Nehemiah’s Righteous Anger

Nehemiah 5:19 – Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.

Upon hearing of this great injustice of what people would do to get money or position themselves to have more wealth in ungodly ways, Nehemiah was angry. Some commentators have wrongly criticized Nehemiah for his anger. God has a righteous anger (Deut. 13:17), as did Jesus during His earthly life (John 2:14-22). Indeed, much anger is not righteous, but a righteous anger compels us to action, which is precisely what happened with Nehemiah. Rather than lashing out in anger, Nehemiah prayerfully prepared his response. Boldly, Nehemiah confronted the most rich and powerful. While they were not technically breaking the laws of their nation, they were acting sinfully according to God’s laws.

Nehemiah also demanded restitution. Had those who had taken advantage of their brothers and sisters merely repented, the practice would have stopped, but apart from restitution, they would have still remained in dire poverty with devastated lives.

Nehemiah led through his own example. It was customary for political leaders, like Nehemiah, to collect additional taxes for themselves for justifiable things like a salary, living expenses, personal staff, and operational budget. It was also customary for a man in Nehemiah’s position to purchase land knowing it would increase in value. Nonetheless, he did not raise any taxes for himself or purchase any land. Nehemiah willingly denied many of his own personal interests for the sake of the mission to build the city and build the church as a city within that city.

Nehemiah paid for all of his personal, political, and ministry expenses out of his own pocket. He hosted lavish dinners for 150 people and ministered to the richest and poorest members of his city. Nehemiah proved to be a godly and rich man. Lastly, Nehemiah fully devoted 12 years of his life to this project because real change takes time, as there are no shortcuts to success.

Look up the following Scriptures about believers practicing hospitality, starting with the example of church leaders (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8), to be followed by all Christians (1 Peter 4:9). Furthermore, hospitality is meant to be extended to family (1 Timothy 5:8), friends (Proverbs 27:10), Christians (Galatians 6:10), and non-Christians (Leviticus 19:34).

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