We’ve all faced it, right? Opposition, push back, complaining—especially when it’s related to a tough task that takes a lot out of people. Things seem to bubble over as we read Nehemiah 5: The people are complaining, the wealthy are taking advantage of the poor and Nehemiah is angry. Yet, as we’ve read throughout the book, the way Nehemiah handled that anger and the actions he took are great examples for us when we seem to be getting closer to that boiling point, whether at work or home.
Before walking through the steps Nehemiah took, Wayne reminded us of how anger has been around since the beginning and shined a light on others in the Bible who got angry. A few of the examples:
- Ex. 11:1-8: Moses was “hot with anger” when he left Pharaoh, tired of Pharaoh’s games of telling Moses he and the people could go, only to change his mind.
- Ex. 32:19-20: Coming down from the mountain after receiving the tablets, Moses sees the people had made and were worshipping a golden calf. In anger, he throws down the tablets, destroying them, burned the calf, spread the ashes in the water and made the sons of Israel drink the water.
- Num. 20:8-12: Rather than speak to the rock, as God instructed, Moses struck the rock in frustration with the people, who were grumbling.
- Jonah 4:1: He gets angry because the Ninevites repented and didn’t suffer as he thought they should.
- Mark 3:5: Angry with those who didn’t think He should heal on the Sabbath, Jesus heals a man. Matt. 21:12-13: Jesus, seeing what the people had turned the synagogue into, overturns tables.
Who got angry the most? God
Nehemiah and his handling of his anger with the injustice going on around him is a good representation of living out Eph. 4:26: “In your anger, do not sin.”
Wayne provided a great outline of Nehemiah’s action that we can follow:
- Neh. 5:5-6: He thought about things carefully. He paused.
- Neh. 5:7: He calmly talked to those involved about the issue.
- Neh. 5:8: Spoke to them again.
- Neh. 5:9: Appealed to them to obey God.
- Neh. 5:10: Acknowledged his involvement and asked for cooperation.
- Neh. 5:11: Provided a specific proposal.
- Neh. 5:12: People agreed and took oath.
- Neh. 5:13: Got buy-in from those assembled.
So, what’s your plan when anger and frustration come upon you—and what can you implement from Nehemiah’s plan?