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Summary: A principle of good leadership is that, before we begin we must develop a plan. We must know exactly what work needs to be done. What needs exist, and what problems can be expected.

A principle of good leadership is that, before we begin we must develop a plan. We must know exactly what work needs to be done. What needs exist, and what problems can be expected?NEHEMIAH 2 :1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”So I became dreadfully afraid, 3 and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”

4 MONTHS GO BY WHILE NEHEMIAH CONTINUES TO POUR OUT HIS SOUL TO GOD . FINALLY THE NEED OF THE ISRAELITES WEIGHS SO HEAVILY UPON NEHEMIAH'S HEART THAT HE COULD NO LONGER KEEP THE SADNESS FROM SHOWING ON HIS FACE. Nehemiah had not in the past been sad or sorrowful , when he was in the presence of the king. BACK IN THOSE DAYS THE KINGS' SERVANTS WERE EXPECTED TO KEEP THEIR FEELINGS HIDDEN AND TO DISPLAY A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE. However, on this occasion he appeared to be sad, and the king noticed it and asked the cause. This gave Nehemiah the opportunity he had been praying for to ask the king’s help .

But when the time came, Nehemiah HAS great fear. WE ARE NOT TOLD why Nehemiah was fearful, but if we would put ourselves in his place we can see several reasons why we might be fearful. He was about to ask for a great request of the King. He would not lightly make such a request. HE KNEW THE WHIM OF AN ABSOLUTE RULER COULD MEAN LIFE OR DEATH. There was the possibility that the king could become so angry he could punish Nehemiah. Or he could deny the request and demand that Nehemiah stay in Shushan and not leave.

So as Nehemiah is about to make his request of the king. He first expresses great respect for the king. He said, “Let the king live forever!” This is similar to the modern expression, “Long live the king!” This was a common expression for praising the king.

THEN NOTICE THAT NEHEMIAH ANSWERS THE KING WITH A QUESTION.JEWISH RABBI'S OFTEN ANSWERED A QUESTION WITH A QUESTION.NEHEMIAH FOLLOWED THAT EXAMPLE.INSTEAD OF TELLING THE KING WHAT HE PLANNED TO DO, HE AROUSES THE KINGS' SYMPATHY AND INTEREST WITH A QUESTION.

Wisdom would teach us to speak respectfully to people in positions of power, especially when we have a great request to make of them.

Nehemiah then explained that he was troubled by the problems in his homeland. The city where his fathers had lived and been buried now lay in waste and its gates consumed by fire .

This was Nehemiah’s burden and he uses the opportunity to honestly speak to the king about it.

NEHEMIAH IS CAUTIOUS ABOUT BRINGING HIS REQUEST AND WE GO TO EZRA CH 4 FOR THE REASONS WHY-

[PARAPHRASE briefly]- WHEN THE ENEMIES of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the LORD, the God of Israel. ....

THEY wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra 4 :12 The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls. 13 And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you....17 Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply:......18 “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me. 19 I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there! 20 Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls. 21 Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command. 22 Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.23 When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read.... they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building.

Through these verses we see that Nehemiah had every reason to be concerned that the King may not honor his request.

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