Nehemiah 9:33
You are just in all that has befallen us, because You have acted faithfully, while we have acted wickedly.
Sermons
God has Done RightW. Gregory.Nehemiah 9:33
God's Proceedings in His Justice Sometimes InexplicableJ. Spencer.Nehemiah 9:33
The Miseries of Life; Their Origin and RemedyJohn Taylor, LL. D.Nehemiah 9:33
ConfessionW. Clarkson Nehemiah 9:1-5, 16-18, 26,28-30, 33-35
The Solemn Fast of Assembled IsraelR.A. Redford Nehemiah 9:1-38
AppealW. Clarkson Nehemiah 9:2, 31-33, 36-38
God's ChoiceDean Farrar.Nehemiah 9:4-38
The Certainty of God's PromisesThomas Jones.Nehemiah 9:4-38
The Divine Promise SureHervey.Nehemiah 9:4-38
The Purpose of the Rehearsal of National ShortcomingsW. P. Lockhart.Nehemiah 9:4-38
The SuppliantW. Ritchie.Nehemiah 9:4-38
The Te DeumW. P. Lockhart.Nehemiah 9:4-38

I. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS FAVOURED WITH THE DIVINE FORBEARANCE. The sins of the people were pride (ver. 16), disobedience (ver. 17), idolatry (ver. 18), murder (ver. 26), provocation, obduracy. "Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness" (ver. 19).

1. This forbearance is merciful.

2. This forbearance is considerate. In the wilderness it is so much needed.

3. This forbearance is unrecognised. See the obduracy of sin.

II. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS FAVOURED WITH ALL THE BENEFICENT MINISTRIES OF HEAVEN. "The pillar of the cloud departed not from them" (ver. 19).

1. The sinful life has light.

2. The sinful life has guidance.

3. The sinful life has spiritual instruction (ver. 20). See the ingratitude of sin.

III. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS SUSTAINED BY THE KIND PROVIDENCE OF GOD (ver. 21).

1. Suitable.

2. Continuous.

3. Sufficient.

4. Various. See the wilful blindness and ingratitude of sin.

IV. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE OFTEN EXPERIENCES GREAT TEMPORAL PROSPERITY AT THE HAND OF GOD (ver. 22).

1. Possession.

2. Multiplication.

3. Conquest.

4. Plenty. Yet the goodness of God does not lead to repentance.

V. THAT THE SINFUL LIFE IS ALSO DISCIPLINED BY AFFLICTIVE PROVIDENCES (ver. 27). In all this see the Divine effort to awaken the sinner. - E.







Howbeit, Thou art just in all that is brought upon us.
The miseries of life have been a fruitful theme to writers in all ages. Some have endeavoured to engage us in their contemplation for a wise and good end. Others have taken occasion from them to dispute the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God. Such notions, thus derogatory from the providence of God, tend, even in the best of men, if not timely eradicated, to weaken those impressions of reverence and gratitude which are necessary to add warmth to devotion and vigour to virtue. The teaching of Scripture is, that God is not to be charged with disregard of His creation. He created man for happiness, and this happiness was forfeited by a breach of the conditions to which it was annexed. Physical and moral evil entered the world together. To avoid misery we must avoid sin. Consider —

I. HOW FEW OF THE EVILS OF LIFE CAN JUSTLY BE ASCRIBED TO GOD. We must carefully distinguish that which is actually appointed by Him from that which is only permitted, or that which is the consequence of something done to ourselves, and could not be prevented but by the interruption of those general laws which we term the course of nature or the established order of the universe. If we examine all the afflictions of mind, body, and estate by this rule, we shall find God not otherwise accessory to them than as He works no miracles to prevent them, as He suffers men to be masters of themselves, and restrains them only by coercions applied to their reason.

1. In making an estimate of the miseries that arise from the disorders of the body, we must consider how many diseases proceed from our own laziness, intemperance, or negligence; how many the vices or follies of our ancestors have transmitted to us.

2. Nor are the disquietudes of the mind less frequently excited by ourselves.

(1)Pride is the general source of our infelicity.

(2)Immoderate desires.

(3)Undue solicitude about future events which gives rise to harassing fears and anxieties.

3. Poverty is not always the effect of wickedness — it may often be the effect of virtue; but it is not certain that poverty is an evil.

