"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, June 17, 2023


INTRODUCTION: Paul the apostle warned the elders of the Ephesian church about attacks upon the church from “grievous wolves” attacking from without, but also from others who would rise up in the midst of the flock and cause trouble. He warned them day and night, with tears even (ACTS 20:28-31).

We must be on guard but not just for any attacks from outside; often there are subtle attacks in our midst. This is true in our fellowships. The Bible speaks of “false brethren” (2 COR 11:26) and those with bitter hearts that “defile many” (HEB 12:15). It’s also true of us as individuals. The attack sometimes isn’t something before us, sometimes it’s in our own mind. The sly and subtle serpent is desiring always to plant thoughts that will ruin us if we let them take root (see the following short video on Seeds of Fear, Seeds of Faith, or the article).

Nehemiah had many challenges in Jerusalem; the work of rebuilding was formidable. I’m quite certain that after seeing all the ruin, his first thought was, “Where do we begin??” Then he had Sanballat and crew to deal with. All of these were externals. Then he had to deal with some internal matters that had to do with all of his brother Jews; there were injustices found that must be dealt with and in doing so, there was a unity formed that would prove valuable in the days ahead!

I recall the words of King and mighty warrior, David: “Unite my heart to fear Your Name!” (PSALM 86:11).

1 And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. 2 For there were those who said, "We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live." 3 There were also some who said, "We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine." 4 There were also those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our lands and vineyards. 5 "Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards."

Yet another problem: a famine in the land. This was compounded by the fact that some of the Jews lent money to their brethren so that they could buy grain; others actually had to mortgage their properties in order to buy food. In order to pay the king’s tax, more money was borrowed by the poor of the land.
The situation became so dire that parents had to lend out their children in indentured servitude, and they couldn’t redeem them because they had no assets at all!

What made matters worse was that money borrowed from their fellow Jews was loaned to them at interest: something expressly forbidden in the Tanakh, which also instructed Israel that they are to help their fellow poor and destitute Jews (ISA 58:7):
LEVITICUS 25:35-37
35 'If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 'Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. 37 'You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit
(See also DEUT 15:7).
Slavery was not at all in GOD’s plan; it did happen, but this was unlawful between the Jews of Israel. Worst case scenario, indentured servitude was a provision to work off debts; and there was also a means to reclaim any who fell into such destitution, but the LORD’s will was that the Jews would be compassionate and lend aid until their brother could get back up on his feet and be self-sustaining once again:
LEVITICUS 25:39-43
39 'And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. 40 'As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 'And then he shall depart from you-he and his children with him-and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers. 42 'For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. 43 'You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God.

'For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
It wasn’t just the walls of Jerusalem that were in disrepair; it was the order of the Jewish nation itself that had forgotten the Law of the LORD and proper conduct according to the Torah. Take note that the text which describes the rebuilding of the walls is a bit more than two chapters. The rest of this book deals with the people.

In our own lives external matters are not inconsequential; our outward conduct, visible for all to see is of course of great importance. Yet without the inward working of GOD’s Spirit in our hearts, such externals become mere religious show and lends towards hypocrisy.

The LORD Jesus had such observations of the religious leadership of His day:
MATTHEW 23:5,14,23,27
5 "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
As Christians we can sometimes hold our brethren in bondage by not forgiving their offenses against us. By an unforgiving heart, we hold them hostage, refusing to release them, and become bound in bitterness ourselves!

As well as that, there are times when we do for others with expectation of some sort of beneficial return; giving to the saints must be done in a spirit of grace, just as our Father bestows upon us: with no strings attached.

As we all know, anything we do as the saints of GOD must be without pretense, without hypocrisy, but out of a sincere heart of love towards the LORD and His people:
ROMANS 12:6-13
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality
(see also 1 COR 13:1-8).
Now let’s look at Nehemiah’s response to these things:

6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, "Each of you is exacting usury from his brother." So I called a great assembly against them.

Anger isn’t a sin, but something distinct from sin, but also might lead to sin (EPH 4:26; PROV 14:17) in the same way that hatred isn’t necessarily a sin, and love could be a sin. Context matters: to “hate evil” is a good thing (PROV 8:13; AMOS 5:15). To love self above others, especially above GOD is obviously bad (MARK 8:35; 12:29-31).

And notice that Nehemiah isn’t angry out of a sense of personal offense; it wasn’t an offense against himself. He is angry for the sake of others. The LORD Jesus was this same way (JOHN 2:14-17) and so was Paul (2 COR 11:29).

