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Nehemiah: The Steadfast Leader

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Introduction

Good morning,
I pray you are well today.
I want to share my thanks for all of you who have prayed for me, checked on me to see if there was anything we needed or if there was anything we needed done. We really appreciate that...
Life is full of accidents that happen, we learn to navigate through them, its just part of life. But I’m thankful, i have all ten fingers HA!
So what do we do when bad things happen?
We learn to give God thanks even more for the little things. We push forward with each day and we lean on the Lord for help, strength and wisdom.
Today we are heading back to the Old Testament, to the book of Nehemiah.
We will begin in Nehemiah chapter 1, and we will consider the The servant quality of a steadfast leader.
Nehemiah is one of those special people God raises up after the period of the exile, He will lead the people back to the Father as the city walls are rebuilt. But he will do more than that, He will serve as an enduring witness that with God all things are possible when our eyes are on Him and nothing else.
So lets go to Nehemiah chapter 1 today. And lets look at verses 1-4
Nehemiah 1:1–4 ESV
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” 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.
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For a little context, its been about 90 years since the command of Cyrus was given, the co-regent of Darius, that the children of Israel could return to their home land.
So will return, some will not ( for many reasons). But what we can see is that in these 90 years not much has changed, the city is in ruin and the people have not renewed the covenant with the Lord their God.
Its a terrible time.
Sometimes my friends in takes the terrible to help us see what is truly missing in our lives before God.
The first thought I want you to see is this...

1. A Steadfast Leader is One Whose Heart Breaks in the Midst of Great Need....

Servants of God have compassionate hearts and when they see the spiritual ruin and corruption, they are broken before God.
When you look at the text here is Nehemiah, he has never seen or lived in Jerusalem. He was born in captivity and serves in the King’s palace as a cup bearer, so he has a very trusted position.
But Nehemiah understands that he is an Israelite. His true home is the city of God, and his place is before God as His covenant people.
And when a fellow Jew returned from the area, Nehemiah inquired about the plight of His people…
Verse 3 says it all about the condition of the people...
Nehemiah 1:3 ESV
3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
Now here is what I want you to see my friends.... Nehemiah heard this news and His heart was broken...
Why? The people there were in trouble, and shame. The enemies around them took advantage of them, they had no protection within the city. They were vulnerable to harassment and attacks from the enemy. Any time they sought to get ahead, anytime things prospered for them, it was stolen.
Shame refers to the ridicule of the people around them, they were taunted like dogs.
In addition, it seems that their priorities may have been miss placed, as Haggai 1 tells us they were slow to rebuild the temple, we know the city walls seemed to suffer as well.
As God’s people we see difficult times and generations of people with miss placed priorities… It breaks our hearts when the spiritual lives of people suffer, it breaks our heart as we see the spiritual condition of our Nation suffer..
A servant of the living God realizes this my friends...
Q...Let me stop here>>>> what is your heart broken for in front of God?
Now in the midst of heart break, Nehemiah spent days in prayer before the Lord..
Look at verse 4 again...
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.
You see my friends, when we are heart broken over sin and the lostness of our family and friends, what they are missing by being separated by their sin.. We realize the more we need to pray.
The Scripture says he spent days fasting and praying… Why, it was important to him and yes to the Father.
Now for a second, look at His prayer:
A. He gave adoration and praise to God as He called out to Him. Adoration in prayer is important my friends, We are confessing who He is and how wonderful is His name is in all the earth. We are declaring the goodness and mercy of attributes.
B. He asked God to hear and see His servant who was interceding for His people Israel. Prayer is not designed to be about us only, there are times when we need to pray for the needs, the people, the places around us.
C. We need to confess sin, even when it isn’t ours per say… Nehemiah was a Israelite by birth, corporately He is asking God to forgiven him, His people for their fallen state of sin.
Look at verse 7
Nehemiah 1:7 ESV
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.
Nehemiah knows, and He leaves no stone unturned....
When I see this part of his prayer, we should do the same for America. America has sinned before God, we have allowed to much to take place, from abortion to debauchery. God forgiven our land.. forgiven our sins… Have mercy one us.
D. He asked God to remember the covenant by which He has called the people. If they would return to Him, He would gather them again even if they be scattered, you can see this in verses 8-9.
E. Finally, The call is for success, to given Him success for that day. God had placed his plan in Nehemiah’s heart, and one thing stood in the way, the King. Would the King allow His servant to leave to fulfill the mission that was upon His heart? With God’s help He would.
My friends, a broken heart leads us to pray, to seek his face, direction and help. Nehemiah did all the above, because he was a servant leader that was heart broken about the condition of His people.
I would challenge you today at our invitation to just remain and pray for our nation, our community and foe the gospel to be able to push back the darkness
Secondly today, I want to you to see a Steadfast leader will be working, gathering the resources.

