And next to them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house…
We are all temples, buildings of the living God, and some of us are sadly out of repair; some among us have fallen into absolute ruin. Our bodies, instead of being the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, are inhabited by evil lusts, cruel tempers, foul passions. Others, although not in such a sad case, are yet grievously out of repair. There is much in their lives which needs altering, mending. Our own carelessness and neglect have allowed our lives to fall into decay, and the rubbish to accumulate. A restored congregation is ever more important than the restored fabric of the church. Let Nehemiah teach us how these repairs can best be carried out.
1. In the first place, before he undertook the work at all, Nehemiah prayed unto the God of heaven — "Lord, undertake for me." "Unless the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it." We must ask God to restore in us all that the fraud and malice of the devil have decayed in us.
2. The next thing which Nehemiah did, after praying to God, was to set to work, and to set others to work, at repairs. Work and prayer must go together; pray most earnestly, work with a will.
3. Nehemiah made each worker wear a sword by his side, because of the enemies around them who would try to hinder them. That teaches us that whatever our work may be, we must have our religion with us. We must have the sword of the Spirit beside us. Our enemies — the world, the flesh, and the devil — are sure to attack us, and woe unto us if we are unarmed! There was a drummer-boy in the great American war who lost his Bible, a book which he valued above all things. So he set to work to repair his loss as far as possible. He remembered many texts which he had learnt at Sunday-school, and these he wrote on the parchment of his drum. Thus, on the march, in the field of battle, or wherever he did his work, God's Word was before his eyes. Like Nehemiah's builders, he had the sword by his side. Before the work of repairs actually began, Nehemiah made a careful examination of the state of the ruins, that he might know exactly what was wanted. Let us survey the ruins, the breaches in the walls, the rubbish that has accumulated, the weak points in the building.And where shall we begin?
1. For the most part, he set each of his workers to repair "over against his own house." In trying to repair the mistakes and faults and failures of our lives, let us begin over against our own house. Let us survey the ruins there, not those of our neighbour. Mending our own ways is the surest and best plan to fit us to help others to repair theirs. Let us look boldly into the neglected corners of our life, and see what repairs are needed.
2. Let us examine the ruins again; is there no need of repairs in our business life? Is our way of doing our work, whatever it is, quite satisfactory, quite true, and honest, and straightforward?
3. Then is there no need of repairs in the home circle, remembering that we must begin over against our own house? The children are often unruly, selfish, troublesome. The servants are frequently a source of discomfort. One husband sees much need of repairs in his wife. The wife says the same of the husband. Well, let us begin over against our own house. Are we doing our best to set a good example in the family?
4. Is there no need of repairs in our praying? I think many of us feel that our prayers are sometimes neglected, often hurried, formal, cold, unreal. Then there is Bible-reading. Some of us neglect this altogether, others read without interest or under-standing. Is there not something to be mended here?
(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah.