The Promised Land is elusive to some of its new owners.  They are unable to possess the land because their own leaders are taking it from them.  They form an “Occupy Wall Street” movement for their own time.

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.  There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, 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.  Nehemiah 5:1-5

There comes a time when faith fails to manifest in the political system.  Those who are supposed to be our leaders, our “good examples”, are serving the enemy of our soul.  At a time when the nation is under a military threat a few opportunists are bleeding their finances.  Times are hard but the merchants of wealth are raising prices and making abusive loans to their brethren. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you twenty-first century people?  Major corporations fail and their leaders give themselves huge cash rewards for their failures.  Elected officials claim to share our faith while they are oppressing the people and living in sin.  Employers send jobs overseas and throw their employees away.  They “rent” contract workers and force them to live in poverty.  Credit cards and mortgages have “adjustable” rates; a license to steal!  What part of “Stick ‘em up!” don’t you understand?  God understands!

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.  Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.  And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.  Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?  Nehemiah 5:6-9

Now Nehemiah makes the rulers face the angry mob.  He berates them in public for their greed and sin.  After Judah was rescued from foreign slavery, their own leaders are reinstating that slavery again!  The rulers are speechless in their shame; what a surprise!  (While our leaders are shameless in their speech!)  Now he delivers this basic teaching in letting them know that they are not doing a good thing.  He offers them the thought that they could fear God and not provide a testimony that validates their enemies accusations.  They deserved the reproach of man and God.

I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.  Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.  Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.  Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.  Nehemiah 5:10-13

Nehemiah commands the rulers to make restitution to the people and to end the abuse.  The priests too are called to take an oath, were they too a part of this conspiracy?  Is it good business for the clergy to “butter their bread” with the bankers and leaders of the community?  Elected officials allow us to have taxation with representation now, but is it that much better than without representation?  Until our leaders discover the fear of the Lord, we may be worse off now.  At least the people of Jerusalem did comply then.

Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.  But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.  Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.  Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.  Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.  Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.  Nehemiah 5:14-19

This leader is abstaining from taxing the people out of his fear of God.  He wants to be seen as a servant by God, not by the wealthy men of the land.  Today Lord please send us leaders and pastors who are not protecting the wealthy while oppressing the poor for their own greed.  I cannot care or vote for a candidate who claims to represent my faith when his actions offend my God.  How can I then be left only with another candidate who openly defies Godly morality while showing the charity we should be doing?

When I was in high school my mother bought me a coat made in Eastern Europe.  A few years later I was facing bullets in Vietnam which were made in the same country.  Do we now buy our spiritual enemy ammunition to use against us too?  When we vote for false Christians we allow their misdeeds to stain the testimony of our Lord Jesus.    

When our spiritual leaders point us towards failed candidates, they may be worse than these teachers who embrace the serpent.  Expect the same compensation:

Snake-handling preacher dies from rattlesnake bite in West Virginia

By Gil Aegerter, NBC News

West Virginia preacher Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford, who believed Christians should handle snakes to test their faith, died after a rattlesnake bit him over the weekend.

snake man