Nehemiah learned of another issue facing the new citizens of Jerusalem. They had to pay a "king's tax" and most of them did not have the money to do so. The wealthy Jews would loan the money to the impoverished ones while taking their children as servants and slaves. The poor just seemed to grow in their poverty because they could never get ahead with the interest they were being charged. Nehemiah was enraged by the actions of the wealthy inhabitants of Jerusalem. He called them together and reminded them of God's restrictions against "usury" with a fellow Israelite. He urged them to return the money to their countrymen and free their children from any contract of servitude. Amazingly, the wealthy responded with repentance and by returning the interest and their children. It must have been a pretty amazing day with people shouting in joy and praise to the Lord for His deliverance. Nehemiah led by example and did not tax the people even more than the king. He received plenty of food to feed his household and the many guests that would visit his table. He obeyed God's Law and enjoyed financial success. Chick-fil-a is a family favorite in our household. They are regularly ridiculed because they do not open on Sunday. S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, always believed that honoring God would provide more success than being open on Sunday. It is not always easy to walk according to God's Word when it is completely counter-cultural, but it can be and has been done by plenty who have gone before you.

Help me, Lord, to walk according to Your Word and not according to the culture of the day. Help me to stand against the world around me and to fight for what You have said is right and good.