Nehemiah 5 pt 3               Godly Anger

We tend to think today that anger is something to be avoided . I know I am guilty of this, truthfully its not anger i fear but rather being controlled by it suffering a loss of control from anger is something everyone should avoid. There is however a righteous Godly anger. Children are sold in slavery, that should make me angry, people are persecuted and denied basic human rights, that should make me angry. There are lots of things to be rightly angry about; however someone cuts in on me in traffic of I can’t get a car park or someone drops in on  a wave there are when we are truely angry rather than how we should be righteously angry.

Faced with such misery and injustice  being inflicted upon his fellow jews by his fellow jews and leaders how does Nehemiah respond… 5: 6-12

6 I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. (Righteous anger)

7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, You are exacting interest, each from his brother. And I held a great assembly against them 8 and said to them, We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us! They were silent and could not find a word to say.

9 So I said, The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.

12 Then they said, We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say. And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised.

He is moved by injustice 

vs 6 Nehemiah was angry and rightly so yet in his anger he did not sin he was in control. Here is another example of Godly anger. (I was very angry )

He contemplates and plans

vs 7 He considers his response he doesn’t just act out of anger he thinks it through. (I took counsel with myself,)

He takes action

vs7 He doesn’t just calm down and take a chill pill. Nehemiah confronts sin. (I brought charges against the nobles and the officials.)

He responds on 3 levels emotional / intellectual / volitional

Emotional…     his heart is moved / he is angry

Intellectual…     his mind is engaged / he ponders / thinks / takes council

Volitional…     his will is motivated / he confronts / accused

This is similar to His initial calling in Chapter 1 where he mourned (heart); fasted and prayed/ planned (mind)  and asked the king (will).

God does not want us to just jump in the deep end and not question and plan.

God desires obedience born out of a motivated changed heart and response measured and planned in our mind then enacted through our will.

The nobles cannot refute what Nehemiah has accused them of. 8b. Now he presses the matter home appealing to their  Conscience 5:8 (as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations)

Love 5:8 (your brothers) Morality 5: 9a (The thing that you are doing is not good) Theology 5:9b (Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God) Testimony of Gods Glory 5:9c (prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies)

12 Then they said, We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.

Nehemiah summons the priest to seal the deal under God. vs 12b he then gives an enacted prophecy. 13 I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied. And all the assembly said Amen and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.

What an example to us all when confronted with an ugly sin they listen to the man of God repented and promised change which they fulfilled. They did so with praise for the Lord on there lips and glorified him by obedience.

* 2 things drove Nehemiah Reverence for God 5:15 and compassion for others 5:17-18.

* Hows your reverence for God does it drive your actions and thoughts?

* Hows your compassion for others in light of this or has it turned into ugly false piety and judgement of others for their seeming lack of reverence?

“Anger is not in itself sinful, but…it may be the occasion for sin. The issue of self-control is the question of how we deal with anger. Violence, tantrums, bitterness, resentment, hostility, and even withdrawn silence are all sinful responses to anger.”    RC Sproil

“When a newspaper posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ the Catholic thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:

‘Dear Sirs:    I am.

Sincerely Yours,    G. K. Chesterton.’

Jesus said Mk12:29  The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

““When a newspaper posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ the Catholic thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:

‘Dear Sirs: I am.

Sincerely Yours, G. K. Chesterton.’”