NEHEMIAH - Chapter 5 - Greed and Covetousness Print E-mail

NEHEMIAH – Chapter 5 – Internal Greed and Covetousness

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

March 15, 2015, the Year of Our Lord

 

It cannot be a coincidence that as we are studying this chapter at this time the Holy Spirit gave a witness on Sunday morning of the spirit of Judas as a strong man over the election campaign.

 

Because of the powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning, I drilled down on Sunday evening using the word of God as warfare against this spirit.  Finances and our relationship with mammon is a tremendous truth for the release of spiritual ministry from His Body.

 

By the Spirit, I discerned the spirit of Judas not only has a strangle hold on our government, but also in the Church (universal).    Judas had the spirits of greed, covetousness, ambition, betrayal, treachery, conspiracy, control, murmuring, false judgment, and murder, etc.

 

What we the Church, universal and individually have not overcome, we do not have authority over.   From a position of personal rectitude a man is always strong to deal firmly and effectively with a demonic strong hold.  Don’t ever try to take on a devil of which you have not overcome in your own walk.  Contention with nobles who are violating principles of justice, which is not preceded by our own clean living and thinking, is of no avail.  When one’s life is free of complicity with evil, we are then strong to smite evil and overcome it in others.

 

Matthew 7:3: “Why behold you the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the log that is in your own eye?”

 

Again we are “on time” in Nehemiah, chapter 5.  The hidden dissatisfaction within the community needed to be brought to the surface.  This is true in families and churches as well as a nation.  We humans have a tendency to “glue together”, “fix” and “cover” hidden dissatisfaction.  It is always healthy for a family, church, and/or nation to allow the Holy Spirit of Truth to cleanse all that is hidden.

 

 There was a natural tendency to argue that too much money was being spent on Nehemiah’s project. 

 

The nobles and rulers were guilty of greedy desires, greedy practices, lack of compassion, and lack of the fear of God.  Nehemiah rebuked the guilty and demanded restitution of their unrighteous gain to those from whom it was exacted. 

 

Nehemiah was unselfish and did not use his position for personal advantage and gain.  His commission from the Lord was to rebuild the Wall; not “get-ahead” or increase his personal fortunes.

 

5:1-5: “Some of the people, the men and their wives, complained publicly about their Jewish relatives.  Some of them said, “We have large families!  We need some corn, if we are going, to eat and stay alive.  Others said, “We’ve had to mortgage our fields, vineyards, and homes in order to get some corn because of this famine.  Others said, “We’ve had to borrow money to pay the king’s taxes on our fields and vineyards.  We have to force our sons and daughters to become slaves.  Some of our daughters have already becomes slaves.  But we can’t do anything else when our fields and vineyards belong to others.’”

 

Note the use of personal pronouns.  Hindrances to our spiritual growth in all areas of the Kingdom of God often result in worry, fear, wrong perceptions, evil surmising, and misunderstandings.

 

Satan attacks us in our feelings to cause a wrong attitude, thus blocking the flow of Kingdom blessing.

 

Most were in this financial predicament because they weren’t giving to God or were giving with the wrong motives (“What are you doing with my money, Nehemiah?”)

 

  1. Mismanagement of finance ---They were responding in fear, because they needed to pay taxes.  They were constrained by social patterns.
  2. Disobedience in relationships – Some were exacting interest from their brothers and sisters.  Interest is like unforgiveness: “forgive me my debt; but you better pay me what you owe me.”

 

Matthew 18:27-28: “The lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  The same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pence.  He laid hand son him, and took him by the throat, saying, pay me what you owe.”

 

  1. Ignorance of parent/child and family relationships --- They were cruel, selling their children into slavery.  We can also do that by over-indulging children as well as going into debt which puts our family in bondage to sin. 

 

Nehemiah responded constructively and in control after he resolved his anger.  As Christian leaders, we should always resolve our anger and indignation before taking action.

