And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine…
The true secret of his success was Divine interposition in his behalf.
1. Nehemiah, under God, made the most of this opportunity. He had waited patiently for it; and now, when it came, he did not fail to turn it to the best account. It is not always that this is done. Many, we fear, if they had the chance, would be more ready to injure the servants of Christ than to do them good, and to cripple and damage His cause rather than extend it. And where another spirit prevails, have we not often to mourn over lost opportunities of doing good? or over opportunities of doing good that have been very imperfectly improved?
2. We are reminded that prayer does not supersede efforts in other directions. Nehemiah did not content himself with the thought that he had prayed for Jerusalem, and for its poor inhabitants. He supple mented his praying by using his best endeavours to secure such help as man could render. And did he under-estimate the power of prayer by this procedure? We think not. His conduct showed that he was neither irreligious, on the one hand, nor fanatical on the other. Some objects are best accomplished by prayer alone. Some persons are so placed now that all we can do in their behalf is to pray for them; and some objects are of such a nature that we cannot advance them other wise than by giving them an interest in our prayers. But, as a rule, we may, and ought, to do something more than this for a good cause.
3. Answers to prayer should be gratefully acknowledged.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
WEB: It happened in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been [before] sad in his presence.