THE MEMOIRS OF NEHEMIAH, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in spite of enemy resistance, fill a major portion of this week's Christian Science Bible Lesson, titled "Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced." Not only does Nehemiah sprinkle his story with drama and intrigue, but more important, this devout man shares his prayers at each stage of the mission. Little did he know that generations would benefit from one man's total dependence upon God. Wall-building 2,500 years ago may sound far removed from our experience, but history is full of those called by God to aid His cause, and today is no exception.

The Responsive Reading and Section I provide good equipment for God's champions. Nehemiah would have known the verses that tell how to recognize evil, or what Christian Science calls "animal magnetism," which is explained in the Lesson. The New Interpreter's Bible says, "The wicked believe that they are autonomous and thus are accountable to no one" (see Ps. 64:5); while The Expositor's Bible Commentary says, "Their sins will boomerang on them" (see Ps. 64:8).

Nehemiah's journal begins in Section II of the Lesson with unsettling news from Jerusalem, whose tumbling walls invited plunder and kidnapping. Nehemiah didn't live near Jerusalem. In fact, 140 years before, his family had been forcibly removed from Judah. But to Jews then living in the Persian Empire, Jerusalem was still home, and that's where their loyalty lay. Stunned by the enormity of the situation, Nehemiah fell into four months of mourning, fasting, and prayer. But this week's Golden Text could have been his rallying cry: "Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies" (Ps. 108:13); after which might have come the Psalmist's conclusion that the upright need not be afraid of "evil tidings" (Ps. 112:7, citation 2). No news, no matter how bad, could overpower God's omnipotence.

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