Tag: slavery of debt

Confronting Sin in the Camp

Scripture reading for May 11th: Nehemiah 5-8:1

Good leaders confront the issues of sin in their midst.  This is not always popular with those who are involved in the sins, but it helps those in the community by bringing justice.  Purity always results in God’s blessings on the people.  Sin brings judgment and heartaches.  Today’s reading finds Nehemiah dealing with the issue of unfair lending practices among the exiles.  Let’s learn how he confronted the issue and brought cleansing and blessing to his people.

An outcry went up to Nehemiah from people who were suffering because their brothers were taking advantage of them with high-interest loans.  They needed money to pay taxes and conduct their business and even to buy food during a famine.  The nobles with money made them put up their fields and even their children for the loans.  They lost their fields and their children went into slavery.  (Nehemiah 5:1-5)

On hearing this, Nehemiah became angry with the nobles.  He called a large meeting and confronted the problem openly.  The nobles were quiet because the charges were true.  He called them to cease the interest and return the property and interest.  He made them take an oath that they would follow through with their promise to do what he asked.  (Nehemiah 5:6-14)  This made the whole assembly rejoice and they praised the Lord!

Nehemiah was the appointed governor and could have taken supplies and taxes from the people as others had done.  But he chose to work on the wall himself. He fed his men and those helping him from his own supplies.  He was compassionate towards those he governed and trusted God for a reward for his sacrifice.  (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

As we look at this story of Nehemiah’s leadership, we see how confronting the sin of usury openly brought justice and repentance.  This resulted in the people praising the Lord.  Nehemiah did not correct the people and then set a bad example himself.  He was also mindful of his need to help them as an example of a servant leader.  He did not tell them to do one thing and then do the opposite himself.  Living consistently with your talk and walk in agreement brings great power to help others change, too.  Joy results when rulers rule with justice!

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