When the LORD was in the Temple and saw how the money changers were ripping the people off by charging exorbitant rates for sacrificial animals and exchange rates for coin, He became angry – yet He took the time to fashion a whip of some cords (known as a shepherd’s whip to drive away predators, how fitting! These took some time to weave and so we see that while He was angry, His anger was tempered, under control).

Nehemiah was the same – it wasn’t until he gave this matter “serious thought” that he rebuked “the nobles and rulers”. From the sound of it, Nehemiah is accusing not a few of them, but all of them. This was an offense across the board!

Too often we can hear the reply to a rebuke, “Everyone is doing it!” We aren’t held to the standard of everyone else as Christians; we are held to the standard of Jesus Christ. And when so admonished, we can hear from people, “Don’t put me under the Law brother!” or “you’re being legalistic!”

Not at all. Those who were under the Law had to pay the price for their sin by animal sacrifices.
We are not under the Law however, but under grace; Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin, but then He went one step further – His Spirit indwelt us, which means we have the power to live godly in Christ – something that the Old Testament saints didn’t have as we do (the indwelling Spirit). So you can see, we have a much, much higher standard to live up to than any Old Testament saint did!

We have the complete canon of Scripture, we have the limitless and empowering grace of GOD, we have the Spirit of GOD living in us – whereby we are called “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 COR 3:16).

We must understand that “to whom much is given, is much required” (LUKE 12:48) and that we must all appear before the judgment Seat of Christ one day (2 COR 5:10-11) to give an account of how we’ve lived our lives for the LORD Jesus Christ (to receive – or not – rewards for conduct; we won’t be judged for our sins because our sins were already judged on the Cross of Christ Who took that judgment on our behalf).

Just as we are accountable to Christ as His disciples, so too these Jews in Nehemiah’s day were accountable to the Covenant of the Law granted from GOD to Israel!

8 And I said to them, "According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?" Then they were silenced and found nothing to say. 9 Then I said, "What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?" 10 "I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury! 11 "Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."

See also: LEV 25:36; 2 SAM 12:14; 1 PET 2:12.
For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.
Nehemiah had been granted finances for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, so it’s likely that he put a portion of this towards redeeming his Jewish brethren. As the appointed governor of Jerusalem, he received wages of the king, and so he may also have paid out of pocket to redeem his indentured brethren.

A true leader is one who leads by example. Demonstrating righteousness is always more effective in encouraging others than demanding righteousness. Doing the former will lend credence to the latter.

After his demonstrated compassion, he brings the just accusation to these nobles and rulers who become mute in his presence. Scripture states that rebuking a fool will incur his anger, but rebuking a wise man will inspire his love (PROV 9:8).
It’s been said, anytime you point your finger at another, you have three others pointing back at you. It’s vital that we make sure our own lives are in order before we offer correction or restoration to anyone else (GAL 6:1-2).

Though these men were foolish in their conduct, indebting their brethren unlawfully, ignoring the Law of GOD – at least they showed a modicum of wisdom in remaining quiet at this rebuke, rather than attempting to justify themselves.

It’s both sad and revolting that there are those with so little, or no respect at all for GOD that they ignore Him for much of their lives, but as soon as hardship or tragedy strikes they are quick to accuse the LORD of being harsh and cruel.
Even when faced with obvious judgment from the Holy LORD of all creation, people will shake their fists at Him, harden their hearts and refuse to repent (REV 16:8-11).

Yet on the Day of Judgment when they are face to Face with the Almighty, whose Light of Holiness and Perfect Law will shine upon them and render them mute in their guiltiness, then there will be no reply or argument or obstinacy toward GOD:
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small, and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Nehemiah admonishes the rulers and nobles to restore to the poor those things that they need to live, and to oppress them no longer.
Satan’s objective is to ruin and remove blessings for the child of GOD who follows Him. GOD’s objective is to restore and to renew blessings for the same.

NEHEMIAH 5:12-13
12 So they said, "We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say." Then I called the priests and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. 13 Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, "So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" and praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise

We saw the restoration of the walls around Jerusalem, and much of the city itself. Now we are witnessing the restoration of the people: to GOD and to one another.
The work of restoration and redemption is something replete throughout the Scripture; we see prominently the redemption story from GENESIS to REVELATION, for the glory of GOD (PHIL 2:5-11).
Likewise as the godly saints we are called to be, we also are involved in the restoration of souls: sinners, and our fellow saints alike (2 COR 5:20; GAL 6:1-2).

Nehemiah then focuses his attention on the priests: he may well have asked of them what was asked of the nobles and leaders:

“Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?” Nehemiah is testifying to GOD before these people by “…[shaking] out the fold of [his] garment and said, "So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied."

