View from the Pew – Trouble Without, Trouble Within

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Sermon Summary

Nehemiah and the Jerusalem people are exhausted from being constantly vigilant against the impending invaders as they build God’s wall. They even took their weapons to get water and never took the time or any chance by changing their clothes. However, this was the least of their woes. So much more was happening inside their camp to destroy them.

The Jews had stopped paying attention to their own economic needs. They either weren’t planting grain or weren’t taking the time to harvest, thus causing a famine. They were running out of food and resources. Nehemiah had not managed this problem well and ended up having to accept responsibility for his negligence. To rectify the situation, he stops the building, assembles the people, and calls the nobles to account for loansharking the people. Some of the people had actually mortgaged their own lands and sold their children into slavery to pay for food. Nehemiah makes sure the enslaved people and lands were returned to the people.

Basically, Nehemiah would gain a physical wall but lose the people. That is not what God wanted. God ultimately wanted the restoration of the people. Building the wall had become a problem. He had to stop, take inventory, correct and start again. This is what leaders do. Leaders can’t count on the workers to speak up or out as to what is wrong. The buck stops with them even when they have unintentionally lost focus on the bigger picture.

“Folks – – I don’t care what sort of leader you are – – leading a large group of people with disparate challenges – – it is an incredible challenge – –

You had better be depending on God – – seeking wisdom – – loving every person … interested in every situation – – a big mind, a clear-headed thinker … and a lover of people … interested in the least and the last.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Nehemiah was angry with the leaders’ exploitation. They were sell-outs and committed crimes against their brothers, and so he did something about it. Are we this way? Do we wake up concerned with the restoration of people, building the kingdom, and want to champion those actually being exploited or otherwise harmed unjustly? Weak leaders will breed weakness. Leaders have to be strong for those they care for, not for themselves. It takes the strength of God to fit a leader for this task.

Melissa Strautman

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