Jack Murray, Nehemiah, Message 5
Transcribed by Steven Fletcher, 2008, Gordon College
Bible Evangelism presents, once again, expository preaching by Dr. Jack Murray. Designed to exalt the savior and bless you, the listener. Message 5
Here now is Dr. Jack
Let’s turn to the book of Nehemiah again. What I’m going to do today I'm going to do it just a little bit differently. Today I’m going to run you through the summary statements, now remember these are not mine these are the summary statements in a twenty four article devotional series on the book of Nehemiah as written by T.S. Rendall, who is now the editor of a little booklet called the Prairie Over-comer. It comes out of Three Hills Alberta and has some very fine things in it. I think so much of it that I subscribe to the magazine for all of my staff as a gift. It is not a critical study, it is a devotional study but I think you'll find these twenty-three statements about the book of Nehemiah rather helpful. They don't follow along just with our outline but after all, I don't believe you could get these articles unless you happen to be a subscriber and they were printed 1969 and 1970 and so that means they're out of print. I don't have them with me, so I'm just giving you the summary statements. I happen to have that with me.
All right, let’s go through quickly now; this won't take but a few moments. Number one: “determine the need”. The first four verses of the book really emphasize the fact that Nehemiah learned that the people of God where in great affliction and reproach. The gates were burned with fire and the walls were broken down. It brought him to a place of great spiritual concern and then in that first chapter we have the second point of this outline. He sought God's face in that revival prayer of calling upon God and confessing his sins; claiming the promises and putting himself at God's disposal in a complete commitment
Chapter one is really a summary of the vision of the whole, now we begin in chapter two in the third statement on this outline: “Nehemiah got involved”. He wasn't doing it by proxy he wasn't paying his dues and letting other people do the job. He said like Isaiah, "Send me." This is emphasized in the first ten verses of chapter two, then he came to Jerusalem, you remember, and he faced the facts. He saw the walls, he saw the gates, and he saw the distress of the people as it really was and he faced up to those facts. He was now on the scene, that he wished to help.
Then as an example of leadership, “he enlisted others”. This is really the key to the book because Nehemiah looked upon the people not as a field to work in, but as a force to work with. They strengthened their hands for this good work. As a result the first note of enmity came in verse ten, the second note of enmity comes in verse nineteen and twenty in this book. So we have “withstand the enemy”.
Then chapter two, according to Rendall, is taken as an emphasis of “distributing the load” and chapter four has the emphasis of “building the wall”. Number nine then is, “deal with strife.” Remember this was the case where there was an internal problem where those who had funds took advantage of those who did not have funds. Nehemiah; instead of sweeping it under the rug and saying "it'll go away" came to grips with the problem and dealt with the strife. And then that last portion of chapter five emphasizes not the leadership of Nehemiah but the “example of Nehemiah.” Probably summarized in these words "So did not I, because the fear of the Lord." He was a splendid example as a leader.
Then in Chapter six, Rendell has summarized them by saying, "watch the snares" we know in our studies what those snares were: unscriptural cooperation, the reaction to a letter of lies, and also the reaction to sympathizers within. Those three things are contained within the verses, chapter six, verses one through fourteen. Then an emphasis in twelve on finish the work. This is all born out also in the book of Zechariah, laying the foundation stone and laying the headstone. The author and finisher. What God has put your hand to do it until the conclusion. Then in chapter seven, the last chapter of the second division; "delegate authority." Don't do the work of ten men but put ten men to work.
Now we open in chapter eight and yesterday we dealt with chapters eight through twelve. These are the words of Mr. Rendall concerning that, "working with others." He lays emphasis on the fact that Ezra was working with Nehemiah, and there was a tremendous companionship and communion between people who were doing the job. Which is a good emphasis. But then he cites what we did concerning the great marks of revival. Number one: honor God's word this is his fifteenth point. Then in the section on confession he lays emphasis on the fact that they went back in their history as to the goodness of God and many times that the nation had failed. So he too is speaking about confession of sin. Then he entitles that great decision chapter, the tenth chapter: "hold to the highest." To fulfill the statement "lord Jesus anytime anything anywhere I am ready, God helping me,” of course is holding to the highest. I trust it will not be just simply a decision of last night but a decision of life itself.
