Nehemiah 6:10
Later, I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his house. He said: "Let us meet at the house of God inside the temple. Let us shut the temple doors because they are coming to kill you--by night they are coming to kill you!"
Sermons
God with UsR.A. Redford Nehemiah 6:1-14
The Temptations of Earnest Moral Life and ServiceJ.S. Exell Nehemiah 6:1-16
HinderersHomilistNehemiah 6:1-19
Nehemiah's HeroismJohn McNeill.Nehemiah 6:1-19
PersistencyHomiletic CommentaryNehemiah 6:1-19
The Witness to the TruthW. Ritchie.Nehemiah 6:1-19
Christian FirmnessC. Simeon.Nehemiah 6:10-13
CourageJ. M. Randall.Nehemiah 6:10-13
Faith, Courage, and PrudenceI. Campbell Finlayson.Nehemiah 6:10-13
Fortitude in DutyHugh Stowell, M. A.Nehemiah 6:10-13
PanicHomiletic CommentaryNehemiah 6:10-13
The Higher Self-AppealW. L. Watkinson.Nehemiah 6:10-13
Valour is Sometimes the Soul of DiscretionW. P. Lockhart.Nehemiah 6:10-13
Trial and VictoryW. Clarkson Nehemiah 6:10-19
Defeated again, the enemy has recourse to other schemes. It would be interesting to know what were the expectations with which Nehemiah set out from Susa to enter upon the work before him. If we could tell what was then in his mind, we should probably find there anticipations very unlike indeed to his actual experiences. Probably, if he could have foreseen his difficulties, he might have shrunk from the task. Happily we do not foresee the perplexities of Christian toil; seen as by a prophetic glance, they would overwhelm us; but coining upon us one by one, they can be met bravely, and conquered successfully. We look now at -

I. THE TRIAL OF FAITH IN THE WORK OF GOD.

1. Their former plots failing, another yet more subtle is tried. Sanballat and Tobiah induce a prophet, Shemaiah (ver. 10), and a prophetess, Noadiah (ver. 14), to urge Nehemiah to take refuge from assassination in the temple; to hide himself unlawfully, lest he should be smitten at his post of duty; in fact, "to be afraid, and sin," and thus give occasion for "an evil report, that they might reproach" him (ver. 13). The insidiousness of the temptation may be gathered from the words of indignation in which Nehemiah invokes the Divine reprobation on the guilty tempters (ver. 14). But,

2. Nehemiah is yet further tried. His own people are keeping up a correspondence with the enemy. Nobles of Judah are writing to and hearing from Tobiah (ver. 17). A dangerous alliance led to intimacy, to perversion, to conspiracy (ver. 18). These men who should have been the first and the strongest to help are those who come to hinder; praising the man who was doing his utmost to overturn and ruin everything (ver. 19), and carrying back to the enemy the words of the governor (ver. 19). When we are doing our best to serve our Master and our fellows, and are naturally looking to those who are bound in the same holy bonds with ourselves, more especially to those who are as "prophets" or "prophetesses" in our ranks, or to those who are as "nobles" amongst us, to stand by our side and aid us in our toil, and when, instead of succour, we find them undermining our influence, we are tempted to despair, so keen is the trial of our faith. Yet we may win -

II. THE VICTORY OF THE BRAVE AND TRUE (vers. 11, 15, 16). Here we have -

1. The fact of success. The wall was built: it was "finished in fifty and two days" (ver. 15). Neither open threats nor secret plots weakened the strength or lessened the labour of the busy workmen, and the good work was accomplished.

2. A powerful incentive leading to victory. Nehemiah made an excellent appeal to himself. He considered who he was, and what was worthy and unworthy of the post he held. "Should such a man as I flee?" (ver. 11).

3. The fruits of victory (ver. 16). The enemy and all the heathen "were much cast down in their own eyes," and they "perceived that this work was wrought of our God." Their humiliation was an excellent thing for them, and the name of God being glorified was a source of joy and gratulation to the good. There is victory to be won under the fiercest temptation if we only be true to all we know. Let us, in the dark hour of the trial of faith -

1. Consider what is worthy of the position we hold. Should such as we are - missionaries, ministers, evangelists, teachers, leaders, members of the Church of Christ - flee from the post of duty or danger?

"Put on the gospel armour, and, watching unto prayer,
Where duty calls, or danger, be never wanting there." The "guard" in his army "dies, but does not surrender."

2. Consider what will redound to the glory of Christ. If only we hold on, "faint yet pursuing," fighting till the day is won, the enemy will be humiliated, and his holy name be honoured. Our once crucified Saviour shall be "exalted and extolled, and be very high" (Isaiah lit. 13). - C.







Should such a man as I flee?
Homiletic Commentary.
I. PANIC. Unreasoning, helpless fright.

1. National panic.

2. Business panic.

3. Personal panic.

4. Spiritual panic,

II. THE EFFECT OF PANIC. All of these forms are commonly groundless; the wave is not so high as it seems to the retreating bather who hears its hiss behind him. It gathers all the selfishness of man to a focus. It substitutes a brief madness for calm thoughtfulness and decision. It makes a man behave unworthily —

1. Of himself.

2. Toward his fellows.

3. Of his God.

III. THE CORRECTIVES OF PANIC. Remembrance of —

1. A man's own dignity.

2. Others

3. God.

(Homiletic Commentary.)

