Monday, March 10, 2014

Leadership Principles from Nehemiah, Part 1

Copyrighted, All rights reserved, Steve Bloem 2014

Nehemiah was a leader who God had called to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The walls under his leadership were rebuilt in the year 445 B.C. It took fifty two days for the remnant to rebuild them. The walls had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in about 586 B.C. He had also destroyed Solomon’s temple at that time.  These events occurred because Israel and later Judah had failed to keep the stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant, which are in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-30.  The prophets had repeatedly urged them to repent of their sin, but they would not do so.

I have listed ten characteristics of Nehemiah which help us understand why he was such a good leader.

  1. He was a man of compassion which flowed from his knowledge of God.
Hananione of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.  They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:2-4."

Principle – You cannot serve God unless you know Him personally and as a result are compassionate. Our Lord Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent, John 17:3, NIV. Jesus is our great example of compassion.

  1. He was a man who believed the word of God Nehemiah 1:8-11
"Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name. They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand Oh Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man." I was cup bearer to the king"(NASB).

Principle -Nehemiah believed God's word was to be trusted. He was able to discern God's timing and he prayed, depending on the promises of God.

  1. He was a man who was big enough to admit that he was afraid.
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.I was very much afraid."

Principle -God uses weak men to do His work so that He alone will get the glory, 
Nehemiah 2:1-2 (NASB).

  1.  He was a man of prayer - He spent prolonged times in prayer and he also lived in an attitude of prayer.
The king said to me, "What is it you want? Then I prayed to the God of heaven,  and I answered the king, If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it,Nehemiah 2:4,5 NASB.

Principle - Pray without ceasingBelievers as the true sons of God have freedom and boldness when praying to God. Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:18.

5, He was a man who as a leader had a Biblical cause and was able to get others to own that cause.   
Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.  But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and the Arab  Geshem  heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. "What is this you are doing? they asked. Are you rebelling against the king? Answered them by saying, The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it," Nehemiah 2:11-20 (NASB ).

Principle - Leaders usually have the gift of exhortation and  are able by the Holy Spirit and the word to convey God's plan to His people.

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