Then the emphasis that we made also concerning joy: the joy of the Lord is your strength, the mirth and the gladness of Jerusalem and the joy of Jerusalem being heard roundabout, is emphasized in his eighteenth point, “serve with thanksgiving,” Chapters eight through twelve.
Now I’m going to give you five more points to complete his outline, and these have to do with the thing I’m talking about today: “maintain separation” that’s point number nineteen. The next emphasis: “refuse to compromise;” Number twenty-one: “teach stewardship;” number twenty –two: “expose materialism;” number twenty three: “practice discipline.”
Now, We’ll get back to our own outline, and again we’re still doing a little bit of review, because some of you were not here, and some of you didn’t write fast enough when you were here. So we’re just going to give you a chance to catch up a little bit this morning. They gave me just a little more time today for which I’m grateful and this will give us a little more time to wind this out.
All right, there are four main divisions in the book of Nehemiah. The first division has to do with chapter one, you can say this, those of you that have been in the class as well as I: “vision in prayer;” Chapter one versus one through eleven. The second main division has to do with chapters two through seven: positively "Valiant for the truth," negatively "Valiant in fight." Then yesterday we dealt with the third main division of the book, we entitled it “Victory in revival” it has to do with chapters: eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelve.
We laid emphasis to four great truths that should be the hallmarks of any true biblical awakening. There are four marks here, the marks of a true spiritual awakening. Any so-called spiritual awakening that doesn’t measure in these four things is spurious is without scriptural foundation. Number one: “the emphasis on the word” of God. Number two correspondingly: “heart searching and confession of sins.” Number three: “the decision after that revival to walk in obedience to the Lord”. If the result isn’t that, something’s wrong. If it’s just a big explosion that just takes you down to the bottom afterwards than something’s wrong with that so called spiritual movement. And fourth: “The joy of the Lord a true expression of Christian living”. Now that’s where we left our Bibles yesterday. Right?
I was in a school where there were eight hundred students and you came to one of those moments where there was a little restlessness in the crowd. I’m very conscious of my crowd and so when that restlessness comes, where ever it is, I usually shift gears of do something to get their attention back. So I said now boys and girls put your thinking caps on and immediately 1600 hands went up like this and…. Put them on. I didn’t know whether to head for the first door or the window. The headmaster of the particular school where I was speaking had taught all the children that when he said that, they where to go through the imaginary motions of putting on a hat. But he didn’t tell me. I thought suddenly the whole motif of the class had changed and they’d suddenly gone into calisthenics, but you know they where listening after they did that.
So I want you to think with me now, concerning the sequence. Notice what I have in the notes, the sequence of events. And we’ll turn first to verse six of chapter thirteen. In the period we’re talking about now to begin with, Nehemiah says “in all this time was not I at Jerusalem. For in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon, Came I unto the king.” Now class look up please, way back there in chapter two you will remember, the king asked Nehemiah what he wanted. He also said for how long shall thy journey be, and “when wilt thou’ return. So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a time.” Now there is no question about the fact that he set him the time of twelve years. You say, “Now that’s a little bit inconceivable Jack that he could think that far ahead?” No I don’t think so at all. I have friends who are working with the Papago Indians as a Wycliffe Bible translator, they where married in my living room. I said to Dean and to Lucy “how long is it going to take you to translate that New Testament to the language of the Papagos?” Lucy said, “Where papa goes, momma goes.” Anyway, she looked up and she said “sixteen years”. We had the pleasure of being in the presence of Lucy and Dean the other day and they completely it in a little less, didn’t they say? Thirteen and a half years. Now they’re starting on another one; so really the setting of goals like this, I really don’t conceive of anybody doing anything else but setting of goals. So it was twelve years.
