Nehemiah 5: Thinking and doing beats praying and hoping.
Nehemiah Part 5 of 13
1 Then there arose a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brothers the Jews.
For what reason though? Land? Buildings? Walls? Gates?
2 For there were that said, “We, our sons and our daughters, are many. Let us get grain, that we may eat and live.”
Ah, food. Yeah, go farm and live. That is a better option that building walls. You can’t eat them.
3 Some also there were that said, “We are mortgaging our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses. Let us get grain, because of the famine.”
If there is a famine, from where are you going to get the grain?
4 There were also some who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute using our fields and our vineyards as collateral.
5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as their children. Behold, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters have been brought into bondage. Neither is it in our power to help it; for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”
You’ve given up quite a lot just to keep a non-existent god happy.
6 I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
Anger doesn’t help. Settle down and start thinking for yourself.
7 Then I consulted with myself, and contended with the nobles and the rulers, and said to them, “You exact usury, everyone of his brother.” I held a great assembly against them.
8 I said to them, “We, after our ability, have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the nations; and would you even sell your brothers, and should they be sold to us?” Then they held their peace, and found never a word.
9 Also I said, “The thing that you do is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God, because of the reproach of the nations our enemies?
Ought not you to think for yourself what is moral thought and action?
10 I likewise, my brothers and my servants, lend them money and grain. Please let us stop this usury.
11 Please restore to them, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that you are charging them.”
12 Then they said, “We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do, even as you say.”
I wish it was that easy to get through to money lending companies these days.
Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they would do according to this promise.
13 Also I shook out my lap, and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that doesn’t perform this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied.”
All the assembly said, “Amen,” and praised Yahweh. The people did according to this promise.
Praise Yahweh? He hasn’t done a damn thing. It’s the people who got themselves into this mess and the people who are about to get themselves out of it.
14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brothers have not eaten the bread of the governor.
15 But the former governors who were before me were supported by the people, and took bread and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants ruled over the people: but I didn’t do so, because of the fear of God.
If you are working hard all day, every day, then where do you get your food to keep you alive if not from the people for whom you are working?
16 Yes, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered there to the work.
17 Moreover there were at my table, of the Jews and the rulers, one hundred fifty men, besides those who came to us from among the nations that were around us.
18 Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this I didn’t demand the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy on this people.
Where was all your food etc coming from if you weren’t accepting the bread of the governor? Everyone else was being affected by the famine and yet you can feed all these extra people and not be troubled by it?
19 Remember to me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.
Doing good to receive favours from God? That isn’t why you do good. You do it because it is right.