Nehemiah believed he could accomplish the job he had been given because God was guiding and empowering him.
He was confident enough in God’s power that he began to evaluate and plan how to accomplish the job in advance of any team, resources, or even release from his current duties. He interceded for the people and the city of God.
Why? Achieving these goals had enormous value and deserved his best work. We get a glimpse of Nehemiah’s leadership style in the way he handled a very early and critical step in attaining the goals (2:1–8):
And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”
So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and
its gates are burned with fire?”
Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.
Nehemiah requested leave time from his job as cupbearer to go to Judah and rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. When the king asked him to “set a time” for the length of his trip to Judah—he was ready with an answer—he already had a plan! He could ask for resources he needed to do the job because he had the plan. Rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, fortifying the people’s hope, and inspiring their return to the God of their Fathers was a multi-year job for a dedicated leader, managing many resources, and a team with varied capabilities. Of course, his plan would be modified somewhat as circumstances required — but he had enough to GO on!
Nehemiah’s faith in God was the foundation of his plan! Whatever your task and wherever God places you, have a faith that is so confident it leads to action.
Maybe that means starting an evangelism training class in your church. Maybe it is leading a team of people in your workplace. Perhaps it means organizing a neighbor event. Or, maybe it means starting a Bible study in your work place. Whatever it is, do it!
In my next post, we’ll take a deeper look at the importance of conviction. Stay tuned!