“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’ " (Nehemiah 6:9, NIV)
If you want a lesson on leadership, look no further than the life of Nehemiah, a Jewish layman. He will show you how to handle resistance when serving God or when facing a difficult task. One of the Bible’s greatest heroes, Nehemiah demonstrates remarkable leadership in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
In 586 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and broke down the city walls. Nehemiah’s story began much later, in 445 BC, when he learned that the walls and gates were still in ruins. Nehemiah was a man of prayer who was willing to take action. He rallied the Jews to rebuild the walls needed to protect them from their enemies. The men worked tirelessly from sunrise to sunset but were soon met with opposition. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, who were enemies of the Jews, tried to stop the work by taunting the workers. Nehemiah and his men ignored their insults and kept on working; Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were relentless, and they plotted against Nehemiah and threatened to fight against Jerusalem. Nehemiah organized a round-the-clock defense and assigned half the people to build and the other half to stand guard. He prayed constantly, kept the project moving, and persevered to the end. In spite of tremendous opposition, the walls were rebuilt within fifty-two days.
Are your efforts to serve God met with resistance? Are you trying to accomplish a difficult task and being bombarded with ridicule? If people say you cannot succeed, remember Nehemiah’s refusal to be intimidated by his enemies and to stop the work. With God’s help and strength, you can overcome opposition and reach your goals.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Nehemiah’s leadership qualities of prayer and perseverance that serve as a standard for us to follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.