Biblical Story Of Nehemiah And Lessons
TEXT: Nehemiah Chapters 1-13
Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah was part of the people taken as slave for a foreign king in Persia and also cup-bearer before King Artaxerxes whose whole duty is to taste whatever was brought to the King to eat or drink before giving it to the King which was a position for the trusted.
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There was a time he heard a bad message from some of his brethren about the broken walls of Jerusalem and how the left-over Jews were faring. When he heard this news, he wept bitterly. He began to pray and fast to God about this, then also to obtain favour in the sight of the King to go to Jerusalem. His prayers were answered and his requests before the King were granted to him. He went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and also to lead the people back to God.
Nehemiah tried building the walls first and then used the success of that project as a motivator for spiritual reform of the Jews. Though he faced ridicule from different people like Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and others who gathered people against them to disturb all they were building but Nehemiah encouraged the people to be strong and depend on God. God gave Nehemiah wisdom to counter the attack and enabled him to continue the critical work of rebuilding the wall.
When the wall was completed, Nehemiah made a public record of the genealogies of those living in Jerusalem, the nation was re-established and the Jews were able to rest in peace and unity. Nehemiah displayed great leadership skills during this period and the three lessons from this book of the Bible can be summarized into three outlines.
Devise an effective Strategy – Nehemiah 4: 1-23
Solving of Internal Dispute – Nehemiah 5:1-12
Maintain Focus – Nehemiah 6:1-4; 15-16
1. DEVISE AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY – NEHEMIAH 4:1-23
Nehemiah was a wise leader who despite different adversities, embraced them and devised different means to tackle and develop the attitude to conquer them all. Nehemiah’s response to opposition is highly commendable and should be emulated. His leadership skill in the time of crisis was displayed through an effective devise of strategy employed by him. Nehemiah responded to the opposition through resolute faith and prayer. These were the very first steps to take against all attacks of the enemies. By watching and praying, he was able to focus his minds upon things that are true, just and of good report.
Also, Nehemiah was a courageous man, fearless and a man of hard work. His life was balanced between prayer and hard work. He defended against attack and kept on working. He adapted to an adversity rather than run from it or over-reacts to it. This teaches us as Christians that we should be spiritually alert and watch out for the seductive temptations and trials of Satan set against us. We should be prayerful and also be enterprising workers of God.
2. SOLVING OF INTERNAL DISPUTE – NEHEMIAH 5: 1-12
Nehemiah also was confronted with internal issues caused by different things happening in the city and as a good leader, he never turned deaf ear or show unconcern attitude to this. From complaints about the shortage of food due to the large families which resulted in some disposing of their properties in exchange for food to others borrowing money to pay the heavy taxes collected to support the needs of the empire.
These unpleasant happenings in the land became unbearable and Nehemiah tried solving the dispute by cross-examining the matter thoroughly, then also provided solutions to the problems. Nehemiah’s solutions were well received by the people and in order to endure total compliance, he made the nobles and officials swear to abide by the decision before the priest.
From this part, as Christians, we should be solution providers wherever we found ourselves. We should not show unconcern attitudes where evils are penetrated but we should stand for justice and truth at a time. We should be bold to thoroughly search into all matters and establish the real truth before we decide on steps to take in providing solutions.
3. MAINTAIN FOCUS – NEHEMIAH 6:1-4; 15-16
Despite the opposition by the enemies (Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and others) against the good work that Nehemiah was carrying out in his country, he never for once loses hope or was discouraged. He kept his balance, his focus and with God’s wisdom, he was able to remove himself from the different calls of his enemies on the ground that he was busy with work. He followed the dictates of his conscience, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and God’s will for his life. The personal attack launched against Nehemiah by the external opponents failed and he prevailed through his resolute life and unceasing devotion to his God and work. Despite all this, he was able to complete the walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days.
This part of the Book of Nehemiah taught us as Christian that there is no battle-free life and that we overcome battle to get into another one but consistent focus can help to constantly win all life’s battles. We should not depend on our own understanding or wisdom but wholly trusting God that he is able to complete all the things he has started in one’s life.
In different ways from the Book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah provides a beautiful example for Christians to follow. From being an excellent leader to heeding to God’s calling promptly. We should be ready to face opposition at some point in one’s life but indifference to what is on is far greater danger than the opposition itself. Spiritual conflicts within and demonic confrontation have a way of keeping us alert so that we do not slip into complacency.
Conflicts also spotlights problems that require attention. It requires clarification of issues and challenges Christians to question the old methods being used and search for better solutions. As Christians, when problems arise, we must face them squarely and press on to complete God’s work. We should never consider retreating but we should press on forward until absolute victory from God is achieved just like Nehemiah did.