“A great protest was mounted by the people, including the wives, against their fellow Jews. Some said, ‘We have big families, and we need food just to survive.’

Others said, ‘We’re having to mortgage our fields and vineyards and homes to get enough grain to keep from starving.’

And others said, ‘We’re having to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. Look: We’re the same flesh and blood as our brothers here; our children are just as good as theirs. Yet here we are having to sell our children off as slaves—some of our daughters have already been sold—and we can’t do anything about it because our fields and vineyards are owned by somebody else.’

I got really angry when I heard their protest and complaints. After thinking it over, I called the nobles and officials on the carpet. I said, ‘Each one of you is gouging his brother.’

Then I called a big meeting to deal with them. I told them, ‘We did everything we could to buy back our Jewish brothers who had to sell themselves as slaves to foreigners. And now you’re selling these same brothers back into debt slavery! Does that mean that we have to buy them back again?’ They said nothing. What could they say?” Nehemiah 5:1-8 (MSG)

Nehemiah was trying to help rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. In the process, the people were being sabotaged by their own people. The city was broken down, and the people weren’t able to provide and protect their families like they needed to do. Therefore, the leaders had set up a system were the people could mortgage what they owned for food. However, it still wasn’t enough. While this was happening, they were being ridiculed by their enemy neighbors. The people in Jerusalem couldn’t take care of their own people. Nehemiah confronted this issue. The people were going through a really difficult time. They needed to rally together if they ever wanted to see the city and their lives rebuilt.


How do people within the church treat others when they are going through a difficult time? Some are quick to lend a hand when needed. However, others can adopt a “make them pay” attitude. Someone made a mistake, a wrong turn, or is in a difficult season. Instead of stepping up to help, it can be easy to cut down and make it even more difficult for them. Yet, those people who are struggling shouldn’t have to go looking for help somewhere else. What testimony is it to people outside of the four walls of a church of the kindness of God that leads people to repentance if we can’t mirror that same kindness to one another? Nehemiah understood that too much was at stake to allow divisiveness to become the norm. There is still too much at stake. We can be the first one to point a finger or extend our hand; it’s up to us how we choose to respond to those around us when they are facing difficulties.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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