Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Nehemiah Part 13.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

PRO 30:5 Every word of God is pure:

ROM 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1CO 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

2TI 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

The most important principle of effective leadership, displayed by Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem from 445 to 432 BC, is the relationship between the leader and God, through Nehemiah’s devoted and consistent Prayer life.

Nehemiah lived by the principle that everyone had something to offer.

ISA 3:9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them.

Often the workers began rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem outside their own home first.

The principle for us is to make sure we have taken care of our lives at home first before we are used to help others.

One of the things that Jesus hated the most was the hypocrisy and play-acting of the Pharisees.
They liked to be seen as ‘spiritual’ among the people while in reality they were actually white -washed tombs, Jesus said.

The work was voluntary.

JOB 19:21 Pity me, pity me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me.

MAT 11:7-8, And as these were going {away,} Jesus began to speak to the multitudes about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft {clothing}? Behold, those who wear soft {clothing} are in kings’ palaces.”

One of the most important principles of effective leadership is the relationship between the leader and God as illustrated through Nehemiah’s devoted and consistent Prayer life.

An effective leader must not only be able to communicate with God, but they also must be able to communicate with people. At the beginning of this story, Nehemiah was in a middle-management position, and the superior he reported to was Artaxerxes.

1. Most leaders are in middle-management positions.
2. Middle management is difficult.

How can a person in Nehemiah’s position be supportive and effective at the same time?

In NEH 2:1, Nehemiah was attending on the king and had high ranking power as cupbearer, but always remember, that there was nothing Nehemiah could do – he could not even leave the city – without the king’s permission.

Not only was Nehemiah in a middle-management +position, but it was also an extremely trying one.

The kings of Persia were absolute rulers.
Their word was law, and they were difficult… Difficult is an understatement.

Since their oppressive policies were acutely resented by those they ruled, they were almost always in danger of assassination or revolt, so they were usually suspicious of any wrong moves or apparent lack of loyalty by their subordinates.

We see a trace of this in Nehemiah 2:2, when the king notices that Nehemiah is sad and asks about it (“Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart”).

Nehemiah was not overcome with gratitude that a person as important and busy as Artaxerxes should take notice of and be concerned for him.

Rather, as he tells us, “He was very much afraid,” and he would have had every right to be.

Persian rulers did not like their subordinates to look gloomy in their presence.

1. The king’s decision, the rebuilding of the walls – is good.
2. All that tends towards, or is the result of, their loss – the broken walls, Nehemiah’s grief, the aspirations of Sanballat, Tobias, and Geshem – is evil.

The clear implication of verse 10 is that the opposition to Nehemiah and the Jews in Jerusalem from these powerful leaders is spiritual opposition, ie: Spiritual Warfare.

If you are trying to serve God faithfully, then you are also engaged in spiritual warfare
(EPH 6:10-18).

He has been fasting, weeping, and praying about the condition of Jerusalem and has been asking God to use him to rebuild the city.

Yet up to this point, Nehemiah has been able to keep his burden a private matter while he waited for an answer from God. (Invisible Hero-ship)

Principle:
A true leader is not always the person who is self-assured, always together, and never afraid.

1. Loyalty:
The story does not make a great point of Nehemiah’s loyalty to King Artaxerxes, but Nehemiah’s whole demeanor as well as his success smacks of it.

If we cannot be loyal, we should seek employment elsewhere.

2. Tact:
We speak about tact often, yet more often we fail to exercise it.
We think it is more needful to “speak our minds,” “express our frustrations,” or “let it all hang out.”

First, when the king asked why he was sad, Nehemiah answered with a disarming question. This question, instead of making Artaxerxes defensive, actually won him to Nehemiah’s side.

He knew that what he wanted would require the reversal of Artaxerxes’ former public policy (Ezra 4:7-23), and he understood that any request to fortify a city was suspicious.

Esther also took this tact when she was asked to intercede with Artaxerxes’ predecessor, King Xerxes.

As Dale Carnegie expressed it, “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

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