Redemption, Nehemiah 5:8
August 22, 2010

(written for Edward Wells to present to Church of Parkland for Tommy Taylor)

In our studies in Nehemiah we have “unpacked” about five and a half chapters. His name means “Jehovah Comforts”. God comforted Nehemiah and His mighty hand was upon his mission to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, inspite of opposition. Tobiah, Sanballat and others mocked and maligned him and threatened military force to thwart his efforts of reconstruction. They did not want the city to be rebuilt after the 70-year captivity. The Babylonians had destroyed the city and taken the people into refuge into what is present day Iraq. Like Daniel (and Joseph), God’s sovereign plan included a place of leadership for Nehemiah. As cupbearer to King Ataxerxes of Persia he had direct access to him. In his humble prayer (he was a model prayer warrior) he asked God for success before the king to rebuild the wall and it was granted. He proved to be a wise builder and comforted the people regarding the opposition.

Besides the external opposition, Nehemiah faced something even more dangerous. Who knows the answer, class? Yes, it was opposition from within. Seeds of pride, jealousy, and mistreatment were permeating the people of Judah. The nobles and rulers were exacting usury on the people to the point of taking their mortgaged land and even making slaves of some during the famine and government taxation. Now let us read from chapter 5: 6-13, “Then I was angry when I heard their outcry…”

Did Nehemiah really consult with himself? The answer is yes. Did he condemn the nobles and rulers? Yes again. Can you tell, Tommy is giving you true and false questions? Does Nehemiah demand that they “redeem” themselves? Yes, by giving back the slaves, mortgaged lands, crops, money, and produce. What would you have done? Remember Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and the people who dwell therein.” Since all belongs to God, we must be good stewards of such as we have, “…doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Were the people really willing to give back? True. But Nehemiah made them take an oath before the priests. The author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was on TBN this past week. I think his name is Jollie. He said, “A setback is a setup for a comeback.” Not bad. Think about Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” How is God causing things to work together for good in your life? Nehemiah saw God’s work. The people had setbacks but God gave them comebacks.

Last week we introduced the subject of redemption. Do you understand it? Let us consider this vast doctrine. The Hebrew word used for redeem here in Neh. 5:8 is ganah which means “to acquire” and is similar to gaal which means “to free (by avenging or repaying). Nehemiah uses padah, “to free, redeem” (Young’s Concordance, pages 799-800) in 1:10 praying “And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand.” Nehemiah is probably referring to Exodus 15 where Moses and the sons of Israel sang the song of the redeemed. In verse 13 we read “In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed…” In Exodus 14:30 Moses records: “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” Who knows where they were? Right, the Red Sea. Dr. Schofield has as excellent note on this verse: “The word ‘saved’ is a translation of the Hebrew word yasha, the root of the name Joshua which, in turn, is an abbreviation of Jehoshua meaning Jehovah saves. Joshua is the Hebrew form of Jesus, and Christ was named Jesus, ‘for it is He who will save His people from their sins’ (Matt.1:21). The divine deliverance to which this verse refers is a remarkable illustration of redemption provided by Christ (New Schofield Study Bible, P.108).”

The same word gaal is used in Ruth 4:4-17 when Boaz takes his place as a kinsman-redeemer for Naomi and Ruth becomes his wife. (Read passage) Do you see how the sovereign plan of salvation was working? Our Lord is represented by Boaz and Ruth is typical of believers. What a picture of redemption!

Now turn to Romans 3:21-25 (Read). Notice verse 24 : “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” The Greek word for redemption here is apolutrosis which means “a loosing away”. The Hebrew- Greek Study Bible describes this word: “…from the preposition apo, from, and lutrosis, redemption …” redemption carries the idea of deliverance, but deliverance at a price that was paid. As sinners, we had to be ransomed from sin’s domain by the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He freed us from enslavement to sin. As a result we must Serve and Obey Him being zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14, Read). Do you see how God is using Redemption to purify us for Himself?

Fred Kosin comments on Romans 3:24 in His October 29 reading from “Blessings All Mine With 10,000 Besides!” : “God’s plan of salvation was conceived before man sinned. In fact, the means of salvation and the ones who were to be included were arranged [or chosen] before the foundation of the world…Redemption took place as ‘Christ died for our sins.’ Anyone who receives Christ stands before God justified, because full redemption is in Christ. To believe in Christ is to be given all the adequacy of the sacrifice of Christ. God sees the death [and resurrection] of His Son as sufficient [or propitious] for my sin. God responds to my faith [ which is His gift} by declaring me righteous in Christ. I stand justified.” Fred shared this paper with me regarding our redemption. (pass out copies). Study this for next time. Fred spoke on this at Savannah Grove Baptist Church this year.

Thomas P. Taylor
August 20, 2010

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