So there came a time when Nehemiah, being an honest man and a committed man, said I promised the king that I’d be gone twelve years, now it’s time for me to report to Shushan the palace. I wonder if any of you have had to leave in the midst of a great spiritual awakening. Maybe some of you haven’t been in the midst of a spiritual awakening, therefore you wouldn’t have had that experience. But I have been, and I have been in such gatherings and such meetings that I didn’t even want to go to bed. No, I didn’t want to go to bed. I didn’t, I didn’t want to go to bed because I was afraid that I’d wake up the next morning not in that same tremendous atmosphere of spiritual awakening. I can understand I think a little bit how Nehemiah thought about this time. Who would want to go back to a stuffy old eastern court of Susa, a heathen king, out of the midst of the word of God, joy, rejoicing, blessing. Of course he wouldn’t want to go. But he went. He took that long journey all the way from Jerusalem all the way back to Shushan the palace. One of the records in the Scriptures said that one contingent took four months to do it. Just how long that journey was, and just how long he stayed in Shushan before the king once again released him; because that verse says “and after certain days” now that’s an uncertain quantity isn’t it, “obtained I leave of the king”, meaning obtained I leave of the king to once again come back to Jerusalem. But we have a time span in there. That’s why I put it in the notes, "the sequence of events." Now we know what Nehemiah did, he traveled all the way to Susa he spent some time in Susa, he traveled all the way back to Jerusalem. Now we’re going to find out find out what someone else was doing while Nehemiah was all doing this, that’s the second point of the outline there.
What is it? "The identification of Elisashib," and we’ll continue the notes on "the identification of Eliashib," and I have a lot of fun with unusual names in scripture, it’s fun to go into scripture and find out how about this. Can any body here by the way tell me the name of one of the ten spies? Remember there were twelve that went into the land, remember? Who were the two? “Caleb and Joshua.” Oh everybody knows them, Caleb and Joshua. Somebody name one of the ten. Who? “Athbeil” What is his other name? What is his other name? “Chicken” somebody, said peacock. I don’t know maybe not, I don’t know, ok. The point is, we have forgotten, but you know back there at Kadesh Barnea when the came back from the land, who where the popular men? The ten; and what where they going to do to Caleb and Joshua? They were so unpopular they just about lost their lives. The ten of the majority report, where the great heroes and they are absolutely forgotten in history. The only two men who were right and who were faithful to God, their names have lived down in memory everybody said it “Caleb and Joshua.” That aught to teach you something, that the majority’s not always right, huh?
I heard the great Billy Sunday, let me ask this question, I didn’t say Billy Graham. I said Billy Sunday. How many actually heard Billy Sunday preach? Put your hands up, Man that dates you… You know why, I sang at his funeral and that was 1936 and if I don’t miss my guess next year that’ll make forty years since he died, ok. What are you smiling about, anyway that’s the way it is. I heard Billy Sunday say one time, he said, "We name our children: John Peter, Paul. We name our dogs Nero." There's the lesson in this.
Well, we must not forget certain names. When I say Eliashib? Who’s he? Who’s Eliashib? Well that’s why we’re teaching the book of Nehemiah, now we’ve got to bring up the information about Eliashib. Chapter three verse one. Well there he is; he’s the first one named as the high priest. Well, thank you Jack you’ve identified him. Eliashib the high priest. Second he is a builder on the wall chapter three verses twenty and twenty-one. And we find these verses, I think that’s the right citation if it isn’t; he’s in here somewhere, but anyway he is a builder on the wall. He is one of these faithful builders on the wall so faithful that he is named with the other thirty seven great worthies of this chapter. All right. Over in the twelfth chapter verses ten, twenty and twenty-three, he’s identified of course in his tribal identification as of the tribe of Levi.
Now I’ve got the bad news. Look at verse four of chapter thirteen now. Now this is just plain Bible we’re studying today. Before this, now we’ve got to identify this time note, because the verses one through three and thirteen come of course after what is said in verse four, because the Bible says “before this.” Now what did Eliashib do before this? Listen, just as soon as Nehemiah got out of town the true colors of this man began to come out. Now remember I told you that the message was going to be identified immediately preceding the revival? Now let’s go back just a little bit, remember we where told of Shamiah, the man who was hired by Sanballat and Geshom to trick Nehemiah we were told of Noabdia the prophetess, we where told of certain rulers being sympathetic with Tobiah, but in that chapter Eliashib isn’t named at all, now the light comes out. All of the time, this man is sympathetic to Tobiah, but he doesn’t dare make a move while the great and godly leadership of Nehemiah is in action. But, just as soon as he is sure that Nehemiah is going back and he presumably will be away for a number of months, he makes his move.
