THE small remnant which had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, were under their governor, Nehemiah, engaged in a great work, and because the work was of God, those who tried to hinder were many.
The opposition was from three classes----their adversaries, their kindred, and of those amongst themselves. (Neh. iv. 10-12).
Under the leadership of Christ, there are those engaged to-day with work for God. The same tactics to hinder from the same classes are still pursued. Open opposition must be reckoned upon. This however, is the least dangerous, and since unconcealed enmity usually defeats its own purpose, it is seldom resorted to in this day. In one sense, it is a blessing, as persecution has always a bracing effect. Mere professors are weeded out, and the true-hearted only driven the closer to Christ.
Of quite a different kind was the attack made by their kinsmen, of whom quite a number dwelt at ease among the enemy, crying continually unto the faithful few (see margin verse 12), "Ye must return to us." In other words, they said: "It is no use, your work will come to nought, it is impossible to succeed, it will end in nothing; some day you must take your place amongst us." Is there not something like this now? A number escaped from bondage, freed from tradition's weakening influences, seeking unto the Lord as at the beginning. After the way called heresy, worshipping God, and exercising themselves to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men (Acts xxiv. 14-16). Their kinsmen in numbers are around them. Instead of being with, them, they are mixed up with the ungodly. The relationship is certainly acknowledged; but the little separated companies are despised, slighted, and greeted with taunting words akin to those used to the remnant in the days of Nehemiah.
Yet again were they hindered, and this time by those from whom it might have been least expected. Judah, who was of themselves, said (verse 10) our strength fails, the difficulties are insurmountable, we are not able for what we have undertaken.
There is nothing so paralyzing to sustained effort in a godly way as the drag of half-hearted, despairing coworkers, and when the subtle lie of Satan finds utterance from the lips of those to whom the workers look for guidance, the case is well-nigh hopeless. Judah was the royal tribe whose standard was pitched on the east of the tabernacle. They ought to have been the first in leading on to liberty, instead of being the first to propose again bondage as the heritage of a delivered people.
"Remember the Lord"; "Every man to his work" (verses 14-15), were the watchwords wherewith Nehemiah rallied the people, and raised their drooping spirits. Let the same words be as the blast of the bugle in our ears. "Fear not, My Spirit remaineth among you," assures the final triumph and victory.
"Feed My Sheep"