Wednesday, July 22 2009
The 13th chapter of Nehemiah reveals some important leadership qualities of Nehemiah. Often times, a leader must make decisions that are right, but unpopular. Truthfully, I believe that is the mark of a true leader. If you can withstand the immediate negative reaction to a decision with the understanding that the results will benefit your organization in the long term then you have unique leadership abilities. Leadership is not abut popularity (although everyone has a desire to be liked), it is truly about moving a group of people forward in a positive and structured manner. You must assume that some of your decisions will not be well liked or comprehended by your followers, but they are often through a smaller "picture" then the leader.
Nehemiah understood the importance of rooting out those that would work against the greater good of the people he was leading. In those days, there were heathens in the city. Nehemiah had to return to Babylon, but upon his return he found one living in the temple. Nehemiah wrote the following...
7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
8 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
The Bible does not say what Nehemiah looked like nor how big he was, but we know that he was a leader and had the respect of the people. He was able to accomplish what no one else had been able to do. Leadership is not about treating subordinates poorly or ruling with an iron fist. It is about relationships. Nehemiah's relationship with the Jews in Jerusalem allowed him to achieve greatness and it is very obvious that he was respected.
Nehemiah 13 records Nehemiah restoring the care of the ministry...
10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
Nehemiah enforces the law by stopping work on the Sabbath...
15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
...and he opposed marriage to the heathens...
23 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
24 And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
Nehemiah enforced some tough laws while never compromising the Word of God. It is essential that as Christian leaders that the Word is preached without compromise. Nehemiah could have allowed the heathens to stay, but in the end the heathen nation would have changed God's people. As Christians, we do not refuse people coming in our doors, but it is important not to allow them to change the message. God's word is truth and it is settled in heaven despite our little revelations. Simply, a leader takes a stand on the Word of God and Nehemiah is our example.
Tuesday, July 21 2009
The opening 26 verses of Nehemiah gives the "who's, who" of the priesthood. Although, there is some significance to this, I want to concentrate on the second and third parts of this chapter.
When we look at verse 27, we read...
And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.
Nehemiah understood the importance of thanksgiving and praise. It was during the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem that he appointed two choirs to give thanks in the house of God...
40 So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God...
A leader must first understand his purpose. As a pastor and leader, is it my purpose to grow this biggest church or build the biggest building? I believe I have the vision to grow the church, but my ultimate purpose is to preach the gospel and create an atmosphere to "entertain" the presence of God. It is the presence of God that changes lives not church programs, great music or oratorical preaching. Nehemiah understood the importance of the presence of God because he knew that praise and thanksgiving was the key to entering into His presence. Psalms 100:4 states...
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
In the dedication service, Nehemiah insured that God was invited. We have no purpose without God because He is the essential element to all that we do. It is apparent that God visited Jerusalem that day...
43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
The third part of Nehemiah 12, Nehemiah put in place the system to take care of the ministry. He wrote....
4 And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.
The Biblical principles found in Nehemiah are as important to those of that time as they are today. We need to care for the ministry and understand the importance of praise and thanksgiving. Nehemiah was a fantastic leader that through vision and the hand of God accomplished what was thought by many to be impossible, but we know the Word states in Luke 1...
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Saturday, July 18 2009
The 11th chapter of Nehemiah reveals to us some of the governmental policies that Nehemiah had to enact to populate the city of Jerusalem. In the first two verses, it reveals that there were those that willingly moved to the city, but there were many that chose to live in the outlying villages. The Life Study Bible gives a few reasons why there were those that did not want to move to Jerusalem...
It is the third reason that disturbs me. We should want to be as close to the presence of God as humanly possible. It should be our desire to be near Him at all times. Our lives should center around Him and His purpose while reaching to those that may not know Him.
- non-Jews attached a stigma to Jerusalem residents, often excluding them from trade because of their religious beliefs
- moving into the city meant rebuilding their homes and reestablishing their businesses, a major investment of time and money
- living in Jerusalem required stricter obedience to God's Word because of the greater social pressure and proximity to the Temple
Nehemiah needed to populate the city and therefore enacted a policy to cast lots forcing a certain number of the population to move into Jerusalem. It appears that Nehemiah was a fair leader with a "big picture" mentality. He was a visionary that understood that sometimes we must act as leaders and make some tough decisions.
Friday, July 17 2009
The 10th chapter of Nehemiah documents the committing of God's people to the laws of Moses (the Bible of their time). The Bible states in verse 29...
They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
The Message Bible states the following...
The rest of the people, priests, Levites, security guards, singers, Temple staff, and all who separated themselves from the foreign neighbors to keep The Revelation of God, together with their wives, sons, daughters??"everyone old enough to understand??"all joined their noble kinsmen in a binding oath to follow The Revelation of God given through Moses the servant of God, to keep and carry out all the commandments of God our Master, all his decisions and standards.
The 10th chapter of Nehemiah is an example unto us today. We need to look at ourselves and recommit to the message with an understanding that we may stand against the current of a watered down doctrine that seems to be ripping so many away from what they had known as truth. Paul wrote to Timothy...
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
I as an Apostolic pastor want to recommit to preaching the the truth of the Apostolic message. I want to recommit myself to...
I challenge you to recommit to the message because compromising the Word is not worth the end results. I will not and cannot hide the message I preach for it is what will change this world.
- Preaching with a passion the gospel of Jesus Christ
- Preaching the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues
- Baptizing in Jesus name
- Living a Holy and separated life
Thursday, July 09 2009
It has been over a month since I posted. Where does time go? I will be back in full swing soon and I look forward to continuing to write on Nehemiah.
Cornerstone Chapel sold fireworks for two weeks. This was an awesome experience and truly a blessing, but it was very time consuming so now I am "back in the saddle" of normalcy again and will be writing.
Have a wonderful day!