Here it is. "Before this Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah. He had prepared for him a great chamber where previously they laid the meal offerings, the frankincense and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine and the oil. Which was commanded to be given to the Levites and the singers and the porters and the offerings of the priests." Now I know I’ve read verse six and I’m going to read it again because it’s emphatic “In all of this time was not I at Jerusalem” Now what did Eliashib do? He actually brought Tobiah into the temple, and he actually removed these sacred objects of the gifts of the people, in preference to an avowed unbeliever and he honored him, by putting him within the sacred enclosure. You say the most dangerous man of all in this book is Tobiah. No. The most dangerous man is Eliashib. How come?
Now I just want to try and correct some of your thinking, some of you might have come in and said “well yes, that’s true, he did identify with Tobiah, but he did do a lot of good with Nehemiah, and so you alleviate the charge of Tobiah in order to complement him on the good he did do, and that’s just a little product of our relative thinking in this day. If you’ve been in the public schools of America, you’re already conditioned to relative thinking because you have been under the awful, awful emphasis of the Dewy-Kilpatrick system. You are conditioned in relative thinking. A great many things that you should have known, have been taken out.
What if I told you that tomorrow night, now I don’t think I will, but what if tomorrow night told you that I would preach from this platform on Robinson Crusoe? Come on? Tell me what would be your reaction? Charlie where are you going. Are you going tomorrow. That's my friend Charlie Dawson. All right, I’m going to tell you something and if you don’t believe it I’ll prove it while on the grounds. I could take Daniel Defoe’s unabridged edition of Robinson Crusoe and preach the gospel from it tomorrow night in this pulpit. Why? Because in the unabridged edition Robinson Crusoe discovered three Bibles in the wreckage. Robinson Crusoe read himself into the kingdom of God. Robinson Crusoe became a believer, so much a believer that he thanked God for isolating him to that island so that he could find Christ, and Robinson Crusoe had a burden for Friday, and lead Friday to Christ as a native who needed the Gospel. You say “Jack, that wasn’t in Robinson Crusoe that I read in school.” That’s what I’m talking about that has been all cut out of our American division and the book that I got unabridged I had to go to Bermuda to get. That’s where I bought it, you can buy unabridged editions outside of the United States, it’s hard to get them inside, but it’s possible, just hard to get.
Now let’s get our thinking straight, by the way, I might preach, Eleanor, on Robinson Crusoe. Boy I tell you there’s page after page of the finest theology, you can get. It would do us all good to re-read, if you can get one, I’ve got a list of people who want them after remarking like this, they say the next time you go to Bermuda buy one for me. You can buy them in Bermuda, you can buy them in the Bahamas, you can buy them outside the United States but you really have a tough time finding them its’ possible here. But it’s a thrilling story of the Gospel, and Daniel Defoe was the son of a minister and wrote Robinson Crusoe for that very purpose. So you see, you’ve been deprived of something very, very wonderful. Well you’ve been deprived of something if you’re going to do this kind of thinking. Listen to me; according to scripture the most dangerous man is not the man who is, Revelation 3, cold. Some of you are thinking best hot, next best lukewarm; worst, cold. God didn’t say that. He said that I would you were, first choice, hot, or what? Cold. Second choice. But because you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth. Alright we’ve got Eliashib right in the middle, Here’s the man who can pick up a trowel and work with a man like Nehemiah, and then just as quickly move a Tobiah into the temple and work avidly with him. That is the most dangerous man of all. Eliashib. We’re having a resurrection of Eliashibs in this day. I hope there is one thing you get coming out of this study, that you shun Eliashib and cling to Nehemiah. But this is what he did.
Alright, we’ve identified Eliashib, let’s identify Tobiah, do we need to? But you better get the verses. Yes this is the man who is grieved that Nehemiah would come (2:10). This is the man who laughed and ridiculed at Nehemiah and his followers (2: 19-20). This is the man who made a joke out of the whole thing saying, a fox would break down the wall, in chapter four verse three. This is the man who joined with Sandballat and Geshom and threatened bodily harm. This is the man who entered into the plot of an unscriptural cooperation. This is the man that concurred with Gashmu in that lying letter. This is the man who hired Shamiah to trick Nehemiah This is the same man. That’s the man that Eliashib put in the temple.
