Words By The Way.
THE remnant of Israel, under their governor Nehemiah, were engaged in a great work, and because the work was of God, those who tried to hinder were many. The principal opposition came from three classes (Neh. iv. 10-12). First, their avowed adversaries (verse 11); second, their kindred (verse 12); and third, those of their own house (verse 10). Christians are now under the leadership of Christ, engaged in work for God; and the same tactics to hinder are constantly pursued.
First, We have to meet an open opposition from the avowed adversaries. This, however, is the least dangerous, as unconcealed enmity usually defeats its own purpose. Hence, this plan is seldom resorted to in our day; where it is attempted, it has a bracing effect; and whilst it weeds away hypocrites, drives the true-hearted closer to Christ, and so becomes a blessing.
Second, Whilst the little remnant wrought hopefully "to revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish," there were quite a number of their kinsmen (verse 12) who dwelt at ease among the enemy, crying continually unto the faithful few (see margin), "Ye must return to us"; in other words, they said, It is no use; your work will come to naught; it is impossible you can succeed; it will end in nothing. Some day you must take your place amongst us. Is there not something like this now? A remnant escaped from Babylon's bondage, freed from man's tradition, 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 around them; instead of being with them, mixed up with the ungodly. The relationship certainly is recognized. 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.
Third, Yet again were they hindered, and in this instance by those from whom it might have been least expected. Judah, who was of themselves, said (verse 10), "Our strength fails; the difficulties are unsurmountable; we are not able for what we have undertaken." This is the voice of the traitor, and herein lies the greatest danger, that the subtle lie of Satan finds an utterance from the mouths of those to whom saints have looked for guidance. Was not Judah the royal tribe, whose standard was pitched to the east of the tabernacle from whence the light comes, which ought to lead to liberty, not back again to bondage?
"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. Neither consider the opposers, nor get unduly occupied with the difficulties. "Fear not." "My Spirit remaineth among you," assure the final triumph and victory. "Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not" (Gal. vi. 9).
"The Witness" 1890