Scripture References: John 5:39-44; Nehemiah 4
The Jews considered that eternal life was revealed to them in their Scriptures, and that they had it, because they had the word of God in their hands.
Jesus urged them to search those Scriptures with more diligence and attention. “You search the Scriptures,” and you do well to do so. They did indeed search the Scriptures, but it was with a view to their own glory. It is possible for men to be very studious in the letter of the Scriptures, yet to be strangers to its power. You profess to receive and believe the Scripture, let that be the judge. It is spoken to us as advising or commanding all Christians to search the Scriptures. Not only read them, and hear them, but search them; with diligence in examining and studying them. We must search the Scriptures for heaven as our great end; eternal life
For in them you think ye have eternal life.
We must search the Scriptures for Christ, as the new and living Way, that leads to this end.
They search and have no love of God.
But there is life with Jesus Christ for poor souls.
Many want the love of God, and neglect Christ and have contempt of his commandments.
It is the love of God in us, the love that is an active principle in the heart, which God will accept. They slighted and undervalued Christ, because they admired and overvalued themselves. How can those who believe make the praise and applause of men their idol! This is where the Jew was when the Christ came to earth.
Many a good work has been looked upon with contempt by proud and haughty scorners. Those who disagree in almost everything will unite in persecution. Nehemiah did not answer these fools according to their folly, but looked up to God by prayer. God's people have often been a despised people, but he hears all the slights that are put upon them. Nehemiah had reason to think that the hearts of those sinners were desperately hardened; else he would not have prayed that their sins might never be blotted out. God’s work will go on, when Hi people have a mind to it. The reproaches of enemies should make us do His work, not drive us from it.
The standing in the way of God’s works is what evil men aim at, but God’s work is good work, and it will prosper. We need to let God handle His enemies. If our enemies cannot frighten us from duty, or deceive us into sin, they cannot hurt us. Nehemiah put himself and his cause under the Divine protection.
This is the way of this good man, and should be our way. All his cares, all his grief’s, all his fears, he spread before God. Before he used any means, he made his prayer to God. Having prayed, he set a watch against the enemy. If we think to secure ourselves by prayer, without watchfulness, we are lazy, and are tempting God; if by watchfulness, without prayer, we are proud and tempting God: As soon as a danger is over, let us return to our work, and trust God another time.
We must watch always against spiritual and physical enemies, and not expect that our war will be over until our work is ended. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, which we ought to have always with us. Every true Christian is both a labourer and a soldier, working with one hand, and fighting with the other. Good work is likely to go on with success, when those who labour in it, make a business of it. And Satan fears to assault the watchful Christian; if he or she is attacked, the Lord is ready to fight for them. This is the life of a Christian; always ready in the Lord; fit and ready for heaven.
Last week I spoke about being obedient and serving – this is Nehemiah lesson to us today – we are to serve God in this day. Be obedient (hear God’s call on our life) and serve Him (have the sword of truth at hand always).