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Summary: Christian Leadership with Servant Leadership

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The Tender Heart of a Tough Leader

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Bro. Rodney A. Fry

Intro:

How do we respond to bad news?

The phone call late at night? The conference with your child’s teacher? The meeting with the Lawyer The report from the Medical lab? None of us are immune to bad news; the secret is in the way we learn to respond to it, and that’s where today’s text can help us.

Background

Divided Kingdom, Evil rulers, prophets warnings, 722 BC Assyrians raid Israel (North), 605 Nebby invades Judah (south) as prophesied by Isaiah – Story told in Daniel

586 Babylon (Nebby) come back Jerusalem - Ezekiel

539 Cyrus defeats Babylon and begins repatriation. Temple is rebuilt under Ezra.

As Nehemiah was tending to his business in the citadel of Susa (probably the winter residence of the Babylonian kings) his brother and some other men from Judah came with news. Nehemiah asked for a report concerning the Jews in Jerusalem and the news was not good. The remnant of Jews in Jerusalem was in great distress. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down its six gates burned with fire. The people were vulnerable and demoralized, and there seemed to be no one to lead them. Nehemiah’s reaction is described in detail. He sat down and bitterly wept. He mourned for days (Compare Ezra 10:1)

He was brokenhearted, crushed, shocked, and heavy hearted. That the bad news broke his heart reveals something of his faithfulness, something of his devout nature as a God-fearing Jew. The heart of this tough leader suggest a mature and confident relationship with God that had developed over the years. Nehemiah’s prayer is one of the most revealing in Scripture. It isn’t just well-written composition or a polished piece of religious verse. It is the result of days of fasting and prayer, Nehemiah didn’t just regret the circumstance, and He compared the broken walls of Jerusalem with the great and awesome God. Notice how he addressed God: Lord God of Heaven, O Great and Awesome God, You who keep your covenant and mercy… Nehemiah reflected on God’s character knowing that God loves to be loyal to His covenant and His people.

Nehemiah then confessed Israel’s sins and his own. Nehemiah proceeded to ask God to remember His own word, Quotes from Deuteronomy 9:29. He ended his prayer by asking God for success and compassion. The chapter ends and the next one begins with a note about Nehemiah’s position, which was similar to that described in Genesis 40:2 referring to a butler or to a high official in the royal house. Most likely the importance of this is seen in Nehemiah’s frequent access to the king. He was a man of influence in a key place at the right time. What lesson can we learn here about dealing with bad news?

I. Tough Leaders are Servants

The word servant and savants occur 7 times in Chapter 1

Our World applauds the proud the successful, the out in front the get r done individual.

I’m not knocking confident leadership; I’m just pointing out how Nehemiah’s example is different.

Jesus spoke of the servant-role of leaders in Matthew 20:20-28


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