I. Recap events to this point
B.chapter 3 everything is good
C.chapters 4 and 5 show us the challenges of community
1. outside influences
2. inside influences
3. natural influences
a)Today in our passage we are going to see that the Nation of Israel has
been hit with a famine. Today we will see how we should prepare
ourselves if a famine was to hit us during our lifetime.
WHAT IS THE TEXT SAYING
I. The Outcry (v.1-5)
A.“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money,
interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge
a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the
LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you
are entering to take possession of it. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20 ESV)
B.The reason for the outcry:
1.A famine has hit.
2. The mounting financial burden of selling their land to buy food and
borrowing money to pay the king’s tax.
3. The devastation of selling one’s children into slavery.
4. The compromised position of vulnerable children, especially daughters,
enslaved to others.
II. Nehemiah addresses the situation (v.6-13)
III.Nehemiah and Governor’s allowance (v.14-19)
A.Do you know what enables people to let go of privileges of their own
choice? No one has forced Nehemiah to do this.
B.What freed him from the enjoyment of those privileges? I will tell you
what: his experience of something better than those privileges. Nehemiah
knows something better than money and food: love for people and faith in
God. Nehemiah cares more about the people who would bear the burden of
taxation to provide the governor’s allowance than he cares about his own
ease. Nehemiah also believes that there is something higher and better and
more enjoyable than indulging oneself in this world, and we saw that in what
he prays in verse 19.
C.Nehemiah is as generous as he is wealthy. He feeds 150 people at his
table. Apparently he believers that God has sovereignly given him plenty,
believes it his responsibility to steward what he has been given rather than
divest himself of it, and believes that he can use the excess at his disposal
to advance God’s kingdom.
WHAT IS THE TEXT TEACHING US
The bad way to use wealth is to disregard others in order to gain more for
oneself. The good way is to steward one’s wealth and be generous to others to
advance God’s kingdom, as Nehemiah did.
HOW DOES IT POINT US TO JESUS
We were the people crying out but helpless. We needed someone to
intercede for us. We had sold our souls for short-term pleasures that only
enslaved us. Jesus has come to set us free from the bondage and slaver of sin
WHAT CHANGES MONDAY
For the Christian:
– Do you fear God in the way you deal with your money?
– Do you deal with your money in a way that reflects your concern for God’s
reputation among the nations?
– Do you regulate your finances according to God’s instructions in the Bible?
For those still searching:
– Do you know God?
– Are you trusting in Christ?
– Is your soul in an outcry just like the people in our passage today?
1.) What does it say about Nehemiah that he would follow the account of the financial oppression of God’s people with indications of his own phenomenal wealth? What point was he trying to make?
2.) Evidently some of the wealthier Jews were taking advantage of other Jews who had put themselves at financial risk so they could work on the wall. In what ways do some people today oppress or take advantage of those who are devoting themselves to gospel ministry?
3.) Are there anyways that you are taking advantage of others for financial gain?
4.) Do your children or those around you perceive that you are pursuing God or pursuing gold? What might make them think that money is too important in your life?
5.) Do you feel guilty about the ways that God has provided for you financially? Should you feel less guilt than you do? Explain.
6.) Should you fee more guilt than you do? Are you worshiping money rather than God? Is your hope set on wealth rather than God? Are you ungenerous? Explain.
7.) If you had the means to provide 500 pounds of food everyday and you were feeding 150+ people, would you feel guilty about it? Why?
8.) If guilt arises from our own pride, are we honoring God? Explain.