Dear Visionary Leader:
Every time God’s people say, “Let us arise and build,” the devil’s crowd says, “Let us arise and blast.” When God’s people have a mind to work, the devil’s crowd has a mind to wreck. The devil inspired certain philosophies and problems to keep Nehemiah, the leader and man of God, from leading his people-and to keep them from building the walls.
The devil will try everything he can to stop the person who strives to lead God’s people forward to build with greatness for the glory of the Lord. First, the devil will try derision. He tried to laugh Nehemiah’s team out of their work for God. When that did not work, he tried discouragement. The devil tried to worry the people and weigh them down with the burdens of the project.
When the first two obstacles did not slow them down, he tried danger. Satan tried to cause fear by threatening them-but that didn’t work. Yet, he was not finished.
When all else fails, the devil comes to bring division. His purpose is to divide the people. This tactic took place during Nehemiah’s rebuilding program. This division focused on money matters.
In Nehemiah 5:1-5 we read, “And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore, we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth”-that is, there was a famine in the land; inflation was running away, and material goods were hard to get-“There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute”-that is, taxes were high-“and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.”
The most sensitive nerve in the human body is the one that runs from the heart to the pocketbook. Evangelist Reinhardt Bonnke used to say, “God deserves all the credit, but He also appreciates cash in His work.”
If we are going to ultimately accomplish what our Lord has called us to do, then there will have to be enough money to get the job done. As visionary leaders, we constantly live with the tension between vision and provision.
In Nehemiah 5, there are two major sections regarding money and ministry-or finances and faith. These concepts impact all of our lives. The first section relates to the problems of financial bondage, and the second section refers to the principles of financial freedom.
The Problems of Financial Bondage
I want you to see the financial bondage these people were under in Nehemiah’s time. In Nehemiah 5:3, we read about strife and wages. The strife that was sown and the divisions that resulted were caused by problems involving wages, money, and finances.
In addition, the people were faced with a shortage of provisions to meet basic human needs and very high prices for those provisions. Nehemiah 5:2 talks about how difficult it was even to get the wheat and the corn that the people needed to eat.
Yet, the financial situation continued to worsen with the passing of time. People mortgaged their property. In Nehemiah 5:3, we read, “Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses.” They did this to buy food. People are in deep financial bondage when they have to mortgage their house in order to feed their family.
As if all this wasn’t bad enough, we read, “There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute” (Nehemiah 5:4). The people had gone to the finance company to borrow money to pay their taxes. High taxes are not something new; there have been high taxes around for a long time. But when people have to borrow money to pay the government what they owe-that’s serious bondage.
Financial bondage is not God’s plan for His people. I want to encourage you to write down “Deuteronomy 28:1-14.” When you read this passage, you will find out that God doesn’t want you to be the borrower; God wants you to be the lender. God doesn’t want you to be the tail; God wants you to be the head. God wants to bless His people above all the nations of the world. He wants to give His people financial freedom. But, so many people don’t have financial freedom-they are in financial bondage instead.
As we move forward, let’s ask our Lord for more than enough to do the work He has called us to!
Until The Last Pearson Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking