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]
When you get angry, it can often be difficult to keep your mouth shut and remove yourself from the situation for awhile. We want to speak out right away. We want to respond. We start to yell. We want to speak our mind. We feel the need to tell the person that we are in the right. We have to explain ourselves. We must get in the last word. We want to tell people when they are wrong and we are right. We can’t help but point fingers.
Nehemiah discovered that people were taking advantage of others. The Jews were charging interest to their brothers. As a result, the people were mortgaging fields and homes. Their children were going into slavery. They were being drained of everything. When Nehemiah found out he was very angry. But notice he did not respond right away.
Nehemiah thought it over; he considered his words and actions. He still went forward and told the people what they were doing was wrong. He told them to return to the people what was theirs. However, he waited till he contained himself and got his thoughts together. Oh how easy it could have been to immediately rush in and start pointing fingers and barking out orders. Instead he gathered his thoughts, went before the people and calmly stated the problem and provided the resolution. Now that is anger management.
“I got really angry when I heard their protest and complaints. After thinking it over, I called the nobles and officials on the carpet. I said, ‘Each one of you is gouging his brother.’”
-Nehemiah 5:6-7 [MSG]