Telling of the Hand of God
‘Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also 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. 2:18.
“”THEN they that feared the Lord spake often i- one to another.’1 Yet many hold back from what they call ‘talking about religion,’ under colour that they fear it too often leads to talking about self. And yet, what about the general conversation which is about ‘other things,’2 not ‘the things which are Jesus Christ’s ‘ ?3 Are the ‘other things’ free from self and wholly profitable? Is it ‘with grace, seasoned with salt’? Yet this is what we are commanded that our speech should ‘always’ be.4
Let us lay aside this unscriptural notion of ‘talking about religion,’ which may only be controversy and criticism, and see what our Lord would have us talk about. The sum of our conversation should be, as recorded of Anna, ‘She . . . spake of Him.’5
1 Mai. iii, i6. 2 Mark iv. 19. 3 Phil. ii. 21,
* Job. XV. 3; Col. iv. 6. ^ Luke ii. 38.
Here is our keynote, and what wealth of melody and fulness of harmony spring from it!—the melodies of His word ‘in linked sweetness, long drawn out,’ for the right hand; the harmonies of His works, in ever-varying marvels, for the left. Why, we have topics for all eternity, much more for our occasional hours and minutes of converse, unfolding more and more as we receive more and more of His fulness 1
But there is the point. If we do not want to ‘speak of Him,’1 let us beware of plausibly persuading ourselves that it is because we do not want to speak about ourselves. Let us be honest, and own that the vessel does not overflow because it is not very full of faith and love.8 Christ said, ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’3 Men say, ‘No such thing! one does not speak when one’s heart is full!’ Yet ‘let God be true, but every man a liar,’* and let us see whether our unwillingness to speak of Him does not arise from our having nothing to say.
Nehemiah had something to tell. ‘I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me.’5 Nothing about his ‘ own arm,’ but ‘Thy right hand and Thine arm,’ and what that had done, the wonderful answer to his prayer, and the way made plain before his face.6 And see how it stirred up his listeners forthwith! They said, ‘Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” Have we nothing to tell to those
1 John i. 16. 2 Eccles. xi. 3. ^ Matt. xii. ,»*-
•* Rom. iii. 4, 5 Neh. ii, iS.
.« Ps xliv. 3 ; Neh. i. 10; ib. ii. 4, 8. 7 Neh, ii. 18.
whom we meet this day of what the hand of our God has done?1
David said, ‘Come and hear, . . . and I will declare what He hath done for my soul; ” and no doubt then, as now, the story of His gracious doings resulted in stimulus and blessing to other souls. When thus ‘confession* with the mouth is made,’ it is very, very often ‘unto salvation ” for the listeners.
We must first know and ‘consider how great things He hath done for’ us;4 and then the voice of Jesus says not only ‘Shew,’ but ‘Tell how great things the Lord hath done for thee,’5 that thus showing, and thus telling, ‘the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. ‘6
We have also less personal but not less vivid testimony to bear. ‘The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad,” will put a new song in many another’s mouth,8 and confirm their faith in the living God. Thus did Moses, and the result was not only that Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done,* but that he rose to the grand confession, ‘Now I know that Jehovah is greater than all gods.’10
It is not to be only a one-sided telling, but a free and pleasant interchange; for we are distinctly commanded, ‘Talk ye of all His wondrous works.’ Who can exhaust that ‘all’7U While we ‘talk together of all these things,'” communing together
1 Ps. Ixxvii. 12. * Ps. lxvi. 16. 8 Rom. x. 10.
* t Sam. xii. 24. 6 Mark v. 19; Luke viii. 39. • Philem. 6.
7 Ps. cxxvi. 3. 8 ps. xl. 3. • Ex. xviii. 8.
10 Ex. xviii. 11. I1 Ps.cv.2; ib.lxxvii. 12. >2 Luke xxiv. 14.
like the disciples on the Emmaus road, how often does Jesus Himself draw near and go with us! I think He always does, only our eyes are not always open to recognize Him. Verily, in keeping of this commandment (and it is a commandment), ‘there is great reward.”
‘Make me to understand*the way of Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works.’
Have you not a word for Jesus? not a word to say for Him? He is listening through the chorus of the burning seraphim! He is listening; does He hear you speaking of the things of earth,
Only of its passing pleasure, selfish sorrow, empty mirth? He has spoken words of blessing, pardon, peace, and love to you,
Glorious hopes and gracious comfort, strong and tender, sweet and true;
Does He hear you telling others something of His love untold, Overflowings of thanksgiving for His mercies manifold?
1 Ps. xix. II; ib. cxix. 27.