I. THE SUBTLETY WITH WHICH OUR GREAT ADVERSARY WILL ASSAULT US.

1. To neglect our social duties to further our spiritual welfare.

2. To conform to the world with a view to conciliate their regard.

3. To use undue means with a view to obtain some desirable end.

II. THE FIRMNESS WITH WHICH WE SHOULD RESIST HIM. We should set the Lord ever before us, bearing in mind —

1. Our relation to Him.

2. Our obligations to Him.

3. Our expectations from Him.

4. The interest which God Himself has in the whole of our conduct.

(C. Simeon.)

1. In the prosecution of this work, whilst building the spiritual wall of Zion, there are many artifices to be resisted. Our enemies will seek to draw us away from our work. We shall be invited to enter into friendly conformity with the world, and we shall be told that conciliation on our side will be met by concessions on theirs; but this is a mistake, for the world will take all and give none.

2. Our spiritual enemies will resort to intimidation. If they cannot draw they will drive. What fair offers were made of seeming friendship to the noble army of martyrs, and when these failed, intimidation followed. The offence of the Cross has not ceased. It is "through much tribulation" we must enter the kingdom, and the Christian will be threatened with the loss of caste or of business if he determine to maintain his consistency. Evil motives will be ascribed to him, wicked reports will be propagated concerning him. Ridicule and reproach are weapons of great severity. "Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in."Let the earnest Christian resist the solicitations of evil in a similar manner.

1. Consider your relation to God. Say to yourself, "I am a child of God, a disciple of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, and 'should such a man as I flee,' give way to temptation, dishonour my high calling, disobey my blessed Captain, and grieve the Spirit of grace?"

2. Consider your obligations to redeeming mercy. Say to your heart, "O Christian, I have been loved with an everlasting love, called by sovereign grace, washed in the blood of Jesus, and comforted by innumerable tokens of goodness and mercy, and 'should such a man as I flee?'"

3. "Consider your expectations. You are a candidate for eternity. Say to yourself, 'O Christian, life is short and uncertain; death may be near; my Lord Himself may come in His glory. In that day of His boundless mercy He will call me His brother, His own, and He will bestow upon me an inheritance of surpassing lustre; and 'should such a man as I flee?' shall I be guilty of base cowardice or perfidious ingratitude?"

(J. M. Randall.)

We may consider this blending of faith, courage, and prudence in Nehemiah as worthy of admiration and imitation.

1. Sometimes we find a brave man who lacks both faith and prudence. In this case his courage is very apt to degenerate into a foolish bravado; and possibly he may do more harm than good by his unwise daring.

2. When prudence is the marked feature of a character it is apt to degenerate into selfish cunning and calculating cowardice.

3. Even when courage and prudence are found united, the character is still sadly defective if there be no spiritual faith — it is apt to fall into an unbecoming and dangerous self-sufficiency.

4. On the other hand, faith without prudence may degenerate into fanaticism, or into a "quietism" which cultivates the passive to the neglect of the active virtues.

(I. Campbell Finlayson.)

Holy courage is not that natural bravery which belongs to some men constitutionally — this is little more than strength of nerve and robustness of animal spirits, and in thousands of instances is found to exist apart from Christian principle; it is rather the bravery of the lion than the bravery of the mind and the man. Some of the most valorous have been the most depraved; and some who dragged their enemies at their chariot-wheels have themselves been dragged through the mire of pollution by their own appetites and passions. As water cannot rise higher than its level, neither can a moral quality rise higher than its principle. Holy courage springs from the fear of God, from "seeing Him who is invisible." Hence the soldier of Christ is fearless to do right, fearful to do wrong — afraid to sin, but not afraid to suffer. In considering the scope for this virtue, notice —

I. HE THAT WILL BE A FOLLOWER OF GOD MUST TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST HIMSELF. It was finely said by Richard Cecil that "a humble Christian, battling against the world, the flesh, and the devil, is a greater hero than Alexander the Great."

II. IT REQUIRES A COURAGEOUS SPIRIT TO HAVE RESPECT TO ALL GOD'S COMMANDMENTS.

III. IT REQUIRES GREAT COURAGE TO OVERCOME THE WORLD.

(Hugh Stowell, M. A.)

When I lived in the country years ago, I remember one of our friends was a great smoker, and used to smoke morning, noon, and night, and his friends used to say it was a very bad practice, and inconvenient and expensive, and all those arguments with which we are familiar. He always used to smile one of those tranquil smiles which come from parties of that kind. That man could not give up his pipe, and declared that he could not, and that he would smoke till he died. One day there was a mouth trouble. He went to a distinguished physician, and he told him that he was afraid the excessive smoking was inducing cancer. That put his pipe out. It did; he dropped it that very day. It was marvellous; he had done with that. It is one thing when it touches your shillings; one thing when it is a question of convenience and inconvenience; it is another thing when it touches you. And I say to you, when the day of darkness, the day of temptation, when all the sorcery and besetment of evil is around you, don't say, "Iniquity will mar my health or cloud my reputation or shorten my days"; say with Nehemiah, "Should such a man as I do this evil" — such a man as I, with reason and conscience, the heir of the ages, the master of the planet, redeemed with the blood of the Son of God, called to a great destiny — should such a man as I do this mean thing, this base thing? Appeal in the sight of God to your own greatness, and He shall strengthen you in the day when the worst comes to the worst.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

We are constantly being reminded that discretion is the better part of valour; but there are occasions, and those not a few, when valour is the very soul of discretion, when at all hazards we must stand our ground and face the foe, that the work be not stopped.

(W. P. Lockhart.)

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