Nehemiah 5 -

Nehemiah 5:1-5 - I suspect that they were simply conducting business as usual. Those who didn't have borrowed from those who did, interest was charged, etc. Not necessarily evil or cheating, but normal business. But they forgot that God had commanded that Israel be different. In Leviticus 25 God laid out rules for lending to each other including not charging interest, not enslaving each other and the year of Jubilee where debts are forgiven and servants freed. God called them to be a family and treat each other with uncommon love.

Nehemiah 5:6-11 - Nehemiah calls tehm on their sin, challenging them to fear God and do what's right.

Nehemiah 5:12-13 - And they responded in repentance. I had a great talk with my girls last night about how to respond when challenged on their own sin. The human response is to defend immediately, to list out why it was OK, or in the very least what led you into sin. The goal is to excuse your behavior, minimize the offense and avoid the hard work of character change. This is not what the nobles did here. They listened quietly, took responsibility and committed to change. What I told my girls that I do is firs, immediately, even as the other is speaking, pray silently for humility and a willingness to see the truth. Then I listen considerately. Then I need to own my sin, not minimize it or excuse it, but own it. Sometimes there is discussion needed to clarify what's happening, and of course sometimes I don't see it as they do and we need to work it out. Tha's why the first part, the prayer and desire for humility is so important. With humility I can deal with either a false accusation or a legitimate rebuke.

Nehemiah 5:14-19 - His concern was for the people and the honor of God. He even refused what was rightlyhis from the governor in order that God would be honored int hat time and place.

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