The Israelites have returned to Jerusalem, but they haven’t returned completely to the ways of God.
In Ezra, we learn about how they had broken the law of Moses and took wives from nations that were forbidden them.
We learn they are breaking the law that says to not charge interest on loans to fellow Hebrews.
It is interesting to me to see the similarity to Joseph in Egypt. Joseph took a tax on the people by collecting grain from them, and then during the famine, the people sold their lands and themselves into slavery to get that grain back, and thanked Joseph for it.
I always thought that this is what Satan and the communist leaders he has worked through have tried to accomplish. No one has been able to pull it off. It only worked when God was blessing the person in charge.
That’s not God’s way for God’s people, though. They are to know that everything they have is from the Lord. They are to give it freely because it was a gift to them in the first place. We’re to have compassion and give. The first disciples are described as not considering anything their own but selling their things to meet the needs of others.
They weren’t to lord over each other. God is their king. Jesus is our lord. We aren’t to be lord over each other. We’re to love our neighbors, not thinking of ourselves as better than another.
When Nehemiah confronts the officials, he says that they should fear the Lord to prevent the taunts of other nations. It reminds me of Moses pleading with God to not destroy the people because other nations will talk bad about Him and say He couldn’t bring them into the land He promised.
Do you walk in obedience, in the love and fear of God, to protect His reputation? Are you careful to live so that the name of Jesus isn’t maligned or made fun of?
The church’s hypocrisy has caused a lot of taunting from God’s enemies, a maligning of the church, God’s people, and the name of Jesus.
May your love and light bring glory to the name of Jesus, to the praise of the Father.