Nehemiah 5 & 6

Nehemiah 5

v. 1-5—The poorer folks raised a cry against their wealthier brethren, with good reason. Their work on the wall brought them no wages. They were financially hard pressed. Their families were large and food must be provided for them. There had been a drought and famine. This forced them to mortgage their lands to obtain provisions. They also had to pay taxes to the king of Persia. Though they loved their children they were forced to sell them in bondage to pay their debts. The rich brethren were obtaining possession of both their lands and children. The money-lenders were taking advantage of this situation. They were charging interest at the rate of 12% annually or 1% per month.

Nehemiah was appalled and angry. He brought them to judgment and asked them to restore that which they had taken away, which they did. Note the curse which would come on any who broke their oath.

v. 14-19—Nehemiah’s example. For twelve years he had taken nothing from the people, the power of example.

Nehemiah 6

We hear nothing from the enemies outside in chapter 5. There is strife within, as long as God’s people are quarrelling among themselves, the enemy without can afford to rest.

Chapter 6 introduces us to a renewed attack from the outside. Some of their strategies.

v. 2—They tried to lure Nehemiah to the plain of Ono. 1 John 2:15-17. The assemblies were never stronger than when they were separated from the world’s system.

v. 3—Nehemiah’s reply. “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” The Lord’s work was all-important.

An elder’s responsibility and privilege is to care for Christ’s most precious possession on earth. This includes care, protection, leading, anything for its welfare.

Elders do not necessarily need to be old. Sometimes maturity comes with age, sometimes it doesn’t. Maturity comes as we attend St. Mary’s College at Jesus’ feet. Maturity comes through searching the Word, finding God’s purpose, and obeying implicitly God’s instructions. Allowing the Holy Spirit to control you.

Should be examples to the flock. For those faithful elders there is reserved a crown of glory.

The Samaritans pretended to worship God. Apply this today.

v. 4—The Samaritan’s insistence. Their conciliatory methods failed, they resorted to scandal.

v. 5-7—An open letter. Nehemiah’s reply—a servant of the Lord can expect opposition. Examples are the Lord, Paul, and Joseph.

v. 9—Nehemiah’s prayer, “O, God strengthen my hands.” Satan has not finished with the servant of God yet.

v. 10—The former opposition was found without the city. Now the enemy has an agent within the city. This man tried to intimidate Nehemiah. They are after your life, and will probably seek it tonight. Let us go into the holy place in the temple—there we shall be safe. This would have been a serious sin to desecrate the holy place. It also would have been cowardice under pressure.

v. 11—Nehemiah’s reply.

v. 12-13—God reveals the evil scheme to His servant.

v. 14—Brings the whole matter to God.

v. 15-19—The wall is finished.

v. 16—The enemies are defeated and they saw God working. Despite this great feat, there were those within who were friendly with “Brother Tobia”. There was outward separation, but no heart separation.

Nehemiah, unlike some of his brethren, did not buy up the land from the poor people who were in financial straits in order to make high profits.

v. 17—Rather he was generous in entertaining people at his own table.

Verse 18 tells us the amount of food he used for this purpose.

v. 19—He did all this, not for the plaudits of men, but for the reward of God. “Think upon me, my God for good.”