All right, what happened? Now this is not in the text except for inference, some of you want to argue with me; ok. But the action of Eliashib can be reflected in the New Testament, as I put in the notes look in Second John verse ten when you get the chance. “If any come preaching not this doctrine, teaching not this doctrine, bid him not godspeed.” The teaching is very clear what you should do to one. Now I’m not talking about someone you seek to evangelize I’m talking about an apostate, I’m talking about an avowed enemy of the truth. Paul said this in Galatians one as I put in the notes “Let him be accursed” or literally in the New International Version “let him be eternally condemned. Ephesians says, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather what? Rebuke. Reprove them." The Scripture’s very clear on this.
So… What happened? Alright, maybe one week after Tobiah is settled in the temple, I’m working my Imagination now, people came to the temple, choir was still there, porters are all in their place, great crowd, but something, something was missing. What was it? Well the chorus said it, "the good hand of my God upon me." Are you following me now? Now there is something under the hand that removes God’s blessing, God can’t bless that kind of an unscriptural arrangement. His hand of good blessing was removed.
Possibly somebody in the next few weeks said “I don’t think I’ll go to worship today, something’s missing, I really didn’t get much out of it last week” So they stayed away. It wasn’t long before Eliashib began to wring his hands a little bit, why? The offerings where down. So he met with the choir of two hundred and forty voices and said, “I think we’re going to have to curtail your actives.” You see, the choir in the day of Nehemiah were paid, and so where the porters, the maintenance men. It wasn’t long until the staff was cut down again, and again, and again, and again. Until when Nehemiah came back, I’ll get him back after a little while, I‘ll just anticipate this; he had to ask this question look at verse eleven, “then contended I with the rulers and said why is the house of God forsaken?” That's what it says, it’s gone; all that great revival is gone by the time Nehemiah gets back.
Now in case you think this is an Old Testament truth that never bears repetition let me give you a living illustration, I was in Keene, New Hampshire, Mrs. Murray and I where crusading and the pastor said you know, the head quarters of D.L moody are not too far away from here just over the line into Massachusetts, if you have a free afternoon would you like to see it? I said “we certainly would” So we drove down to Northfield I went over to the grave, D.L. Moody. And after I finished visiting Northfield, I said that if D.L. where ever to come back here now, to the schools that he started; let me tell you something just as Jack Wortzen and Henry Balbeck, have headed up this work of Great Conference, that’s exactly what D L moody was doing when he was an evangelist. He had some of the greatest student conferences in the world. And he had some of the greatest teachers from all over the world at Northfield and as a consequence he started his schools. And we’re starting schools here. But you can go back there today and there is no resemblance between what is going on there now and what DL moody believed, and if DL stood there he’d have to say “why is the house of God forsaken?” Modernism has taken over at Northfield. “Tobiahs” have moved in the blessing of God is gone.
Now in miniature you can say that a thousand and thousand times across this country. People, used to come to me at the Church of the Open Door in Philadelphia; we’d have great Sunday night crowds, I can remember one Sunday night, some twelve hundred people, fifty decisions for Christ, it was just a tremendous time. But they’d come to me as I told you the other day and they’d say “My, isn’t this great Jack.” They just didn’t get the reaction from me that they expected. I’d say it is great, but you know, fifty years ago there where a hundred churches in Philadelphia like this on Sunday night with the old pastors. Say if, J Wilbur Chapman went down to twenty second in Bambridge, you know what he’d say, “why is the house of God forsaken?” The church are still there, tremendous buildings, some of them may have a light on, on Sunday evenings and some may not. Gone. The ravages of Tobiahism.
Nehemiah’s quite practical. Well I don’t want to leave you there. Praise the Lord Nehemiah doesn’t stay in Shushan. I imagined the king looked down, that’s another question I have to ask Nehemiah, I know how you got over the first time, you had a sad face and the king saw it and asked you. How’d you get out the second time? I imagine Artaxerxes looked at him and his actions and said, "He’s certainly not at home here". He’d gotten the great reports that there’d been no rebellion, that that vicious, devilish lie, the letter we read about in chapter six was not true at all and if there was ever a faithful man to his king it was Nehemiah. So one day he said to his friend, and I believe they where very close friends, “Nehemiah, why don’t you go back and be governor for another term?” Do you think Nehemiah had to be told that twice? He said, I’m on my way. I can see Nehemiah approaching the city, coming through one of those gates saying to himself, wouldn’t it be just wonderful to be back and hear that great singing? Wouldn’t it be great to hear the word of God from one of those great preachers under Ezra’s leadership? I haven’t heard a good sermon for months. Wouldn’t it be great to be in the fellowship and the blessing of God’s people? Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I just have to quicken my step and get there. Coming through the gate, no sound, approaching the temple, no sound, no people, as we say nowadays, what happened?
