King's Business - 1932-11


T h e K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s

November 1932

who could understand were gathered, “ and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” (v. 3). The reading was done distinctly, the sense of what was read was made plain, and the people were caused to understand it (v. 8). The immediate result was that a great mourning broke out among the people, for they found that judgment would fall upon them because o f their sins. What follows forms our lesson. 1. The joy after mourning (10-12). Nehemiah at once explained to the peo­ ple that the day was holy unto the Lord, and that they were not to sorrow because, as he said, “The joy o f the Lord is your strength.” They were correct in mourning because o f their sinfulness, but their true repentance averted the wrath, and hence they could rejoice. As soon as the people understood this, they scattered to their places to make great mirth, “because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” There is only one way to possess a rejoic­ ing heart, and that is to understand the Word o f the-Lord. Many read the Bible and never think about what is read; there is no meditation upon it, no understanding, and therefore no joy. The Word is treated as though it were some sort of charm, the simple reading o f which would cause it to work. It is not enough merely to read the Word; one must continually meditate upon it. The blessed man is one who “de­ lights in the law o f the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa. 1:2). To meditate upon the Word means to do with it what the cow does with the food she has gathered: chew the cud. Without any feverish effort, the cow fulfills its purpose. And so, too, the Chris­ tian will fulfill the purpose God has for him by simply taking the Word and medi­ tating upon it, rejoicing in it, and giving it reverence. 2. The further instruction (13-15). When the people examined the Word more fully, it was found that a certain feast was to be held in the seventh month. This was the feast celebrating their release from the bondage in Egypt—the Feast of Tabernacles—the most joyous of all the feasts o f Israel, a time when the people dwelt in booths, and with great rejoicing brought to remembrance the mighty work of God when He brought them out of Egypt. Its celebration had long been neg­ lected. 3. The prompt obedience o f the people (16,17). As soon as the Levites had told the peo­ ple o f this feast, the people went to gather branches o f olive and other trees. From these were fashioned the booths in which they dwelt during the days of the feast. The booths were erected upon the roofs of the houses, in the courts o f their houses, in the courts o f the house o f God, and in the streets. Since the days of Joshua, this feast had fallen into decay and forgetful­ ness, but now it was resumed by, the obed­ ience o f the people to the Word o f the Lord. Meditation upon the Word would be o f no value unless it was followed by obedience. It is obedience alone that brings further light on the Word. “If any man will do his will, he shall know” (John 7 :17) is the word o f Jesus. The under­ standing one has o f the Word, and the blessing one has in the life, are dependent upon the measure o f obedience one gives to the Word. Without obedience, we may say that God’s hands are tied. It is the obed-

Lord shows Himself as perhaps He is re­ vealed nowhere else. In the desert, pa­ tience is found and cultivated. The trial of faith is something the Christian cannot afford to do without, and the lessons learned in desert places will be those which will hold him firm and true when the storms rush upon him. In both passages which form our lesson today, it is the Word o f God to which we are pointed. That Word is like a sign­ board ; children throw stones to disfigure it, young people read it out of curiosity, older people pass it by as being unimportant compared with the weightier matters o f life, and all these get nothing from it. But when a traveler reads it in order to learn the right way, he is invariably helped to understanding. So it is with the Word of God. Many seek to disfigure it, many read it from curiosity, many ignore it, but the real inquirer, desiring to know the way of life, is caused to understand by the Spirit of God who wrote the Word of God. Lesson Questions Neh. 8:10-17. What" was the first effect o f the reading of the Word of God on the part o f the people who had neglected it? What followed ? Is this always God’s order —repentance, then rejoicing? Why did the people dwell in booths during the Feast o f Tabernacles (Lev. 23:39-44) ? Can any one 'experience “very great gladness” when God’s Word is neglected or not immediate­ ly obeyed? Mk. 6:30-32. Why do you think Jesus called His disciples to rest in a desert place? Can you name some great leaders who owed much to “desert” experiences in their lives ? Jesus Watching; Children Play M atthew 11:16, 17: Z echariah 8:4, 5 Memory Verse: “Thou hast put gladness in my heart” (Psa. 4:7). Approach: Ever since the world began, children have liked to play games. There are many different kinds of games, and there are many ways of playing them. Most games are played according to rules.




ient ones alone who know (John 2 :9). The final result of keeping the feast according to the Word was that “there was very great gladness.” II. T he I nterlude in S ervice (M k . 6:30-32). Here we have the report o f the apostles (v. 30)—the twelve whom the Lord had sent forth two by two. They had gone forth clothed with the power He had be­ stowed upon them, and were now return­ ing to tell Him all things that had trans­ pired. In another place, it is said that they reported they had healed the sick, cast out demons, and so forth, and that He said unto them that they were to rejoice, not so much in what they had done, but that their names were written in heaven. There were great multitudes pressing upon the Lord and His followers, so much so that they found difficulty in getting time even to eat. Hence the Lord said, “ Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while.” This is His own invitation to rest. There may be such strenuous ef­ fort in being “everlastingly at it” as to im­ pair the efficiency o f the servant. The period of rest is needful for the fullest and best service. All music has rests; indeed, the rests are as much needed for the perfec­ tion of thq harmony as are the notes. And all service must have periods o f rest, if that service is to be a thing of harmony to the Lord. But the invitation is to rest in a desert place. It would be desert to the natural eye, but not to the eye of faith. The eye of faith would make the desert place blossom as the rose, as will be literally true o f the desert in a coming day (Isa. 35 :1). There .are deserts of separation from Christian fellowship, when one is shut away from those of like feeling toward the Lord and His Word. There are deserts of trial, when one finds the unexplained experience and circumstance to be almost beyond one’s strength. There are deserts of sickness, when one is shut away from the usual activities of life, when the nights are dreary and the days are long. There are deserts when the king of terrors approach­ es, and the darkness gathers, and the lone path looms dark before the faltering feet. But all of these desert places are made to blossom as the rose in the heart o f the one in fellowship with the Lord who invites him there. Many o f the dearest saints of God have found such desert places to be as the very gate of heaven to their souls. The desert place is needed for refresh­ ment and for gathering new strength for the toil and labor o f the business upon which the Christian has been sent. It is a place where the usual conveniences and occupations of life are withdrawn for a season, and there is nothing but the Lord Himself to satisfy the heart and provide for the needs. But in such a place, the

Christian boys' and girls should be espe­ cially'careful to. obey the rules of the game. L e s s o n S t o r y : Today I am going to ask you some ques­ tions. If the game to be played is going to hurt or make some one unhappy, do you think it is a good one

to play? If all of the children but you want to play a game which you don’t like, is it bet­ ter to play it anyway or to stand back and say, “I don’t want to play that game” ? Is it polite to always want to have the first turn, or is it unselfish to always want to be “It” ? | Do you feel comfortable inside if you have played a game unfairly? What about keeping on playing after Mother has called you to come home? What about playing before you have finished some work that should be done first? Do you ever feel jealous o f the one who wins the game? When many nations join together and send their athletes to run races and play games together, one of the most important

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