2. A Steadfast Leader Follows the Lord’s Leading… Even When it Seems Impossible...

Here is a great thought for us… when God tells us to get started, we better get going… right
God has called Nehemiah to serve and Nehemiah begins to put the wheels in motion to follow God’s leadership in His life.
The first task would be to approach the King and find acceptance for the mission he was called too.
Now I would assure you Nehemiah was nervous, it is difficult to approach a king when you are is servant, asking for something enormous in size. But my friends, If God has called you.. He will equip you with all that you need.
Lets move over to chapter 2 this morning and see God’s servant as He approached the King...
Verses 1-5
Nehemiah 2:1–5 ESV
1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 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.”
I love the fact that when you are sent by God, while cautious that person is courageous.
Now why do I say courageous? Well, when you look at the text, Nehemiah approaches the King during the performance of his duty, but he is down cast and sad.
One wasn’t supposed to appear sad in front of the King, to do so could result in death, you were to always appear upbeat and happy. But this day, courageous and strong, trusting the Lord he allowed his true heart to be seen by the King.
And the King notices, but God has made his heart ready. So the King asks Nehemiah why his heart is so broken… and why is he so downcast?
And notice the King’s observation.... The King knows Nehemiah is not sick, so it had to be a matter of the heart. Now Nehemiah was afraid… But he continued, and told the King his heart.
Nehemiah had no idea how God was going to use the situation, but as He explains his heart to the King, God shows up… remember I said even when it seems impossible...
Why should King Artaxerxes care about Jerusalem? He didn’t until God prepared his heart… and His reply to Nehemiah’s words open the door for endless possibilities.
Look at verse 5
Nehemiah 2:5 ESV
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.”
Wow.... The King asks Nehemiah what He is requesting.... and Nehemiah prays and lays it out there trusting the Lord… and Nehemiah puts the request before King Artaxerxes.
Please send me to rebuild the city.... And the reply of the King is only a God thing my friends…The King asks How long will you be gone…
Now Nehemiah gives the king a time frame but also asks for supplies to complete the work… look at verses 7-8
Nehemiah 2:7–8 ESV
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.
Wow… can you see that last sentence… And the king granted me what I asked for… the good hand of God was upon me.
My friends when our God leads the way, when He going before us nothing is impossible. All God asks of us is to follow his leadership.
Someone here, you might be hearing God ‘s leadership in your life. He is directing you, but are you going to follow.
You might not think it is Possible, but for God nothing is impossible.
Will you follow....
Now this takes me to our third thought for today… A servant leader, a steadfast leader Is able to see God’s vision for the task at hand,

3. A Steadfast Leader Understand’s God’s Vision for What Needs to be Done...

My friends, without a doubt, Nehemiah understood the work God intended Him to complete, He knew the vision of God.
That my friends this is important… being a leader means seeing, understanding and knowing the will of God for the task at hand.
It was time not only for the walls to be rebuilt, not only for the people to return, but for the heart of the people to return to God in worship and adoration as they return to Him spiritually.
The city walls, completion of the gates, these would be the physically signs that God has returned to them and was calling them again.
So Nehemiah and all those with him return to the city, with the force of people and supplies, materials and other things needed to complete the work before them..
Now as we look at the text, we see some important truth as we strive to be a steadfast leader… lets go back to our text..verses 9-16
Nehemiah 2:9–16 ESV
9 Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel. 11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.
So what can we summarize from the text that is important for a leader to see...
A. Not Everyone will Embrace God’s Plans… Listen my friends there are times, if we are not careful we can get in the way of God’s work.
There are people who appose the work of God for it doesn't fit their vision, they honestly could care less about what God is doing...
I’ve seen it many times in in the years I have served… The Bible says here that Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased that people came to check on and help the people of Israel.
Why, why were they displeased… Because it disrupted their plans and their desires… They enjoyed riding rough shod over those broken people, if they rose up, they could be a threat to them.
People do not like it when their power they have is broken down, when people are like that they are being used more of Satan than they are of God. Its sad…
I love what Henry Balckably says.. See where God is working… and join Him there.
How do we overcome, how do we ensure we never stand in the way of God? My friends the truthful answer is to always stand with Him in prayer. Its that simple and yet that difficult.
Now a second thought..
B. Survey the Work.... The text tells us that after 3 days in thr city, Nehemiah went by night with a few companions and surveyed the city, it’s walls, gates and all that was in a terrible condition.
Remember approximately 160 since the city was first invaded years prior by Nebuchadnezzar. The city has set in ruins, deteriorating every day a little more, some might say it was a lost cause. But verse 11 says that God had put this all upon his heart.
There are not lost causes when it comes to God. No place, no people, no singular person… God is able to reach, heal and save my friends. Our task is to be steadfast and ready to follow the Lord’s leading...
Have you looked at the task before you? what stopping you?
People look at what needs to be done and say we cant, we say we aren’t able, but in truth is if we surrender and remain steadfast before Him we can see the glory of God.
C. We Have to Invite Others to Help.... There is an old saying, one person cannot do it all… instead of trying and failing, they invite others to come and join in...
Look at verses 17-18...
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.
Nehemiah cast the vision… He shared with them all that God had done up to this point, and told them what God desired and I love the the end of verse 18...
V 18 “.......They strengthened their hands for the good work.” They were ready and they prepared themselves for the work.
Will you strengthen yourself… will you ask God to prepare your heart to serve were He is calling.. he has a great God glorifying task He is inviting you to come and be a part off.
Will you join Him?
A Steadfast leader stands up and serves, pushing ahead following the Lord’s leading...
Steadfast is a word meaning to endure patiently. A steadfast person is one who is reliable, faithful, and true to the end.
No matter how big, how difficult it may seems, push forward and see the glory of God.
So the big question is this....
What has the Lord said to you this morning/
Is He calling you to repent of anything
Is He leading you step out and serve
You might need a church home?
God is on the move in your life and the life of this church for His glory
Lets pray
come into the city, come unto thr house of God
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