The Passage: Nehemiah 5:1-5
The Point: Every now and then, life gets filled with adversity.
Many times, adversity comes from an outward force or an external institution that is pushing our backs against the wall. But what about when the adversity we’re facing comes from our own family ― our own flesh and blood ― or even our own community? That’s a whole different type of adversity. But for every adversity, whether internal or external, God is still the solution.
In Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah faced external adversity. The Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites all plotted together to fight against him because of the work they were doing for God’s people. But in Nehemiah 5, we see that the adversity is not coming from an outside source, but from within. The people were being oppressed by their own Jewish brothers!
For Nehemiah, the old adage, “when it rains, it pours,” holds true. He’s hit with issue after issue. There’s hunger. There’s debt, hunger, and famine. There’s debt, hunger, famine, taxes, and loans. There’s inequality, slavery, interests, debts, hunger, taxes, loans, interests, and debts! You can see how the problems just keep piling on top of each other, and the people of God are feeling powerless. There’s no money, no food, and no property. Even the children were being sold into slavery in hopes of clearing their debts.
God’s people cry out. When God’s people cry out for help, He intervenes! He may use manna from heaven or a man from earth, but He always answers. In the case of the Jews in this time, God used a man, Nehemiah. In the past, God used manna. For us today, God uses both. You see, Jesus is both the manna and the man. He’s the bread of heaven and the man who took on the form of a servant and was born on earth. He’s the solution and the salvation. He is with us in every trial we encounter. So regardless of the adversity we face, whether internal or external, remember that when we cry for help, God always intervenes!
- Who does the Scripture record as the source of oppression in this chapter?
- How were the problems the Jews were facing similar to those we face today?
- How do these problems point us to what Jesus does for us today?
- Do you sense an outcry of some sort in our community?
- What do you believe God wants you to do about this?
- What is a simple action you can take to make a difference?