With conflict, we tend to struggle between two extremes of response: either we pray and don't act, or we act without prayer. Alex describes how Nehemiah found the balance of these two, and transformed a bad situation into something blessed by God.
Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor
5 Now there arose fa great outcry of the people and of their wives gagainst their Jewish brothers. 2 For there were those who said, "With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive."
3 There were also those who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine." 4 And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for hthe king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. 5 Now iour flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet jwe are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards."
6 I was very angry when I heard ftheir outcry and these words. 7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, k"You are exacting interest, each from his brother." And I held a great assembly against them 8 and said to them, "We, as far as we are able, lhave bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!" They were silent and could not find a word to say. 9 So I said, "The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk min the fear of our God nto prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them." 12 Then they said, "We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say." And I called the priests andpmade them swear to do as they had promised.