“Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. 2 Some were saying, ‘We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.’3 Others were saying, ‘We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.’4 Still others were saying, ‘We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.’6 When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.” NIV
‘The prospects of the poor people among the returned exiles were deplorable. There had been deficient rains and poor harvests, Hag.1:6-11. They had mortgaged their lands to their richer brethren, and had even sold their children to pay the royal taxes and procure means of subsistence. The rich had taken advantage of their necessities, oppressing them with grievous exactions and heavy usury.’ F.B. Meyer, ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.206. No wonder Nehemiah was ‘’very angry’’ (6). There are things that should stir and move us to concrete action. In this case, it was wealthy Jews who were taking advantage of their own countrymen.
Someone made the point that it is easy to be angry. But to be angry with the right person, at the right time, in the right way, and to the right degree is not easy.
It certainly isn’t. But it must be possible, because Paul writes to the Ephesians:
‘’In your anger do not sin’’ (Ephesians 4:26a).
I recall a quote I found years ago that went something like this: ‘Anger is one of the sinews of the soul, and he that lacks it hath a maimed mind.’
There is a place for righteous anger. It is totally possible. Jesus exemplifies this in his turning over the tables of the money changers and driving them out of the temple (John 2:13ff).
PRAYER: Lord, help me to feel what you want me to feel, and move me to take any action you want me to take.