While Nehemiah makes sure that the wall is rebuilt, everything else is spiralling out of control. People are short of food, giving up their properties as security for their debts, paying ridiculous rates of interest and tax and even being sold into slavery.
The wall is essential but it is not enough. The poor are suffering while the rich make money out of them. Nehemiah, as always, jumps into action. The rich need a stern talking to.
Before anyone jumps at me, I'm not saying it's a sin to be rich. I am saying that we who believe need a heart for those who are poor. There are times when, as in the biblical letter of James, the rich need to learn to weep and wail. Nehemiah tells the rich to stop charging interest and to stop taking people's source of income as security for their loans. He tells them, in no uncertain terms, that God cares about these things. He also tries to act as an example, as someone who helps those who poor and someone who treats them well.
We could respond to this in so many ways. There are lots of good projects we could support, local and across the world. We could campaign against laws and practices that hurt the poor. We could give money to the church's Care Fund. We could make sure that the less well off are supported . If you are short of ideas take a look at the justice section of the BMS World Mission website.
Nehemiah prays that God will look on him with favour. He knows the way to God's heart, as much here as in any other chapter of the book.