Nehemiah’s Decision

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My sister-in-law used to say, “I pray, but I just don’t hear that booming voice telling me what to do.” Do you ever feel like that? Do you wish God would pull out His celestial megaphone and reveal His will to you loud and clear?

The story of Nehemiah offers some help. Nehemiah was governing Jerusalemduring the reconstruction of the wall. Chapter 5 of Nehemiah records that in the midst of the building project, there arose a great outcry from the common people and their wives against their brothers the [wealthier] Judeans,” because the wealthy were taking advantage of the poor.

The poor were selling their land and sending their children into slavery just to buy food and pay their taxes.

How did Nehemiah decide what to do? Verse 7 says, “I thought the matter over.” Of course, that’s not a novel approach, is it? But HOW did he think it over? If you continue reading, you see that Nehemiah didn’t look at the financial situation. He thought the matter over in terms of God’s law. Based on that law, he reached a conclusion: the wealthy were violating the command against exacting usury of a brother. “What you are doing is not good!” he told them. “You should be living in fear of our God.” When he put it that way, everyone agreed and promptly returned all the money and property they had taken.

Psalm 119 says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Nehemiah obviously had God’s word hidden in his heart. That’s why he was able to think clearly and come to a right decision. When we need help, we too can look to God’s word. It has the principles we need to make a right decision.

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