Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!
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We’re back with our Nehemiah series where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked, when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. We’re now switching gears to take a look at how Nehemiah carried himself as a servant-leader. Let’s dig in!
v14Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.
Nehemiah was appointed official governor or leader of the people for 12 years. First, take note the wall wasn’t finished, yet the people didn’t wait to appoint him. Sometimes, the Lord will move you up based on your faithfulness over someone that is more qualified. When we serve, we do so not with eye service, as menpleasers, but in sincerity of heart, as to the Lord and not unto men. Knowing that the Lord will reward us, for we serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
In another servant-leader move, Nehemiah made it a point to say that for the time he was in charge, he and his family did not eat up the food allowance they were entitled to. Just because you can does not mean you should. I Corinthians 10:23-24 reminds us that all things all lawful for me, but not expedient, all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify and that no one should seek his own, but every man’s wealth.
v15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.
BUT The former governors (bosses/managers) charged the people and ON TOP of that took from bread, wine AND MONEY–about 40 shekels worth! (This equates to around $15,000 in U.S. money–most people earned 30 shekels in 4 months). This was nothing more than unlawful extortion. Can you see why Nehemiah got upset with the rulers who were charging the people all that interest for food earlier in chapter 5? But wait, there’s more!
Proverbs 29:2 says, “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” So imagine what must have been happening when Nehemiah mentioned the former governor’s servants ruling (bossing/managing) over the people. That’s like the governor’s aides from your state or country coming down to tell you what to do, how do do it, how to live, when and where you can go, etc., that’s neither lawful nor expedient–-that’s what a manager or boss does.
However, Nehemiah tells us he did not such things, because of the fear of the God. Very wise leader, that Nehemiah! Proverbs 9:10 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. If more “rulers” had a fear [reverence, concern for what God thought, realizing they have to answer to Him], there would be less wickedness and mourning in the land.
v16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.
Nehemiah, the GOVERNOR, continued to be a servant-leadership example as he CONTINUED (not stalled through, assigned, delegated, chilled, loafed, goofed off) IN THE WORK of the wall. Despite Sanballat and the posse, the people’s fear, their unlawful practices, the obstacles, HE KEPT on! He did not buy any land—he and his servants were focused on the work that was assigned along with everyone else.
v17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
v18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.
For mealtime, notice there wert no separate table for the leaders, no VIP section for an extra 40 shekels, no or pomp or circumstance. Nehemiah, like Jesus ate with everyone else–that’s what leaders do. Also, God took care of Nehemiah—his 150 member cabinet workers and people from other nations were fed well on the daily and elected not to tax the people any more than they were already responsible for. Nehemiah cared enough about the people who trusted him to lead them to not fleece them. To him that knows to do good and does not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).
And Nehemiah closes with the simple request to the Lord:
v19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
BCU family, the Lord broke down those last few verses so we could understand how a leader (in any capacity–work, church, home) should conduct themselves with the grace of God. An easy, yet powerful way to remember what we read in one scripture:
But he that is the greatest among you shall be your servant (Matthew 23:11).
Well BCU Family, this completes our study of Nehemiah chapter 5! Looking forward to going into chapter 6. In the meantime, we’d love to dialogue with you so, please post your thoughts in the comment section below!
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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!