The LORD Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the Gospel and instructed them to do this same sort of thing for those who rejected them and their message:
MATTHEW 10:14-15
14 "And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 "Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
And the apostle Paul did the same:
ACTS 13:49-51
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and came to Iconium
(also ACTS 18:6).
We see here the spiritual principle of “reaping what you sow” (GAL 6:7) – these who were involved in oppressing their fellow Jews to the point where they lost their homes and properties by mortgaging them – if they didn’t repent of this oppression and restore, that the same thing would happen to them by the hand of GOD.

This oath was rather severe for any who would break it; nevertheless, the people were all of one accord and declared a hearty “amen!” to it! They were therefore obligated to fulfill this vow (NUM 15).

Just as the LORD would shake any that didn’t fulfill this vow out of their house and their possessions, likewise will the LORD remove all that offends (unrepentant sinners who refuse salvation and surrender to Jesus as LORD) from His house and His property (heaven and earth) – His Kingdom on the day appointed:
MATTHEW 13:37-42
37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
NEHEMIAH 5:14-16
14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor's provisions. 15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work.

In all of the twelve years that Nehemiah was governor, he never once abused his power (as his predecessor did apparently – and even the former governors servants oppressed the people!) but declined the ‘fringe benefits’ of rule. Again, while it was King Artaxerxes that filed the paper work to assign his cupbearer to the work at Jerusalem, it was the LORD GOD Who heard this man’s prayer and moved the King to permit Nehemiah to go.
He didn’t live in luxury, nor did he even take money of the people (“forty shekels of silver”) but lived off of the provision from the King alone. Nor did Nehemiah buy any land to “feather his own nest”. Why didn’t he treat himself to these royal dainties?

“…because of the fear of God.”

Nehemiah here proves once again the exemplary nature of his leadership, and legitimate use of power, understanding that he is accountable to the LORD regarding these. Today’s political leaders could learn volumes from Nehemiah’s example!
Nehemiah believed in “the power of love (the love of GOD for His people)” whereas politicians, CEOs of global commerce, and globalist tycoons believe in “the love of power” (Check out Power of Love, Love of Power).

In fact the philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche talked about “the will to power”. He maintained that those who are in possession of power, deserve that power as a birthright as evidenced by their determination, ambition, and ability to acquire that power and thereby have bequeathed to them the mantle of rule over their inferiors. This speaks of a kind of “manifest destiny” but on a global scale in today’s modern world.

As our world becomes more and more godless, the GOD of all creation and His rightful rule is not merely disputed but disregarded wholesale.
Now that “GOD is dead”, who has the ultimate authority?
Those with the most power, and these are NOT our duly elected officials (if there even is such a thing today!) over the most powerful nations on the globe, but rather those invisible persons who function behind the scenes (their ancient designation was “the king makers”), these are theglobalists with “old money” who steer such semi-secret organizations such as the CFR, The Trilateral Commission, The Club of Rome, The Committee of 300, The IMF, WHO, WEF and other societies like the Masonic Order with its 32nd and 33rd Degrees, Skull and Bones, The Theosophical Society, etc., etc.

A bitter lesson that these sort are going to learn (for eternity!):
PSALM 62:11
God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.
And GOD either distributes power Himself, or permits Satan to distribute power to those under his rule (and among those of greatest power, with their full knowledge of who their ‘benefactor’ is!). GOD is going to call into account all stewards of power granted, will punish all who abuse said power, and use it contrary to the will of GOD!

Contrariwise, those saints who used their GOD given power responsibly in a spirit of servanthood “Jesus Style”, in accordance with the will of GOD will earn great reward on the Day of Judgment (the Bema Seat).

Observe the contrast seen in these verses between the proud rulers of this world and the humble servants of that world to come:
PSALM 2:4-6
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.

LUKE 1:51-52
51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly
(See ISA 40:4-5; MATT 11:29).

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

EZEKIEL 28:15-18
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 "You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.

MATTHEW 23:11-12
11 "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

ISAIAH 57:15
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones
(See PSALM 138:6; ISA 61:1-3).
NEHEMIAH 5:17-18
17 And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18 Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor's provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.

Let it never be said that GOD would deprive His people of a good rib-eye steak!

Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

And may we likewise pray that the LORD will regard our humble efforts, that they would be empowered by His Spirit of grace and enable us to fulfill those “good works ordained” for us (EPH 2:10) and remembered on that Day when we see Him at the Bema seat: we can be confident that He will (MATT 10:42)!!

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