BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 5:1-13
“Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise.”
Poor Nehemiah, if it’s not one thing it’s another. As soon as he confronts one problem with the sheiks, now he has to deal with the Jewish people. Though the nation is finally getting a little traction, the economy simply can’t keep up. Instead of helping one another, unfortunately, they start taking advantage of one another with loans and unfair trade. (Which was against Jewish law.) The root of the problem is pure selfishness. Modern day Christians never struggle with this, right!? In all seriousness, we can easily see selfishness in others while neglecting to see it in ourselves. This can get us into a lot of trouble, and bring about many issues. Warren Wiersbee hit the nail on the head. “Selfishness means putting myself at the center of everything and insisting on getting what I want when I want it. It means exploiting others so I can be happy and taking advantage of them just so I can have my own way. It is not only wanting my own way but expecting everybody else to want my way too.” That is so true in chapter 5. In the midst of a great work for the Lord, there are a lot of the people who are developing their own agendas. Nehemiah recognizes the problem and has a meeting on the issue. He rebukes the issue and consulates what they should do. So they vow a vow to the Lord. It’s hard to admit, but we are not always right. We have to be open to the Lord when we let our selfish intentions get in the way of what God is doing. When the Holy the Spirit convicts you or I with selfishness, it is vital to remember, who do we serve, why we serve Him, and what’s most important for the Lord’s work.
David Fulp II