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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: August 9th
“Let all things be done unto edifying.”
After Jerusalem had been walled in, Nehemiah took great care to reform the manners of the people, and to celebrate the ordinances of religion as the law of God directed. We will read of one of their great assemblies.
They were not wearied with five or six hours’ devotion, whereas in these times there is much complaint if the service lasts longer than an hour and a half.
So that the pulpit was a roomy one. The presence of these eminent persons added authority and honour to the preacher’s office before the eyes of the people.
As they could not all hear the same person’s voice, they were divided into companies, and were instructed by the good men just named.
The reading of difficult passages of Scripture in public is of small use to the many: the preacher should explain what he reads.
Even our sorrow for sin must not prevent our grateful joy. While God is so good, we ought to rejoice in him, however much we may see to weep over in ourselves.
Nehemiah 13:11 , Nehemiah 13:12
Good cause for gladness have those who understand the Scriptures. A service which is above our comprehension must be dreary to us; but if we can enter into it, we may well be glad.
The joyous feast of Tabernacles followed the day of atonement, and on this occasion the people, having entered, by deep sorrow, into the humiliation of the atonement, were all the more ready to enjoy the delights of the after feast. They kept it after a better fashion than in any former period. Let us also keep the feast, for our sins have been put away by our great Substitute. Let us joyfully sojourn here below in these frail tabernacles till we enter into our house eternal in the heavens.
O my soul, what means this sadness?
Wherefore art thou thus cast down?
Let thy griefs be turned to gladness,
Bid thy restless fears be gone:
Look to Jesus,
And rejoice in his dear name.
Oh that I could now adore him,
Like the heavenly host above,
Who for ever bow before him,
And unceasing sing his love!
When shall I your chorus join?
Thou shalt arise, and mercy have
Upon thy Sion yet;
The time to favour her is come,
The time that thou hast set.
For in her rubbish and her stones
Thy servants pleasure take;
Yea, they the very dust thereof
Do favour for her sake.
When Sion by the mighty Lord
Built up again shall be,
Then shall her gracious God appear
In glorious majesty.
Oft in sorrow, oft in woe,
Onward, Christians, onward go;
Fight the fight, maintain the strife,
Strengthen’d with the bread of life.
Let your drooping hearts be glad;
March in heavenly armour clad;
Fight, nor think the battle long,
Soon shall victory tune your song.
Let not sorrow dim your eye,
Soon shall every tear be dry;
Let not fears your course impede,
Great your strength if great your need.
Onward, then, to glory move,
More than conquerors ye shall prove;
Though opposed by many a foe,
Christian soldiers, onward go.
Now doth my soul resolve indeed
To wound her Lord no more;
Hence from my heart, ye sins, begone,
For Jesus I adore.
Furnish me, Lord, with heav’nly arms
From grace’s magazine,
And I’ll proclaim eternal war
With every darling sin.
No more, ye lusts, shall ye command,
No more will I obey;
Stretch out, O God, thy conqu’ring hand,
And drive thy foes away!
Look upon me, Lord, I pray thee,
Let thy Spirit dwell in mine;
Thou hast sought me, thou hast bought me,
Only thee to know I pine.
Let me find thee!
Take my heart, and own me thine!
Nought I ask for, nought I strive for,
But thy grace so rich and free;
That thou givest whom thou lovest,
And who truly cleave to thee.
Let me find thee!
He hath all things who hath thee.
“Remember me, O my God, for good.”
Nehemiah was a very strict disciplinarian, and very earnest to prevent breaches of the divine law. He narrates instances of his determined action.
They made a market of the Sabbath, but the godly governor would not permit it; he warned them to desist.
He blamed the buyers more than the sellers. The men of Tyre were heathen, and knew no better, but the nobles of Judah were instructed, and should not have encouraged Sabbath-breaking.
Hoping to do a sly trade in the suburbs.
He used his authority vigorously, and would not be trifled with; fathers and masters should be equally resolved to have the Lord’s day observed in their households.
Marriages of Christians with the ungodly are highly injurious to their children, who are sure to follow the worse side of the house.
And I contended with them, and cursed them or denounced God’s curse upon them
This stern ruler saw that the mixed marriages placed the whole nation in jeopardy, and therefore he was indignant. Love to his country made him intolerant of that which would prove its ruin.
Nehemiah 13:30 , Nehemiah 13:31
Here we leave this true patriot, and eminently conscientious ruler. We are not called to govern, as he did, with an iron hand, but we ought to be equally inflexible, decided, and resolute for God, and for his holy will. The sin of other men will lie upon us if we do not bear our protest in every possible manner, for the Lord has said, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
the Sixth Week after Easter
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