Threats from Within and Without
Jerusalem was a struggling community. The people needed a sense of unity and brotherhood. Unity was threatened because the rich were demanding high interest of the poor, forcing them into slavery. Nehemiah sees that this is wrong. He calls them together and they are willing to right these wrongs. God never wants the rich to get richer by causing the poor to become poorer. Many passages throughout the Bible speak of God’s concern for the poor. Nehemiah not only calls for justice for the poor; he reveals his own records to show that he has set an example by not taking advantage of them. Evangelical Christians need a greater concern for justice for the poor.
There were also external threats. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were always looking for ways to thwart Nehemiah’s efforts. They tried to lure him outside the city, perhaps with the intent of assassinating him. They spread false rumors about his aspirations to become king. They tried to make him show his fear so as to discredit him. Nehemiah’s hope was in God.
The church today is threatened from within and without. Let us trust God and use wise efforts to thwart these threats, as Nehemiah did. His concern was not for himself but for the cause to which he was committed. Our cause is the spread of the gospel.