 

5: 6-13: “I was very angry when I heard their cry and their complaints and murmuring.  After thinking it over, I confronted the nobles and leaders.  I told them, “You are charging interest on loans made to your own relatives.”  I arranged for a large meeting to deal with them.  Then I told them, “We have done our best to buy back our Jewish relatives who had been sold to other nations.  Now you are selling your Jewish relatives so that we have to buy them back again!”  They were unable to say anything.  I added, “what your’ doing is wrong.  Shouldn’t you live in the fear of God to keep our enemies from ridiculing us?  My brothers, my servants, and I are lending money and corn to the poor.  But we must stop charging them interest.  You must return their fields, vineyards, olive orchards, and their homes today.  Also, you must return the interest on the money, grain, new wine, and olive oil you’ve been charging them.”  They responded, “We’ll return it and not try to get it from them again.  We’ll do what you say, “Then I called the priests and made them promises to keep their word.  I shook my clothes and said, “In the same way, may God shake out every man from his home and work who refuses to keep this promise.  In the same way, may everyone be shaken out, emptied and left with nothing.”  Then the whole congregation said amen and praised the Lord.  The people did what they had promised.”

 

Notice the power of the prophetic action.  Once a spirit has been confronted and the people repent, then people’s hearts and lives are prepared to receive greater glory and blessing of Kingdom principles and provision.

 

This is why the Word of God must not be neglected.  We have seen people who want to just roll around on the floor laughing at every service, but will never sit under the authority of the Word of God or the government of the Kingdom of God.   Nehemiah is operating under the principle of Kingdom government.    I will laugh and roll with the best of them when the Holy Spirit apprehends me, but I also respect and am blessed by the Word of God.

 

The sweetest Spirit is surrounding the Sunday evening Bible study group.  Instead of lecturing, we are breaking the bread of the Word of God, and the Word is soaking into our Spirits.  I am greatly blessed.

 

Nehemiah exemplifies here the two Great Commandments.  He willingly disregarded his entitlements as Governor.  His unselfishness is a form of warfare in dealing with the greed and covetousness of the people.  When I see people, who are struggling with being “covetous”, “needy” or “greedy”, I open my hand showing them the love of God and the generosity of the heart of God.  Most people who are resentful of people with a generous heart have never experienced generosity.  They are so blessed by a gift that they in turn want to become a blessing.

 

Certainly there are evil people who will take advantage of generosity.  These are those with the spirit of Judas.  Jesus said, “”Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!  It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

 

5: 14-18: “During the 12 years that I was governor of Judah, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign to the thirty-second year of his reign, my brothers and I never ate any food that was paid for by the governor’s food allowance.  Those who were governors before me had made life difficult for the people by taking from them food and wine plus one pound of silver.  Even the governors’ servants took advantage of their power over the people.  But I didn’t do that because I feared God.  Instead, I put my best effort into the work on this wall, and we bought no land.  All my men gathered here for work.  I fed 150 Jewish leaders and their people who came to us from the surrounding nations.  Preparing one ox and six choice sheep were necessary every day.  Poultry was prepared for me. Once every ten days a supply of wine was ordered.  Yet, in spite of all this, I never demanded anything from the governor’s food allowance, because these people were already carrying a heavy load.”

 

Next week as Nehemiah nears the completion of rebuilding the walls, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem tried intimidation to set a trap for Nehemiah.  From open rebellion to crafty suggestion, the roaring lion becomes the slinking serpent.

 

Because the Holy Spirit was so powerful this past Sunday morning seeming to confirm the spirit of Judas as well as the Word about “The Jews were crying out to God for their King and Messiah.  When Jesus appeared, they rejected him because he was not in their Jewish image.  In the same way, could it be the Lord has sent a deliverer to America and he is not in the Christian image.”

 

I purposed in my heart after Resurrection Sunday to teach on the spirit of Judas.  As I was scanning through the sermons, I discovered a teaching on Judas from 2009.  Basically that teaching tells the story of Judas, but does not nail the spirit of Judas.  I chose a few passages to share today.   Amazing the date of the sermon was March 15, 2009 exactly 7 years ago. 

