Daily Word

Nehemiah’s example | Nehemiah 5:14-19 (NLT)

14 For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. 15 The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.

16 I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall. 17 I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands! 18 The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.

19 Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.

Nehemiah 5:14-19 (NLT)

Skip the tax

In addition to leading the rich Jews to act righteously toward the poorer ones and not take advantage of them (yesterday), Nehemiah also set an example of how to act righteously and responsibly as a leader. Though he could have taken a “salary” based on taxes, for the twelve years he was governor, he didn’t. This was in stark contrast to the governors before him. What was his motivation? Nehemiah feared God. He knew God appointed him to this position and would hold him accountable. He also knew contentment and was satisfied with what God provided.

Focus on the task

“Rather than taking advantage of his opportunity to acquire real estate, Nehemiah gave his attention to rebuilding the wall (v. 16). He also provided for the needs of over 150 Jews who worked on the wall out of his own pocket (vv. 17-18).” (planobiblechapel.org)

Remember me

Some think it was inappropriate for Nehemiah to pray such a prayer. But it is appropriate. Others often prayed like this. He was fulfilling his obligations and God was blessing him. He repeats it in Neh 13:14, 22, and 31. Wesley’s commentary translates this prayer as,  “As I have done thy people good for thy sake, so do me good for thine own sake; for thou art pleased, and hast promised graciously to reward us according to our works, and to mete to men the same measure which they meet to others.”

Forget-me-not flower. Image from Pxfuel.com

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