Nehemiah 7:2
Then I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah the commander of the fortress, because he was a faithful man who feared God more than most.
Sermons
Moral GuardianshipJ.S. Exell Nehemiah 7:1-4
Israel Within the WallsW. Calrkson Nehemiah 7:1-5
The Guardian of the Holy CityW. Ritchie.Nehemiah 7:1-7
A Faithful ManFrancis Wills.Nehemiah 7:2-3
An Example of Excellent PietySketches of Four Hundred SermonsNehemiah 7:2-3
Coherence in CharacterBp. Boyd Carpenter.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Eminent of CharacterSunday CompanionNehemiah 7:2-3
Eminent PietyW. Hurd.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Eminent PietyJoseph Hughes.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Every One in His WatchT. Elder Cumming.Nehemiah 7:2-3
FaithfulnessWayland Hoyt, D. D.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Men Loyal to GodJohn Hunter.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Piety and FaithfulnessJ. Taylor.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Placed in TrustT. Robson.Nehemiah 7:2-3
Religious Sentiment the Most RefiningR. W. Emerson.Nehemiah 7:2-3

I. THE THINGS IN THE CHURCH WHICH NEED TO BE GUARDED. "Charge over Jerusalem" (ver. 2).

1. The doctrines of the Church.

2. The members of the Church.

3. The temporal interests of the Church.

4. The work of the Church.

5. The reputation of the Church.

6. The civil privileges of the Church.

7. The discipline of the Church.

This defence is needed because infidelity, slander, bigotry, and laxity threaten to lay waste the Church.

II. THE MEN WHO SHOULD BE THE GUARDIANS OF THE CHURCH. "For he was a faithful man, and feared God above many" (ver. 2).

1. They must be duly appointed. "And the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed." "That I gave" (ver. 2).

2. They must be truly sympathetic. The men who had helped to rebuild the city would be the most likely to defend it.

3. They must be wisely cautious. "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot" (ver. 3).

4. They must be sufficiently numerous. "And appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (ver. 3).

5. They must he eminently pious. "And feared God above many" (ver. 2).

6. There is a sense in which all good men ought to be guardians of the Church.

III. THE WAY IN WHICH THE CHURCH MAY BEST BE GUARDED.

1. By having regard to the Church in times of special danger. "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot" (ver. 3). The Church stands in need of watchful care during the night of error and sin; then its gates must not be opened.

2. By having regard to the Church at points where it is most liable to attack. "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened."

3. By having regard to mutual co-operation amongst the watchers.

4. By putting our trust in God to supply the necessary lack and imperfection of human vigilance. - E.







For he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
I. CONSIDER THE MEANING OF FAITHFULNESS. It is the reverent and constant acceptance of those duties springing out of the relations in which I inevitably stand. Man is a being set in relations. When the ivy climbs up ruins and binds lovingly the fallen stones together, and wraps them in its green, it clambers and winds about and helps and beautifies because of the feelers it thrusts out, laying hold, by them, of the crumbling stones. It is the nature of the ivy to force these feelers out. So forth from every man there are shooting feelers of relations. They are part of his life-endowment.

1. Man is bound into relation with God. God is Creator — Father — Providence and Sustainer — King and Judge.

2. Men and women are bound to each other in the relation of father and mother, and child and relative, and fellow-citizen, and so on endlessly. Springing out of these relations there are forced upon us certain duties. Faithfulness is accepting and steadily discharging them.

II. FAITHFULNESS IS A CHANCE OPENING RIGHT AT THE FEET OF EVERY MAN FOR A NOBLE LIFE.

III. FAITHFULNESS IS AN OPEN DOOR FOR A RIGHT AMBITION — to develop a noble character. Thus we may lift humdrum from our daily life. There is nothing so invigorating as the consciousness of recognising and accepting duty. The peace of a quiet conscience is in it.

1. Thus I am sure of setting a right example.

2. Thus I shall certainly make my life tell in all directions.

IV. A REWARD OF FAITHFULNESS. Nehemiah gave Hananiah charge over Jerusalem because "he was a faithful man."

V. THE REAL SOURCE AND INCITEMENT OF FAITHFULNESS. He "feared God." Think of Milton as holding himself "as ever in his great Taskmaster's eye." Policy, expediency, self-interest may seem to hold a man to duty in fair weather. The only lasting motive for faithfulness for all times is God.

