Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my deeds of loving devotion for the house of my God and for its services.
I. THAT MATERIAL SUPPLIES AND SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY ARE IMPORTANTLY CONNECTED (ver. 10). "The portions of the Levites had not been given them," and, consequently, they had "fled every one to his field" (ver. 10). It may be open to question whether these Levites - singers and other officials - had shown as much disinterestedness and devotion as could have been wished. It might be argued that as servants of God they might have stood at their posts and starved rather than desert the field of sacred duty. Perhaps if they had been some degrees more heroic than they were they would have risked and suffered all privations rather than forsake their work. But however this may have been, it is certain that the people had no right whatever to reckon on such heroism; they ought to have acted on the supposition that these were men of average piety, and that men of ordinary goodness will not continue to serve if they are not sustained in their service. The human nature which there is in every good man - and which will certainly be shown in every class and order of good men - is a factor which must not be disregarded. It is a feature that must be taken into account; a want that must be provided for. If it be left out of account, then, whatever the system or society may be, there will be found, as here, negligence, desertion, duty undone, God's house forsaken, a fleeing from the temple to the field. Material resources have their place in the prosperity of the best of causes.
II. THAT GOOD MEN AS WELL AS GOOD METHODS ARE NECESSARY FOR LASTING SUCCESS. Judging from the four concluding verses of the preceding chapter (Nehemiah 12:44-47), we gather that a very satisfactory system for receiving and storing the offerings, and also for distributing them, had been devised and brought into action. Yet, in Nehemiah's absence, it failed to effect its purpose. When he returned and witnessed the failure, he immediately
(1) set to work to reorganise: he "set in their place" (ver. 11) the Levites, who, at his instance, returned to Jerusalem, and he "made treasurers over the treasuries "(ver. 12); but besides this, he
(2) appointed "faithful men" (ver. 12), on whom reliance could be placed, to do the work they undertook, infusing his own spirit into all the officers. He impressed on them all his own fervent and faithful genius. How long things went well we know not, but Nehemiah did the best he could do to provide for permanent prosperity: he associated good men with a good method. We should trust neither to one nor to the other. Again and again organisations have broken clown in the Church (whether tithe-taking, money-getting institutions, or others) because, though the machinery was excellent, there was no steam to work the wheels; again and again there has been an excellent spirit, but all has failed for want of a wise method. We must
(a) use our best judgment to perfect our system, and
(b) pray for, and look out for, the wise and earnest-minded men to work it.
III. THAT INDIVIDUAL FIDELITY WILL SURELY MEET WITH ITS APPROPRIATE RECOMPENSE (vers. 13, 14).
1. Usually from man. "I made treasurers... Shelemiah," etc. ... "for they were counted faithful." Integrity, diligence, conscientiousness will generally be seen of man and receive its reward. It may indeed pass unnoticed, but as a rule it is recognised and rewarded. Be faithful, and you will be "counted faithful."
2. Certainly from God. "Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds," etc. (ver. 14). There are many motives, all good, but some higher than others, which should prompt us to diligent and faithful labour for our Lord and our race. We may work in the vineyard of the Great Husbandman because
(1) be calls us, and it is our bounden duty to respond; or because
(2) our zeal is called forth by the apparent and urgent necessity for our help; or because
(3) we delight in holy activity, and are never so happy as when the weapon of usefulness is in our hand; or we may do so because
(4) we have "respect unto the recompense of the our God for good;" we would that he should "not wipe out our good deeds" (ver. 14), but record them in his "book of remembrance;" and, not being "unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love" (Hebrews 6:10), reward every one according to his work. The truest humility (Luke 17:10) may characterise the same disciple that has the most earnest aspiration to receive his Master's commendation, and to have rule given him over many things." We may turn this prayer into a prediction. God will remember us, and will suffer nothing to blot out our pure endeavours from his book. We shall surely meet them again. Our "works follow us," and will find us in his presence. - C.
Remember me, O my God, concerning this
I. THAT TO MAKE PROVISION FOR MAINTENANCE OF GOD'S WORSHIP AND THE MINISTERS THEREOF IS A WORTHY WORK, AND OF HIGH ESTEEM AND FAVOUR WITH GOD (1 Chronicles 29:17, 18; Deuteronomy 12:19; 2 Kings 4.; Luke 7:3-5; Matthew 10:41; Philippians 4:18; 2 Timothy 1:16-18).
II. THAT GOD REWARDETH THESE AND ALL OUR OTHER GOOD DEEDS AND WORKS NOT FOR ANY MERIT OR WORTHINESS THAT IS IN THEM, BUT OF HIS FREE MERCY AND GOODNESS.
III. THAT IT IS LAWFUL TO DO GOOD WORKS WITH RESPECT TO THE RECOMPENSE OF REWARD. It is plain Nehemiah here did so. So did Moses Hebrews 11:25, 26).
(Joseph Mede, B. D.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
I. A sketch of Nehemiah's HISTORY.
II. Nehemiah's CHARACTER.
1. His steady religious principle. Dwelling amid scenes very uncongenial to the progress of piety in the heart, he displayed a firmness of principle and an ardour of religious feeling truly admirable. Amidst the enticements of a splendid and licentious court he sought the glory of God and not the gratification of vanity, ambition, or worldly desire. Surrounded by the ensigns of a gross and impious superstition, he reared a standard for the true God, and stood forth as a witness for Him, in the midst of His enemies. Confidence in God kept him steady in the scene of danger; and the lofty aims of a devoted spirit raised him above the grovelling pursuits Of sense.
2. His self-denial. This is one of the best evidences of sound religious principle. When the will is subjugated to the will of God; when the mind feels itself completely satisfied with the wisdom and goodness of the Divine economy; when self is thrown into the background, and a noble disinterestedness gives its tone to the character, then we have some good proof that our religion is sincere. Nehemiah improved his advantages at the Persian court not for his individual good, but for the good of his countrymen. He lost sight of selfish considerations, and feeling for the humblest of the people, he gave them the full value of his labours, without the slightest remuneration. That which he asked not from man he knew God would bestow; hence the prayer of the text.
3. His zeal for the worship and ordinances of God. This is specially displayed in his anxiety to vindicate God's ordinances from abuse, and to enforce their punctual observance. The public reading and expounding the law, for the edification of the people, testified his regard for God's Holy Word. The exactness with which the appointed rites in the feasts of trumpets end tabernacles were gone about, under his superintendence, testified his reverence for the law, in all the minuteness of its requisitions. His zeal for the sanctification of the Sabbath proved the high sense he entertained of its value.
4. His enlightened and consistent perseverance in the discharge of personal and official duty.
(Robert Burns, D. D.)
LinksNehemiah 13:14 NIV
Nehemiah 13:14 NLT
Nehemiah 13:14 ESV
Nehemiah 13:14 NASB
Nehemiah 13:14 KJV
Nehemiah 13:14 Bible Apps
Nehemiah 13:14 Parallel
Nehemiah 13:14 Biblia Paralela
Nehemiah 13:14 Chinese Bible
Nehemiah 13:14 French Bible
Nehemiah 13:14 German Bible
Nehemiah 13:14 Commentaries