In Nehemiah 5, we read about the oppression of people. God’s Word tells us it is good to “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly” but do we (Micah 6:8)? Isaiah even tells us to “correct oppression” (1:17). Sadly, people are still being oppressed today.
During the time of Nehemiah, people who were redeemed were being sold back into slavery (v. 8). There was a famine in the land so they mortgaged their fields and homes to just be able to make it (v. 3-4). They even had their children forced to be slaves (v. 5).
When Nehemiah found out about the oppression, he was angry and considered the situation carefully (v. 6-7). He then rebuked the people for exacting interest on their brothers who were already struggling (v. 9). At that point, everything was restored and paid back to the people. Nehemiah reminds us to help as we are led and to not take advantage of each other. He never took the food allowance. He understood the people were already burdened (v. 18). It is God’s desire that we build each other up, rather than tear each other down. Let us do and seek justice always.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 [NASB]
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” – Isaiah 1:17 [ESV]
How often do you wake up and say, “How can I help”? It’s not something we always want to do because helping can be an inconvenience. Helping can be uncomfortable. Helping may cause us to sacrifice. But if you wake up each morning and ask God how you can help, don’t be surprised when you get lots and lots of answers.
There was a time when I woke up and thinking of others was far from my mind. Even today there are days when I wake up and I want to live for me. But God has been helping me to see how awesome it is to ask how I can help when I start my day. So on a normal day I wake up and thank God for the opportunity to serve Him another day. Then I ask how I can help. And when there’s someone struggling, I don’t pray only for them to find relief, be healed, receive direction, etc., but I ask God how I can be used in the situation.
Watch out when you ask this question. God may open your eyes to many people in need. God may place before you people who need rides, who need a shoulder to cry upon, who are going to pull you out of your comfort zone. You might have to change your routine so you can help someone. You may have to leave early to pick up someone for a ride. There may be a phone call when you wanted to watch television and veg. Paul wrote to “not just do what is most convenient.” There are people who falter. There are people in need. We “are strong and able in the faith” so that we can “step in and lend a hand.” So how can YOU help today?
“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” – Romans 15:1-2 [MSG]
There are people all over the world who need help. There are people right in front of you that need help. Proverbs tells us that we should “never walk away from someone who deserves help.” If there is a person before you, “your hand is God’s hand for that person.”
Do you consider yourself the hands and feet of Christ? We each are called to serve, to love, to help those in need. “Don’t tell your neighbor ‘maybe some other time.’” If the “money’s right there in your pocket” it should be so easy to pull it out and bless that person. That is why God put it there in the first place. You have been blessed to be a blessing.
Each day I see people in great need and I see those who could help. Sadly many of those moments end with the needy person walking away without assistance. God places many people before us each day, many people we can touch with His hands. We can show love—it requires action, it requires being intentional, it requires compassion. Get your God’s hands ready. It’s time to help someone.
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor ‘Maybe some other time’
or ‘Try me tomorrow’
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.”
-Proverbs 3:27-29 [MSG]