Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday - Nehemiah 5 - No Need for a Consultant

ssentially, Nehemiah realized that amid all of the good that was going on in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, there was also a major problem. The upper-class Jews were increasing their wealth on the backs of their laboring brothers.  As it happened, the people who were laboring didn't even have enough funds to buy groceries. So, they were mortgaging everything they had just to eat. In fact, the common Jews were even selling their own children to the Jewish nobles as slaves to try to make ends meet.  It was a bad situation.

Now, when Nehemiah found out how the rich Jews were taking advantage of the poor Jews in their times of hardship, he was furious. He (Nehemiah) had not even taken his due payments from the people during his tenure as governor, and yet the aristocrats were being both oppressive and opportunistic as they took advantage of their unfortunate brethren for their own economic gain.

Sometimes, all that is necessary in dealing with a troublesome situation is for us to consider the facts. No counsel (and no council) is needed. When Nehemiah had consulted with himself alone, it was enough. He knew what was wrong and what had to be done (Nehemiah 5:7). So, he rebuked the guilty aristocrats and demanded that they return the items which they taken in place of mortgage payments. He even insisted that they return the interest money. Not that their rates had been exorbitant (by our modern standards). Apparently, they had charged a 1% interest on loans. But, Moses had forbidden the use of usury between Jews and Jews (Exodus 22:25, Leviticus 25:36 & 37 and Deuteronomy 23:19 & 20).

To God be the glory, the wealthy Jews not only listened to Nehemiah's words... they also followed his example. They did what he asked them to do. And so, the laboring men were relieved of some of the pressure that they were under.

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