(Wayland Hoyt, D. D.)

We are here taught: —

I. THAT THE FEAR OF GOD — real, Scriptural piety — IS THE SOLID FOUNDATION OF ALL FAITHFULNESS BETWEEN MAN AND MAN.

II. THAT THE INDISPENSABLE EXPRESSION AND PROOF OF THE FEAR OF GOD IS TO BE FOUND IN A MAN'S FIDELITY AS TO THE AFFAIRS AND TRANSACTIONS WHICH TAKE PLACE BETWEEN HIM AND HIS FELLOWS.

III. THAT PERSONS OF EMINENT PIETY AND GREAT FIDELITY WILL BE HONOURED BOTH BY GOD AND MAN.

(J. Taylor.)

I. THAT FAITHFULNESS IN RELIGION IS ESSENTIALLY CONNECTED WITH EMINENCE OF ATTAINMENT IN THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.

II. CHARACTERISTICS OF EMINENT PIETY.

1. It consists in the habitual maintenance of a close walk with God.

2. It comprises a high and enlightened estimate of the character and work of Christ.

3. It is connected with an exquisite spiritual and moral sensibility.

4. It is always most powerfully swayed by spiritual motives and considerations.

5. These characteristics show the baselessness of the claims and pretensions to the possession of exalted religious attainments that are sometimes advanced.

III. MOTIVES WHICH MAY LEAD CHRISTIANS TO ASPIRE AFTER EMINENCE OF PERSONAL PIETY.

1. The honour of religion.

2. It is a great preservative against apostasy.

3. Regard to personal enjoyment.

4. Its relation to usefulness.

5. Its bearing upon our future blessedness.

6. The enduring nature of the distinction it confers.

7. The adequate provision that has been made to aid in its attainment.

(W. Hurd.)

I. THE NATURE OF EMINENT PIETY.

1. It involves a habit of serious reflection.

2. It is consistent and comprehensive. The man who exemplifies it believes the doctrines of revelation, is awed by its threatenings, animated by its promises, and controlled by its laws. He is at once sober, righteous, and godly.

3. It endures severe tests. It resembles a robust constitution, which can pass through all varieties of climate, while a sickly constitution demands careful restriction to one.

4. It is active and laborious.

5. It is piety that grows.

II. CONSIDERATIONS THAT ENFORCE EMINENT PIETY.

1. The effects it produces on those who exemplify it.

(1)They manifest that they are born of God.

(2)They are fitted for every spiritual conflict.

(3)They are provided with all needful consolations.

(4)They are qualified for an advantageous approach to Divine ordinances.

(5)Their anticipations are bright and triumphant.

2. The effects it produces on those who witness it.Conclusion

:

1. Eminent piety is very rare

2. The means of acquiring and promoting eminent piety are invaluable. Intercourse with good men — attendance in a Christian sanctuary — reading, meditation, and prayer.

3. Real piety is indispensable.

(Joseph Hughes.)

I. THE DISTINGUISHING FEATURE OF HANANIAH'S CHARACTER. "He was a faithful man." If we suppose With some that Hananiah is the same as Shadrach mentioned in the Book of Daniel, we see how brightly this trait of his character shone forth in him in Babylon. "A faithful man" is perhaps the most distinguished commendation that can be passed upon any mortal. It refers to that attitude under which God Himself has been pleased to allow His people to regard Him. "God is faithful"; "the Lord is faithful"; and it is in the faithfulness of God that His people hope and confide. "A faithful man" —

1. Is one that can be depended on, who performs all his promises, executes all trusts confided to him, one who is punctual and unwavering in all his engagements, and whose uprightness and integrity are transparent to all.

2. He is one who has been made the recipient of a gracious and Divine principle that is —

(1)Saving in its nature;

(2)justifying in its character;

(3)purifying in its results.

