Leadership 101 – Nehemiah Style
When you choose to do something, an uplifting task that will bless others and build up God’s kingdom, buckle up because the enemy will throw everything he’s got in various forms at you, to stop you- but have faith, trust God, and keep moving. You will succeed amongst any challenge, and God will fight for you, and you will win because He is the one that anointed you to do the task.
A little context:
The Book of Nehemiah was likely written between 445 – 420 BC. The Babylonians had captured the Israelites in 597 BC, and were driven from their land. But, by the time Nehemiah steps on the scene, the Israelites had returned to Jerusalem from captivity. Nehemiah was a Hebrew cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, who ruled the Persian Empire in what is modern day Iran. He asked God to let him return to Jerusalem to repair the wall that had been destroyed during the Babylonian invasion. God softened Artaxerxes’ heart and Nehemiah returned and repaired the wall in 52 days, but with much opposition and hardship from the naysayers, and he faced other internal conflicts within his own camp.
There is a process that Nehemiah as a leader had to go through, a process that you will understand better below. Pay attention to the repetition that Nehemiah had to go through to get the wall repaired-> Naysayers come, Prayer, Work, Naysayers come, Prayer, Naysayers come, Reinforcement is set up, Naysayers come, Work, Internal Discord, Naysayers come, Prayer, and Naysayers come.
1). Naysayers: opposing voices come to dissuade the work to rebuild the wall (4: 1-3).
2). Prayer: Nehemiah prays to God to renew his mind (4: 4-5).
3). Work: Nehemiah goes to work to repair the wall (4:6).
4). Naysayers: come again to stir confusion (4: 7-8).
5). Prayer: Nehemiah prays to God to renew his mind (4:9).
6). Naysayers: People of Judah begin to lose hope while naysayers are sowing discouraging comments
7). Reinforcement: Nehemiah is strategic to reinforce himself against the enemy and reassures the people to keep moving forward to repair the wall (4: 13-14).
8). Naysayers: get nowhere with their planning (4:15).
9). Work: Nehemiah continues with building and strategically prepares for any enemy attacks (4: 16-23).
10). Internal Discord:Nehemiah has to deal with internal oppressive problems within the Jewish community (Chapter 5).
11). Naysayers:return to discourage Nehemiah (6: 1-7).
12). Prayer: Nehemiah doesn’t give in to intimidation and prays to God to renew his mind for strength
13). Naysayers: Nehemiah went to meet a friend who tried to deter him, acting as if he cared for Nehemiah’s hardship (6: 10-14).
The naysayers kept popping up, trying to stop the repairing of the wall. “Immediacy increases intensity in doing good- and in spiritual warfare.” –Dr. David Jeremiah But, it was by prayer that Nehemiah was able to renew his mind, throw off the opposition, and move forward with the work that God equipped him to do. In life, what do you do when the naysayers come to stop you from what God will equip you to get through- do you cower or do you push forward? In any leadership role, a leader should be un-phased by the naysayers.
There is one last point I want to make about Nehemiah. He was a praying man, fervent in intercessory prayers for his people to return to God. He actively led his people back to God by whipping them into shape to pray and learn the law. But there’s something that a little deeper: Nehemiah is a different type of Jesus Christ- just like Joseph of Egypt was, Hosea, and King David. In Nehemiah you see the same fervent praying that you see in Jesus, where both men who loved their people, engaged in deep intercession for the people to return to God. In any leadership role, a leader has to be in constant prayer with God to trust in His strength and guidance.
Life will bring naysayers, lip-flapping gossipers, supposed experts that will know everything, haters, etc. It will be impossible to lead others and do what God has equipped you to do if you’re not in the Word daily and in constant conversation with Almighty God throughout the day. Any leader will stand their tallest on their knees.
Happy Friday xx!