“9 So I continued, ‘What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? 10 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them – one per cent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.’” NIV
Walking in the ‘’fear’’ of God has ethical implications:
In the first place, it teaches you ‘’right’’ from wrong. It makes you clear about what is ‘’right’’ and sensitises your conscience to any deviation from it. It causes you to want to do what is ‘’right’’.
Secondly, it makes you desire to have a good testimony before men. You become aware that the glory of God, or otherwise, is bound up with how you conduct yourself. You don’t want to bring any kind of ‘’reproach’’ on God or His church. (Nehemiah showed, says Matthew Henry, ‘That it was a great scandal, and a reproach to their profession. “Consider the reproach of the heathen our enemies, enemies to us, to our God, and to our holy religion. They will be glad of any occasion to speak against us, and this will give them great occasion; they will say, These Jews, that profess so much devotion to God, see how barbarous they are one to another.” Note… All that profess religion should be very careful that they do nothing to expose themselves to the reproach of those that are without, lest religion be wounded through their sides.’)
Thirdly, it will not permit you to be a hypocrite. If you are encouraging others to live well, and do the right thing, then you will seek to set a good example yourself. This is something Nehemiah did. It helped make his ‘preaching’ so powerful.