The enemy strikes back!

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, as the former and very corrupt leadership had done in the past. Now the wall is nearly completed and Nehemiah has been confronted and successfully overcame his arch enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem… until now. Let’s dig in!

Scene: Sanballat and Tobiah tried to lure Nehemiah off the wall under the “auspice” of having a meet-up in a desolate place. Nehemiah cited he was doing a great work and he would not come down. The wicked duo tried to wear Nehemiah down by coming after him FOUR times. And all four times, Nehemiah answered the same way and kept working. 

Before we begin, in Luke 4:13, after Jesus had been tempted by the enemy, Luke writes, “and when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him [Jesus] for a season.” Apparently it was open season on Nehemiah, because the duo came back for a fifth time!

v5Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;

v6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.

v7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.

So they say Nehemiah, I have this letter—a public accusation here, with a report backed up by a leader, that you and your team are rebelling and wanting to be king. Further, you have appointed prophets to pump you up as the new king and you do not want that to get back to the current king. We need to talk.

For most of us, it’s one thing when we are accused privately like Nehemiah was in the beginning of chapter 6. It’s quite another when your name is being dragged through the mud and named as the leader of a plot to overthrow the king. At that time, any governmental coup was punishable by death–all this was based on a LIE!!! How many of us would have marched off that wall to answer these charges so that these accusations would not get back to the king? Me, too. Nehemiah kept cool, though and walked out Matthew 10:16 that says, “behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” His response:

v8Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest [making]them out of thine own heart.

Nehemiah could have gotten into his feelings and explained how he consulted the Lord, had the king’s permission, he prayed, well, look at all that was done, he never took money, etc. Rather, he simply said, “you’re making this up, liar, then talked to the Lord  to get some extra strength. 

v9For they all made us afraid, saying, their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah survives that attack to come up against another sneaky one.

v10Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

BCU Family!! This man, Shemaiah, was on the “sick and shut-in list” and Nehemiah goes by to see about him, only to hear that they BOTH needed to run to the temple, because there was a hit out for them [insert confused face]. Nehemiah recognized the shut-in was hired to frighten him into fleeing into the temple to save his life. Only priests were allowed in the temple, if word got out about Nehemiah running into a holy place because of fear (really, an empty threat), Nehemiah’s stellar reputation and all he had done on the wall, would have gone up in smoke. Obviously this wall was a real threat, because Team Tobiah got other prophets to scare Nehemiah as well.

v11And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

v12And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
V13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

V14My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

“Would have” did not win, though!  Nehemiah trusted God and now victory is coming up!


THE WALL IS FINISHED!!!!!!

v15So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

v16And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.”

v17Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.

v18For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

V19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

 

As this chapter comes to a glorious close, what can we apply to our lives?

  1. The enemy only goes away for a season. Be prepared by staying tuned to God in prayer, fasting, memorizing the Word of God, recognizing and listening to HIS voice on how to best deal with an attack, so we live and walk in the Spirit versus the flesh (See Galatians 5:16-26).
  2. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might when it comes to your assignment, so you are not easily swayed, hurt, worried or act in haste when an accusation or attack comes. Also, we do not need to justify in any detail what God has called us to do unless He says otherwise (See Ephesians 6:10 and Nehemiah 6:3). 
  3. Fear, whether real or perceived, is a tactic that the enemy uses to neutralize, distract and eventually stop us from our divine assignment. Since God does not give us a spirit of fear, (2 Timothy 1:7) we need to ask God to rebuke it and carry it to completion in Jesus name (See Philippians 1:6).  Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU Family, through it all, the assignment God gave Nehemiah is complete!  Are you encouraged?! Me, too! For the remaining chapters, there are some details to attend to, so please stay tuned for our next post/podcast. In the meantime, we’d love hear what YOU took away from the study, so please leave a comment in the designated section below!

As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and now YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

 

“Ono”… “I am doing a great work!

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, as the former and very corrupt leadership had done in the past. Because of Nehemiah’s outstanding leadership, everyone was blessed! Now Nehemiah faces another tough battle with his arch enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem. Let’s dig in!

Nehemiah 6.

v1)“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)

v2) Sanballat and Geshem sent a messenger saying, lets meet up in the village in the in plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

So the wall is almost finished and the Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem have cooked up a scheme to try and get Nehemiah to stop. Two of the ringleaders requested Nehemiah’s presence in the one of the villages in the plain of Ono, under the pretense of a “meet-up.” Because Nehemiah had a relationship and prayer life with God, he was able to discern this enemy wanted to get him alone to harm him.

As people of God, we will have enemies. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil is as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. That tells us we should know who they are and realize with disernenment when they (or rather that evil spirit working though the person) are trying to trick us. Many times, we call foul when we get yoked up by a spirit working through someone, and I don’t deny it’s foul. Do we have enough of a prayer life and applied wisdom, (James 1 says it’s free for the asking) to avoid getting okie-doked in the first place?

