Mortgage crisis. High lending fees. Foreclosures. Payday loans. Oppression. Corporate greed. One might think I grabbed those words from headlines in the news this week. But in reality, they’re an excellent way to summarize the problems in Nehemiah chapter 5. And at the same time, I doubt anyone would argue the contemporary nature of those problems. Once again we see that the book of Nehemiah, although removed from us by time and culture is in fact a very applicable book.
As we resume our study this morning, let me remind you of where we’ve been. The people of God spent a good number of years in exile as a result of their disobedience. God had warned them time and time again. They ignored his warnings and broke covenant with him. But even in the midst of God’s just punishment, he promised to one day bring the scattered people of God back together to rebuild the city of God - as well as their lives. And because God is always faithful to his promises he does just that. He raises up Nehemiah. A man who studies his Bible and prays. A man with a passion for the glory of God. And he uses Nehemiah to lead the people in the rebuilding effort. And they get to work building the walls of the Jerusalem.
But what proved true for Nehemiah and the people - what is always true for us - is that opposition is inevitable. Anytime you do something good for God, opposition will come. We’ve saw that chapter 4 especially as they people of God face verbal abuse and physical threats. But they didn’t give up. Nehemiah led them to work hard and trust hard. But what we’re going to see today is that the opposition continues in chapter 5. And this time it isn’t opposition from the outside - its opposition from the inside.