NEHEMIAH 3:15-5:13 | 1 CORINTHIANS 7:25-40 | PSALM 32:1-11 | PROVERBS 21:5-7
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Nehemiah continues with his story of returning to Jerusalem with supplies to restore the broken wall and gates of the city. He provides the resources and the motivation for the job to be completed despite the opposition that he faces from both within and without.
And after all the gates are repaired, he goes one step further for the good of his people: he helps the poor by charging the well-off among the community as follows: “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? 10 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”
In this way, Nehemiah accomplishes what he had set out to do for his people who had returned to their homeland after many years in exile.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Corinthians, we see Paul continuing with advice to his readers on the joys and ills of marriage. He notes without compunction that married life brings with it many troubles, and yet, it is up to each person to marry or not. Paul himself chose not to, but did not advocate his personal choice as being superior to any others.
However, he does note the marked differences in outlook between the married and the unmarried as he puts it here: 32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
Turning to our reading in the psalms, we find David, the psalmist, offering words of wisdom in these verses:
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Finally, two verses from the book of Proverbs which offer food for thought. Honesty and diligence are virtues to be sought after, Solomon, the wise king of Israel exhorts:
5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.