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In order to prevent the nation of Israel from assimilating into the surrounding cultures and for them to fulfil their messianic and covenant destiny, the book of Nehemiah tells of the sovereign work of God with the Persian rulers and His own people in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah faced selfishness and greediness of the wealthy Israelites. Some of the Israelites, men and their wives made a complaint to Nehemiah, they knew he would be able to help them. Their condition affected them deeply and they intensify their complaint with: Our children are dear to us as theirs are to them (Mal. 2:10), we are of the same heritage and in our flesh is the covenant of circumcision, as well as our brethren; yet our children must be their slaves, and it is not in our power to redeem them.  The sin of the oppressing Jews angered Nehemiah. They were delivered out bondage, should have been willing to undo the heavy burdens put on their own brethren (Isa. 58:6).
He reasoned with them and showed them the evil of what they did. It was bad enough to oppress strangers, but much worse to oppress their poor brethren, and the law did not allow them to take any usury of them (Due. 23:19). God grace he has made us free, should we be brought under a yoke of bondage again? “It is not right what you do; and you ought to fear of God?
We are to be good stewards of our money according to the word of God. When it is our power to do good that is what we should do. The believer should be involved in helping the less fortunate. The Epistle of James says, pure religion is to look after the orphans and the widows.
, Ed, and Yates, Gary, Editors, Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey B&H Academic, Nashville, Tennessee, Copyright Â© 2012 by Knowing Jesus Ministries and Gary Yates
In Nehemiah 5:1-13 Nehemiah has to respond to a outcry that threatens to stop the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls. The people are complaining against the Jewish nobles and their spouses because of the apparent financial oppression they are being subjected too. They claim that their Jewish brethren is taking advantage of their lack of means to provide for their families. In Nehemiah 5:2 those who are working on rebuilding the city walls are seemingly asking to leave so that they can take up grain for their households. They tell the governor of their financial struggle by stating of how they have mortgaged their homes, canâ€™t pay their taxes and have sold their children to be servants/slaves. Even after giving their children to pay off some of their debts, they realize that they are so far behind that it is likely the children will not be redeemed.
Nehemiah was angry with the report he heard from the people because it threatened to stop the building of the walls. This wasvery soon after the people of God had just received the approval of their foreign king to work on the walls after much opposition. At one point they had to work with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. And now with no physical enemies in front of them, there should have been no reason for its delay. Another thing thy angered Nehemiah was that this issue was dividing the people against each other. He compared in Nehemiah 5:8 how the Jewish brethren had once been set free. â€œAnd I said unto them, we after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us?â€ Because of this he didnâ€™t understand the lack of compassion towards those whom were in need.
Nehemiah should have never dealt with money problems directly affecting the rebuilding of the city walls. Not only was the job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem paid for by the king of Persia, he was under direct assignment by God to undertake the task. David Guzik in his commentary on Nehemiah comments on how to do the work of the Lord it requires making some sacrifices. (1) Guzik statesâ€ If you want to spend much time directly ministering to the needs of Godâ€™s people and in spreading the gospel, in most cases it will affect your ability to provide. â€™â€™ He end his message by exclaiming that we need to have faith to wait on Godâ€™ provision and promises. Matthew Henry quoted Gal 5:1 in his disapproval of the people being brought into bondage by their brethren. We as believers know it is a great sin thus to oppress the poor. He states (2) â€œThose who profess religion, and relation to him; and, if you do walk in the fear of God, you will not be either covetous of worldly gain or cruel towards your brethren.â€™â€™
Henry claims it would be a great scandal for this to be known abroad among the heathens? (3) “Consider the reproach of the heathen our enemies, whom would be glad of any occasion to speak against us, and this will give them great occasion; they will say, These Jews, that profess so much devotion to God, see how barbarous they are one to another.â€
When we consider Nehemiahâ€™ example of how he gave unto the people, we should try are best not to be covetous or greed. All of our substance is provided by God as a blessing and those who oppressed the poor sore in direct violation of Godâ€™ law. He wants us to show justice and mercy so if we have the ability to help our fellow brethren it should be freely given. Not to boast or to keep accounts of good deeds but to show that we are truly disciples and followers of his word. I think some people are born with a sense of prosperity in that they donâ€™t lack and have an abundance, But to me property is more in the mindset of a person because a wealthy person can be miserable and a poor person filled with joy. A person can be considered prosperous through their success or wealth but they goes about be prosperous their the blessings that God gives unto them.
