Nehemiah 5

* The Jews complain of grievances. (1-5) Nehemiah redresses the

grievances. (6-13) Nehemiah's forbearance. (14-19)

1-5 Men prey upon their fellow-creatures: by despising the poor

they reproach their Maker. Such conduct is a disgrace to any,

but who can sufficiently abhor it when adopted by professing

Christians? With compassion for the oppressed, we should lament

the hardships which many in the world are groaning under;

putting our souls into their souls' stead, and remembering in

our prayers and succours those who are burdened. But let those

who show no mercy, expect judgment without mercy.
6-13 Nehemiah knew that, if he built Jerusalem's walls ever so

high, so thick, or so strong, the city could not be safe while

there were abuses. The right way to reform men's lives, is to

convince their consciences. If you walk in the fear of God, you

will not be either covetous of worldly gain, or cruel toward

your brethren. Nothing exposes religion more to reproach, than

the worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it.

Those that rigorously insist upon their right, with a very ill

grace try to persuade others to give up theirs. In reasoning

with selfish people, it is good to contrast their conduct with

that of others who are liberal; but it is best to point to His

example, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor,

that we, through his poverty, might be rich, #2Co 8:9|. They did

according to promise. Good promises are good things, but good

performances are better.
14-19 Those who truly fear God, will not dare to do any thing

cruel or unjust. Let all who are in public places remember that

they are so placed to do good, not to enrich themselves.

Nehemiah mentions it to God in prayer, not as if he had merited

any favour from God, but to show that he depended upon God only,

to make up to him what he had lost and laid out for his honour.

Nehemiah evidently spake and acted as one that knew himself to

be a sinner. He did not mean to claim a reward as of debt, but

in the manner that the Lord rewards a cup of cold water given to

a disciple for his sake. The fear and love of God in the heart,

and true love of the brethren, will lead to every good work.

These are proper evidences of justifying faith; and our

reconciled God will look upon persons of this character for

good, according to all they have done for his people.
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