LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES EXHIBITED IN THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
Nehemiah was friendly, generous, loyal, very much human, and deeply touched by the destruction his people had endured. He felt great compassion and allegiance toward the people of Israel in Jerusalem. Nehemiah was thrust into leadership by God in the ruins of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was entrusted with the task of rebuilding Jerusalem from the ground up. “The city was in total ruin, stones had to be cleared to start new foundations, and people were weary from their many days’ journey back from captivity.” Leadership is an action of leading others toward a goal or the position of being a leader. Every leader desires to be ...view middle of the document...
The higher calling by God in Titus 2:11-14 is not just applicable to leaders but to all people everywhere. God calls all people, especially leaders, to live a life separate from wickedness and to stand up for the truth and righteousness. The purpose of this paper is to point out and examine leadership principles found in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah in order to prove that one wishing to become a successful leader must be prayerful, trustworthy, and missional.
A Leader is Prayerful
Nehemiah’s first response to King Artaxerxes was to pray before he made any request to the King. Nehemiah fasted and prayed in order to seek God’s help for his people in Jerusalem. He was filled with deep concern for his people, so he spoke with Artaxerxes about returning to the city of his fathers’ tombs to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah was a believer who prayed “without ceasing,” especially in distressing times.
Nehemiah 4:4 says, “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.” The very first thing that Nehemiah did when troubles arose was to turn to God in prayer. God’s people must remember that they should turn to God in prayer not as a last resort but as their primary weapon against troubles. At first glance Nehemiah’s prayer may appear to be contradictory to the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ; however, this prayer has many similarities to the imprecations in Psalms and Jeremiah. There are four things one must take into account when analyzing Nehemiah’s prayer here. First, Nehemiah’s prayer request was for divine judgment against sin which is a clear teaching found throughout Scripture. Second, Nehemiah prayed for God to act on his behalf not for permission to take vengeance into his own hands. Third, Nehemiah’s request expressed his zeal for God’s work and bringing honor to God’s name. Finally, Nehemiah’s request could have had a rhetorical function to bring encouragement and confidence when facing opposition. Through his prayer, Nehemiah demonstrated his complete dependence on God.
Nehemiah 4:9 says, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” At this point Nehemiah and the people of Israel put their faith into action by following their prayers with an active response. He had great faith in God but he also used his head and took the necessary precautions to ensure the people’s safety because at any moment an attack could come from the enemy. “Nehemiah’s response was clear: prayer and precaution, trust and good management.”
Nehemiah 5:19 says, “Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.” This is the first of four prayers Nehemiah prayers beginning with, “remember.” Some attack Nehemiah’s character challenging that he was self-righteous and seeking his own approval. However, Blenkinsopp asserted, “if Nehemiah’s desire to be acknowledged by God is venal and self-serving, the same must be...