Day 8

I Stood Against Social Injustice

from the Nehemiah reading plan


Nehemiah 5:1-19, Exodus 22:25, 2 Corinthians 8:9

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 5:1-19, Exodus 22:25, 2 Corinthians 8:9

I’m no bargain hunter when it comes to shopping and did not inherit whatever gene it is my grandmother and mother and at least three of my brothers seem to have. I want and weigh and debate and discuss until finally I buy at full price. There is one place, though, where I have no problem hunting for bargains: my standing before God.

It seems I’m always being measured and measuring myself up against the standards of others, and therefore, against the standard of God. Unconsciously, I list my good deeds against my less than good deeds and, finding myself short, try to make it up to God.

I’ll be more faithful here.
I’ll give more of myself there.
I’ll be a better friend here.
A better wife there.
I’ll be quick to say I’m sorry here.
And I’ll be slow to take offense there.
Surely the scales will be weighed and I’ll not be found wanting?
Surely my generosity must count for something?

What I love about Nehemiah chapter 5 is that while Nehemiah is a man who is known and loved by God and loves Him in return, somehow he still feels the need to present his list of good deeds before God. It’s as if he is a small child who’s come in from a long day of playing outside to then dump out the contents of his pockets and present them as treasures before his father.

I found this rock and this stick.
Look at this leaf and this frog.
I played with this boy and then we built this fort.
Come see it…

And instead of ignoring or rebuking the child for distracting him, the father delights in the boy’s account. This child is not earning the love of his father; he is simply overflowing with the gift of who and what he is—a child, about the work of being a child, doing the things a child does, and certain in the love of his father.

It is not a bargain Nehemiah is on the hunt for here. He’s not listing his deeds to God in order to gain His approval. He knows who he is and what he is called to do: rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and call the people to repentance. It is not scales on which Nehemiah lays the goodness of his deeds—it is for the delight of his Father.

We know that as children of God, our “good deeds” are like filthy rags before the goodness of Christ (Isaiah 64:6). We are fully covered in the sacrifice of Christ’s death; therefore, we can no more justify our good deeds or count our bad ones against us. Jesus’ work on the cross is complete, as is our justification through Him (Galatians 2:16).

So since we are children of God, as we go about our lives today, let’s not tally mark our good deeds or our  bad ones, but instead be about our Father’s business, being faithful with what He has called us to today. And at the end of the day, whether we’re tempted to feel self-sufficient and justified or ashamed and unworthy, based on what we did or did not accomplish—let us instead empty our hearts before the Father and show Him the treasures of a life lived in faithfulness for our joy and His glory.

SRT-Nehemiah-Shareimage-Day8

Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

Post Comments (102)

102 thoughts on "I Stood Against Social Injustice"

  1. Edith Arroyo says:

    Im so thankful for this message this morning because before my day has even started found myself overthinking about how to be good and the steps I need to take to be good but I believe after reading this it brings so much peace and a weight lifted over me to just enjoy the day and remember that I am were I am because of my faithfulness to God and not to discredit that.

  2. Emily Gates says:

    This was such a great read. I struggle with this. I attempt to do the right thing, but subconsciously I am doing them to please God, for myself. It becomes selfish and then His work seems diminished in a sense. .. My debt was paid, and my freedom died for. I plan to use my freedom to delight my Father, and make Him happy. Forget about self worth and self gratification. What more can I be proud of when I have the ultimate Father calling me His daughter.

  3. Terrie Fulk says:

    It took me awhile to understand the scripture today. I have been re-reading and pondering over what the message was in this reading. I feel that I now have an understanding. I shouldn’t treat people in a lesser way than myself. Let God see what I have done and marvel in His acceptance.

  4. Hannah Blacksmith says:

    I would have to agree with Sarah- I’m a little disappointed that there was no mention of how Nehemiah felt VERY angry about the systemic injustice he saw and the action he took to resolve and speak up for the oppressed. Still love this study though!

  5. AnnMarie L. Smith says:

    Nehemiah had a pure heart and feared God. As Governor he held a position of power and had the ability to demand service. But he took into consideration the plight of the people “because of the fear of God”. Also, he “did not demand the governor’s provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people”. This lesson reminded me to never take advantage of people even though I can demand it though positions of power. Always, fear God.

  6. Julie Waldvogel says:

    It’s not easy to stop measuring myself, but I know I’ll try my best not to.

  7. Jude says:

    I’m always in favour of getting something new from scripture but not sure that was standing out for me! Happy to hear further comments from the guest speaker about her thought process.

  8. Sarah says:

    That’s all you’ve got after reading about bonded labor slavery and not exploiting the poor by charging interest? Your devotion had NOTHING about that even though it’s titled “I stood against social injustice.”

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Sarah, thank you for sharing this feedback. I’ll be sure to pass this along and we’re so grateful that you’re reading along with us. -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. Joy Thomas says:

      I really wish there was a like/heart feature , as there used to be on these comments, to show that I agree with a certain comment on that I recognize someone’s need and am praying for her. It was such a great way of visual affirmation.

      1. She Reads Truth says:

        We appreciate the feedback Joy and will be sure to pass it along. We’re so glad that you’re reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

    3. Julie says:

      That’s what I thought, I’m confused as to where this devotion came from…

    4. Kari says:

      At first I kind of thought that too, but after thinking about it, the title makes sense! The passage was about Nehemiah’s generosity to the poor when he saw they were being treated wrongly. He stepped in and stepped up against social injustice! Then as the devotional said, he listed all his good deeds he had done for the poor to God. I think it was a good devotional because instead of choosing to focus on the harsh reality of the bonded labor slavery exploitation of the poor, Lori chose to focus purely on God. She focused on how Nehemiah handled the issue rather than focusing on what the issue was. I thought this was pretty good!! But of course I can most definitely see where you are coming from :)

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