The Bible is about Jesus.
In Genesis, we see Abraham taking his son, Isaac, to the top of a mountain to offer him as a sacrifice. Jesus took a trip to the top of a mountain to offer himself as a sacrifice for us. Joseph endured the betrayal of those who were closest to him, but later became the very one who saved his family during a famine. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, but even in the betrayal, God used Jesus’s death to save all of mankind. Several chapters of the Old Testament (Psalm 23, Isaiah 53, etc.) explicitly help us to be reminded of this truth.
As we get to Nehemiah 5, the wealthy nobles had taken advantage of the common people. With the blessings they received from God, they enslaved their own people. The money that God had given to them so that they might heal and help, they used instead to extort and abuse. Rather than becoming agents of hope, they had become destructive villains in their pursuit of more wealth. Given much, they desired more. They falsely viewed themselves as amassers of wealth instead of conduits for a Providential God to work through. They saw themselves as the end of the road when it came to the blessings of God. They were very good at receiving, and absolutely worthless at giving.
And as we read, we must not lose sight of Jesus. You see, a passage like this shows us that by nature, and by tendency men are depraved and selfish. It shows that the natural inclination of the heart is to be greedy not merciful, to be proud not humble, to be unfairly evil not just.
A passage like this points at the destruction of sin. It shows the depravity of man, but through that depravity, it reveals the certain need of a Savior.
Nehemiah came to the rescue of these people. But that rescue would be only temporary, for within a few decades the Romans would march in and oppress them again.
However, one day Jesus came as the ultimate Savior. What Nehemiah could only do for a few years, Jesus has done for all of time.
Food For Thought: How was Nehemiah like Jesus in this text?