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Walk in the Fear of the Lord - Part 3 (Be a Burden-Bearer and not a Burden)

Rev. Tetteh Annor-Larbi | November 21, 2023 | Nehemiah 5:14-19


But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took their bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God. Nehemiah 5:15 (NKJV)

MESSAGE: As the governor of the Jews, Nehemiah held certain privileges associated with his position, including the governor's allotment of food and comforts. Traditionally, governors before him had exploited these privileges, burdening the people with additional levies for their enjoyment. However, Nehemiah, driven by his reverence for God and a sense of compassion, chose a different path. Recognizing the existing burdens on the people, he opted to become a burden-bearer instead of perpetuating the heavy demands placed on the community.

Governors in Nehemiah's time lived luxuriously, while the people endured poverty and hardship, having mortgaged their homes and lands to fellow Jews. This scenario, sadly, resonates with our contemporary world, particularly in Africa.

Today, leaders often increase the burdens on citizens, living in affluence while neglecting the needs of those they are meant to serve. They create systems that benefit themselves, leading to the increasing impoverishment of the masses.

True leadership, in the eyes of God, is rooted in service, not privilege. Godly leaders bear the burdens of the people rather than becoming additional burdens for the people to carry.

FEET AND HANDS OF THE MESSAGE Have you been placed in a leadership position to serve? Know that all authority is established by God for service. Be a burden bearer for the people you serve, and do not become or add to the burden they would have to carry. You serve God, by serving the people.

PRAYER Dear heavenly father, I ask for wisdom to lead in the place where I find myself. Help me to lighten the burden of the people I lead, and serve them for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



DAILY word study: LAID BURDENS The Hebrew phrase "טָשְׂטִים" (tashtim), translated as "laid burdens" in English, encompasses the idea of placing heavy loads on someone or something. The use of "laid burdens" in Nehemiah exposes a distressing reality — the exploitation and oppression inflicted by those in authority. It was not just physical toil; it extended to economic injustices. The people were burdened not only by heavy tasks but also by excessive levies, a clear violation of God's principles.

This Hebrew phrase, טָשְׂטִים (tashtim), embodies more than the weight of physical loads; it encapsulates the weight of economic disparity, a yoke of oppression that went against God's design for justice and fair treatment.

In our modern context, the reflection goes beyond recognizing overt physical burdens. It urges us to scrutinize systems and structures contributing to societal inequalities. How are we, knowingly or unknowingly, participating in or benefiting from systems that burden others? The devotional reflection calls for introspection into the economic and social dynamics around us. Reflections: how can we actively engage in dismantling unjust systems and promoting economic fairness? How does our faith guide us in advocating for justice in both tangible and intangible burdens faced by our neighbours?

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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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