Nehemiah – The portrait of a leader





Elders / Deacons – we are leaders of the Binscombe Church.

Helpful to look at Nehemiah as an example of what a godly leader should be.

We are briefly looking at his life and ministry – just a glance.




His time in Israel’s history was a crucial time in the life of the nation of Israel.

It was after the exile when a small group of Jews return from Babylon to Palestine.


Eight keys words summaries Israels history up to the time of Nehemiah.

  • ELECTION – Abraham – Israel elected to be worshipping/witnessing community.
  • ENSLAVEMENT – in bondage in Egypt.
  • EMANCIPATION – through Moses delivered from Egypt.
  • ENTRANCE – after 40 years in the desert they entered the Promised land.
  • ESTABLISHMENT – in Saul (then David) the beginning of the Monarchy.
  • EVIL – repetative evil of the nation eventually brought God’s judgement.
  • EXILE – Northern Kingdom to Assyria – Judah to Babylon (Nehemiah)
  • EDICT – Temple rebuilt by Zerubabbel and Joshua with Ezra the priest — then edict given by Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls.


Nehemiah was prepared by God for spiritual service.

His task was a practical one BUT a mistake to think spiritual preparation was not important.

No matter how practical the task there is still a need for spiritual preparation.

Neh. was a Jew – brought up in exile by godly parents who taught him the Law [inferred in ch.1]

His prayer [ch.1] reflects his knowledge of God’s law – the history and hopes of his people.

OUR spiritual preparedness is crucial to our spiritual service.

Nehemiah was placed by God for specific service.

Long before Neh. led the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls he was being prepared by God for the task – he was cupbearer in the court of Artaxerxes – this was no menial task but and office that held great responsibility and authority. He became a confidant and counsellor to the king. – 1:11 – 2:1.


WE are taken through the course of our lives by God – everything from our background, our work, our experiences of life are designed or use by God to make us what we are and to use us in the specific sphere of service we are in.


There are many qualities we could list – here are 6.

  • FAITH – whether encouraging the people of Jerusalem or standing up to the foes of Jerusalem , his confidence was in God. [4:14-15, 20. 6:16]
  • PRAYER – a man of prayer – many references to his prayer life .[1v4-11; 2v4; 4v4,5,9; 5v19; 6v9,14; 13v14,22,29,31.]
  • SENSITIVE – to God’s leading “My God has put into my heart…” [7v5; cf.2v12.] Step by step he was guided by God in his work.
  • FEAR OF GOD – he lived his life under the all-seeing eye of God [Nehemiah 5:9 9 So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? (NIV)]cf.5v15]
  • DISCERNMENT – a keen discerner of truth and reality. Concerning the sham of Shemaiah he is able to say: “I perceived that God had not sent him” [6v12]
  • DEPENDENT – on God – He realised that without the favour of God his work would be in vain. Nehemiah 2:18. I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.                                                                                                           Psalm 127:1

1 [A song of ascents. Of Solomon.] Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. (NIV)

Is my experience of Jesus similar to that of Neh. – My relationship to Jesus is more important than anything else.



1V1-4 show how Neh. heard about the need in Jerusalem – as he heard about the state of that beloved city he became burdened in his spirit.

His commitment to get involved developed when he began to realise that he could do something about rebuilding the walls.

His commitment expressed itself in the fact that he got on with the work even when he was under threat from the enemies. There was a willingness on his part to give up his safety and comfort in order to complete the task given him by God.

As a leadership team at Binscombe Church we have seen a task that needs doing and have been led by God to get involved – the test of the commitment is seen in the time and effort put in by each one. God help us to continue this and to improve where that is necessary.


From a human persepective Neh. was commissioned by King Artaxerxes – [2v1-8] He was given the permission and material resources to do the job.

WE are like that – appointed by the people of the Church to do a job and the material resources come from them [and us].

Look at what Neh. reports he said to the people of Jerusalem   Nehemiah 2:18 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (NIV)

First the hand of God then the King’s word. That was the order inwhich Neh. lived his life.

It is essential for every Christian worker – and every Christian should be a worker – to have a sense of this royal commission from God – We all feel from time to time that we are being used or are not appreciated etc….. but let’s reminds ourselves that we are commissioned by God.

Neh. did a great work – but we need to keep in mind that in the final analysis each one’s work will be no greater than his character!

God has called us to a particular task – and this promise we have from him –Philippians 4:19 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (NIV)



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