The cry of Rachel for physical children should be more than matched by the believer's longing for spiritual children. Our great object in living is to glorify God, and we mainly achieve this end by the winning of souls. We must see souls born unto God. If we do not win souls, we should mourn as the farmer who sees no harvest, as the fisherman who returns to his cottage with an empty net, or as the hunter who has roamed in vain over hill and dale. Ours should be Isaiah's language uttered with many a sigh and groan—"who has believed what they heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"1 As ambassadors of peace we should not cease to weep bitterly until sinners weep for their sins. If we intensely desire to see others believing in the Lord Jesus, we must act in accordance with the principle and pattern of Scripture. We must depend entirely upon the Spirit of God. Do we not fail in many of our efforts because we practically, though not doctrinally, ignore the Holy Spirit? His place as God is on the throne, and in all our enterprises He must be the beginning, the middle, and the end; we are instruments in His hand and nothing more.
We must be most of all clear upon the great soul-saving doctrine of the Atonement. "He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."2 This truth that Christ died in the place of sinners gives rest to the conscience by showing how God can be just and the justifier of whoever believes. This is the great net of gospel fishermen; the fish are drawn or driven in the right direction by other truths, but this is the net itself.
We must declare the love of God in Christ Jesus. Always keep His abounding mercy connected to His unerring justice. Never exalt one attribute at the expense of another. Let boundless mercy be seen in calm consistency with stern justice and unlimited sovereignty.
Believer, are you longing to see spiritual offspring? Do not let the sun set on this day without imploring God to show Himself strong in this regard. Beseech Him, "Give me children, or I shall die."
Editor's note: This meditation replaces Spurgeon's original devotional, on Isaiah 54:12 and was adapted from Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to Students, page 375.