Today we learn that not all threats to the work of God come from outside the covenant community. Sometimes these threats come from inside. It seems that the sheep are at risk not only from wolves but from the more clever sheep in the flock. In particular, the rich have been abusing the poor.

Once again Nehemiah proves himself a model of godly leadership. He does not simply brush the problem aside. He does not choose to ignore the problem nor does he tell those who are suffering unjustly – just deal with it for the sake of the bigger cause. Rather he exhorts those who are practicing injustice and convinces the members of the community to love one another. As we consider his conduct, may we be encouraged to love one another and eradicate the self-centeredness that so often undermines genuine community. Only in this way will we be able to build Jerusalem here in our midst.