II. HOW FAR A GENERAL PIETY MIGHT EXEMPT COMMUNITY FROM THOSE EVILS. A community, in which virtue should generally prevail, of which every member should fear God with his whole heart and love his neighbour as himself, where every man should labour to make himself "perfect even as his Father which is in heaven is perfect," would find these evils practically non-existant.

III. HOW MUCH IN THE PRESENT CORRUPT STATE OF THE WORLD PARTICULAR MEN MAY, BY THE PRACTICE OF THE DUTIES OF RELIGION, PROMOTE THEIR OWN HAPPINESS.

(John Taylor, LL. D.)

I. RIGHT AS TO WISDOM. It is of great importance for us to know, and to feel, especially when tossed on the billows and enveloped in the darkness of some heavy affliction, that God is infinitely wise, and that His wisdom can and will conduct all the circumstances of His people to a happy issue. This is absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of anything like calm security amidst such scenes. It is so in the common affairs of life. The soldier trusts in the wisdom of his general, and is calm in battle. The sailor trusts in the wisdom of his captain, and is calm in the tempest. The traveller has confidence in the wisdom of his guide, and pursues his course in peaceful security. And so, if believers would enjoy a calm and cheerful assurance in fighting the battles, braving the storms, and pursuing the pilgrimage of their present probation, they must have a settled and solid repose in the infallible wisdom of God. And they must seek this, not so much from the deductions of human reason, or the better lights of their own experience in relation to providence, as from the operations of faith in the Scripture revelations of God and His government.

II. RIGHT AS TO JUSTICE. Amidst the afflictions of life, not only must we recognise and trust the infinite wisdom of God, but we must endeavour, by the lights of revelation and experience, to reconcile the justice of God with the afflictions of the righteous, and thus justify the ways of God to men. Men who only look on the surface of things and events, and judge from that, often charge God with being rigorous, unjust, and unrighteous in the operations and issues of His providence. All temporal sufferings are the righteous consequence of original or actual sin, and are frequently merited by the best of men. None can affirm that they are free from human frailties and sinful defects, and therefore they have no right to complain of the punishment of their sins. Our afflictions, generally, fall far below the guilt which we have contracted. The time is hastening on when the wisdom and justice of providence will be convincingly evident to all.

III. RIGHT AS TO GOODNESS. "Thou art good, and doest good." Such was the testimony of the psalmist; such is the uniform testimony of revelation; and such, notwithstanding its mysteries, is the acknowledgment of universal providence. And it is very necessary for us to be convinced of this, and live under the perpetual and growing influence of it, amidst the tribulations of life. Else how can we be calm, secure, and happy?

1. Strive to understand God in your afflictions. From the absence of this intelligent view of God's providence in affliction the greatest mischief often springs. Ignorance here, as everywhere else, is ever attended by distrust, fear, dissatisfaction, and wasting anxiety; while, on the other hand, intelligence produces confidence, serenity, contentedness, and a delightful peace and repose.

2. Learn to avoid a spirit of envy and murmuring. If God acts wisely, justly, and mercifully, in often permitting the wicked to live and prosper and the righteous to fall into great afflictions, then resign yourselves to His will, be satisfied with the dispensations of His hand, envy not the condition of others, neither murmur at your own. Consider well the folly, vanity, and misery of sinful prosperity, which rather needs your pity than your envy.

3. Learn to be firm and faithful in the service and cause of God. Afflictions have driven many from Christ and His kingdom.

(W. Gregory.)

Take a straight stick and put it into the water, then it will seem crooked; why? because we look upon it through two mediums, air and water. There lies the deceptio visus; thence it is that we cannot discern aright. Thus the proceedings of God in His justice, which in themselves are straight, without the least obliquity, seem unto us crooked. That wicked men should prosper, and good men be afflicted; that the Israelites should make the bricks, and the Egyptians dwell in the houses; that servants should ride on horseback, and princes go on foot — these are things that make the best Christians stagger in their judgments. And why? but because they look upon God's proceedings through a double medium of flesh and spirit, that so all things seem to go cross, though indeed they go right enough. And hence it is that God's proceedings in His justice are not so well discerned, the eyes of man alone being not competent judges thereof.

(J. Spencer.)

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