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Summary: There is a direct correlation between the effectiveness of our mission and how we treat each other. We must be the church before we can build the church. We must care for one another before we can hope to reach this community and county for Christ

Mayor Gerardo Balmori

The Salvation Army

As we continue in our series through the Book of Nehemiah, we’ve learned that Nehemiah

confronted a different challenge in each chapter:

• In chapter one, he was faced with a personal challenge. When he heard about what was

happening in Jerusalem, he sat down and wept and then broke out into prayer.

• In chapter two, his challenge was political. When the King asked him what he needed, he

prayed a “popcorn prayer” and boldly made his requests.

• In chapter three, he confronted an administrative challenge by positioning the right

workers in the right place for the right reasons.

• In chapter four, he dealt with the challenge of discouragement. The workers were afraid

of the enemies and convinced they couldn’t work anymore. Nehemiah rallied the troops to come

together under pressure.

As we come to chapter five, this same community is starting to self-destruct because of some

festering grievances. The workers now face a new enemy who is harder to conquer than the

previous ones. The timing could not have been worse because the walls are almost done!

Nehemiah has to put down his hard hat and turn his attention from the construction of the wall to

the walls that were being put up between his workers. While their external enemies helped to rally

the people, internal conflict threatened to divide and destroy them.

Caballos y Burros Posicion de ataque

It’s much easier to conquer and subdue an enemy who attacks us than it is to forgive and restore a

friend who hurts us.

Psalm 55:12-14 puts it this way: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were

raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion,

my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the

house of God.”

Salmos 55:12-14-12 Porque no me afrentó un enemigo, Lo cual habría soportado; Ni se alzó

contra mí el que me aborrecía, Porque me hubiera ocultado de él; 13 Sino tú, hombre, al parecer

íntimo mío, Mi guía, y mi familiar; 14 Que juntos comunicábamos dulcemente los secretos, Y

andábamos en amistad en la casa de Dios.

Complaints Nehemiah Heard (1-5)

There’s a word in verse 1 that sets the tone for chapter 5 it’s the word, “against.” Strife was

brewing, tension was mounting, and horns were locked. Let’s look at the complaints Nehemiah

heard in verses 1-5.

In the midst of a “great work” in 4:19 for a “great God” in 1:5, in 5:1 “the men and their wives

raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers.” This was not just a little disagreement or a

minor problem. They weren’t crying out against the Samaritans or the Ammonites, but against

their own people!

Do you remember when hurricane Andrew tore through southern Florida several years ago?

There were four different groups of people who were involved in the community

crisis:

People who owned no land but needed food (verse 2). The population was increasing, the families

were growing, there was a famine, and the people were hungry. They were working so hard on the

wall that they didn’t have time to plant or take care of their crops.

Landowners who had mortgaged their property in order to buy food (verse 3). Inflation was on the

rise and prices were going higher and many had their homes repossessed by the moneylenders.

Another group complained that taxes were too high (verse 4). Many people were forced to borrow

money just to pay their tax bills some of us might have to do the same thing in a couple days!

Those who were exploiting others (verse 5). The wealthy were making loans with exorbitant

interest rates and taking land and even children as collateral. Families had to choose between

starvation and servitude. When the crops failed because of the famine, the creditors took away

their property and sold their children into slavery.

Steps Nehemiah Took (6-13)

Nehemiah heard their complaints in the first five verses. Now, in verses 6-13, we see the steps that

he took to stop the strife. Notice verse 6: “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very

angry.” This lit him up! It wasn’t just that Nehemiah had a short fuse or a bad temper. This is what

the Bible calls “righteous anger.” Moses expressed this kind of anger when he broke the stone

tablets of the Law in Exodus 32 and Jesus was filled with holy rage when he saw the Pharisee’s

hard hearts in Mark 3:5 and when he cleared out the Temple in Luke 19.

While Nehemiah was very angry, verse 7 says that he took the time to “ponder” the charges before

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