Regardless the extent of our own realms of leadership or the skills and experiences we bring to the table, we can learn from Nehemiah’s example as we examine our own character and God-given place in life. Like the bricks and mortar of a solid, ancient city wall, the bricks of excellent leadership must be placed on a foundation of God’s Word and godly character with the mortar of faith and fortitude.
Hand Me Another Brick: Timeless Lessons on Leadership
Our society desperately needs wise, godly leadership. The good news? It’s possible. Hand Me Another Brick: Timeless Lessons on Leadership will take you into the book of Nehemiah, where the walls of Jerusalem have crumbled, its glory has faded, and its people have lost heart. This is a story of a people who found godly leadership in the person of Nehemiah.
Chuck Swindoll will lead you through God’s principles of leadership found in Nehemiah. You will learn to motivate…overcome discouragement…face opposition…and apply wisdom and insight in all your realms of life and leadership. Allow this timeless teaching to help you rise to the challenge of becoming a dynamic, godly leader.
Few Old Testament characters surpass Nehemiah in the potency of their leadership. God used him to motivate and direct a relatively small group of people in building a wall around the city of Jerusalem and then to establish a godly government. Nehemiah discovered Jerusalem’s desperate need and then brought it before God in prayer. It is highly significant that the first place we find this great leader is on his knees. Leadership requires prayer.
While carrying his great burden for the people and conditions in Jerusalem, Nehemiah began the tough job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem…by getting on his knees in prayer. He asked God for compassion and understanding to come to the heart of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:3–4, 11).
Nehemiah faced the immense task of inspiring those around him to pick up bricks and begin a gruelling project. Some were young novices with soft, callous-free hands. Others were old and accustomed to living without the wall—perhaps lethargic and disinterested. The sands of time had smothered much of the patriotic zeal that had once burned in the hearts of the Jews.
As soon as Nehemiah and his crew began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, opposition and criticism broke out and constantly bombarded them from all sides. Nehemiah’s example teaches us that it is possible not only to stay at our task regardless of the opposition but also to do it in a way that deepens our walk with God. Criticism may knock us down, but it doesn’t have to knock us out!
As we turn to Nehemiah 4:9-23, we find Nehemiah’s work crew discouraged for the first time since the project of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem began. But what caused the discouragement? How did Nehemiah handle it? The answers to these questions apply directly to the discouragement many leaders face today.
Every worthy task contains its share of challenges, and Nehemiah’s God-given work was no exception. The first 13 verses of Nehemiah 5 shine a spotlight on a dismal financial fiasco involving the workers. This problem caused the project to grind to a temporary halt while their leader guided them to a godly solution. Though our own tasks today are different, problems and difficulties will surely find us, and wise leaders will need to know how to handle them.
Using Nehemiah’s own experience as the basis of our study, we learn how to pass the test of integrity that comes with a promotion.
For months, Nehemiah led the project of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls in spite of constant opposition, both subtle and overt. As the walls neared completion (Nehemiah 6:1), threatening foes once again assailed this leader. But this time the attack was much more insidious than before—the enemy attempted to intimidate Nehemiah through several frightening plots.
Once the walls and gates were finally completed (Nehemiah 6:15), Nehemiah organized Jerusalem into a well-guarded, stable body of people (7:1-73). The beginnings of spiritual revival were taking place. And the potential for revival is always present in our own lives, if we just know where to look.
In search of a solid foundation in the Law, they returned to Ezra, seeking insight—wisdom that could be built into their daily lives. They committed to clear away the rubble of wrong thinking and their old patterns of living, replacing them with obedience to the Lord and His Law. This biblical method for spiritual renovation is an excellent model for rebuilding our spiritual lives today.
After God’s people had heard and obeyed His Word by observing the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:13-18), they met for a time of corporate prayer. The celebration brought them to an understanding of both the holiness of God and the depth of their sins, which led to an expression of deep sorrow and humility. The Israelites’ example provides guidelines for the discipline of prayer that are meaningful, logical, and relevant for us today.
In Nehemiah’s day, when the people of Jerusalem prayed, they meant business! They did not offer mere words—they signed their names to a sealed document (Nehemiah 9:38). The document contained an agreement that was prepared and established before God. In it they promised to pattern their lives according to His truth, to put first things first.
Nehemiah 11 recognizes the “willing unknowns,” a special group of people who served a vital function in Jerusalem but never saw their names in lights. We will consider also our own sacrificial service and learn to appreciate those who work behind-the-scenes in our homes, workplaces, and realms of leadership.
Following the completion of their immense task, the Jews responded with joy—intense happiness. Instruments of music blended with the celebration scene as the triumphant tone of rejoicing was heard from afar (Nehemiah 12:43). In this uplifting message, we’ll attempt to recreate that happy scene in our minds and glean from it several practical lessons about joy and celebration of God’s mighty works.
Nehemiah refused to let problems conquer him. Intensely desiring to please the Lord, Nehemiah took sin “by the throat” wherever he found it. But nowhere is his indomitable spirit more obvious than in his response to the four serious problems recorded in Nehemiah 13. From his example, we will draw several timely, applicable principles for our own realms of leadership.