Establish Justice In God’s Community Neh. 5:1-13 HCSB Feb. 22, 2015
It is sad when the people of God’s community need to be corrected and no one calls for it to be done.
Sometimes there is no leader like Nehemiah willing to stand up and speak out and make some demands that need to be made. Everyone of us needs to ask if we might be the one who should stand up and call for the corrections in these kinds of situations.
1. The . . Desire to Call for the Establishment of Justice. Neh 5:1-4
A. The Desire for Justice Became . . Evident. 5:1-2
1 There was a widespread outcry from the people and their wives against their Jewish countrymen.
2 Some were saying, "We, our sons, and our daughters are numerous. Let us get grain so that we can eat
B. The Desire for Justice Became . . Explicit. 5:3-4
3 Others were saying, "We are mortgaging our fields, vineyards, and homes to get grain during the famine."
4 others were saying, "We have borrowed money to pay the king's tax on our fields and vineyards.
Finally the cry became evident as the need for grain became so abundant, They were mortgaging their fields, vineyards and homes to try and get grain. The Kings taxes were also a problem. It is easy for us to understand the predicament of the people. With all of the demand on the peoples financial resources it would be easy to understand how they were in a bind as they told of the explicit details. Have you ever been in a financial jamb and the demands on your needs to pay seemed to be beyond your ability to pay? When we moved from seminary to a church field we borrowed from Five people in order to make the down payment on our house. In addition the government loan for my education took ten years to finally get paid. I can sympathize with these people.
2. The . . Decision to Call for the Establishment of Justice. Neh 5:5-8
A. The Decision to Call for Justice Became . . Urgent. 5:5-6
5 We and our children are just like our countrymen and their children, yet we are subjecting our sons and
daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters are already enslaved, but we are powerless because our fields
and vineyards belong to others."
6 I became extremely angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints.
B. The Decision to Call for Justice Became . . Unbelievable. 5:7-8
7 After seriously considering the matter, I accused the nobles and officials, saying to them, "Each of you is
charging his countrymen interest." So I called a large assembly against them
8 and said, "We have done our best to buy back our Jewish countrymen who were sold to foreigners, but
now you sell your own countrymen, and we have to buy them back." They remained silent and could not
say a word.
Nehemiah stood up for the people and he was accepted as the one who should take this authority. He made his presentation in an unbent manner. In fact as his demands were presented it was almost like the authorities awoke and agreed these corrections needed to be made. It seems the facts were unbelievable and the leaders remained silent to the charges.
3. The . . Demand of The Call for the Establishment of Justice. Neh 5:9-11
A. The Demand to Call for Justice Became A . . Strong Request. 5:9-10
9 Then I said, "What you are doing isn't right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God and not invite the reproach of our foreignenemies?
10 Even I, as well as my brothers and my servants, have been lending them money and grain. Please, let us
stop charging this interest.
B. The Demand to Call for Justice Became A . . Significant Request. 5:11
11 Return their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses to them immediately, along with the percentage
of the money, grain, new wine, and olive oil that you have been assessing them."
Nehemiah made demands that were reasonable and had a biblical base. His request was strong but also sensible and significant for the people and readily appreciated by them. His request represented what was just and took an unreasonable burden off the people. To me it seems our nation today has gotten to far in debt
and it doesn’t seem there is any significant call to make a reduction that will please the people. We could use a Nehemiah.
4. The . . Distribution From the Establishment of Justice. Neh 5:12-13
A. The Distribution of Justice Established the . . Support Recognized. 5:12
12 They responded: "We will return these things and require nothing more from them. We will do
as you say." So I summoned the priests and made everyone take an oath to do this.
B. The Distribution of Justice Established and Agreement to . . Shaking Praised. 5:13
13 I also shook the folds of my robe and said, "May God likewise shake from his house and property
everyone who doesn't keep this promise. May he be shaken out and have nothing!" The whole assembly
said, "Amen," and they praised the Lord. Then the people did as they had promised.
The opportunity to give the leaders and people the opportunity to collectively register their agreement by taking an oath of agreement and support. Nehemiah also shook the folds of his robe as a sample of what God would do if the people in the assembly did not keep their promise. Truly it was a time to Establish Justice In God’s Community. Amen? Amen!