By Mark Clements

Tuesday, April 2

Nehemiah Deals with Complaints

Nehemiah 5:1-19

“But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God,” Nehemiah 5:15

As the Jewish people continued their labor in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, it became apparent that the majority of the workers were enduring severe hardships. Among those laboring were very poor people who did not own land. Because the husbands were focused on building the wall, they were unable to labor for daily food for their families. Others who owned property were forced to mortgage their homes in order to survive while focusing on the rebuilding. Still, other workers were indebted to fellow countrymen because they had to bor-row money to pay their taxes, and they could not pay the money back due to their focused work on the wall. The result of this oppression was that many people ended up selling their children into slavery. This was especially dangerous for their daughters as it made them more susceptible to sexual exploitation. When Nehemiah was made aware of the way his countrymen were treating each other, he called them together and compelled them to repent and repay their brothers. He led by example, and the brethren enjoyed harmony once more as they focused on the work.

God’s children are usually more prepared for attacks from without than for attacks from within. We expect God’s enemies to attack us, but we typically do not expect to suffer oppression and mistreatment from our brothers in Christ. May we uncover, confess and repent from any act of injustice that may exist in the family of God, for the glory and work of God.