Summary: We must have the courage to confront sin.


Nehemiah 5:1-19

S: Courage

Th: Brave Hearts


?: Inductive

KW: Steps

TS: We will find in our study of Nehemiah 5:1-19 four unfolding steps that demonstrate what Nehemiah does when confronted with a problem from within.

The _____ step is…

I. ABUSE (1-5)



IV. AWE (14-19)

Version: ESV

RMBC 16 Feb 03 AM


Have you ever noticed that sin has a way of catching up to you?

ILL Notebook: Sin (Fowl Play)

A forest ranger is making rounds in a remote part of the wooded reserve when he comes across an unkempt man, sitting at a make-shift campfire, and, to the ranger’s horror, eating a fish and a bald eagle. The man is consequently put in jail for the crime. He was soon brought to trial for his crime...

The Judge asked the man "Do you know that eating a bald eagle is a federal offense?"

"Yes I do." replied the man, "but if you let me argue my case, I’ll explain what happened."

"You may proceed."

"I got lost in the woods, and hadn’t had anything real to eat for two weeks," the man explained. "I was so hungry, I was eating plants to stay alive. Next thing I see is a Bald Eagle swooping down at the lake grabbing some fish. I thought if I startled the Eagle I could maybe steal the fish. Low and behold, the eagle lighted upon a nearby tree stump to eat the fish. I threw a stone toward the eagle hoping he would drop the fish and fly away. Unfortunately, in my weakened condition, my aim was off; and the rock hit the eagle squarely on his poor little head, and killed it. I thought long and hard about what had happened, but figured that since I killed it I might as well eat it since it would be more disgraceful to let it rot on the ground."

The judge says he will take a recess to analyze the defendant’s testimony. 15 minutes goes by and the judge returns:

"Due to the extreme circumstance you were under and because you didn’t intend to kill the eagle, the court will dismiss the charges." The Judge then leans over the bench and whispers: "If you don’t mind my asking, what does a bald eagle taste like?"

"Well your honor, it is hard to explain. The best I can describe it’s a bit more tender than a California Condor but lacks the tang of a Spotted Owl."

Ah, yes, sin does catch up, doesn’t it?


Last week, we gave consideration to Nehemiah 4.

We found in chapter 4 that…

1. Context: The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem was slowed by an external attack.

The text tells us that the builders were harassed, threatened and ridiculed.

It worked for a short while, but soon they were back to work.

Then the enemies stepped up the intimidation to include physical violence.

This too worked for a short while.

Nehemiah, though, successfully guided them through teaching the people that no one can deal with such threats by themselves.

We need each other.

When one is standing guard, the other can sleep.

When one holds the weapon, the other uses the tools.

Together, they possessed the courage to confront the fear, and they were able to keep to the task of their holy ambition, the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

This part of the narrative demonstrates to us that…

2. We must recognize that when God’s agenda is being fulfilled, opposition will come from many directions.

When God’s plans are moved forward, opposition comes.

The reason why is that the opposition views it as a step backwards for them.

They are going to lose something – power, prestige, influence…

Last week, we noticed that the opposition came externally…from outside the walls.

This week, the opposition comes from within.

An agenda that was contrary to God’s agenda had crept in among the people.

And just like the conflict we studied last week, it stops the work.


3. We will find in our study of Nehemiah 5:1-19 four unfolding steps that demonstrate what Nehemiah does when confronted with a problem from within.

It was a serious problem.

Work had ground to a halt.

For as time passed, resentment had grown.


I. The first step is ABUSE (1-5).

[1] Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. [2] For there were those who said, "With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive." [3] There were also those who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine." [4] And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. [5] Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards."

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