Nehemiah 4* Opposition of Sanballat and others. (1-6) The designs of theadversaries. (7-15) Nehemiah's precautions. (16-23)1-6 Many a good work has been looked upon with contempt byproud and haughty scorners. Those who disagree in almost everything, will unite in persecution. Nehemiah did not answer thesefools according to their folly, but looked up to God by prayer.God's people have often been a despised people, but he hears allthe slights that are put upon them, and it is their comfort thathe does so. Nehemiah had reason to think that the hearts ofthose sinners were desperately hardened, else he would not haveprayed that their sins might never be blotted out. Good workgoes on well, when people have a mind to it. The reproaches ofenemies should quicken us to our duty, not drive us from it. 7-15 The hindering good work is what bad men aim at, andpromise themselves success in; but good work is God's work, andit shall prosper. God has many ways of bringing to light, and soof bringing to nought, the devices and designs of his church'senemies. If our enemies cannot frighten us from duty, or deceiveus into sin, they cannot hurt us. Nehemiah put himself and hiscause under the Divine protection. It was the way of this goodman, and should be our way. All his cares, all his griefs, allhis fears, he spread before God. Before he used any means, hemade his prayer to God. Having prayed, he set a watch againstthe enemy. If we think to secure ourselves by prayer, withoutwatchfulness, we are slothful, and tempt God; if bywatchfulness, without prayer, we are proud, and slight God:either way, we forfeit his protection. God's care of our safety,should engage and encourage us to go on with vigour in our duty.As soon as a danger is over, let us return to our work, andtrust God another time. 16-23 We must watch always against spiritual enemies, and notexpect that our warfare will be over till our work is ended. Theword of God is the sword of the Spirit, which we ought to havealways at hand, and never to have to seek for it, either in ourlabours, or in our conflicts, as Christians. Every trueChristian is both a labourer and a soldier, working with onehand, and fighting with the other. Good work is likely to go onwith success, when those who labour in it, make a business ofit. And Satan fears to assault the watchful Christian; or, ifattacked, the Lord fights for him. Thus must we wait to theclose of life, never putting off our armour till our work andwarfare are ended; then we shall be welcomed to the rest and joyof our Lord.
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