Nehemiah 4

* Opposition of Sanballat and others. (1-6) The designs of the

adversaries. (7-15) Nehemiah's precautions. (16-23)

1-6 Many a good work has been looked upon with contempt by

proud and haughty scorners. Those who disagree in almost every

thing, will unite in persecution. Nehemiah did not answer these

fools according to their folly, but looked up to God by prayer.

God's people have often been a despised people, but he hears all

the slights that are put upon them, and it is their comfort that

he does so. Nehemiah had reason to think that the hearts of

those sinners were desperately hardened, else he would not have

prayed that their sins might never be blotted out. Good work

goes on well, when people have a mind to it. The reproaches of

enemies should quicken us to our duty, not drive us from it.
7-15 The hindering good work is what bad men aim at, and

promise themselves success in; but good work is God's work, and

it shall prosper. God has many ways of bringing to light, and so

of bringing to nought, the devices and designs of his church's

enemies. If our enemies cannot frighten us from duty, or deceive

us into sin, they cannot hurt us. Nehemiah put himself and his

cause under the Divine protection. It was the way of this good

man, and should be our way. All his cares, all his griefs, all

his fears, he spread before God. Before he used any means, he

made his prayer to God. Having prayed, he set a watch against

the enemy. If we think to secure ourselves by prayer, without

watchfulness, we are slothful, and tempt God; if by

watchfulness, 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, and

trust God another time.
16-23 We must watch always against spiritual enemies, and not

expect that our warfare will be over till our work is ended. The

word of God is the sword of the Spirit, which we ought to have

always at hand, and never to have to seek for it, either in our

labours, or in our conflicts, as Christians. Every true

Christian is both a labourer and a soldier, working with one

hand, and fighting with the other. Good work is likely to go on

with success, when those who labour in it, make a business of

it. And Satan fears to assault the watchful Christian; or, if

attacked, the Lord fights for him. Thus must we wait to the

close of life, never putting off our armour till our work and

warfare are ended; then we shall be welcomed to the rest and joy

of our Lord.
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