Leadership Lessons From Nehemiah by x3OR4z1y


									                     Leadership Lessons From Nehemiah

1. Nehemiah had a heart for his people and their future. He heard about the
state of the city and he asked about the state of the Jews who had survived

2. Nehemiah recognized a critical problem that needed an urgent solution.
He found out when he inquired of someone that: “The walls are destroyed and
the gates are burned with fire.” The most crucial thing that the walls were
protecting was the rebuilt temple that Ezra had overseen the completion of.
Nehemiah realized that the wall and the gates were the symbol of a people who
were not intact, and a nation that had lost its dignity and its sovereignty. As long
as the city was in this state, the honor and integrity of his people would never be
intact. He knew that there were enemies on all sides just waiting to destroy the
new temple because it was an affront to their own gods and their own

3. Nehemiah prayed and fasted over this issue that created much strife in his
   spirit. He asked God to prepare the way for a vision. You can see
   Nehemiah wrestling with God in prayer. Here are the essential elements of
   his prayer:
       a. He reminds God of His promises
       b. He boldly demands God’s attention with what appears to be great
       c. He confesses his sins and the sins of his people.
       d. He holds God to His very specific promise to bring them back
           from even the furtherest parts of the earth if they return to
           keeping his commands (probably quoting from Ezekiel—check
       e. He reminds God of what He has done for His people in the past.
       f. He begs God to hear the prayers of His people who worship Him.
       g. He asks God for success on his mission and favor before the
           authority (King Artaxerxes).

4. The choices that Nehemiah had made at a point previous to this had
   brought him to a position of influence at a crucial time for his life’s
   mission. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the King of Persia, ruler of the known
   world. This was a higher position than it sounds like. He was a man trusted
   to taste the King’s drink to demonstrate that it was not poisoned. He also
   would likely have been a trusted advisor. Nehemiah had the ear of the King,
   so he was in a position to “lead up”* when the time came. In order for him to
   have even arrived at this place, he had to have had the desire (motivation),
   the talent (ability/competency), and the opportunity for success. If all three of
   those had not come together at the crucial moment, Nehemiah would not
   have been afforded the placement and access which led to his success. He
   was a cupbearer before he was a policy-maker.
5. Nehemiah had a good attitude. I have been so impressed by the truth of
   this quote from Chuck Colson, that I have made it the first page of every
   leadership class I have done to date:

by Charles Swindoll

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than
education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other
people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will
make or break a company ... a church ... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will
embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people
will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I
am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is
with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

   Nehemiah stated “I had never been sad in his [the King’s] presence before.”
   He chose his attitudes and his outlook. He was very purposeful about his
   demeanor. He chose to be sad this once, so that the King would ask him
   what was wrong. He was shaping the environment for success. To use
   street language, he was ‘setting him up.’ This would not have been effective if
   Nehemiah were always sad about something or always complaining. It was
   so out of character that it caused the authority to take notice and offer him a
   platform to speak.

6. When the authority did offer him a platform to speak, Nehemiah:
     a. Recognized the opportunity that he had been preparing for
     b. Seized the crucial moment
     c. Was straightforward about what he wanted. He was only indirect
        with his first statement, and that was designed to raise the felt need
        for action. When the King asked him what was wrong he said, “Why
        shouldn’t I look sad when the city, the place where my ancestors are
        buried, is in ruins and its gates are burned with fire?”

7. Nehemiah was able to “lead up” because he had value to the King. At
   some previous milestone(s) along the way, Nehemiah had probably done
   things, completed projects, or offered counsel that the King perceived as
   valuable. The King would not agree to hear his plan until he knew when he
   would get Nehemiah back. This also seems to indicate that Nehemiah had
   proven himself a valuable resource to the King. The state of this relationship
   both gave him credibility and caused the King to value what was important to

8. When the King asked him what he wanted, Nehemiah was prepared with a
   plan. He had prayed and fasted and wrestled with God until the vision
   became clear. He had formed a vision that glorified God and empowered
   the people. He delivered to the King a series of purposeful, well-thought-out
   requests to lay the foundation and the method for his vision. He would not
   have been ready to take advantage of the platform offered to him if he had
   not prepared his presentation ahead of time. He had considered what he
   would do and prepared a plan of action.

