Politics in the Church is deplorable and about as old as the Church is. In this chapter we see there were divisions among the people; which the poorer ones were required to pay a tribute or tax. The amount wasn’t likely to be a great amount, however, being unable to pay it; they gave their sons and daughters for payment. Others had put mortgages on their land, vineyards and houses so they could buy grain in the midst of this famine. A number of scholars feel this famine had been called for by the Lord in judgement on Judah and Israel.
The sad thing about this situation was that Jewish people were the ones exacting the “usury”; which was forbidden by the Law. They had the ability to assist their brethren; but hadn’t; it was every man for himself.
When Nehemiah discovered this, he was enraged. He rebuked the leadership and called a “general assembly” to express his concerns.
Every great leader sets the example!
Here we see Nehemiah was assisting financially as much as he could, plus he was feeding one hundred and fifty of the Jews from his own resources. After he shared with them his feelings and what he was doing, those who were exacting usury from the residents who returned; they determined to restore and require nothing in return.
Shaking out the fold of his garment indicated that their vow was accepted and that if they didn’t follow through, there would be dire consequence.
Nehemiah was so committed to rebuilding the walls, he sent his own servants to work alongside of those who were working on the project.
Lord, grant us grace and mercy to walk with integrity; whether it be for with the Body of Christ or the world!
Leaders’ model righteous living and lifestyles for those they lead; not just words, but examples.