The beginning verses of Nehemiah chapter five are filled with outcries from the people who were poor and suffering with hunger, the loss of land and having their children taken into slavery; all these sufferings were for the benefit of wealth and notoriety of the nobles and officials. Verse six gives us Nehemiah’s emotional response, “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.”
These events and the emotions pushed Nehemiah beyond just building the wall, Nehemiah had to stop and manage his team “So I called together a large meeting to deal with them” (vrs.7b). Nehemiah became aware of the problem and dealt with it, he didn’t shrug it off and return to the project at hand, he took action. Nehemiah had compassion towards the people and did his part to make things right.
Nehemiah had the opportunity to become one of the elite, he could have let his powerful position control his actions but he chose to honor God by not following in the footstep of those before him. Nehemiah models for us a great leadership quality that helped cultivate more loyalty from the people than the few that could have been in his close circles. Nehemiah’s relationship with God was the first priority and focus and through that he was able to rise up from a cupbearer to the king to a prominent leader among the people of Israel.
Passion for God, Compassion for People. This statement is a wonderful short summary of our mission and vision as a church in Departure Bay. Reading through the chapters of Nehemiah inspires me and encourages me to have the same passion for God and the same compassion for people as Nehemiah did.