Joshua 9 tells the story of this mighty warrior. Joshua was going around defeating people left and right—the Hittites, Amorites, Cannanites, Perizzities, Hivites, Jebisute, left and right, out of sight!  :-)And the Gibeonites  (who lived less than 100 kilometers from Joshua), were likely the next group to feel the wrath of Joshua.

The Gibeonites got crafty and and got some old sacks, old wins skins, and dry and moldy bread, and came riding in on these donkeys into Joshua’s camp (v6) saying they were ambassadors from a far country and  asked Joshua and his team to make a promise not to hurt them.

Now, Joshua’s men were suspicious and said so, but the Gibeonites countered saying , we are your servants. Joshua asked for more identification and information as well, but the fake plenipotentiaries never named the country–just  said they came in the name of the Lord, spoke of Joshua’s fame and asked again for Joshua to promise not to hurt them. ON TOP of that, the Gibonites made it a point to show Joshua and his team their old food, tattered clothes and worn out shoes to convince the crew that the Gibonites were really from a far place (There is SO much wrong here, but, alas, that’s another post).

Because Joshua did not seek counsel at the mouth of the Lord (v12), he and the team took  the bait and ended up protecting a group of people that were enemies, disguised as friends/admirers. Eventually Joshua found out and was plenty angry about being beguiled, but because Joshua gave his word, he could not hurt them. 

We have two very powerful men of God here. Joshua was a mighty man a valor, took the place of Moses, fought battles and won–yet did not ask God what to do. Nehemiah, a cupbearer, turned wall-builder/governor, had enough of a prayer life and relationship with God to see this trick coming and by-passed it. In fact, he cut off any possibility of a meeting in the next verse (Nehemiah 6).

v3)And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

Very simply put, I am busy for God and the work should not stop. What great work has God called you to that requires your full attention? What talent, task or gift are have you come off the wall to do something else? Did you get distracted by something shiny, less involved or “more fun?” Did you get tricked into coming off the wall? In any case, BCU Family, it’s NOT TOO late to get back on the wall! Yes, God can still use you! Just repent and come  back! Glorayyyyy!!!!

Now that’s were back on the wall, know that the enemy will come back with you. When we recognize the enemy, this time, rather than reasoning with him or explaining your position, close the conversation like Nehemiah did  and continue working. Notice what happens next.

v4 “Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.”

Now while Team Sanballat kept coming for Nehemiah, take note that Nehemiah stayed persistent and consistent–using the same answer he gave in verse 3–nothing more, nothing less.  They back off, but only for a season, as we’ll see in an upcoming post/podcast.

Application: Why do we continue to go into the desolate plains named Ono with people, places and things which have clearly do not have or want God’s best for you?  Matthew 7:16 says, “you will know them by their fruits”. While God gives us free will to make choices, He is not interested in us being tricked by, making treaties with or devoured by the enemy. Let’s  seek counsel at the mouth of the Lord and ask for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and instruction on how to plainly  identify  the”rotten” fruit and stay out of the plain of Ono. Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU Family, there is SO much more coming in Nehemiah 6, so stay tuned for our next post/podcast. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so, please post them in the comment section below!

As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and now YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU

Bosses versus leaders

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. We’re now switching gears to take a look at how Nehemiah carried himself as a servant-leader. Let’s dig in!

Nehemiah‬ ‭5:14-19‬

 v14Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.

Nehemiah was appointed official governor or leader of the people for 12 years. First, take note the wall wasn’t finished, yet the people didn’t wait to appoint him. Sometimes, the Lord will move you up based on your faithfulness over someone that is more qualified. When we serve, we do so not with eye service, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart, as to the Lord and not unto men. Knowing that the Lord will reward us, for we serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).

In another servant-leader move, Nehemiah made it a point to say that for the time he was in charge, he and his family did not eat up the food allowance they were entitled to. Just because you can does not mean you should. I Corinthians 10:23-24 reminds us that all things all lawful for me, but not expedient, all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify and that no one should seek his own, but every man’s wealth. 
v15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

BUT The former governors (bosses/managers) charged the people and ON TOP of that took from  bread, wine AND MONEY–about 40 shekels worth!  (This equates to around $15,000 in U.S. money–most people earned 30 shekels in 4 months). This was nothing more than unlawful extortion. Can you see why Nehemiah got upset with the rulers who were charging the people all that interest for food earlier in chapter 5?  But wait, there’s more!

