What Leadership Looks Like, Part 2

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.

In Part 1 of this article, I mentioned the importance of leaders believing that the God of the Bible did create the world and does rule over it.  I also mentioned the importance of leaders remembering the times when God was involved in history, and especially the history of their people.  This is what the Levites were doing when they held their celebration service following the completion of the wall in Jerusalem.

Now to continue what happened in the celebration service, in speaking to God about one of those events in which their ancestors had experienced God’s intervention in their life, the Levites, declared, “You came down also on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments.”

Notice here the ability of the Jews to not only recall specific events  in which God intervened in the life of His people but a declaration that they had received their laws and commandments by direct revelation from the Lord of all the earth.  This means they could know for sure what was right and what was wrong. They could know for sure what was good and what was evil. Knowing those things, they could stand for the right and the good and believe in God’s future with certainty and conviction.

This is what we need today, if we are going to have a future. We can’t just have opinions which vary from person to person and change from generation to generation.   We need to know the truth of God which Psalm 100 says endures to all generations. Only then can we stand with certainty and conviction for what is good and what is right, and believe in God’s plan of salvation and future for us.

As for the future, in Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter one, he recalls a promise from scripture, where the Lord says,  “If you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part  of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.”

Notice here, Nehemiah knew God made this promise about the future.  He knew the fulfillment of that promise was prophesied in Deuteronomy 30. Therefore, He knew the time was coming  when his people, the Jews were going to be gathered back to Jerusalem and would once again be a nation living to honor the Lord.  Nehemiah was certain a good future was coming.

Woodrow Wilcox


We need to be certain as well. This is why I would say to you living in a world where unbelievers are in power, and where the will of God is not in fashion,  should not erase our memory of who the Lord is,  what He has done in the past, and what He will do in the future.

It is because we Christians remember these things, that we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”  For we know from Revelation 11 that the time is coming when Jesus Christ will rule on earth.

With those things as crucial to our understanding of who we are, we need to stop thinking of ourselves primarily in terms of where we live and what we do but instead let our relationship with God define us. For there is a God.  He does have the truth. His will and His mission should take precedence over everything.

Look at Nehemiah. When the men came from Judah bringing the sad news of destruction, he did not say, “Don’t expect me to do anything.  I am not going to risk my cushy life at the top of the social ladder to help you.” Neither did he say of the Jews in Jerusalem, “Those foolish people.  Don’t they know who is running this world now.  Don’t they realize  that if they just went along, life could go well for them.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some people are saying the same thing today about us Christians.

But Nehemiah didn’t react that way.  And the reason He didn’t react that way was because he believed in the mission. He believed that the seeds of the future were  in the mission.  The reason he believed in the mission and that the future was in the mission, was because He believed in the one God, the Lord of all the earth, who was the author of that mission. If God is the author of that mission, it has got to be good, and it has got to be important.

As a result, Nehemiah believed that the meaning of his existence and his destiny were tied to God.  Notice this.  The meaning of his existence and his destiny were not tied to being cupbearer or to living in the luxurious surroundings of the Persian court. They were tied to who God was and what God was doing.

Can we say this is also true for us?  Therefore does God’s will and mission take precedence over everything else in our life?  In other words, are we first and foremost a Christian where our faith colors everything we do, or are we first and foremost a farmer or a banker or a housewife?  If we say that we are first and foremost a Christian, is that reflected in the concerns we have  and in the prayers we pray?

For this was true in Nehemiah’s case. This is why when Nehemiah’s brethren came from Judah, he asked concerning the Jews there  and concerning Jerusalem. He wanted to know how it was going, because first and foremost he was a servant of God.   When he got the bad news, he sat down and wept and mourned and fasted and prayed for many days, for there was nothing more important in his life  than God’s will for his people and seeing that will accomplished.

Can you say that?  Can you resonate with that?  Are you grieved about the state of our nation and the state of the church in general? This was Nehemiah.  He wanted his people to fulfill the vision of being a people living a life together that honored the Lord.

Because this was the case, he was a leader who could not be bought, a leader whose word was his promise, who put character above wealth. He was a leader who possessed wise opinions and a will to take a stand. He was a man who did not hesitate to take chances on behalf of what is right, a man who did not go along with the crowd. He was a person who was honest in all matters and who would make no compromise with wrong.

Is this the kind of person you want to be?  Do you want to have the certainty and the conviction and the courage that Nehemiah had?  It starts with a thirst for the truth, a desire to know  what God really said, what God is really like, what He wants from us and what He is willing to do for us.

This, of course, is followed by meditation in God’s word.  We need to make meditation of God’s word a regular habit  For that is how we find out the truth of God.  Meditation then leads to discernment, the ability to tell right from wrong, truth from falsehood, good from evil. With that, we can interpret the events around us.  We can see this in Nehemiah, for all through the book, he is able to make these distinctions.

Discernment leads to a spiritual burden, which Nehemiah had. We can see that in his weeping and mourning, his fasting and praying, day and night.  How about you?  Do you have a burden for people who don’t know the Lord?  Do you have a burden for the state of society today?

What was Nehemiah’s burden?  The wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and its gates had been burned with fire.  That was part of it, but there was more.  For the God who keeps covenant and mercy would not have allowed those things to happen if the people were observing His commandments, and Nehemiah knew it.

This is why he prayed,  “We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments.” Therefore, the sinfulness that had caused them to be taken into bondage and lose their land was still plaguing them.  This was Nehemiah’s burden.  This was why he wept and mourned so much. There was a dream to be lived, and they weren’t doing it. I would say to you,  “God has a life which he wants this nation to live.”  As a nation, we aren’t doing it.  Because this is happening, we need to have a burden for our nation like Nehemiah had for his.

Notice what comes next.  The burden Nehemiah had  led to a passion to do something  to right the situation. This is why in standing before the king, Nehemiah cried out to God,  “Let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”  Nehemiah wanted to do something.  He had a passion to see God’s will accomplished in Jerusalem.

His passion led to a willingness to step out in faith and take risks for God. This is why when the king asked Nehemiah what he was requesting, he said, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Is this where you are at?  As you look at the world around you and see a world where unbelievers are in power, where God’s will is not in fashion, and people are lost? Do you have a passion to do something about it?  If this nation is going to have a future, all of us Christians need to have that kind of passion.

Are you willing to be that kind of person, a person who will step out in faith, and do something to advance God’s kingdom? Are you a farmer or a teacher or a house wife with a Christian agenda? All of us need to have  a God honoring agenda in which we are stepping out in faith.

We can’t just come to church on Sunday morning and live like unbelievers the rest of the week. We need to know the truth.  We need to have discernment.  We need to have a burden and a passion.  If we do and step out in faith, like Nehemiah did, the Lord will be with us.

When we have a love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and a faith in what He can do, we will step out in faith. God will intervene, and things will happen.  The future of this nation will be as great as the past.

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.

Similar Posts:

Bob Wittstruck was a pastor for 33 years, was the associate director of the Black Hills Creation Science Association, and is a supporter of both Christian schooling and home schooling. His latest book, The Forgotten Factor of History God Rules, is being printed in February or March of 2016. His email address is [email protected]
Bob Wittstruck
View all articles by Bob Wittstruck
Print Friendly