9. Nehemiah asked the authority to provide support via resources and
   protection. Nehemiah would accomplish the legwork, but he was wise in
   asking the King to use his umbrella of authority to offer Nehemiah safe
   passage through the realm, wood from the King’s forest to build the gates,
   and a personal security detachment with letters to the governors of the
   provinces for safe passage. All this from the realm of the King whose
   grandfather had conquered the empire that had sacked and burned
   Jerusalem in the first place, and carried off their people into slavery.

10. Nehemiah had success. The opportunity was presented because his prayer
    and fasting had opened his heart to God’s vision for His people. Once he had
    the vision, his preparation of the plan and his shaping of the environment
    afforded him the opportunity to pursue the vision with full support from the
    authority. If he had attempted preparation without first being given a clear
    vision, he likely would have been frustrated with conflicting tasks, lack of
    clarity, lack of focus, lack of authority, and ultimately given up in
    discouragement because he had not followed a God-ordained process of
    preparation. If he had not been in a position to “lead up” at the crucial
    moment, he never would have had the opportunity. If he had not had the
    desire, he would not have been prepared and hence never would have been
    afforded the opportunity. Hence, the intersection of the desire, the
    preparation, and the ability led to the opportunity to pursue the vision.

Once Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem, he:

11. Took an assessment of what needed to be done without telling anyone
what he was doing. (2:12-15)

12. He presented the vision to the leaders and the people who would be
doing the work. It is possible that he surveyed the damage first in order to
address objections and form a plan of action. He presented the vision using
the Word of his Testimony* (add footnote about verse from the Revelation) to
inspire the leaders and the workers regarding what God had already done
to prepare the way for him. He demonstrated an anointing from both God and
the earthly authority set in place by God. God had given him a powerful
testimony to share in that his mission had already been approved and sanctioned
by the Emperor Artaxerxes, the governmental authority for most of the known
world at the time.

13. Nehemiah addressed the nay-sayers and the opposition. He was not
defensive, but claimed Godly authority for his mission. He put it back in God’s
court to defend His Name and the name of His people. He did this more than
once in the course of the work, both when threatened with political back-stabbing
and when threatened with physical attack. This is something seen in many
scriptural precedents—David said to Goliath “You come to me with spear and
with sword, but I come to you in the name of the Lord.” Nehemiah must also
have known well the prayer of Elijah when he faced the prophets of Baal on the
mountain. Elijah knew that God would defend His own name. As the prophet
said in one of the most powerfully compact, yet touching prayers in the Bible:

      “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You
      are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these
      things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me that this people may know
      that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to
      You again.” (1 Kings 18:36b-37)

The Biblical account continues with the testimony of what happened when faced
with the awesome power of the Lord defending His name:

      “Then, the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the
      wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in
      the trench. Now when all the people saw it, the fell on their faces; and
      they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:38-39)

It was God’s mission to defend God’s cause—it was the people’s mission
to obey in faith and trust God for the outcome.

14. Nehemiah’s presentation of the vision mobilized the people. The
    people picked up the vision and ran with it. They said “Let us start to
    rebuild the gates.” The scripture says “So they encouraged one another to
    begin this God-pleasing work. In another place it says “The people had a
    mind to work.” It did not take much inspiring, cajoling, or begging because
    the people knew that it was a credible, anointed (God-inspired), necessary,
    and empowering vision. The also worked from sun-up to sun-down and
    finished the work in 52 days. The Bible says “When all our enemies heard
    about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-
    confidence. They realized we had done this work with the help of our God.”
15. Nehemiah had bold men who stood in the gap, ready to fight so that the
    people would be protected and the mission could continue. Even the
    most zealous workers (fighters) can be ineffective when misdirected or when
    they have a poor understanding of the vision. Nehemiah was a good
    administrator and a good communicator. He was well-organized. He
    laid out the plan clearly, as well as the contingency plan. Nehemiah
    arranged for a rallying signal by horn, so that the fighters would know where
    the attack was taking place and all of them could rally to the same point to
    mount an effective defense which would repulse the enemy. The
    worker/fighters were willing to do double duty, carrying both the tools of their
    work and the weapons of warfare. The Bible says: “When our enemies
    heard that we knew about their plots and that God had prevented their plans
    from being successful, we all went back to work on the wall. The outcome of
    this plan was that the enemy decided not to attack because the defense was
    well-organized, well-informed, unified, determined, and effective.

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