Dear Brother Beebe: - Please give your views, through the “Signs”, on Nehemiah 4:2, and especially this clause: “What do these feeble Jews?” The reason of my asking your views on that passage is the way in which it was brought to my mind. I awoke from my sleep one morning, and the first thought that came to my mind was, What do these feeble Jews? I knew it was Scripture, but where it was I did not know, neither what it was speaking of; neither did I remember of ever noticing it more than any other passage. I soon sought it out. It is a dark passage to my mind, and I shall be much obliged if you will give your views on it.
Reply: - We have neither the time, space, nor ability to enter fully into the subject presented for our consideration. The city of Jerusalem was typical of the church and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The desolation of that city by the Babylonish army, when her inhabitants were carried away into captivity, their temple demolished, and their walls and gates thrown down, and the few who remained within her precincts intermingled unlawfully with Ashdod, Moab, and Ammon, and in league with Sanballat, Tobiah, and with the armies of Samaria, the book of the law of their God lost among the rubbish, and the chambers of the temple desecrated with the household stuff of Tobiah, shows what desolation and confusion should come upon any portion of the church of Christ when the law of the Lord is disregarded, and unlawful alliances are formed with the aliens.
Nehemiah was doubtless in many respects a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may also represent those whom God has from time to time raised up to labor in building up the waste places of Zion. While Sanballat and all his associates represent the advocates of error against whom the faithful servants of the Lord have to contend.
The words of Sanballat, on which brother Barnes desires us to comment were evidently uttered in derision, maliciously, and with a design to discourage the workmen, and hinder the progress of the work; as were also the words of Tobiah, the Ammorite, who said, “Even that which they builded, if a fox go up he shall even break down their wall.”
The very spirit of their taunting falls thickly on those of the present day who labor faithfully in building up the walls of Zion, who urge a faithful and undeviating adherence to the laws and institutions of our Lord Jesus Christ, and protest against any affinity with other religious bodies.
How often have our adversaries, during the last forty years, spoken in the same taunting manner, of the comparatively few Old School Baptists who refuse to devote to their use the chambers of the consecrated house of our God for storing their household stuff. How frequently has the spirit of their language concerning us been, “What do these feeble Jews?” Feeble in numbers when compared with the multitude of their adversaries; and still more feeble in their confidence in the flesh. Having none of the elements of what their enemies regard as strength. The principal wealth, literature, State patronage, worldly honors, popular doctrines and carnal attractions on which all the numerous branches of anti-christ rely for support. As Jews, who are not so outwardly, and whose circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, whose praise is not of men, but of God; they claim to be “the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” In the eyes of their enemies they are feeble indeed; and it is astonishing to their enemies how it is that without Mission Societies, or Sabbath Schools, or protracted meetings, or modern revivalists to supply them with converts, Theological Schools to supply them with preachers, they are not utterly consumed. Trusting only in the Lord, our opponents cannot see how our existence has been thus far continued; and still their cry is that “If a fox go up on our walls, it will throw them down.” It is true we have a dread of foxes, not however from fear of their throwing down our wall, but because of their depredations on our vines; for our vines have tender grapes. Feeble as Nehemiah and his band of faithful companions were in the estimation of their adversaries, the Lord was their strength; in him they trusted, and his arm was stretched out for their protection; and in the church of God they that trust in the Lord shall be like Mount Zion that cannot be moved. “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”
October 15, 1868.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 279 – 281