Lessons From the Life of Nehemiah (Part III)

Before any good work is accomplished, we need to take time to evaluate the need, seek the Lord, and put a plan together. This is what Nehemiah did when he saw the walls of Jerusalem broken down.

So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.  Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.  Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass.  So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned.  And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. Nehemiah 2:11-18

When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he took the time to evaluate the destruction on his own. He was not looking for anyone’s opinion or input. He must have been listening and conferring with the Lord on how to proceed with the work of restoration. Although, he knew God was with him and he had the king’s support, he was not presumptuous nor impulsive about the plan of action.

There is a time and place to receive input from others, but before we do that, we need to spend time listening to the voice of the Lord and allowing Him to speak to us and direct our paths. A good leader needs to take the time to understand the need, seek the Lord, and then put a plan together on how to meet the need.

Nehemiah made his first visit quietly and in the night. This was as if he did not want to draw attention to himself. His heart was not to receive the applause of man, but to please God and to take care of his people.

How opposite are today’s leaders who look for opportunities to be in the limelight! They seek the photo opportunities to show the world that they care and that they are present. Unfortunately, much of it is a show to be impressive or to gain the support of the people. However, they don’t necessarily care about the condition of those who lead.

When Nehemiah began to talk about the work, he continued to used the pronoun “we.” He included himself as one of the people who was in distress, He took the problem personally, and as a result he took ownership of the restoration process.

When was the last time you took a problem that wasn’t yours and made it your personal responsibility to do something about it!? That is not an easy to thing to do.  Most of us see the problems in society and tend to talk or complain about them.  But how many are willing to role up their sleeves and help restore the broken walls of some members in their community!?

For a man in Nehemiah’s stature to leave the king’s quarters and travel all the way out to Jerusalem must have been inspiring and motivating to all the leaders of Israel.  This would have also encouraged the average person to believe again and hope again that restoration is possible.

Good leaders bring hope, motivation and encouragement to others to help them move into action, and they also set an example for others to follow. 

Furthermore, Nehemiah knew this was not a work that was going to be done by outsiders. He wanted the local people themselves to be involved in the work of restoration. The Israelites needed to be part of the solution. Obviously, the Israelites did not have the resources to do it, and that is why God sent Nehemiah with the goods and leadership to help them. However,  they were fully capable of rebuilding the walls!

Good leadership is about the right measure of help to motivate and inspire people without doing it for them. We can apply this in all areas of our lives, including parenting. Being supportive without enabling those around us is the key to helping them grow up in taking their rightful place in life!

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