December 7, 2005
And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. … And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” … Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.” So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.” Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. … And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.
In the personal memoirs of Nehemiah recorded in the Bible, there are many important topics from which we can learn. But the passage of Scripture from Nehemiah 5:1-13 is about money! How are you mastering yours? There is no greater measurement of character than the way in which we handle our material possessions. And the devil often sends division over the issue of money into families, churches, and government.
Some of these people in the story of Nehemiah were in financial bondage. They were even selling their children into slavery to pay their debt. In Nehemiah 5:4, we see that they were borrowing money just to pay their taxes. This is a caution to all of us about excessive borrowing and indebtedness. The Bible says when we owe someone, we’re to pay him or her (Romans 13:8)!
Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous show mercy and give.” The reason many people today are facing financial difficulties is because easy credit makes it possible to fund their greeds rather than their needs. Always ask yourself: “Am I using my money to fund what I want when I want it right now? Or am I using the money God provided to meet my real needs?”
The devil wants to keep you in bondage so you can’t be free to serve the Lord. You know you are in financial bondage when you:
- Charge daily expenditures because of a lack of funds.
- Put off paying a bill until next month because you can’t pay it this month.
- Borrow to pay fixed expenses such as your mortgage.
- Become unaware of how much you owe.
- Have creditors calling on you about past due bills.
- Take from savings accounts to pay current bills.
- Make new loans to pay off old loans.
- Consider being dishonest, unscrupulous, or unethical about your finances.
- Find it difficult to return God’s tithe to His church on His day.
Many who love the Lord and belong to Christ find themselves in this kind of struggle! When your greed controls you, you’ll begin to think of money and how to make it, keep it, and get it more than your thoughts of God. Nehemiah proposed a three-part solution to the people of
DETERMINE TO BECOME A GRACIOUS GIVER INSTEAD OF A GREEDY GETTER.