Proverbs 29:2 says, “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” So imagine what must have been happening when Nehemiah mentioned the former governor’s servants ruling (bossing/managing) over the people. That’s like the governor’s aides from your state or country coming down to tell you what to do, how do do it, how to live, when and where you can go, etc., that’s neither lawful nor expedient–-that’s what a manager or boss does. 

However, Nehemiah tells us he did not such things, because of the fear of the God. Very wise leader, that Nehemiah! Proverbs 9:10 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  If more “rulers” had a fear [reverence, concern for what God thought, realizing they have to answer to Him], there would be less wickedness and mourning in the land.
v16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

Nehemiah, the GOVERNOR, continued to be a servant-leadership example as  he CONTINUED (not stalled through, assigned, delegated, chilled, loafed, goofed off) IN THE WORK of the wall. Despite Sanballat and the posse, the people’s fear,  their unlawful practices, the obstacles, HE KEPT on! He did not buy any land—he and his servants were focused on the work that was assigned along with everyone else. 
v17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
v18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

For mealtime, notice there wert no separate table for the leaders, no VIP section for an extra 40 shekels, no or pomp or circumstance. Nehemiah, like Jesus ate with everyone else–that’s what leaders do. Also, God took care of Nehemiah—his 150 member cabinet workers and people from other nations were fed well on the daily and elected not to tax the people any more than they were already responsible for. Nehemiah cared enough about the people who trusted him to lead them to not fleece them. To him that knows to do good and does not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

And Nehemiah closes with the simple request to the Lord: 

v19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
BCU family, the Lord broke down those last few verses so we could understand how a leader (in any capacity–work, church, home) should conduct themselves with the grace of God. An easy, yet powerful way to remember what we read in one scripture:

But he that is the greatest among you shall be your servant (Matthew 23:11). 

Well BCU Family, this completes our study of Nehemiah chapter 5! Looking forward to going into chapter 6. In the meantime, we’d love to dialogue with you so, please post your thoughts in the comment section below!

As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and now YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

 

BCU

 

 

 

 

 

The GREAT assembly.

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

We’re back with our Nehemiah series  where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval , the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall and last time we were together, we started chapter 5, where we talked about the enemy within. That’s where we pick up this time, so let’s dig in!

Scene: Nehemiah was informed that the nobles and rulers were unfairly charging their brethren for food, which obviously  was effecting the families,  morale and well-being of the workers. Moreover, this was a public sin and was caustic to the work of the Lord. Nehemiah was a leader who was able to discern and work through issues, so it was apropos to get everyone together.  

v6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

Part of the reason Nehemiah was angry was because the Israelites were forbidden from charging “usury,” or interest, on loans to one another (see Deuteronomy 23:19). Having to pay back the loan interest would only put them further into debt and was not beneficial for either party.  This law served as a reminder to the Jews that helping those in need is something that should be done without expecting anything in return. In essence both the law and the people were being broken.

v7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

We talked about confrontation last time and we also talked about it in our forgiveness series. Confrontation is biblical and needs to be done the way GOD instructs us to do, according to Matthew 18. In this situation, Nehemiah had to address a group of leaders who were fleecing the people, so this had to be done publicly. A similar situation happened in the book of Joshua.

Joshua (chapter 7) was losing this battle and the Lord told him there was an “accursed” thing in the midst and Joshua could not stand before his enemies (or get the victory) until this was dealt with–the accursed thing was taken away (v 13).  It turned out there was sin in the camp, as someone named Achan had stolen some spoils from a battle in Ai–he was NOT supposed to have done that! Because of Achan’s foolish decision was effecting everyone, Joshua sought him out and confronted him in front of everyone (verses 21-23). 

v8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

He reminded ALL the people that their own folks (and maybe many of them) had been sold to their enemies and finally bought back with their own ability or money, and here they are doing the same thing. The truth was so evident, the people could not even answer. back. Whenever we confront someone, we want to be sure our facts are based in evidence versus emotion.

v9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

Nehemiah is asking:

We we NOT JUST  released from Babylon (the enemy) and you charging this usury–is that GOOD?

Don’t you fear God at all?

What type of examples are we to our enemies about the God we serve?

God is asking:
That meme you posted or status you liked..did I get any glory out of that?

The way you cut your eyes or “cussed” someone out…was that a good example to the unsaved?

Do you want your enemies to make fun of you/mock God? (in the sense that we are no different than them)?

Do we care how our actions will look to those who do not know Christ?

v10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.

 If you want to charge—yes, I am charging, too! We’re in business supporting one another–that’s fine. Just stop all this excessive interest.

v11 Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive yards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

Be merciful and given them their stuff back–this was the proper thing to do. 

v12Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.

Your word was your bond. Once you promised to do something, you did it. Psalm 15 reminds us in a form of a question and then answer. Lord, who shall abide in Your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Your holy hill… He that swears to his own hurt and does not change (Psalm 15:1,4).

v13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise.

