Nehemiah 5* The Jews complain of grievances. (1-5) Nehemiah redresses thegrievances. (6-13) Nehemiah's forbearance. (14-19)1-5 Men prey upon their fellow-creatures: by despising the poorthey reproach their Maker. Such conduct is a disgrace to any,but who can sufficiently abhor it when adopted by professingChristians? With compassion for the oppressed, we should lamentthe hardships which many in the world are groaning under;putting our souls into their souls' stead, and remembering inour prayers and succours those who are burdened. But let thosewho show no mercy, expect judgment without mercy. 6-13 Nehemiah knew that, if he built Jerusalem's walls ever sohigh, so thick, or so strong, the city could not be safe whilethere were abuses. The right way to reform men's lives, is toconvince their consciences. If you walk in the fear of God, youwill not be either covetous of worldly gain, or cruel towardyour brethren. Nothing exposes religion more to reproach, thanthe worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it.Those that rigorously insist upon their right, with a very illgrace try to persuade others to give up theirs. In reasoningwith selfish people, it is good to contrast their conduct withthat of others who are liberal; but it is best to point to Hisexample, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor,that we, through his poverty, might be rich, #2Co 8:9|. They didaccording to promise. Good promises are good things, but goodperformances are better. 14-19 Those who truly fear God, will not dare to do any thingcruel or unjust. Let all who are in public places remember thatthey are so placed to do good, not to enrich themselves.Nehemiah mentions it to God in prayer, not as if he had meritedany 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 tobe a sinner. He did not mean to claim a reward as of debt, butin the manner that the Lord rewards a cup of cold water given toa 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 ourreconciled God will look upon persons of this character forgood, according to all they have done for his people.
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