Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Kendra Graham NOTES from Nehemiah 5:11-13
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
Verse 11: Please give them back this day their fields, vineyards, olive groves, houses, 1/100 part of the money, grain, new wine and oil you are exacting from them.
Verse 12: We will give it back, require nothing from them. (b) I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to their promise.
Verse 13: I shook out my garment, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and possessions who does not fulfill this promise, he be shaken and emptied.” The assembly said “Amen”. (b)They praised the LORD. Then the people did.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?
Verse 11: Nehemiah used the Word of God to speak and convict the people of God in the previous verses. Nehemiah was angry and instead of chewing the people out with some choice words, he consulted with himself, he calmed down and He read the law of the LORD in regards to extracting extra high taxes from the people…. it was against God’s Law. Who cares about what I think and you think, what does God say? God’s Word doesn’t change. Sin is a BIG DEAL in God’s eyes…. so BIG that He was compelled to come and take the penalty for it Himself on the cross. Sin must be dealt with. When the Word of God was read, and the nobles realized their sin in front of a Holy God…. they were broken over it. In this case, conviction doesn’t just lead to saying “I’m Sorry” and all is done and over with, Nehemiah laid it out there, the nobles and rulers must make restitution in this case, and give back what they had unjustly taken from the people, give back what they stole. This reminds me of Zaccheaus in the New Testament, a very similar situation with a tax collector. When He was confronted with his sin in the presence of Jesus, Zaccheaus couldn’t wait to make restitution, 10 fold. The conviction of the Spirit of God, hurts, but is sweet when fellowship is restored. Our actions show the evidence of God’s grace and mercy we received.
Verse 12a: As evidence of a true repentant heart, the nobles and rulers had no arguments about giving back what they had extracted and stolen. A true repentant heart does not need to justify their sinful actions. I love that. To admit you are a sinner, takes tremendous humility.
Verse 12 b &13a: Words vs action. It is one thing to say in front of Nehemiah and the people, yes, yes, we were wrong and to agree to fix it, so the attention will go away, but it is another thing to actually make restitution. I believe here, the nobles and rulers were truly broken over their sin, but it’s one thing about money and things, they are sure hard to give up when the rubber hits the road… truly! We HATE accountability, but personal accountability, no matter how much we hate that people will doubt our word, is so needed. George Washington said “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” All of us are bent to that sin nature, admit it or not. We need accountability, even the most noble of the noble can fall!
Verse 13b: They praised and they did. True repentance brings such joy in restitution! They praised the LORD with their hearts, the sin being dealt with, then they went and they did what they promised. There is such sweetness in that reunion with the LORD. When the sin is removed we realize what we have been missing in the presence of the LORD. Praise God for personal forgiveness, grace and mercy! The JOY of repentance!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Verse 11: When have I been convicted by God’s Word? Is there something today, here and now that has been between me and my Lord? With things right between God and I in the heavenly realm, has God laid on my heart something that needs to be done in the earthly realm? Speaking forgiveness to someone? Accepting forgiveness from someone? Returning something I have stolen whether it be money, things, a reputation…? What has God laid on my heart to do?
Verse 12a: Am I truly repentant, or am I still offering up reasons for justification to a Holy God about my sin and what He is convicting me of? When will I let go of my pride?
Verse 12b & 13a: Do I buck accountability? Who do I have holding me accountable? Do I think that person does that because they refuse to trust me, or has God allowed that person as a safeguard upon my heart?
Verse 13b: Have I been missing that closeness with the LORD because I refuse to make things right? When has that sweet restitution to the LORD brought such joy and thankfulness for the cross?
LIVE IT OUT!
Today, LORD, convict my heart over Your Word, and give me the strength to make things right, this is only possible through Your supernatural strength and guidance. Prick my heart with Your Word, and prod me to move on it. Thank you for your forgiveness of me, help me to forgive others, and seek that forgiveness and restitution when called for.
Homework: Nehemiah 5:14-16
Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!