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Walk in the Fear of the Lord - Part 1 (Godly Rebuke Must Lead to Genuine Repentance)

Rev. Tetteh Annor-Larbi | November 19, 2023 | Nehemiah 5:9-13


So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.” Nehemiah 5:12a (NKJV)


After listening to the outcry of the people and their wives concerning the exploitation by their fellow Jews who were part of the nobles and the rulers, Nehemiah had to deal with this oppression from within to ensure that the unity for the work to progress was intact.

Nehemiah fearlessly addressed the wrongdoers in a public gathering, rebuking, and urging them to live in reverence of the Lord. In doing so, he likely aimed to redirect their focus to God's laws, emphasising the importance of loving one's neighbour and refraining from coveting their possessions. The nobles and rulers had been accused of seizing the lands and vineyards of their fellow Jews, exploiting them with high-interest loans. When the debts couldn't be repaid, they resorted to taking the debtors' sons and daughters as slaves.

Walking in the fear of the Lord therefore was to bring them back to the place where they obeyed what the commandments of God had stipulated, and they endeavoured to keep them. It was also intended to extract a specific reaction from the nobles and rulers practising this oppression. That they will repent and turn from their evil ways. So in v12, we see them reacting as anticipated. They repented and made an open statement, saying, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.


How do we respond when the word of God rebukes us? Are we quick to acknowledge our faults and redirect our path, or do we stubbornly persist in the wrong direction? God's rebuke, delivered through diverse channels, should lead us to authentic repentance and a transformation of our hearts. Have you encountered a word of God that rebukes you? Reflect on it and let it inspire positive change in your life.

Embrace God's rebuke; it's a catalyst for transformation and a pathway to a renewed heart.


Dear Lord, help me by your Holy Spirit to consider my ways when I hear your word. So, I may repent and turn back to please you. For your dear name’s sake. Amen.




DAILY word study: RESTORE

The Hebrew word used for "restore" is "שׁוּב" (shuwb). This term encompasses a rich array of meanings that extend beyond the English translation.

  • Return or Turn Back: The primary meaning of "שׁוּב" is to return or turn back. This implies a directional change, not just compensating but redirecting the course.

  • Repentance and Restoration: In a theological sense, "שׁוּב" is closely tied to repentance. When applied to human actions, it signifies not just a return of goods but a turning away from unjust practices.

  • God's Restorative Action: Throughout the Old Testament, God is often described as the One who "שׁוּב," restoring His people, their fortunes, and their relationship with Him.

  • Renewal and Transformation: "שׁוּב" implies a process of renewal and transformation. It's not merely giving back what was taken but bringing about a positive change in the situation.

In the Hebrew context, the call to "שׁוּב" involves a holistic transformation. It's not a mere transaction; it's an invitation to a complete turnaround — a return to righteousness and justice.


How does the Hebrew understanding of "שׁוּב" deepen your reflection on personal transformation and societal justice? In what ways can you actively participate in the comprehensive restoration that God desires?*

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