Now Nehemiah could have said, “well, isn’t that too bad”. “Guess it’s the day we’re living in.” “Well I’m glad it wasn’t my responsibility. It happened all while I wasn’t here.” Now do you want to see leadership in action, do you want to see this book wind out in the closing part of this message? What happened to the clock? Here he comes. Let’s go to verse seven: “I returned to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done. For Tobiah and preparing for him a chamber in the house of God and it grieved me very much”. Therefore, step number one: I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. I’d like to have been there. Walking along seeing that bed and that table and that chair coming through. That’s what it says, I’m just preaching Bible that’s all. He cleaned house neighbor. He didn’t ask for a board of deacons meeting, trustees, elders or anything. He said what doesn’t belong there’s got to go and it’s here it goes! He cast forth the stuff… Did it ever occur to you, where was Tobiah? When old Nehemiah passed through that gate another one of that fifth column said “oh oh we’d better get word to Tobiah right now, he’s on the way”. As they say down in Texas “I’m going to catch air.” And out he went. He got out of there. He wasn’t anywhere around. He wasn’t going to stand up, neither was Eliashib anywhere around to stand up to this courageous leader of God.
Second thing, look at it, it says “and I commanded and they cleansed the chambers. I don’t know what he used, Babbo or Dutch cleanser or whatever it was but he cleaned house. All this filthy stuff in here belonging to that unbeliever, now let’s clean it up. You’ll find the word cleanse in three places, verse nine, verse twenty-two, and verse thirty on other issues, not just the quarters of Tobiah. You’ll find the other things as mentioned in the Rendell notes. There where other things that needed to be cleansed, and why? I want to tell you that when the hand of God is removed almost anything can happen in the wrong direction. That’s the way it goes just everything goes awry. Nehemiah had to do a lot of cleansing.
Then the Bible says he did a lot of commanding. You’ll find it in verse nine “I commanded and they cleansed the chambers” You’ll find those verses there, nine, nineteen and twenty-two. Then right to the heart of it, verse eleven “Then I contended with the rulers and said, 'Why is the house of God forsaken?'” That must have been some confrontation.
Now I have to interject a sad note here, but I try to be a preacher of reality, not idealism. Where were these rulers? Where were these people when Eliashib pulled his tricks? There are all kind of folks who purport to be leaders but they just lead, in what is the most popular thing that’s going on in the moment. They were just as quick to follow Eliashib, as they were to follow Nehemiah. That’s the tragedy of our day, whole churches are swept into apostasy because one pastor. I heard of one in New England the other day, it was a Bible believing church, believing not only in Ecclesiastical separation, but separation from the world and the flesh and the devil. You know, we evangelists have kind of a heritage, if you want to study what’s wrong with a deck of cards, read Charlie Wygell, the fellow who wrote “No one ever cared for me like Jesus.” If you want to find out about the modern dance, read William Beterwoh, if you want to know what’s wrong with liquor, read Billy Sunday. If you want to know Hell over Hollywood, read Harry VonBrooke. These men met the issues in the old days, and demanded that people walk in separation. Yes they did, they where leaders of people. But in this church in New England a pastor came along and he said “well, I don’t hold those views. There’s nothing wrong with a social drink, there’s nothing wrong with Hollywood, you just have to be selective, there’s nothing wrong with this”, and she this dear lady said to me, “the whole deacon board went along with him.” Rather than violate what this man wanted they changed the constitution.
