Encountering the economic crisis
(Nehemiah Chapter 5:1-13)
During Nehemiah’s reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem, an Economic Crisis arose that required Nehemiah’s immediate attention.
Four factors were involved to this problem :
1️⃣ Big families- they were unable to feed because farming had to be slowed by the reconstruction project (v 2)
2️⃣ Famine – poor families / farmers were mortgaging their properties to pay for the foods (v 3)
3️⃣ Borrowing of money to pay the King’s tax (v 4)
4️⃣ Jewish creditors – they were seizing properties and enslaving the children of their debtors (poor farmers. v 5)
WHAT WOULD NEHEMIAH DO❓
1️⃣ He stopped his work on the wall (v 6-13)
2️⃣ He became angry with the injustice occuring in the community (v 6)
3️⃣ He chastised the nobles and officials to help the poor and needy fellow brethrens (v 7a)
4️⃣ He called an urgent meeting to deal with the root cause of hardship (v 7b)
5️⃣ He rebuked and reminded them to walk in the fear of God (v 9)
6️⃣ He commanded them to return the fields, vineyards, olive groves, houses and also the usury to its original owner (v 11)
WHAT WOULD NEHEMIAH SAY TO OUR GENERATION❓
1️⃣ Food and Beverage (v 14)
Nehemiah 🗣️ : “I did not use the food allowance permitted me as Governor , nor did I allow my brothers to use this allowance. I felt it to be an appropriate act of my leadership to eat as an equal of the people and model the joy of serving them as a brother.
Cost of hospitality during my administration were taken from my personal budget so that I might model restraint and sacrifice for my people”.
2️⃣ Tax Collection (v 15)
Nehemiah 🗣️ : “Previous Governors had exacted heavy taxes upon the people. It was imperative that I show both personal and administrative restraint and begin to take steps to restore economic justice”.
3️⃣ Land Acquisition (v 16)
Nehemiah 🗣️ : “I and my brothers and servants were busy working on building the wall. It was not my desire to use my office of Governor to increase my personal holdings in land, possessions or personal wealth but to be busy at work among the people as a leader who feared God “.
POINTS TO PONDER :
📌 Is there Christian Officers who are known to misuse the power and authority to feed themselves as well as to their kits and kins ?
📌 Is there someone who wants to be rich and wealthy or to become Landlord through illegal means ?
📌 Is there someone who longs to stand / fights for the cause of the poor and needy people ?
💞 Beloved Church, in times of Economic Crisis, the poor and helpless suffer the most. Special attention must be given to the needs of the poor and needy people (Psalm 140:12)
🔖 If we acknowledge injustice but do not respond with compassion, WE BECOME THE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
🔖 Our responsibility is to see the poor through God’s eyes and respond as Nehemiah had responded:
1️⃣ To be angry at injustice .
2️⃣ To defend the cause of the poor.
3️⃣ To openly accuse those who abuse power in society.
4️⃣ To set a personal example of Generosity.
🔖 God invites us to experience the joy of showing compassion to those who need our advocacy and kindness.
Glory to God 🙌
✍🏻 Mark Boje
Arunachal Pradesh, India 🇮🇳