Ii Samuel 5
II Samuel 5:23-24:
“And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; [but] fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.”
Now, my Brothers and Sisters, is the time for us to bestir ourselves! Oh let us cry to God more earnestly! Let our Prayer Meetings be filled with men who come full of vehement petitions. Let our private altars be more constantly kept burning, causing the smoke of prayer to ascend and let our closets continually be occupied by earnest intercession! Bestir yourself—there is a “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.”
That is concerning the Church at large and the same Truth holds good of any particular congregation. One Sabbath-Day the minister preached with great unction. God clothed him with power—he seemed like John the Baptist in the wilderness, crying, “Repent you, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” He spoke with all the earnestness of a man who was about to die. He so spoke that the people trembled—a visible thrill passed through the audience. Every eye was fixed and the tears seemed to bedew every cheek. Men and women rose up from the sermon, saying, “Surely, God was in this place and we have felt His Presence.” What ought a Christian to say, as he retires from the House of God? He should say, “I have heard this day the sound of the leaves of the mulberry trees.” I saw the people earnest. I marked the minister speaking mightily, God having touched his lips with a live coal from off the altar. I saw the tears in every eye. I saw the deep, wrapped attention of many who were careless. There were some young people there that looked as if they had been impressed— their countenances seemed to show that there was a work going on. Now, what should I do? The first thing I will do is I will bestir myself! But how shall I do it? Why, I will go home this day and I will wrestle in prayer more earnestly than I have been likely to do, that God will bless the minister and multiply the Church! Well, what next? Where do I sit? Was there a young woman in my pew that seemed impressed? When I go this evening I will look out for her. I have heard the “sound of the leaves of the mulberry trees,” and I will bestir myself. And if I see her there, I will speak a word to her, or, what is more, if I hear another sermon like it and I see any who seem to be impressed, I will try to find them out, for I know that two words from a private person are often better than 50 from a minister! So that if I have seen a young man impressed, I will touch him on his elbow and say, “You seemed as if you enjoyed this sermon.” “Yes, I liked it very well.” “And do you like spiritual things?” Who can tell? I may be made the means of his conversion! At all events, I shall have this sweet consolation to go to bed with—I heard the “sound of the leaves of the mulberry trees,” and as soon as I heard it, I bestirred myself that I might serve my God and be the means of winning souls from Hell! But, alas, my Brothers and Sisters, much of the seed we sow seems to be lost for lack of watering! Many an impressive sermon seems to lose much of its force because it is not followed up as it should be. God’s purposes, I know, are answered. His Word does not return unto Him void. Still, I think we might sometimes ask ourselves, have we not been too dilatory, too neglectful in not availing ourselves of favorable times and seasons when the power of the Spirit has been in our midst and when we should have looked upon it as the signal for more strenuously exerting ourselves in the service of our Master?
The same I might say of any time of general sickness, or any time of plague or cholera, or sudden death. There are times when the cholera is raging through our streets. The people are all trembling, they are afraid to die. Mark—that is the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” It is the business of you and me to bestir ourselves when people are by any means led to serious thought—when God is walking through the land and smiting down first one and then another and the minds of the people are all on tiptoe concerning what the end shall be. When there has been some alarming fire; when a sudden death has taken place in the street, or in the court, or in a house, it is the Christian’s business to seize upon the time and to improve it for his Master!
“Now,” said the Puritans, during the great plague of London, when the hireling parish priests had fled from their Churches—“now is our time to preach!” And all through that terrible time when the carts, filled with the dead, went through the streets overgrown with grass, these strong-minded Puritans occupied the pulpits and boldly preached the Word of God! Brothers, that is what we should do whenever we see a time more favorable than another for telling sinners of the wrath to come! Let us seize it, just as the merchant looks out for every turn of the market, for every rise and every fall—and just as the farmer looks out for a good season for sowing or planting or mowing. Let us look out for the best times for seeking to do good! Let us plow deep while sluggards sleep and let us labor as much as possible in the best season to make hay while the sun is shining and serve our God when we hear the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.”
Excerpt from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon, May 31st 1857