 

John 6:70:  “Jesus answered them, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

 

Betrayal and Treachery are part of the work of the Cross.  If we are to be glorified with Jesus, we will suffer with him. 

 

  This transcends the idea of sons or children of the devil.  It indicates a willing and deliberate tool of Satan, i.e., the devil’s own man.  By this word, Jesus informs Judas that he is aware of the unbelief in his heart.

 

Why Judas?  Jesus’ selection of Judas gives us a profile as Satan’s methods unfolded in his man:

 

  1. Closeness:  Judas was intimate with Jesus, convinced of His public and private innocence, yet betrayed Him.
  2. Hideous:  In betraying innocence for money, we see the exaltation of “mammon” as the real god of unbelievers.
  3. Disguised:  Satan’s agents are found among the servants of the Lord.
  4. IMMUNE TO TRUTH:  Judas was a participator in Jesus’ miracles, a sharer of His Words of life, yet never saved.
  5. Treacherous:  Posing as a friend, Judas schemed to betray Him.  Satan uses a man’s family and friends for hate and hurt.  In Judas we see how sin works, demonstrating evil in action.  He is a visual-aid hand picked by Jesus in accordance with the prophetic Word of Psa. 41:9

“Yet my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

  1. AMBITIOUS:  He was going with the assumption when they went into Jerusalem, Jesus would establish His throne.  He would be the treasurer of the Kingdom.  When Jesus told them at the feast at Simon’s house that he was getting ready to die, Judas bailed. 
  2. CONSPIRACY:  Joining forces with other evil spirits to kill Jesus.
  3. COVETOUSNESS:  The trigger for his evil deed was when Mary poured out the expensive spikenard upon Jesus.  He coveted the value of this costly gift and resented that it was poured out on Jesus.

 

 

Zech. 11:12-14:  And I said unto them, ‘If you think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear, so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver, and the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter; a goodly price that I was priced at of them.  And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.  Then I cut asunder my other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

 

It is significant that Judas was the only apostle who was not a Galilean, but was a Judean.   As his name suggests he was from Judah of Keith (Judas Iscariot).  This is a small town some few miles south of Hebron.  Judas’ desire for a political deliverer plus his desire for the money and favor with the Pharisees is the motivation for his deed. 

 

Jesus drew the other disciples to Himself through cords of love.  However, from Judas’ fettered greed and disappointed ambition sprang jealousy, spite and hatred.  It was the hatred not of a strong but of an essentially weak man.  Instead of making an open breach with his Lord, he remained as one of His followers; and this continued contact with a goodness to which he would not yield, (Mark 14:10) and his brooding over the rebukes of his Master, gave ready entrance for “Satan to enter in to him.”

 

His life is a lesson which points vividly to the pitfalls of our spiritual pilgrimage.  Kingdom finances are a river which flows continually in the Spirit.  In this river we are continually blessed.  Satan attacks our carnal soul for the love of money, the fear of lack, lust of the eyes and the pride of life to keep us from flowing in the Kingdom blessing of provision.   The gift of giving is in the heart of the giver.  It is not given from a full bank account, but from a full heart.

 

On the night which he was betrayed by Judas, Jesus offered a prayer which is recorded in John 17. 

 

17:12:  “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name; those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

 

Perdition:  Hell – loss of the soul – eternal damnation.

 

Judas had arranged to identify Jesus with a kiss.  The ultimate betrayal!

 

In closing our study of Chapter 5 of Nehemiah, we can compare the good prayer of Nehemiah and his heart to give and bless.

 

5:19: “Think upon me My God, for good, according to all I have done for this people.”

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from God’s Word Translation.

I entered into the labors of Principles of Present Truth on Nehemiah by: Kelly Varner and sermon notes Judas Iscariot by: Carolyn Sissom 3/15/2009, the year of Our Lord. 

 
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