In Nehemiah 5, there was strife among God’s people. The Haves and the HaveNots were in opposition.
There was a famine in those days. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just happened. It happened as the people of Jerusalem were rebuilding the walls around the city. The famine came, and the work stopped.
There was enough money to go around, but the Havenots apparently hadn’t planned for the future, so they ran out of money quickly. They had to sell their lands to the Haves in order to buy food. They borrowed money from the Haves, who charged them high interest. They even sent their kids into forced servitude, and handed them over to the Haves. Though the kids were now slaves, at least they would be fed.
Money problems stopped the work of God. The building of the wall ceased for a time. The Havenots were vulnerable. Apparently, they had not handled money well. We can’t be sure, but they did not have the resources to endure the famine. And so they were backed into a very ugly corner, selling their lands, borrowing money at high interest, and selling their kids.
We can presume that the Haves knew how to handle money. They were ready to buy land from their desperate brethren. They knew how to lend and charge high interest. They even knew how to acquire new slaves from desperate neighbors.
One group seemingly didn’t handle money well.
The other group handled it too well.
With both groups, the mishandling of money caused the work to stop, and left them ALL vulnerable to attack.
The wall wasn’t yet finished.
Nehemiah got mad, and rebuked them, and told them to give back the lands, the money, and the interest.
He told them that they did not fear God.
That was the root of the problem.
Wisely, the Haves complied with Nehemiah’s rebuke, and returned assets to the Havenots.
The work of God continued…eventually.
But mishandling of money from both groups caused God’s work to stop.
Are you held back from God’s work because of money?
Have you mishandled it, and had to borrow, and are now highly indebted to the lenders?
Or have you become an expert with money, even to the point of taking advantage of those in need?
We all need to take a lesson from Nehemiah 5.
Fear God, handle money well, and keep the work of God going.
Editor’s note- there are many good resources available for learning how to handle money. Dave Ramsey offers good resources, and there are other resources out there. Take to time to learn how to manage your money, and use it for God’s kingdom.