Pleasing God Podcast

Leading with a Higher Purpose: The Nehemiah Blueprint for Godly Leadership

May 22, 2024 Jonathan Sole Season 2 Episode 23
Leading with a Higher Purpose: The Nehemiah Blueprint for Godly Leadership
Pleasing God Podcast
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Pleasing God Podcast
Leading with a Higher Purpose: The Nehemiah Blueprint for Godly Leadership
May 22, 2024 Season 2 Episode 23
Jonathan Sole

Discover the bedrock of godly leadership with Jonathan Sole as we journey through the inspiring narrative of Nehemiah—a leader whose dedication and strategy are nothing short of exemplary. This episode not only promises to unveil the six fundamental principles that Nehemiah harnessed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but also offers a blueprint for infusing these same timeless truths into your own leadership approach, whether you're at the helm of a family, guiding a congregation, or steering a corporate team towards success.

Join us as we navigate the challenges and victories that Nehemiah encountered, each one reinforcing the importance of unwavering faith and the courage to act upon one's convictions. You'll glean wisdom on how to remain steadfast in the face of adversity, and learn the significance of intertwining prayer with leadership—an approach that proved essential in Nehemiah's successful mission. This exploration is not just a historical recount; it's a masterclass in leadership that seeks to empower you to lead with integrity and align your ambitions with a higher, divine purpose.

Support the Show.

Stock Music provided by wolfgangwoehrle, from Pond5

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the bedrock of godly leadership with Jonathan Sole as we journey through the inspiring narrative of Nehemiah—a leader whose dedication and strategy are nothing short of exemplary. This episode not only promises to unveil the six fundamental principles that Nehemiah harnessed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but also offers a blueprint for infusing these same timeless truths into your own leadership approach, whether you're at the helm of a family, guiding a congregation, or steering a corporate team towards success.

Join us as we navigate the challenges and victories that Nehemiah encountered, each one reinforcing the importance of unwavering faith and the courage to act upon one's convictions. You'll glean wisdom on how to remain steadfast in the face of adversity, and learn the significance of intertwining prayer with leadership—an approach that proved essential in Nehemiah's successful mission. This exploration is not just a historical recount; it's a masterclass in leadership that seeks to empower you to lead with integrity and align your ambitions with a higher, divine purpose.

Support the Show.

Stock Music provided by wolfgangwoehrle, from Pond5

Speaker 1:

Hi and welcome back to the Pleasing God podcast, a show focused on helping Christians to think biblically, engage practically and live faithfully for the glory of God. I'm your host, jonathan Soule, and on this episode I want us to think about the subject of leadership. What does biblical leadership look like? What are some examples, or an example we see in the scriptures? How can we take the lessons that we have found and look at them practically and then kind of apply them in our own spheres of influence, our own context, our own areas of leadership, in a way that glorifies God and does good to others? And so, even just bringing up the subject of leadership, there's countless books written, many many good books written on practical leadership leadership in the workplace, leadership in the home, leadership as a father, parenting, whatever it might be and I want to kind of zoom out a little bit from that and give kind of general principles that could be applied to most, if not any, context of leadership. I know it'll vary kind of depending on exactly what your leadership looks like Are you managing people, are you over children, whatever it might be, is it volunteers, is it in the church, is it in the workplace? But I think there are some principles that we can see throughout the scriptures that give us insight into how to do this well, how to be a godly leader, how to be a biblical leader. And so when we think about characters in the scriptures that exercised good leadership, characters in the scriptures that exercised good leadership, what names come to mind? We wouldn't say Adam, or at least I wouldn't See that's a failure of leadership. Maybe Abraham at times, at times not so much. He allowed fear to kind of drive him at times to sin. Maybe we get to Moses I'm sure this is a name that many of us thought of when I think of leadership. Certainly Moses, but he had his struggles, but every leader has their struggles. Moses shows good leadership in that he takes advice from people. His father-in-law, jethro, comes to him and says man, your leadership's terrible. You don't know how to delegate. You need to fix this before you burn out. That's good leadership. That's a really good example there. But I want us to think about someone I wouldn't say lesser known but maybe doesn't get all the press that someone like Moses does, and that's Nehemiah. Nehemiah shows an excellent example of what leadership looks like. He does it well. So who is Nehemiah?

Speaker 1:

Well, nehemiah lived around the 5th century BC about middle of 5th century BC and he was one that was in exile. When the Jewish nation was overrun by Babylon in the 6th century the people were taken into exile. Jeremiah had said 70 years in exile, you will go. This was the Lord's doing. And the first wave of exiles came back to Jerusalem under Cyrus the Persian. He freed them after destroying Babylon. And as the first wave come back, they find that Jerusalem's been destroyed and they begin working on building a temple. That work is stalled, with some difficulties. Some of the minor prophets kind of lean back in and say, hey, we need to finish building this temple. They rebuild the temple.

