The final lesson we will take away from Nehemiah is how to be an effective leader through faithful confidence. My Master’s degree is in leadership, and one of the qualities of an effective leader that lands at the top of nearly every list is confidence. From a worldview, this is confidence in one’s self as a leader and confidence in the people you are leading. From a biblical worldview, and in the example we get from Nehemiah, it is confidence in the Lord.
At every step, Nehemiah gives glory to the Lord, recognizing that it is all happening because the Lord is gracious to allow it. When the king granted his requests, Nehemiah says it was “because the gracious hand of God was on me” (Nehemiah 2:8). After inspecting the wall, Nehemiah rallies the officials and Jewish leaders.
“But now I said to them, ‘You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!’ Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, ‘Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!’ So they began the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
Nehemiah does not rely on a fiery speech to rally the Jewish leaders. Instead, he tells them about God’s gracious hand being upon him, always giving glory to God, and reassuring everyone that God is and will be with them. When the work begins on the wall, all of the workers are mocked and threatened by their enemies. Nehemiah responds, not taunting back or attacking them, but with prayer.
“Then I prayed, ‘Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.’” (Nehemiah 4:4-5)
Under this type of leadership, a leader who was confident in the Lord, the workers “worked with enthusiasm” (Nehemiah 4:6). Then Nehemiah orders an armed guard to be on watch and every worker worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. Nehemiah tells the workers in verse 14, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” When Nehemiah is putting together his battle plan he reminds the workers, “God will fight for us!” (v.20). In the end, the wall was completed in just 52 days, an unachievable feat without the Lord.
“When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:16)
All credit and glory go to God. If we wish to be effective leaders, then we too need to recognize how God works in our lives and acknowledge His gracious hand upon us. Do not put your confidence in yourself, but rather in the Lord. For we know that when we trust the Lord with all our heart, when we do not lean on our understanding, and when we seek His will in all we do, He will make our paths straight. Be honest about your feelings, never stop praying, speak up, give all the glory to God, and put all of your confidence in Him!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.