Leadership at its best comes from a heart place and not a position. Nehemiah was effective as a leader because he empathized with the pain of the people living without the safety of the wall around Jerusalem. He read himself into the shoes of the hurting. He allowed their pain to be his.
Even to the point of identifying with their sin. He confessed the sins that had led to the predicament they faced. He interceded for their sins and took them upon himself. He confessed his sins and the sins of his own family.
In this instance, I believe Nehemiah reflects Christ for us most clearly. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and allowed punishment to fall on Him. He was not a High Priest who could not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. (Hebrews 4:15).
Certainly we can see Christ elsewhere in Nehemiah. As Christ is seated in heavenly places so Nehemiah sat in the throne room of Artaxerxes.
But he did not consider his position something he clung to but came to a sin-ravaged city crumbling in despair even as Christ entered our flesh and our despair.
And as Christ prayed so Nehemiah did and was heard. And God sent Christ from Heaven and Nehemiah from Susa to once again re-establish His glory in the nations.
Difficulty and opposition, disappointment and despair would meet him as he went.
But in the end…
…so would victory.
FOR MEMORIZATION: We have sinned and acted very corruptly… Nehemiah 1:7
FOR REFLECTION: If you lead people, do you truly identify with and understand them?