Response to Division Within the Camp
||Rev. Ronald Van Overloop
||206, 326, 253, 208
|Applicatory to the Lord's Supper
- The problem. All was not sweetness as might be implied from chapter 3, but a “great cry” arises, including many of the wives.
- The women (Nehemiah 5:1, the food preparers) did not have sufficient grain to feed their families in light of a recent famine (Nehemiah 5:3).
- Another problem was the charging of interest (usury) (Nehemiah 5:7,10), which was illegal with brothers (Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:36,37).
- Disunity is most serious in a community so devoted to the idea of brotherhood.
- Nehemiah’s response.
- First, Nehemiah “was very angry” (Nehemiah 5:6) and “consulted with myself” (7).
- Nehemiah called a meeting of the wealthy creditors (Nehemiah 5:7) in a public gathering (13).
- First, he appeals to the unity the Spirit of Christ made.
- Second, he appeals to the lenders to apply Jubilee (releasing debt slaves) in light of the present emergency.
- Third, he appeals to the testimony their conduct leaves on God and on God’s name (Nehemiah 5:9c).
- Further, he calls them to conduct themselves in “the fear of our God” (Nehemiah 5:9).
- And Nehemiah exemplified the way to conduct oneself toward the poor (Nehemiah 5:10,11).
- Conclusion to this matter.
- Note well the manner with which Nehemiah deals with this problem: appeals to the fear of God, not by making rules.
- God worked repentance and the creditors “found nothing to answer” (Nehemiah 5:8) and agreed to these concessions (Nehemiah 5:12).
- Nehemiah concludes with the recording of his prayer to God to “remember.”