3. He is a godlike man (2 Peter 1:4).

II. THE CONDUCT WHICH HANANIAH SHOWED — he "feared God." The fear of God is —

1. A reverential awe of the majesty of God.

2. An implanted principle (Jeremiah 32:40).

3. A governing principle — Obadiah (1 Kings 18:12, 13); Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:15).

III. THE DISTINGUISHED POSITION ASSIGNED TO HANANIAH.

(Francis Wills.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
I. HE WAS A FAITHFUL MAN. To serve God acceptably we must be faithful.

1. By believing what God has revealed, on His testimony (2 Chronicles 20:20). To the exercise of this faith we are urged by the best example, as that of Abraham (Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:20), and that of Barnabas (Acts 11:24). Under the influence of this faith, we shall be led to seek God in the way He prescribes.

2. By conscientiously performing those duties which arise from our relations to God; as His servants, stewards, and soldiers. As His covenant-servants, we must devote ourselves to His service (Jeremiah 1:5; 1 Corinthians 4:19, 20). As His stewards, we must employ His gifts for His glory (1 Peter 4:10, 11). This faithfulness is required in stewards (1 Corinthians 4:2). As His soldiers, we must be valiant for His revealed truth (Jeremiah 9:8). We must be faithful —

3. By steadfast adherence to the required worship and service of God. Like the Church at Pergamos, we must not deny Christ through fear of suffering for righteousness' sake (Revelation 2:13; Revelation 17:14).

4. By seriously realising the invisible things of God (Hebrews 11:1). We should realise God's presence with us, as our Master, Helper, and Observer (Psalm 16:8; Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 11:27). We should realise the general judgment, when we must all appear before Christ (2 Corinthians 10:7, 9, 10).

II. AND HE FEARED GOD ABOVE MANY.

1. By the fear of God, in this place, is meant the whole of personal religion, including the principles and practice, the dispositions and the conduct of its subject or possessor (Psalm 34:11; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 19:28; Ecclesiastes 8:12).

2. He feared God above many. This implies that there are different degrees of piety among those who truly fear God. This is intimated by our Lord, in His parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:8). It is admitted by St. Paul, in his doctrine of future rewards (2 Corinthians 9:6). This difference in pious attainments is also evident from the present state of the religious world. Of some eminent Christians, who are now the salt of the earth and the lights of the world, it may be said with great truth that they fear God above many. They acknowledge God more than many in their secular concerns (Proverbs 3:6; Philippians 4:6); they are more careful than many to allow themselves m those recreations only which are consistent with, and favour. able to, their advancement in holiness (1 Corinthians 10:81); they converse more spiritually and profitably than many (Ephesians 4:29); and they are more zealous than many, in employing all their talents for God's glory and the benefit of mankind (Acts 13:36). With respect to reputation; some have a good report from them that are without the Church, while the good that is in others is evil spoken of, through their indiscretions. With respect to usefulness; some are general blessings to their respective connections, while others are not visibly instrumental in bringing scarcely any souls with them to Christ and heaven.

3. The honourable mention of Hananiah's distinguished piety should excite us to imitate him, by endeavouring to excel in piety also. To excel in piety is —(1) Our privilege. This is incontestable from the prayers which the Holy Spirit has dictated for our adoption (Ephesians 3:14-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24; Hebrews 13:20, 21).(2) Our interest. For this will be conducive to —

(a)Our greater happiness (Isaiah 48:18);

(b)our greater safety (2 Peter 1:10);

(c)our greater glory in heaven (2 Peter 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:51).(3) Our duty.

(a)God calls us to this (1 Peter 1:15, 16);

(b)God will hereby be glorified (John 15:8);

(c)herewith He will be pleased (Psalm 35:27).

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

It was a State appointment made on moral and religious grounds. Hananiah was put in "charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many." Without discussing in detail the merits of the principle, let us inquire, What would be its effects as a passport to office ?

1. In the first place, it would shut out atheists from the Legislature of the country.

2. It would exclude from power all immoral or ungodly persons.

3. Such recognition would show that the profession of religion is not incompatible with, nor a disqualification for, the duties of public life.

4. The appointment was on Scriptural lines. It was strikingly in accord with the advice of Jethro to Moses: "Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens."

(T. Robson.)

