anything is really "doing" among God's peo- ple, Satan is very "wroth" (4:1; Rev. 12:12). 2. A counter-plot. "Wte made our prayer unto God, and set a watch." Two children were hurrying to school. "Oh," said one, "we shall be late; let us stop and pray." "No," said the other, "let us run and pray." Prayer does not take the place of means, but calls for it. "Watch and pray" (4:9; 2 Chro. 14:10, 11; Acts 5:31; 12:5; Mat. 26: 41; Col. 4:2). 3. A sly foe. The enemy was alert and secret. "They shall not know till we come—and slay them" (4:11; Psa. 71:10, 11; 1 Pet. 5:8). 4. Ready for either: sword or trowel; war or labor (4:13, 17, 18). We are "set for defense, as well as for the confirmation of the gospel" (Phil. 1:7); "Put ye on the whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:10- 18. 5. The General's harangue. Nehemiah rallied them, saying, "Fear not; remember the Lord; fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your (hearth-stones) houses" (4:14). Their all was at -stake. So is ours. 5. A bold front is victory. When the enemy saw that they were prepared and determined to fight, they let them alone. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). 6. Concentration. All were ready to center at one point on signal. They who can work side by side, will fight shoulder to shoulder. When ail the denominations are• ready to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), and the "trumpet" calls loudly now, then they can and will work side by side in the spread of the Gospel. 7. Finally. "Having done all" (Eph. 6:13), "casting all their care upon Him" (1 Pet. 5:7), they said, "Our God shall fiaht for us" (4:20), and God fights for us when He fights through us. given every Israelite a perpetual title to a share of the land (Num. 27:54). And it was written, "If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him,—take thou no usury of him, or increase,—thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase" (Lev. 25:35-37); "thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant" (Lev. 25:39). II. THE WRONGS RIGHTED. 1. Nehemiah's indignation. "I was very angry" (v. 6). Such iniquities fire just men with righteous wrath. If some of ug had Nehemiah's power the present wrongs would soon be righted. These economic questions the solution of which- seems too hard a puzzle for our statesmen, would be solved with little difficulty were they truly patri- otic, just, and unbiased. God's bountiful providence is blighted, and the clearest max- ims of wisdom and prudence made null and void, by the selfishness of the very men to whom He has given the power and talent to prevent and to adjust such inequalities. 2. "My heart consulted in me" (v. 7, mar- gin). The heart should be our chief coun- sellor, if it be "an honest and good heart" (juuke 8:15), in all cases. But in politics and business, as conducted, there, is no heart, be the business, small or "big," 3. The governor "rebuked" those covetous men in the most public way (v, 7). He. con-- trasted, not egotistically, his own -example. He had ."redeemed"- theii brethren; they' had sold .them (v. -8). So we see one- man- giving aid to", need, and a thousand- ¡.others- sucking profits out of it. We see some "ex-- .—Dec. 10. and Persecution, and VI.
convince the king that the Jews were trait- orous? 3. What Nehemiah said: "God will prosper us—His servants, we will build." The Lord's servants, in the Lord's work, need have no fear; let them labor on; Satan has a slanderous tongue, but "It is God that justlfleth" (Rom. 8:33); "but ye have no portion," etc. Whether as foe or friend the Devil is always the fiend. He'll charge you with rebellion, and if that does not scare you, he 'll propose to join you in your good work. Let him understand em- phatically at the beginning that you scorn both his reproaches and his approaches. V. THE WALL BUILT. 1. "The people had a mind to work,' (4:6). 2. They worked side by side, "Next unto them," "Next unto them," "Next unto them" (vv. 4, 5, 7, etc), and so on. 3. Each worked on his own section. "Every one over .against his own house." Keep your own door yard clean. 4. And then helped on his neighbor's. Meremoth (v. 4) did his own, and (v. 21) then helped on "another piece," 5 All classes worked; priests (v. 1), apothecaries, goldsmiths (v. 8), rulers (vv. 16, 17, etc.), and merchants (v. 32); £11 classes, with the exception of certain "no- bles" (v. 5). It was another case of "Meroz" (Jdg. 5:23); and an illustration that' "not many noble are called." But nothing can hinder when "the people have a mind to work" (4:6). "So built we the wall." What is the matter with the Church?. The peo- ple have no mind- to work. IV. WORK AND WARFARE. 1. A conspiracy. Sanballat and his fel- lows plotted to hinder the good work. When 1. THE WRONGS OF THE PEOPLE. 1. The outcry. "There was a great cry of the people (5:1). The people, "the masses," are long suffering; but at last they cry out (1 Sam. 8:18). There is a cry now in Europe, Asia and America. Such cries are often terrible. They shake the bases of society. They make French Revolutions. God hears such cries (Ex. 3:7; 22: 22-24). Extortioners and oppressors may take heed. 2. The high cost of living. Multitudes drawn to Jerusalem to labor on the walls, or driven there by the unsettled state of the country, were crowded into the city. Food was scarce. Greed preyed on need. Men are beasts. Like them the strong hector and persecute the weak. They are worse in this "Christian" century than they were in Nehemiah's. There is no just ground even in times of scarcity for an arbitrary rise in the price of necessities. But men who have conspire to fleece them who have hot, even m times of plenty like ours. 3. High finance. "We have mortgaged" (5:3). The people were compelled to pledge their farms and vineyards for food for themselves and families. Taxes ("the king's tribute," v. 4) went on as usual. More borrowing, and second mortgages followed. Heavy interest riveted the fetters of debt and eseape was hopeless (v. 7). Finally the children were Fold for bondmen to satisfy the selfish cred- itors, with no hope of redemption because, said their parents, "other men have our lands and vineyards" (v. .5). The few held the money, the lands, and the tools. It is an up-to-date story. But all was -contrary to the • merciful provision of God. He had Lesson XI Piety, Patriotism ' Neh. V.
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