Putting God's Word into Practice…

Notes from Nehemiah (Chapter 5)

on November 29, 2014

Nehemiah 5:1-5.  Building up a physical wall of protection against outside enemies is good work.  But what happens when the people inside the wall are in need of protection from each other?  Spiritual walls of oppression must be broken down!  The Jewish people were selling their own people into slavery to cover their bills because their brothers were charging excessive interest on loans.  This “business” style of living among God’s people goes against His economy wholeheartedly!  He commands over and over that the poor and needy are to be cared for, not taken advantage of.  In Proverbs 19:17 it says that when we give to the poor we are lending to the Lord and He will repay.  Taking care of the poor and needy is a gift to Him.

Nehemiah 5:6-11.  When we see our Christian brothers and sisters being taken advantage of, it should anger us and drive us to bold action–because we fear (respect) the Lord!  Just setting them free was not enough.  Nehemiah expected them to get all their belongings back so that they could go on living productive lives.

Nehemiah 5:12-13.  The response to Nehemiah’s confrontation was…silence.  They were not defensive or argumentative.  They fell silent, and followed up with commitment and obedience.  The result of obedience was restoration and worship.  “And all the assembly said ‘Amen’ and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.”  When we are right with God abundant joy floods our hearts, and we can’t help but to give Him glory.  So why do we find it so difficult to obey?  Why do we want our own way instead of following His ways?  When confronted with our sin, why are we often belligerent instead of broken?  If we want joy to define our lives, we must let surrender and obedience define our lives.

Nehemiah 5:14-19. (A note to leaders)  Leaders should never put heavy burdens on their people.  They should not lord over the people in their care.  Godly leaders must be burden bearers and burden lifters!  The Jewish leaders in Nehemiah’s day were putting heavy burdens on their people, Nehemiah was lifting those burdens by pointing people back to the Lord.  His ways are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) and He wants to bear our burdens (Psalm 55:22, Matthew 11:28).  Leaders who want to be godly should follow God’s own example.

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