(1) David Guzik Layman’s Bible Commentary. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.Guzik
(2) Henry, Matthew. Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. N.p.: Thomas Nelson, 2003. Print. Super Value Ser.
(3) Ibid Matthew Henry’ commentary
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Matthew outlines Jesusâ€™ genealogy to appeal to a Jewish audience, it is written and emphasized down through Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Matthewâ€™s writings also focus on David, the King but skips generations, of Davidic Kings. He did this to get three sets of fourteen generations each, starting with Abraham and ending with Joseph, or Mary, depending on how it is looked at. Matthew also listed several women in Jesusâ€™ genealogy, contradictory to tradition, so while his linage fulfills the Abrahamic covenant, it also proves that Godâ€™s activity is not limited to men or to the people of Israel. Lukeâ€™s gospel outlines Jesusâ€™ geology a little different. First, it starts with Jesus and works backwards, not to Abraham but to Adam. Luke does this to show the relationship of Jesus to the whole of the human race, not just to the Jewish father (Abraham). From David on, the geologies are different. Many people relate this back to the throne of David as opposed to the direct blood line of David. Matthew would only account for Davidic Kings, while Luke outlines the direct bloodline. Clearly, these writings do not contain errors, although the lineage each book describes might point in a different direction, but they are both the lineage of Jesus.
Matthew thought it important to start his book with Jesusâ€™ genealogy to appeal to the Jewish Christian reading audience, and establish Jesusâ€™ relationship to Abraham as well as King David, which fulfilled many prophesies of Jesus coming from the house of David.
Matthew brought the lineage of Jesus to light in Matthew 1:17 (NIV) to show us the timeline from Godâ€™s promise to Abraham to the promise He made to David, with both of them hearing God telling them that their future generations (future seed from that moment forward) would not only number as the sands of the sea, but to go on forever. Luke, on the other hand, was inspired to write about a different lineage in Luke 3:23-38. Here, he penned the names of 77 generations of men (including Jesus, Joseph and Adam) that brought the timeline from the beginning of creation and the fall to the time that Jesus came into the world to set it free.
Since there are no errors from God to the authors that penned the original scrolls of the Bible, Matthewâ€™s version of the 42 generations (which if counted turn out to be 41 actual names listed) and Lukeâ€™s version of the 77 generations both show that Jesus came from the bloodline of David which fulfils the Old Testament prophesy in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 & Isaiah 9:7 (NIV) that the Messiah would come from and stand as heir to king David and his throne. In order for humanity to believe that Jesus was the Savior born to save the world, that prophesy needed to come true and it was in Jesusâ€™ birth that it did.
Also, by looking at the verses surrounding Luke3:23-38, it is noted that Luke could be describing Jesusâ€™ mother Maryâ€™s genealogy versus Josephâ€™s genealogy as Matthew did, although it still goes back to how these two men are both showing the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies that were fulfilled through the generations to get to the Messiah. All in all, within the two genealogy records there were at least five men involved in the fulfillment of prophesy to prove that Jesus is the One who came to be the Lamb of the world.
Both authors have different names listed that were secondary although where it needed to be shown, these fathers of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David were all part of both lists. Here it shows more than just who created whom but where they were as well and in which order, also proving other Old Testament prophesies that pointed to Jesus as Savior of the world.
Biblica, Inc. “Passage Lookup.” Matthew. January 1, 2011. Accessed February 19, 2015. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search= Matthew1:17&version=NIV.