January 19, 2014

Making It Right

Nehemiah 5

“What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God … ?”
—Nehemiah 5:9


In our verses today we find that people were struggling to make ends meet and that many of their fellow Jews were taking advantage of them. So Nehemiah had to address this matter of injustice with grace and firmness.

First, he took seriously the cries of injustice. Rich nobles and officials were mistreating many of their poorer brothers and sisters, charging interest on debts and even selling their chil-dren into slavery for payment. Nehemiah heard their cries for justice.

Second, Nehemiah took action. Justice must be addressed with appropriate remedies. Nehemiah got into the faces of the nobles and officials and pointed out that they were not acting in a God-fearing manner. Nehemiah told them to give back the fields and houses—and the interest they had charged. The rich nobles and officials took Nehemiah’s words to heart. They took action. They gave back what had been taken from the poor people who cried out.

Justice is an important value to God. Jesus came to bring justice into the world, and he calls us to follow his example. We are to work toward justice where it is in short supply. We must venture into the cracks and crevices of injustice and make things right!

Lord, guide me not to ignore injustices in my neighborhood, city, nation, and world. Help me to pray and work to bring justice in places where I have a voice and influence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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