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Oct 10, 2021

It's Just Us

It's Just Us

Passage: Nehemiah 5:1-13

Speaker: Rev. Michael Pestel

Series: Win-Win

It's Just Us Nehemiah 5:1-13 Rev. Michael Pestel October 10, 2021

The Nehemiah story is about 450 years before the time of Jesus. Jerusalem had been conquered and turned to rubble. The Israelites who had been forced out 70 years prior are now being allowed to return.

The big message of the book of Nehemiah is that the task of rebuilding the city isn’t too big for them or for the God they serve. One part of that rebuilding is the resetting of the physical stones that encompass the city. The other part of that rebuilding was resetting their way of being, their societal compass. 

The people suffering tell their de facto leader, a man named Nehemiah.

(Nehemiah 5:3-5) There were also those who said, “We are having to pledge our fields, our vineyards, and our houses in order to get grain during the famine.” And there were those who said, “We are having to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay the king’s tax. Now our flesh is the same is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children; and yet we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been ravished; we are powerless, and our fields and vineyards now belong to others.” 

When Nehemiah hears them, when he sees the picture for what it is, this is what he writes:

(Nehemiah 5:6) I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. 

In Nehemiah 5:8, speaking to the nobles and officials, Nehemiah says: “As far as we were able, we have bought back our Jewish kindred who had been sold to other nations; but now you are selling your own kin, who must then be bought back by us!” 

Nehemiah 5:11-12) Nehemiah said to them, “Restore to them, this very day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the interest on money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” Then they said, “We will restore everything and demand nothing more from them. We will do as you say.”

“Christian love has power that we have never tapped, and if we use it, we can transform not only own lives but we will transform the earth in which we live.” United Methodist Pastor, Rev. Dr. James Lawson

The beauty of the work that is happening is that it doesn’t just end where everyone shares their pain and we say, “Welp, we’re powerless. Oh well.” Instead, we gather the threads from these conversations and we see what starts to pop. We research what is actually happening, we have interviews with local leaders and experts to discover core problems and brainstorm solutions.

We have to remember the desire of our local leaders and officials is the same as ours: To have a healthier, stronger, thriving community. We want a win-win for everyone in Manatee County.

It’s up to us. It’s just us.

Do not
depend on Jack
to bring God’s kingdom here.
You are required for "justice is
just us." 
– Wade Wilkerson

”Justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.