Speaker 1:

Then Ezra the scribe comes as kind of the second wave of exiles in the middle of the 5th century BC and teaches the law. He's another one of great leadership. So he represents the second wave of exiles. And then a third wave of exiles return to Judah and Jerusalem and this is when Nehemiah comes on the scene. And when Nehemiah comes on the scene he realizes the walls are broken down. There are no walls. Jerusalem lies open and he needs to rebuild the walls. So Nehemiah comes back to the city that has a rebuilt temple. But he knows that it's time to rebuild the walls and he's got a tall task in front of him. There are people that are struggling, there are people that oppose him, that just don't like him, but he feels compelled to do what God has laid upon his heart.

Speaker 1:

And then, if we were to look at the life and ministry of Nehemiah's leadership, there are six things that I can see and identify that are principles for effective and healthy leadership, no matter where it is, whether it be in the local church, whether it be in the workplace, whether it be in the home. And the first thing is that prayer precedes action. In Nehemiah 1, he is given a report of the state of Jerusalem, with no walls, and he is greatly troubled. He is told that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are destroyed by fire. And the very next move that Nehemiah makes is not action but prayer. As soon as I heard these words, I sat down Nehemiah 1.4, and wept and mourned for days and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven and I said O Lord, god of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. And he continues to go on from there and he finishes and he continues him mercy in the sight of this man. He was going to go to the king and basically ask permission to go to Judah. And so before he does anything first principle of godly leadership he prays. Prayer precedes action. But he doesn't just stay in his prayer, he then takes action. And that's the second principle we can see in Nehemiah is that action is fueled by conviction. He goes to the king he was the king's cupbearer. He goes to the king and requests that he could go back to Jerusalem, to Judah and Jerusalem, so that he may rebuild the city. Nehemiah's action to go to the king to request that he leave from the Persian rule and go back to Jerusalem, it's fueled by his conviction, his conviction that he wants to see the city of Jerusalem, zion, rebuilt. This is what God has placed upon his heart, and so this is what drives him to take a risk, to go before the king. His request could not have been granted. And so then Nehemiah, fueled by his conviction, returns to Jerusalem, inspects the walls and sees that they are in terrible shape, and so he takes a courageous step.

Speaker 1:

Here's a third principle of leadership, biblical leadership Conviction drives courage. I would argue that the reason why we can struggle with being cowards isn't because we need more courage. It's because we need more conviction. We need to be convinced that the thing that we are doing, the area where we are leading, is a thing that God has placed upon us and that we are doing it well, and that we are going to do it with all our might, and that we are more afraid to not do it than do it. Whatever that task may be, conviction drives courage. Lack of conviction will result in cowardice. With Nehemiah's conviction, he courageously begins the rebuilding of the wall. With Nehemiah's conviction, he courageously begins the rebuilding of the wall. He begins to recruit, rebuild, to strengthen.

Speaker 1:

Nehemiah was willing to take risks. Courageous people take risks. He risked failure. He risked setting out to do something that might not get accomplished. He believed it would. He believed God had placed it upon his heart. He had prayed and he prayed and he had prayed. And he wasn't doing it for his glory, no, he was doing it to restore Jerusalem. Here you have the second temple has been built, yet Jerusalem just lies open and vulnerable to the very next attack. He was consumed with the honor of God, the glory of God. And so this drove him to courageously take risks to begin the rebuilding of the wall. And this leads to the fourth principle of biblical leadership Courage faces opposition. And this is exactly what happened with Nehemiah as he begins the rebuilding of the wall.

Speaker 1:

The nemesis of the book that bears his name, sanballat that's a great villain's name, by the way Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall. He was angry and greatly enraged and he jeered at the Jews and he said, in the presence of his brothers and the army of Samaria what are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish and burn ones at that? Tobiah, who's the kind of the second villain, his henchmen, the Ammonite, was beside him and he said yes, what they are building, if a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall. So they're just making fun of these guys. They're from the North, they have no respect for what's happening. They're just in there laughing. They think it's a joke and they begin to stall and they begin to come in and show outright opposition to the work that Nehemiah has started.

Speaker 1:

As the work on the wall progresses, the task that God had given Nehemiah to do. Sanballat and Tobiah, they become even more angry that progress is being made. Sanballat and Tobiah, they become even more angry that progress is being made. And we read in Nehemiah 4, 8, they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. Here's Nehemiah's move, verse 9,. And we prayed to our God to set a guard as a protector against them. Day and night After prayer, nehemiah takes an action. He sets up people to guard against a possible coming invasion. This is fueled by his conviction to get the wall done. His conviction drives his courage to oppose, to stand up against the opposition. And so when word gets back to Sanballat and Tobiah that Nehemiah has discovered their plan, the people of Israel, or the people of Judah, were excited. So when Sanballat and Tobiah found out their plan was discovered and that the people of Judah were going to stand up against them, they did not continue and ultimately, the work continued to rebuild the wall. So that's what we see in Nehemiah's leadership is that in his courage, he faced the opposition and he did not back down.

