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The 52 day Makeover

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Concern + Bible knowledge = action,

Concern,

Nehemiah 1:4 ESV
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Observation from . Nehemiah had a heart and concern for his city. This is shown in the way he wept when he heard about the state of Jerusalem. Principle: A leader must have a caring heart for God and obedience to him. The broken walls and the gates destroyed by fire reminded Nehemiah about Israel’s past disobedience which led to his mournful response.
What concerns you? Are you missing the mark? Are people close to you straying from God’s word? Is you community, church, country, world, etc. in need of restoration?

Bible knowledge,

Nehemiah 1:5–11 ESV
5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.
Observation: Nehemiah knew the Torah and he quoted a part of it back to God. He knew that God had said if the people were obedient God would bring his people back to the place he had chosen for his name to be honored. Principle: A leader must know God’s Word and the promises in it. Those promises are what guide a leader and help him follow God. Therefore, a leader must know God’s Word.

Action,

Observation: Nehemiah’s heart for the city led him to pray to God in praise, confession of sin, and prayer for kindness from the king. Principle: A leader is action oriented. He attempts new things, takes initiative, and works toward something. For example, Nehemiah not only had a heart for the city of Jerusalem, but he also acted.

Preparation + a plan = participation,

Preparation,

Nehemiah 2:4–8 ESV
4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 7 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.
Observation: Nehemiah was prepared for the opportunity presented to him in 2:4-8. When the opportunity came to tell the king about why he was sad and what he hoped to do, Nehemiah was ready. Principle: A leader must be prepared and ready when his opportunity comes. When an opportunity arises a leader is only able to take advantage of it if he has adequately prepared for it.

Plan,

Nehemiah 2:17–18 ESV
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.
Observation: Nehemiah showed the need for the work he planned to do by reminding the people that they were vulnerable without a city wall and were in a position of disgrace. Principle: A leader must show the need (or problem) which he plans to solve. If he is going to have a vision for something that needs to change, he also must show the problem which that vision will solve. Otherwise, he will not get support or buy-in for his vision.

Participation, Neb.2:17-18

Observation: Nehemiah said, “let us” rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He included himself and the people he was talking to in the work to be done. Principle: A leader realizes that work is a team effort. No leader can accomplish great things alone. Similarly, a leader also does not say, “you do it” because he knows that he also should be involved in the work.

Prayer + Focus = Victory,

Prayer, ; ; ,

Nehemiah 1:4 ESV
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 2:4 ESV
4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 4:4 ESV
4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.
Nehemiah 4:9 ESV
9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
Observation: When Nehemiah heard news about Jerusalem (1:4), replied to the king’s question (2:4), and struggled with opposition (4:4, 9), he responded to each situation with prayer. Principle: A godly leader looks to and relies on God for strength and direction. Prayer is one of the ways that a godly leader allows God to strengthen him and guide his steps.

Focus,

Nehemiah 6:2 ESV
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.
Observation: Nehemiah was focused on the work of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and as a result did not allow himself to be distracted by Sanballat and Geshem. Principle: A leader who knows God’s plan must stay focused on God’s work and not get distracted.

Victory,

Nehemiah 6:15 ESV
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.
Like hope to know God’s Word, pray to God, and allow God to shape me into a godly leader. This desire is what led me to want to attend seminary and is why I work hard to study God’s Word, learn about God, and become clearer about my calling and gifts. I need to continue studying God’s Word, learning about who God is, and keep asking God to show me what he wants me to do and how he wants me to serve.
Seeing Nehemiah’s example of bold and persistent leadership has helped me to see that I need to develop these two qualities in myself as a leader. Time after time in the book of Nehemiah he is bold to state his purpose and keep fighting for the work God led him to do. Nehemiah confronted both foreigners and fellow countrymen when he saw things not going the way they should. He also never allowed his workers to be discouraged or prevented from continuing their work. This same type of tireless dedication to God’s work in spite of criticism and opposition from others is something I need to develop in my own life as a leader.
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