Monday, February 18, 2013

The Crises the People Faced and the Reasons Behind Them

Scripture: Nehemiah 5:1-6             
Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, "We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live." There were others who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine." Also there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. "Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others." Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words.

Insights: In today’s verses we see three financial crises the people of Judah faced as well as the reasons those crises existed.  The first crisis was not enough food to go around.  The second crisis was the people were mortgaging their homes because of the spiraling inflation problem.  The third crisis was the people being heavily in debt and unable to pay back their loans.  The causes for these crises were also threefold.  One, there was a severe famine.  This famine caused the lack of food necessary to feed the people.  Two, there were too many taxes and just like in the time of Jesus, the tax collectors were able to exact huge taxes in order to line their pocket books.  Three, there were high interest rates and these rates make our present day economy seem like a picnic.  The rates during Nehemiah’s day were so bad the parents were being forced to sell their kids off to slavery.  These reports coming out of the Jerusalem Times in Nehemiah’s day could easily be the headlines from The Wall Street Journal or New York Times.  The point is the Bible is not some outdated irrelevant book.  The issues the people of Judah were facing are no different from people today.  Because of these financial crises the people of Judah went on strike and refused to work.  In the thirteen verses we are going to explore this week there is no mention of the wall.  This reality is a first for Nehemiah and the people of Judah.  Up to this point, the wall maintained progress, but no longer.  Notice with me how Nehemiah responded when he saw the strike lines being formed and heard of the suffering of the people—he was very angry.  Today’s verses lay the foundation for everything else we will look at this week.

  1. Are you facing a financial crisis of any kind presently?
  2. What are the reasons for your financial crisis?
Prayer: Father, help me to become a better steward of my finances.  When I am facing crises in my finances, Lord, let me run to You quickly and receive Your guidance. Amen.

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