Telling of the Hand of God
‘Then I told them of . . . the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.’—Neh. ii. 18.
HOW naturally we should not only treasure, but 1f, any royal words spoken to ourselves! They would be more to us than any other utterances, and they would ensure the interest of our listeners. How natural for Nehemiah to tell of the king’s words which he had spoken unto him, though only an earthly and alien sovereign!
Now, ought it not to be just as natural, delightful, and interesting to tell of the words of our own, our heavenly King, especially when He has commanded, ‘He that hath My word, let him speak my word faithfully’ ?1 Not that we can ever tell all that passes in the secret audience chamber; nor would it be well that we should try to do so: for ‘ the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.’2 The King has gifts for us with shining inscriptions which ‘ no man knoweth saving he that receiveth’ * them, whispers which cannot resound in words.
1 Jer. xxiii. 28. !Ps. xxv. 14. • Rev. ii. 17; Prov. xvii. 8.
But very much, perhaps most, of His gracious communications to the soul come in the very form which is most easily grasped, remembered, and repeated— His own written words brought to our remembrance by His good Spirit, and applied to our conscious or unconscious need.1 Do not let us give our own memories the credit, instead of giving Him the praise, when He so kindly sends any of His own words freshly and forcibly into our minds. Have we not often defrauded Him of the glory due unto His name* in this matter, by mistaking His voice for our mere observation or recollection?
Now it is these words of the King, spoken to our hearts as they are not spoken to the world, which we may profitably tell others, thus becoming * the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message,’* and spreading the knowledge of His words. Nehemiah did not tell of the king’s words which he had spoken unto somebody else, but ‘which He had spoken unto me.’ So, if we would tell the King’s words, we must first hear them. Ask that, like Ezekiel, the Spirit may enter into us when He speaks unto us, so that we may hear Him that speaks unto us.4 ‘These words shall be in thine heart;’5 and then, after that, comes the command: ‘Talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way.’*
Watch to see what He will say,7 and no fear but
1 John xiv. 26; Acts xx. 35. 2 Ps. xxix. 2. 3 Hag. i. 13. * Ezek. iii. 10. ^ Deut. vi. 6. 6 Deut. vi. 7.
1 Hab. ii. 1.
that His words will be heard, and that more and more. For it is when He hath spoken unto us that we shall be strengthened, and say, ‘Let my Lord speak.’1 And then He will say more to us, and show us ‘that which is noted in the Scripture of truth.’a
It seems a truism to say that this telling of the King’s words will be ever so much more useful and resultful than our own words. Yet do we always act upon this? When we try to ‘speak a word for Jesus ‘3 to a friend, does it not sometimes seem as if we were a little ‘ashamed of His words’ ?* Is there not sometimes a little shrinking from giving a text? Has it not seemed an easier course to talk about a sermon? If we have visited a cottage, have we not sometimes thought our duty discharged by a little general good advice and kindly sympathy, and not always ‘told them of the King’s words,’ which are spirit and life,5 and which should not have returned void *—seed words, by which dead souls might have been born again; ‘sincere milk,’ by which babes in Christ might ‘ grow ‘ ?7
Surely there is no more precious talent entrusted to us,8 none with which we may trade with more certain success and splendid increase, than these words of our King. What we hear from Him let us commit to others, ‘that they may be able to teach others also.'” A simple text thus passed on (and who cannot do this!) may be the immediate means of wonderful spiritual help and quickening,
1 Dan. -x.. Tc). 2 Dan. x. 21. 3 Jer. xxiii. 28.
4 Mark viii. 38. 5 John vi. 63, 6 isa. Iv. 11.
” I Pet. i. 23; ib. ii. 2. 8 Matt. xxv. 16. 8 2 Tim. ii. 2.
and ‘the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God’ (not some otherwise concocted comfort) may comfort many ‘which are in any trouble,’1 without even one word of man as its vehicle.
Yes, we have a word for Jesus! Living echoes we will be Of Thine own sweet words of blessing, of Thy gracious ‘Come to Me.’
Jesus, Master! yes, we love Thee, and to prove our love would lay
Fruit of lips which Thou wilt open, at Thy blessed feet to-day. Many an effort it may cost us, many a heart-beat, many a fear, But Thou knowest, and will strengthen, and Thy help is always near.
Give us grace to follow fully, vanquishing our faithless shame, Feebly it may be, but truly, witnessing for Thy dear name.