Summary: These lessons from the life of Nehemiah will show leaders how to respond in the face of adversity.
Leadership That Just Won't Quit
I) When opposition struck, Nehemiah prayed
Nehemiah 4:4-5 (NIV)
4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
Nehemiah asked God for strength
Nehemiah asked God for revenge
II) Nehemiah continued the work
Nehemiah 4:6 (NIV)
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
The people continued building the wall
The people backed Nehemiah
To be effective for the majority of the church, we cannot allow the minority to drag us down
Persevernence will make us more effective
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
When Beethoven learned he was losing his hearing he said. "I will take life by the throat
Sir Walter Scott - Scottish novelsit upon learning he had been bankrupted by his publisher "No man will say poor fellow to me, My own right hand will pay my debt."
William Booth - founder of Salvation army learning that he was going blind - "I have used my sight for Jesus; now I will use my blindness for him."
III) Nehemiah stepped out in faith that God would help him protect his work.
Nehemiah 4:9-23 (NIV)
9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.
14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah
17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
22 At that time I also said to the people, "Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day."
23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
Nehemiah stationed guards to protect the city - v. 9-14
Nehemiah stationed guards to protect his workers - v. 16-20
Nehemiah armed the workers to protect themselves - v 21-23
To often we asked God for help but then do nothing to demonmstrate that we believe God will answer our prayer.
Hudson Taylor - Founder of China Inland Mission - On his way to China when the sea became calm. For days there was no wind to move the ship. In desperation the captain, who was not a Christian said, Mr. Taylor, I want you to pray that God will send the winds so that we can resume our journey. Taylor responded, "I will be glad to pray on the condition that you first raise the sails." But the captain refused saying that his men would think him crazy if he raised the sails on the calm sea. "Then", Taylor said, "I will not ask the father inb heaven. If I am going to pray for wind, I must have enough faith to raise the sails." The captain relented and only then to Hudson Taylor go below deck to pray. It was not long until God answered his prayer filling the sails with wind.