Read Nehemiah 5:14-19. What reasons does Nehemiah give for not demanding “the governor’s provisions [fees]” (Neh. 5:18, NKJV) from the people?
Nehemiah most likely wrote the account in these verses after his return to the court of King Artaxerxes, after his 12 years of governorship in Judah. Although governors were entitled to receive revenue from their subjects,
Nehemiah never claimed this right, but rather financed his own living. Not only did he pay for his own expenses, but he also provided for his family as well as the whole court. Zerubbabel, the first governor, is the only other governor whose name we know. When Nehemiah says “the former governors”, he is most likely referring to the governors in between Zerubbabel and himself. As a result, by the time he was done with his term in office, he very likely lost money. Rather than acquiring riches, as one would expect from a prestigious position, he probably forfeited wealth and possessions. Nehemiah was wealthy, which is why he could provide the daily food for many people, and he was generous in supplying plenty to others (Neh. 5:17-18).
Though it was not the same thing as what Abraham did after the rescue of those taken captive by some of the surrounding nations (see Genesis 14), what Nehemiah does here nevertheless reveals the same crucial principle.
Read Nehemiah 5:19. What is he saying there, and how do we understand this in terms of the gospel?
What we see with Nehemiah is an example of someone who put the Lord and the Lord’s work before his own personal gain and advantage. It’s a good lesson for us all, regardless of our particular situation. It’s easy to work for the Lord when it doesn’t cost us much.
|Read Philippians 2:3-8. In what ways, right now, can you reveal in your own life the self-denying principles expressed here?|