Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the privilege and blessing of public worship on the Lord's Day. Thank God that he has given, by His own example and specific commands, this one day in seven for worship and rest.
- Acknowledge and confess a specific sin in your life.
Truth for the Mind and Heart
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 29 – How are we made to share in the redemption purchased by Christ?
Answer – We are made to share in the redemption purchased by Christ by the effective application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – God the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of the redemption Christ purchased to our lives.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
James 1:2-5, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 5:6-13.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Making Things Right.
When Nehemiah had carefully considered the situation, he took the very bold and courageous decision to confront the nobles and the rulers. It is clear that Nehemiah was not afraid to speak the truth and to rebuke even the most important people in the land. There was a serious problem that was inhibiting the work that God had given him to do, and Nehemiah was willing to deal with the problem head on. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles for their practice of exacting usury from their fellow Jews and reminded them of the recent history of the people. When Judah was conquered, many Jews were sold as slaves to foreigners, and many of than had been bought out of slavery by other Jews. Because of this, it was very wrong to have Jews being sold into slavery to other Jews because they couldn't pay off high-interest loans.
Having pointed out their sin, Nehemiah then challenged them about the priorities that they had in their lives. He cited his own godly example of lending grain and money without interest (v.10) and gave the reasons for it:
1. The main reason for the way that he behaved is seen in the question that he put to the nobles, ‘should you not walk in the fear of our God?' It was because Nehemiah feared God and longed to do the work that God had called him to do that he would sacrifice anything to see it completed.
2. Nehemiah was concerned that the conduct of the nobles would cause the name of God to be blasphemed amongst the people (v.9). So, he urged the nobles to make things right. He didn't just want them to feel bad about what they had done; he wanted them to make restitution. It was important for them, as it is for us, that the teaching of the Word should result in action being taken.
A Right Spirit.
The words of Nehemiah had an immediate effect on the nobles and the rulers of the people. They agreed that they would do everything that Nehemiah had said. Such a response demonstrated two very clear and necessary attitudes for every child of God:
1. A teachable spirit. It may be that the nobles did not think they were doing anything wrong: after all, charging interest was not against the law. They clearly had not considered how what they were doing was affecting the work of rebuilding, or how it would cause the name of the Lord to suffer reproach. So it is often with us! We do not think sufficiently about how our own selfish actions affect the cause of Christ. When they were taught by Nehemiah the effects of their behaviour, the nobles listened and accepted the teaching, demonstrating a correct hearing of the word of God.
2. A humble spirit. The amazing thing is that the nobles and the rulers were willing to accept rebuke and to admit that they had been wrong! It is one thing to listen to, and to approve of, the teaching of God's Word, and quite another to change our behaviour to be in line with it, especially when it concerns our personal finances! These men were going to suffer considerable financial loss, but when they were convinced by the teaching of Nehemiah, they were willing to submit.
Nevertheless, Nehemiah also knew that words were easy to say, and so he insisted that their promise to comply should be supported by an oath sworn in the presence of the priests. He also solemnly warned them of the consequences of not fulfilling their oath, as Ecclesiastes 5:5 reminds us, “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”. It is no small thing to make a solemn promise before the Lord!
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 27D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for men who are called and ordained to give directive leadership in the Church, as those who one day will have to give an account before Christ. Pray for a teachable and humble spirit in the church, in respect of such leadership. Hebrews 13:17.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC