While reading the book of Nehemiah, several salient features struck me. I was impressed by how faithful Nehemiah was in prayer; how he always looked to the Lord before taking action. Another feature that jumped out at me was Nehemiah’s “servant leadership.” I think of servant leadership as the idea that you are willing to do anything you expect of others. Nehemiah told everyone to stay inside Jerusalem at night, “so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day. 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 4:22-23) Nehemiah was the governor, the leader who galvanized the rebuilding of a demolished city. Yet he was neither too proud nor too self-important to get down in the dirt with everyone else who was working. He was not above working night and day with all the others who were doing it.
Of course, the ultimate example of servant leadership is Jesus Christ. I think of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:5-8: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” What an example! God, the Lord and creator of the universe, the all-knowing, all-powerful, debased himself to become like us in order to save us. And this should be my attitude?
Living in a so-called democratic society, it is hard for me to fathom the incredible thing God in Jesus did. I have never lived in a dictatorship or absolute monarchy. But if I think in those terms, it helps me begin to understand the power and privilege that Jesus voluntarily ceded in order to save me! We don’t like the idea of monarchy, but we must recognize that God is God and Jesus is Lord over all in order to begin to appreciate what an awesome gift this is. We have no right to ask such a thing of our God, but He did it without our asking, because He loves us.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11). Amen!
For more, you may enjoy listening to our Bible study on the book of Nehemiah. Tune in to your favorite radio station, listen to our podcast on iTunes, or listen through TuneIn or Stitcher online radio. You can also listen on our website where you will find the study guide available for download too.