Monday: What Happens Without Leadership?
Text: 6 But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission 7 and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God.
Teach: As promised, Nehemiah returned to Babylon. While he was gone the people lost sight of the promises they had made. Nehemiah was mostly likely gone for ten to twelve years. That’s a long time to be without leadership.
Take: When I read of the behavior of the people, their spiritual amnesia, I wasn’t surprised. It reminded me of when Moses went up to the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God. He was only gone forty days, a little over a month, and look what happened: the people created their own god to worship made from gold. The hymn writer put it well, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.” (Come Thou Fount)
Task: Godly leaders hold us accountable. We may not always like it, but we need it. Today let’s pray for those whose responsibility is to keep us on track spiritually.
Saturday: Nehemiah, The Sharing Leader
Text: Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. (Nehemiah 5:17-18, NIV)
Teach: The world is looking for leaders with the integrity to live what they believe. It would have been easy for Nehemiah to tell others what to do, after all, he was the governor. He came with the endorsement of the king. All too often we see that power results in corruption. Nehemiah was different. He was the kind of leader who set the example. He asks no more of his people than he was willing to give.
Take: Timothy was a young pastor of an influential church. It would have been easy to be intimidated. Paul encouraged his young friend by reminding him: Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12) In essence, don’t be swayed, be the example.
Task: Paul was aware of the pressure to conform to the world. He told the Romans that they weren’t to let the world squeeze them into its mold, but instead be transformed by the renewing of their minds (see Romans 12:1). Seek God’s guidance to be the kind of believer who sets the example of godliness.