The Passage: Nehemiah 5:12-14
The Point: Let’s be a community of true repenters.
Because of Nehemiah’s example his Jewish brothers repented and made a promise to restore what they had taken from their kinsmen. As we consider this passage, we see such a picture of repentance. True repentance is a lot more than saying, “I’m sorry.” True repentance recognizes the wrong and acts to bring restoration to the relationship. The Jewish people who had been defrauding their brothers returned what they had taken and required “nothing from them.” This was a costly effort. In Nehemiah 5:10 we see that houses, land, olive groves, and money had been taken. A right relationship cannot be restored until the offender takes full responsibility for the offense. This did not involve one or two people, this was a movement. It was a collective effort to restore a community of people. Nehemiah warned that every man must fulfill the promise and then the entire assembly confirmed their commitment and worshipped God.
As God’s people, we also have a responsibility. In our homes, workplaces, friendships, and relationships with other believers we must take full responsibility for our offenses. We must not only apologize, we must truly repent. I Corinthians 6:7-8 warns us not to “defraud” our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is not limited to physical possessions. It includes relational wrong doing. When we pursue righteousness, God is glorified. When we truly repent, lives are rebuilt, and relationships restored. Let’s be a community of true repenters.
- When were the offenders to return all they had wrongfully taken?
- Who did Nehemiah call to witness the promise? Why was this important?
- What happened after the oath of restitution was made?
- Is there any situation in your life where you have offended another?
- Write a prayer asking for God’s strength and power and then reach out to the one or ones offended and offer repentance.