Speaker 1:

Friends, brothers and sisters, those of you that lead in various capacities. Those of you that have been doing it for any period of time, you know one thing is certain you will face opposition. Not everybody is going to like every decision you make. That's one of the costs of leadership. You're not going to be liked by everyone and when you come to grips with that early on, it's one of the most freeing things that you can do.

Speaker 1:

Leadership is not about getting people to like you. Leadership ultimately biblical leadership is about honoring God and doing well with the task that he has given you. People will benefit from that, people will love you, people will like you. But that is not the primary motivation, the primary drive. Nehemiah did not labor in his leadership to be liked, but to be faithful, to do the tasks that he was given, to do the job well. And he was a fantastic leader. He served as governor twice in Judah.

Speaker 1:

And so that was the fourth principle of leadership Courage faces opposition. And fifth, as we just saw, opposition cannot overcome godly leadership. Now it might appear for a season that you know the opposition is loud and might gain some traction, but ultimately, prayer, conviction, courage together will overcome opposition. It might not be easy, but even facing opposition will strengthen you in your leadership. We have to truly believe that God honors those with the purity of heart, purity of motive, seeking to lead well for his glory and the good of the people that they lead. So we must recognize, especially when we are committed to biblical leadership, opposition will come, but do not allow opposition to stonewall you, to be barriers to where God is leading you, to lead others, whether maybe it's in the home.

Speaker 1:

Maybe as a man, you're seeking to lead your family well and you just can't seem to get on the same page with your wife. She seems like she's, as you're, trying to do the right thing. She just doesn't seem to be on board and she's starting to oppose you. Stick with it, stay the course, love her well by leading her well and your family. Or maybe it's a leadership role in the church and you're trying to implement some new practices, policies, something like that, and you're kind of feeling stonewalled. Maybe there's an old guard who's just kind of like we've never done it this way and you're feeling the weight of that opposition. Like we've never done it this way and you're feeling the weight of that opposition.

Speaker 1:

Make sure prayer precedes action, that your action is fueled by conviction, and be courageous in your leadership so that when you do face opposition, if you are handling it in a godly way, you will overcome. Maybe it's in the workplace and you find yourself just coming up against dead ends all the time. You've got ideas, you know the direction that you want to bring this organization. You want to implement new and good direction. But people don't trust you. People oppose you because they just don't like you or they feel like you're a threat to them. Continue thinking through these principles of godly leadership. Let that encourage you, because Nehemiah faced trouble. Nehemiah faced it all. Don't be discouraged. Sixth principle godly leadership is constant in prayer.

Speaker 1:

I'd encourage you to read through the book of Nehemiah. You can skip over the names because that's kind of challenging. We just did that in our church. We'd read through books of the Bible chapter by chapter, usually one chapter each Sunday, and we were reading through Nehemiah recently and I'll admit it was pretty challenging at times reading through all those names. We kind of got to the point where we said, okay, yep, this is a section of all these names. This is good, read it on your own time, but we felt it was kind of a distraction in the public reading. So read the book of Nehemiah and work through it, and what I would encourage you to do and see is how many times Nehemiah repeats this process.

Speaker 1:

Godly leadership is constant in prayer. And then go back to the top. Prayer precedes action. Action is fueled by conviction. Conviction drives courage. Courage faces opposition. Opposition cannot overcome godly leadership. Godly leadership is constant in prayer.

Speaker 1:

Take these six principles, meditate on them through the book of Nehemiah and see these can be applied in almost any context. Again, varies little by little, but these are good, sound leadership principles. Now, this isn't exhaustive, but we see how Nehemiah did his job. It took Nehemiah 52 days to build the wall and then they finished. And we read in verse 16 of chapter 6, and when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.

Speaker 1:

All godly leadership, biblical leadership, is only accomplished with the help of our God. He goes with you, he goes before you, he stands beside you, he's behind you, he's all around you, he's behind you, he's all around you. And remember, it's Christ in you, the hope of glory, that is to propel you in all the things that you do. So this is Nehemiah. These are principles of biblical, godly leadership. I hope, thinking through these, you can find ways that these can apply directly into your life, into your leadership context, in such a way that it'll strengthen you, It'll strengthen those around you. You might be weak in one of them, you might struggle with conviction or facing opposition. I know nobody likes it, but it's necessary. Maybe you're one that gets right to the action and you need to pause a little bit, think and pray. Whatever it might be, find the principles that you can really lean into, maximize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses and look to Nehemiah as a great example of what biblical, godly leadership looks like. He gets the job done and he does it well.

Speaker 1:

I want to thank you for listening to the Pleasing God podcast. If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out at questions at pleasinggodpodcastorg. And remember 1 Thessalonians 4.3,. This is the will of God, your sanctification.

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