray that our stem cell drive will provide many, many cancer patients with life-saving options for treatment. If you would like to swab your cheek and participate, it is not too late.
Resting in the Bounty of the LORD,