Reading: Nehemiah Chapter 5.
Ask the Lord to reveal times where you have unjustly treated others or profiteered from them or abused your position of authority. Repent and ask the Lord how to make it right.
Pray for renewal in the Church, that our hearts and minds would be aligned with God's
ASk the Lord for integrity to model love and justice for others
Pray that God would reveal a local issue that as a church we could advocate for or meet the need.
Reflection on Nehemiah 5.
The vision of rebuilding the city went far beyond the external bricks and mortar of the physical walls. In chapter 5 we read that Nehemiah is concerned that the hearts of the people are rebuilt and realigned with God's design.
All throughout the Law of Moses, God makes provision for His covenant people. He gives each family clan an inheritance in the land to support themselves. God's desire is that they be blessed and prosper. In return, they were to honour the name of the Lord by devoting themselves to Him in worship and treating each other fairly and justly. In doing so the nations of the earth would bless the name of the Lord when they saw Israel flourishing.
Instead, we find people that were profiteering from members of their own family by charging interest on loans and refusing to help them when in poverty and hardship. Some of the people went hungry while others grew fat from the profits. This was in violation of the Law that forbade charging fellow Israelites interest or selling the indebted servants as slaves (c.f. Leviticus 25). Nehemiah challenged the nobles and officials that were abusing their positions and they repented restoring the interest they had illegally collected.
Nehemiah was zealous for the people to return to God's idea of justice and equity for the people. His leadership modelled this by not taking his allotted portions from the people, instead, he paid for his expenses out of his own pocket and redeemed those out of debt when he could. This kind of love for one's neighbour and restoring the people to righteousness is a mark of spiritual renewal.
We see the same thing happening in the early Church (Acts 2:44-47) where there were needs, fellow believers would be generous to help them out even to the point of selling their own properties.
This kind of love and justice is deeply challenging for us today. If we are to fully return to the Lord with all of our heart, we will need to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the injustice around us and advocate for those who are powerless.