Sunday Companion.
It is not the first thousand feet, but the last, that gives a mountain its name and fame. There is not a vast difference, for example, between Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc, but the latter is celebrated owing to those few extra feet. It is not so much ability, or learning, or diligence which differentiates Christian men as nearness to heaven and God. Those few extra hours spent in prayer, the additional steps of approach to Christ — these raise above the level of average piety and impart sanctity to the character.

(Sunday Companion.)

: — It is the property of the religious sentiment to be the most refining of all influences. No external advantages, no good birth or breeding, no culture of the taste, no habit of command, no association with the elegant — even no depth of affection that does not rise to a religious sentiment — can bestow that delicacy and grandeur of bearing which belong only to a mind accustomed to celestial conversation.

(R. W. Emerson.)

: — Martin Luther used to say, "God needs strong men as much as strong men need God," and it was true. Let men seek to escape from the responsibilities of labour and law, and the freedom won by patriots and martyrs would soon fall, superstition would soon reassert its sway, and passions would leap forth again which would throw civilisation back into barbarism. If the Apostles had trusted the men of their age there would have been no true Christianity. If John Knox and others had trusted to such there would have been no Reformation. Let them bestir themselves in every noble way. They could each, at least, give to God one life that was true and faithful, one loyal to the core to truth and duty. It was not enough to contribute their criticism, they must contribute themselves — be willing to perish that others might live. That was what was meant by Christianity.

(John Hunter.)

: — What is the cause which makes one life so full to us while another has no meaning? What is it that constitutes the articulateness or the inarticulateness, the significance or the insignificance, of human lives? One very simple thing — coherence, that is all. The reason why these letters spell something is because they cohere together according to a certain law, and express something. The reason why these notes are sweet and inspiring to your ear is because they blend together according to the codes of harmony. And so are human lives bound together by something which brings coherence and signifiestion, harmony and force. Look at the lives which strike us; look at the imperious and imperial personalities amongst us. What made Bismarck such as he was? Coherence — one purpose! The difference between a life which is insignificant lies precisely in the word "coherence." Why was Newton great? Why, because Newton, like all great men, said, "This one thing I do," and he forgot his food in the earnest contemplation and pursuit of science. It is coherence which makes greatness in life.

(Bp. Boyd Carpenter.)

Every one in his watch:
: — This book may almost be called the Book of the Busy Man, telling as it does of the multifarious duties and responsibilities of one who acted as governor of the Jewish people in a very difficult and anxious time, and who had the rare and excellent faculty of leading every one else to work also. The picture which this book presents is almost that of a beehive, the murmur of whose work rises from every page. It is in entire sympathy with the general strain and tenor of the book that our text speaks when it shows us "every one in his watch." Consider —

I. THE INDIVIDUAL DEALING OF GOD WITH US — "every one in his watch." We often resist the thought of having to do individually with God; it becomes too solemn, too oppressive, too terrible for a soul that is not reconciled to Him. This is partly at the root of the preference which many have for the Church life rather than the individual life, for the idea of the multitude in which we may hide rather than that of solitude in which we must be seen. There is much in which we can have no companionship. We are born alone ; every great disease or pain finds us in the deep places of a loneliness which none can share with us ; and it is in utter solitude that each of us dies. In all such cases it is individual dealing between the Lord and us. We never come right, we never come to the Pardoner of sin, or the trust of daily life, or real work for Christ, till we have had the individual dealing with God which brings us into the position of those whom God has accepted for Christ's sake, and for whom henceforth He will provide.

II. The text is also UNIVERSAL IN ITS REACH. EVERY MAN means ALL MEN, which gives us the thought that there is a post for every man which God has appointed for him.

III. THE WORK OF THE CHRISTIAN may be regarded as military service. In this aspect of life three things are required.

1. Strict discipline.

2. Instant obedience.

3. Perfect obedience.

IV. THE PART OF MILITARY SERVICE WHICH FALLS TO US ALL IS SENTINEL DUTY.

V. THE OBJECT OF THE WATCH WHICH IS LAID UPON EVERY CHRISTIAN.

1. It is a watch against attack.

2. It is a watch for reinforcement and succour.

(T. Elder Cumming.)

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