Nehemiah led out of a vision… not a vision of grandeur or expansion of a kingdom… but a vision to restore and rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. The rubble and ineffectiveness of this wall had caused God’s people who had returned there to be a “reproach;” literally, a laughingstock to the pagan nations around them who could come and go as they pleased, bullying… harassing… stealing… and then asking “Where is your God?”
Nehemiah’s vision was more than a leader’s opportunistic view of how he could make a name for himself. His vision leaned into revelation… a God-inspired program to do what had not yet been done for His glory. The walls of Jerusalem must be rebuilt… for safety and comfort and to restore the reputation of God who had promised this would happen. It would be a visible testimony of His faithfulness to His people.
So God looked for a leader and found the man, a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes… a faithful Jew serving in a foreign land. (Nehemiah 1:11). And he gave a vision to him… to rebuild a wall, to restore a testimony, to provide for the care of His people. Nehemiah accomplished this God-given assignment in fifty-five days… a superhuman task on any level of evaluation.
Harry Truman said a leader’s job is to make people do what they don’t want to do and have them enjoy doing it! No one in Jerusalem thought this task could be done. There was too much rubble. There were too many opponents.
For a teacher to be a teacher, someone has to learn. And for a leader to be a leader, someone has to follow. Nehemiah was a leader who had been given a revelation from God. His task? To convince those who had decided it would be impossible to rebuild the wall that they could indeed build the wall. He had a revelation.
And with that revelation came a confidence in Nehemiah that the God of Heaven who gave it would empower him to accomplish it. That is the promise. That is the certainty.
And that becomes the source and focus of a leader’s courage.
FOR MEMORIZATION: This is my command. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT
FOR REFLECTION: What is God commanding you to do that requires more courage or confidence than you currently possess?