Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Implementation of Those Financial Practices, Part 1

Scripture: Nehemiah 5:7-9
I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, "You are exacting usury, each from his brother!" Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. Again I said, "The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?

Insights: I am so grateful verse seven is found in this passage.  In verse six we were told that Nehemiah got very angry, but now in verse seven we are told that he consulted with himself.  Nehemiah got alone with God and the Lord calmed his angry heart down.  The Lord made it possible for the rest of today’s verses to take place.  Nehemiah confronted these nobles and rulers with their sin.  Beloved, we need people in our lives that are willing to say the hard words of truth to us and confront us when we are in sin.  Nehemiah was such a person.  Verse seven tells us he confronted them about the interest they were charging their fellow Jews.  Verse eight is a confrontation regarding their practice of slavery against their fellow Jews.  This sin was also wrong and ought to have never started.  Finally in verse nine Nehemiah confronted them about their loss of distinction in the eyes of the surrounding nations.  This final sin is not only wrong it is tragic.  As we learned yesterday, God had chosen the people of Israel to be His special possession.  Their lives were supposed to be so different that the surrounding nations would recognize their distinctions and desire to know the God of the Israelites.  Unfortunately the very opposite thing occurred.  The Israelites began taking on the practices of the pagan nations and as a result did not look different at all.  This history is horrific.  Beloved, I wonder, however, if we, as the “church of America,” are any different than these Jews in today’s verses.  Has our “church life” become so infiltrated by the world system that a lost person is incapable of distinguishing the difference between us and the local lions club?  Our worship services ought to be so full of God’s manifest glory that a watching world recognizes the distinctions.  God forgive us for losing our distinction.

  1. Do you take time to calm down before you go and confront someone?
  2. Are you willing to acknowledge the sin in your life?
Prayer: Father, let me first seek You and Your council before I confront another with their sin.  Let my life truly be free from the strongholds of sin in my life.  I know this can only happen by Your grace. Amen.

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