And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so that he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house I will occupy." And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.
I. THAT IT WAS THE OUTCOME OF A TRUE PATRIOTISM (ver. 2). This sadness was not occasioned by temporal loss, by domestic bereavement, or by unfaithful friendship, but by the desolated condition of Jerusalem. The city was "waste." Many cities of our own country are laid waste by sin; the good man cannot be indifferent, he must sympathise with and help the work of moral restoration. If men are anxious about the walls, they ought to be much more so about the morals of a city; if for the tombs of the dead, much more for the welfare of the living. Sin consumes a city as by fire. The desolation wrought by sin, in commerce, in society, in the home, and especially amongst the young, cannot but awaken deep sorrow of heart.
II. THAT IT WAS EXPERIENCED IN THE COURSE OF HIS DAILY AVOCATIONS. "And I took up the wine, and gave it to the king "( ver. 1). How many men go to their daily toil with a heart sorrow which occupation and industry cannot make them forget. Nehemiah was wont to be cheerful before the king; business should be done in joyous mood; but there are times when sorrow will prevail.
III. THAT IT WAS MANIFESTED IN THE APPEARANCE OF THE PHYSICAL FRAME. "Why is thy countenance sad?" (ver. 2). How much of the world's sorrow is concealed. In a very true sense it is sorrow of heart; it is never vocal in explanation or complaint. But such sacred grief is not hidden from God. The face reflects the emotions of the soul; it revealed the sorrow of Nehemiah, the joy of Stephen. How many sorrowful faces do we meet in a day. A sad countenance should awaken tender inquiry, wise consideration, and willing aid. Let us not be heedless of the world's sorrow. Christ is only true consolation.
IV. THAT IT WAS AIDED BY SECRET COMMUNION WITH THE DIVINE. "So I prayed to the God of heaven" (ver. 4).
1. Sorrow often has great opportunities opened up to it. "For what dost thou make request?" Nehemiah's sorrow opened up the king's resources to him. Our sorrows often make heaven rich to us.
2. Sorrow needs guidance, so as to make good use of the opportunities presented to it.
3. Sorrow finds in prayer the guidance and culture it needs to use aright its opportunity.
(1) Memory is aided;
(2) difficulty is anticipated;
(3) preparation is accomplished (ver. 7);
(4) agencies are perfected (ver. 8).
V. THAT IT WAS EMPLOYED IN THE WONDROUS PROVIDENCE OF HEAVEN. "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me" (ver. 8).
1. The sorrow of Nehemiah was allied to the welfare of his people. It led to the rebuilding of the broken wall of Jerusalem. Our trials are often the means of promoting the welfare of others. Christ's sufferings are allied to our best delights, and to our noblest achievements. It is indeed true that others build because we have suffered.
2. The sorrow of Nehemiah was allied to the beneficence of the king. It awakened the monarch's sympathy and help. The sorrows of men awaken loving ministries.
3. The sorrow of Nehemiah was allied to the providence of God. By its means Heaven opened the heart of the heathen king in sympathy and his hand in help. The pain of the world is made to achieve high moral ends; a wise providence employs it in the building of broken walls. - E.
And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon us.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
Homilist.I. A SPIRIT OF DEPENDENCE. There breathes forth a feeling of insignificance. The speaker feels scarcely able to trust himself.
1. Man's technical skill. Having arrived at so high a standard in design, construction, and art, we are very apt to think very highly of ourselves. We gaze on the railway, the steam-engine, the ocean-steamer, the tunnel under the hills, and the canal through the land, and fancy we can do anything.
2. Man's natural conceit. There is a great tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Satan employs this tendency to induce man to lift up his hand against God.
II. A SPIRIT OF TRUST. This spirit of reliance will save us from many trials. It will prevent —
1. Anxious care. If we leave our concerns in God's hand, we shall not be careful and cumbered about many things. It will prevent —
2. Worldly-mindedness of disposition. The spirit that leaves its cares in God's hand will leave its joys there also.
3. All bitterness of sorrow.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
LinksNehemiah 2:8 NIV
Nehemiah 2:8 NLT
Nehemiah 2:8 ESV
Nehemiah 2:8 NASB
Nehemiah 2:8 KJV
Nehemiah 2:8 Bible Apps
Nehemiah 2:8 Parallel
Nehemiah 2:8 Biblia Paralela
Nehemiah 2:8 Chinese Bible
Nehemiah 2:8 French Bible
Nehemiah 2:8 German Bible
Nehemiah 2:8 Commentaries