Read Nehemiah 4
Builders opposed and ridiculed; Nehemiah's prayer; weapons for the workers; evils corrected; walls completed.
And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. . . . I was very angry when I heard their cry (Neh. 5:1,6).
There had been a famine in the land, and food was scarce. Many of the people had mortgaged everything they had in order to purchase food for their families. Some of them had even sold their children as servants.
When Nehemiah heard that the leaders had accepted the property — and even the children — of their less fortunate brethren, he became very angry and ordered them to restore all the property and children they had accepted.
God had given the leaders an opportunity to express love to their less fortunate brethren, but their selfish spirit led them to sin. No doubt, the people of the land became bitter because of the sacrifices they had to make as a result of the famine. But God allowed all these struggles, trials, and famine in order to reveal just what was in the hearts of His people. Always remember, God is in control. His plans are intended to reveal the true nature of our hearts. You might be able to conceal the reality of who you really are from other people. However, you will never be able to mask yourself before God. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things . . . and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts (I Cor. 4:5).
The Lord often allows His children to be confronted with unfavorable situations with others in order to expose our selfish attitudes. All too often, we become bitter and blame either our circumstances or other people. We will never grow in God until we learn to not make excuses when we make mistakes, fall short or sin. We simply need to confess these shortcomings to God and repent. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
We must take heed lest our trials cause us to judge others instead of ourselves. Our love and loyalty to God is demonstrated in showing our love for our fellowman. And our relationship with Him is reflected in the way we love others. He wants each of us — individually — to yield our will to His will and seek to express the joy, love, and peace of Christ.
And the King shall . . . say . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me (Matt. 25:40).
Thought for Today:
Pray that God will make you more loving toward the ones you find hard to love.
By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Neh. 5:8). We, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), were redeemed when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
4:7 breaches, broken places; 4:10 strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, strength of the workmen is failing; 4:20 resort ye thither, assemble there; 5:3 dearth, famine; 5:7 usury, interest; 5:10 exact of them, require; 6:8 feignest, made up the story.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Rev. Gladys V. Davis • Staff: Karen Hawkins • Government Officials: Rep. Mike Pence (IN) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM) • Country: Guatemala (12.3 million) in Central America • Major languages: Spanish and Indian languages • Religious freedom • 60% Catholic; 35% Protestant; 2% Animist; 1.5% Other; 1.5% None • Prayer Suggestion: Humbly kneel before the Lord in prayer and worship the Lord (II Chr. 6:13).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 1:1-2