God help us, now I know I’ve stepped on some toes now, should have brought some steel pointed shoes anyway. This conference not only stands for ecclesiastical separation, but personal separation. From the moment it doesn’t I’m not speaking on Nehemiah from this pulpit, I can’t preach like this out of Nehemiah in too many conferences anymore. I think it was Wilson that said, “those who lead should, those who follow should, all the rest have to be driven. That’s the way people are, Jesus was heartbroken, he said, they were as sheep, not having a, do you see the shepherd aspect of leadership can lead in the wrong direction as well as the right direction. The willy-nilly nature of people, shift with Nehemiah, shift with Eliashib, this is the tragedy of the day. But thank God for Nehemiah, he commanded.
Now separation is not just removing what’s wrong. Let me read a couple of verses, verse eleven: “And I gathered them together and set them in their place ” See Tobiah was gone and the good hand of God was back. Then, then, then, no financial problem, “they brought from all Judah the tithes of new wine, and grain and oil unto the storehouse and I got so much that I made treasurers over the storehouses. Then he names for the treasurers, for they were counted faithful and their office was to distribute among their brethren.” He brought back that which was right as well as removing that which was wrong. Separation isn’t just a series of negatives; it is from sin, unto the word of God. And in removing what is wrong, God will give you a hundred times better what is right, amen? That’s the picture.
Now Nehemiah had another task after commanding, there’s a little humorous note over there in verse twenty eight "and one of the sons of Joada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sandballat the Horonite, therefore I chased him." Oh, I would like to have seen that. Can’t you see that? Now somebody came up and asked me the other day "how old was Nehemiah?" I don’t’ know, but he was old enough to run, that’s how I know that. He was old enough to chase somebody out; He was old enough to be vigorous. I was a Bible conference director one time, a fellow got up, and he was kind of a bit of “sweetie talk” and everything, he says “now I believe in controversy but I don’t’ believe in calling names or pulling out hair” So after he finished I got up, I was the conference director, and I don’t often disagree with my speaker but I want you to turn to Nehemiah verse twenty-five, chapter thirteen for a moment: “And I contended with them, cursed them, smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair”. So bother, you’re unscriptural.
I’ve had the privilege of being with some of the “Old Worthies” and I remember a personal incident with William R. Newell; I wish all of you could have known him. Dr. Newell was D.L. Moody’s understudy, took his campaigns when many times in his later years D.L. could not take them.
William R. Newell wrote the words to “At Calvary”, he was preparing for a message, and right at the end of the message, on a Sunday morning, he wrote down the words. He was walking down the hall of Moody Bible Institute and he saw a light in Dr. Towner’s office and he said “Towner, I’ve just written some words, I don’t’ know if they are good enough for a song or not, but here you go.” He walked out and he went and preached somewhere and when he came back he noticed that Daniel Towner’s light was still on. He walked back into the office Towner looked up and said “When I saw the words I didn’t go to Church I stayed and wrote the song and here it is, it was “At Calvary.” Newell wrote commentary on Romans, commentary on Hebrews, commentary on Revelations, a tremendous fellow. Mrs. Murray and I had the privilege of working with this, “Saint of God.” One day he took us aside and he said “you know, on one occasion I was talking to D.L. Moody and G. Camel Morgan,” Imagine that distinguished company. I was all ears, I wanted to hear what he was saying and he said “we were discussing naming names in controversy” and he said “I was a little bit surprised” He said “That Mr. Moody and Mr. Morgan took the position that they should not name names in controversy” And the Newell with his square chin, beautiful face and square shoulders, squared up and said “Murray,” that’s what he called me, “Murray I told them they were both unscriptural and un-Pauline. He said in second Timothy there are four chapters and Paul names two people that defected from the faith in each of the chapters.” He said "Gentlemen you can have your views if you want to; but they are not according to Scriptures." I don’t remember that story but there it is.
Now Nehemiah, took forthright action, the revival’s back, folks, yes it is, if you read very, very carefully you’ll find that it’s back. Let me touch on two notes and then I’m through. Don’t miss this chapter, the “four notes of prayer.” You say ” this Vigorous, Casting, Commanding, Contending Cleansing, Chasing individual was a man of prayer?” He’d better be. You better not contend without prayer, you don’t know a thing to do on your feet unless you know how to act on your knees, In this chapter we have four great notes of prayer, look at them for a moment: verse fourteen: “Remember me O my God concerning this, wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the House of my God and it’s offices.” Again verse twenty-two: “Remember O God concerning this and spare me according to thy mercy” Again, two right close to the end of the chapter. Verse twenty-nine: “Remember them O my God for they have defiled the priesthood of and the covenant of the Levites.” Then the book closes with that great word: “Remember me, O my God, forgive me.”