Shaking your lap was like shaking out the outer parts of a garment, something like you shaking crumbs off your clothes, but this was MUCH more serious. It represented that if you failed to keep your words, just like those crumbs are scattered asunder, God would scatter YOU asunder. It was better to keep your promise. 

Also, notice that these folks readily received the Word–they had a teachable spirit. There was no arguing or justification, they were wrong, were called on it,  agreed to that fact, terms and conditions of restoration. And on TOP of that, rather than sulk, they praised God after the correction. That’s an example we should all learn to follow, especially when we know the rebuke comes from a place of love. And even if it doesn’t, we can still give God praise. 

This also speaks highly of Nehemiah’s leadership.  He had to rebuke the people, yes but did it in a way that was effective and impactful. Obviously, he had a relationship with God so he knew how to pray to know what to say, when to say it, and how to express it so God got the glory out of it. Whether you are correcting someone or being corrected whenever we go to God and ask for/follow His directions, things always come out perfectly. Amen? Amen!

Next time, we’ll finish up chapter 5–where we discover more about Nehemiah’s character and how we can apply those characteristics to our lives. In the meantime, we’d love to dialogue with you so, please post your thoughts in the comment section below!

As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and now YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

An enemy among us..

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

 

We’re back with our Nehemiah series  where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval , the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall and getting back to work on the wall. WHEW!!! Let’s dig into chapter 5!

Scene: Nehemiah and his crew survived the attacks of Sanballat, Tobiah and their posse only to be confronted with another deadly enemy that worked right among them.

Nehemiah 5

v1)And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

So the poor among the people and their wives came to Nehemiah because some “predatory lending” practices were taking place.

v2)For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

Situation 1: This is a BIG family—there are a LOT of us here. We have borrowed for corn to just to eat/survive.

v3)Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

Situation 2: Others had to take out a mortgage to get corn to eat because of the famine.

v4)There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

Situation 3: Still others borrowed again the king’s tax to eat!

v5)Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

Observation: Now this isn’t some outside force who came in—this was happening among like people! We’re all “family” here (related by blood and by being in captivity together as well), and family has brought our sons and daughters into bondage (or we sold them), because we need food. And NOW there is no way for us to get them out because we used out land as collateral–that’s been sold for food!  

v6)And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

So Nehemiah was was angry. Yes, we get angry. He didn’t go Hulk on them or start cursing them in the name of the Lord. He got angry and SINNED not and he didn’t let days, months and years go by while he stewed about it. The sun did not go down on his wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

On TOP of that, he listened. He heard. He empathized. He didn’t dismiss their problem, so the wall project could continue, he decided to deal with the matter straight on.

v7)Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

Before the assembly, let’s talk about the confrontation.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. Nehemiah after thinking it over, he needed to openly rebuke the leaders who were extorting money from their brethren. Not just rebuke them, but tell them why that they were doing was wrong and how it hurt the people—financially, yes and more so the hearts of the people, as there were FAMILY.

There needed to be a confrontation. How do people typically deal with having to confront someone? Fight or flight. We either come out swinging, saying the wrong things, hurting someone’s feelings, feeling guilty, ashamed and regretful for the words and actions, OR.. We stuff it inside. We smile, so we’ll “be a good Christian”, take one for the team, keep peace. We shop, eat, silent treatment it, we talk about them in our minds and NOTHING gets resolved. 

Confrontation is scriptural–it does not have to be scary! It just has to be done the way God instructs you to do so. There is a template in Matthew 18:15-17 on how it should be done (1 on 1 then, before 2 or three, and then in front of the church), vs spouting off on social media or just not dealing with anyone at all.

Where we need to be prayerful is in our approach. Here are two examples:

Direct: Paul opposed Peter face to face in Galatians 2 starting at verse 11.  Peter stopped taking his meals with the Gentiles believers (in order to not “offend” the Jewish men) and others started following suit after Peter. Because this was creating division, Paul nipped this situation in the bud.

Story: 2 Samuel 12:1-7. David & Nathan. Nathan started off with a story about a rich man who had everything and a poor man who had one ewe lamb that he and his children loved. Rich man has a visitor, and rather than taking one of his own lambs to serve for dinner, he took the poor man’s lamb! David was livid, spouting harsh words and issuing punishment until Nathan told him—you are that man. (v 7)

Getting back to Nehemiah, this thing with the nobles and rulers was a public sin and was caustic to the work of the Lord. Nehemiah was a leader who was able to discern and work through issues, so it was apropos to get everyone together. We’ll plan to get more into an example of “public” confrontation and what happens at Nehemiah’s assembly next time we are together!

I know this was getting good to you, right?!  Please let us know your takeaways from this post in the comments section below. We’ll be waiting for you!

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