TUESDAY May 16, 2017
Charging Unfair Interest
After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them. - Nehemiah 5:7
Nehemiah did not speak or act irrationally; he was a leader who was not ruled by his emotions. He wanted to make sure he had time to think over the whole situation before he took action. Then, he decided it was necessary to rebuke the nobles and the rulers for their injustice of exacting usury––the people were forced to pay high interest on the amounts they had borrowed. Nehemiah, in an attempt to get his point firmly across to them, gathered a great assembly of witnesses against these leaders. What they were doing was not right––it was unlawful:
You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest. To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess - (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).
As the wealthy Jews took advantage of the poor they had brought oppression among the people. Instead of helping each other they created an internal problem. They had caused disunity as the brethren were against each other. Think about it––they placed their own brethren under bondage. There is a well know phrase: the richer get richer and the poor get poorer––that should never happen. But it had happened in Israel.
What about us? In our lives are we ruled by our own greed for money and desire to accumulate wealth? Where is our heart of compassion towards brothers and sisters in the church who are less fortunate than ourselves?
God gave us wealth, not that we should be hoarders but dispensers.
For more from Raul Ries, please visit Somebodylovesyouradio.org!