Now let’s make a personal word and then be all through. We talked about a far off scene, almost 2500 years ago and you say, “what’s that got to do with me?” Well, a Tobiah, spiritually speaking, figuratively speaking, can destroy a revived heart just like Tobiah destroyed a revived people. Tobiahs can be one of a hundred things. There may be some rotten thought life; there may be some habit. Oh, there may be so many things that become Tobiahs. Things that are allowed in your heart that shouldn’t be there and they will remove the blessing of the Lord. Oh God will bless in some way but it won’t be his full blessing. If you want the full blessing than you’re going to have to do what Nehemiah did, you’re going to have to confess that Tobiah, you’re going to have to make a clean breast of it as David did in Psalm thirty-two. And get it out of there and put back in it the word, prayer, whatever else of those good, positive things that you need and the good hand of God will be back. There are two hands, Psalm thirty-two, David said, “He refused to remove the unconfessed sin from his heart. The heavy hand of God was on him.” There is the heavy hand of God and the good hand of God.
As we close this Nehemiah series, let’s ask God always to help us to abide under the good hand of God, that is, walk so that what we are doing may have his blessing. Oh that may not save you from the difficult place; you may go through very, very deep valleys. I heard a speaker right from this platform say, “After I came to Christ all my troubles were over.” I’ve got news for you, all my trouble wasn’t over, but thank God I have an answer to all my trouble. He hasn’t promised to remove that difficult play. He hasn’t promised to his disciples that they would cross the sea on a calm water. He hasn’t promised you that you won’t cross life without its storms. But I have news for you, he’s promised you a safe harbor, and he’s promised you everything you need to go through the storm according to his good hand upon us.
God bless you. Shall we stand for prayer? “Dear lord, we’ve been walking through the pages of your word and they’ve been so practical, so helpful to us. Lord we do ask that they may not just be a “hearing” ministry, but a doing ministry, and may we do it, may we act and may whole churches be revived as a result of what you’ve done in our hearts. Grant great victory power and blessing and use us as a result o the instruction of thy Holy Sprit this week, in Jesus name; Amen.
Outline of the major points in “Nehemiah Lecture Five”
a. Covers the basis for his talk. The T.S. Rendell reading is introduced, and several points are listed.
2. Exposition on the T.S. Rendell points 1-18
3. Murray’s own outline
a. Basic point: Maintain Separation,
b. Basic point: Refuse to compromise
c. Basic point: teach stewardship
d. Basic point: Expose materialism
e. Basic point: Practice discipline
4. Hallmarks of biblical Revival
a. The emphasis on God’s word,
b. Heart searching and the confession of sins
c. The decision to walk in obedience
d. The joy of the lord
a. Dean and Lucy: Papagos
b. Nehemiah and the twelve years
i. Why he wouldn’t want to leave
ii. Brief touching on his return
iii. The operations of “someone else”
6. The Identification of Eliashib:
a. Comments on the correctness of Majority
b. Who’s Eliashib?
i. High priest
ii. Wall builder
7. Relative thinking
a. “Alleviating Eliashib”
b. Robinson Crusoe
i. As a gospel message
ii. Unabridged books
a. Eliashib most dangerous man
i. What to do with false message, and apostasy
9. Identification of Tobiah
a. His character
b. The result of his residence in the temple
i. Continual degradation of
10. The Hand of God leaves
a. As a result of Tobiah
11. Real World implications
a. D.L Moody and Northfield
b. Jack Murray and The Open Door Church
c. J. Wilbur Chapman
12. Nehemiah’s return
a. The leadership of Nehemiah
i. Casting out Tobiah
ii. Cleansing the temple
13. The Rulers
a. Ineffective nature
b. Mob mentality
c. Heritage of Evangelists
i. Charlie Wygell
ii. William Beterwoh
iii. Billy Sunday
iv. Harry VonBrooke
d. The example of the New England Church
a. Isn’t all negative
b. Separation from sin unto the word of God
c. Old Worthies
i. William R. Nillo
15. Nehemiah’s Action
a. Four Notes of Prayer