A Leader and His Problem Solving

Nehemiah 5
Problems are a part of life. You have to learn to solve them or they will master you. You are either having a problem now, you just had one, or you are heading for one!
If you are doing even a great work for God, Expect problems! Do not think that if you have problems, I must not be doing something right. We learn from this passage:
? Expect problems
? Confront problems
? Maintain integrity
1. What Kind of problem does Nehemiah encounter?
1. This was an Internal problem.
This is an internal squabble, Jew against Jew, brother against brother. Moses found it difficult to reconcile two brothers. The church in Corinth had believers taking one another to court! The church in Philippi had internal strife and vain glory, or selfish ambition.
2. This was a Financial Problem, v.3
There was a shortage of provision and they had mortgaged all of their possessions in order to borrow money to buy food (v.3) Others borrowed money to pay the taxes levied by the king (v.4).
Debt is a destroyer and when people get in over their heads, problems result. What were the reasons for the financial crunch?
3. This was an Environmental problem, Famine
Some things we obviously have no control over.
4. This was a Governmental Problem (High Taxes)
The problem of government is too much control. Taxation is a form of slavery.
5. This was a Scriptural Problem;
High Interest Rates charged by Jews to Jews was a clear breaking of the law of Moses. Deut.23:19,20; Ex.22:25
How does Nehemiah solve this great internal problem?
1. Confront the problem quickly, v.6,7.
Nehemiah does not let the problem fester and grow. Some of us are pros at procrastination. Nehemiah was angry, but he controlled his anger. How did he do that? He consulted with himself, v.7
Mark 3:5, Jesus became righteously angry. Prov.16:32, He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he that taketh a city.
2. Appeal to their sense of right, v.8-10
He confronts them with a sharp rebuke concerning what is right. They could answer nothing.
A. He appealed to their sense of obedience to the law. They knew that the Word of God was clear on the issue of usury, Deut.23:19,20.
B. He appealed to their sense of love, notice how Nehemiah uses the word, brethren, which means brother. Would you let your brother sell you his son for a slave just so you can get rich?
To consider persons, event, and situation only in the light of “what’s in it for me” is to live on the doorstep of hell!
C. He appealed to their sense of PURPOSE, they were people who had been redeemed out of Egypt and now out of Babylonian captivity, and now they were putting one another back into slavery! It made no sense! It was not their purpose to get rich at each other’s expense.
D. He appealed to their sense of FEAR for God, or the respect and reverence they had toward God.
E. He appealed to their sense of testimony, v.9b He appeals how the other nations would perceive their bahavior. The other nations will look at us as a joke if we continue in this way! (v.9) If they see us as a joke, they will consider our God to be a farse.
3. Specify a proper course of action, v.11-13
Restore their land and then make a public oath concerning what you will do in the future. They had to remember that there was a day of judment coming!
4. Live with Integrity, v.14-19
Nehemiah did not take advantage of his power and exploit others because of his position. Former leaders like Sanballat had. He did not use his expense account as Governor to eat the people’s food, which he was entitled to as the Governor. Prosperity has destroyed many people, but not Nehemiah.
Former governors (v.15) taxed the people (“were chargeable unto the people”), had a daily expense account directly from the people, and promoted their servants to a place of domineering leadership. “Dirty politics” had been the name of the game, but Nehemiah changed those politically motivated policies. “So did not I” Nehemiah said!
Nehemiah did not use people to build power and buy comfort for himself. He did not use people and love things. We are to love people and use things to serve others!
Nehemiah did not tax the people to buy his own food.
Nehemiah did not use his position as a way to exempt himself from work. As a leader, he was a servant. He himself built the wall and did not buy land. His focus was to build the wall, not use his position as a way to buy land and enrich himself. Nehemiah never lost sight of his goal and purpose.
Nehemiah shared with others, having about 200 people over to his house for dinner every night! That takes a lot of food! Nehemiah remained giving at a time of great need for others.