I understand that the US President-Elect will hear a sermon about the Biblical character Nehemiah in a morning prayer service prior to his Inauguration. How appropriate. ♦
Regardless whether you like or voted for the man, the newly elected US President, Donald Trump, is a proven leader in the business world. He will now be tested as to how effective he will be as a leader in the political realm.
I suspect he will do fine and even blossom.
I learned that he will attend a pre-Inauguration morning prayer service in which a Christian pastor will present a brief sermon focused on Nehemiah, an Old Testament hero/leader of the Hebrew nation.
It’s a fascinating subject choice with interesting parallels.
Nehemiah the Man
Nehemiah was a Jewish man of good standing and influence in the high court of King Artaxerxes of Persia in 445 B.C. As cupbearer to the king, his rank, stature, and likely wealth would have made leaving his life in Persia a personal sacrifice. Yet he aches for his homeland and upon hearing about the deplorable conditions among his people in Jerusalem, he asks the king for an extended absence to travel there to help.
Because he had the complete confidence of the king, Nehemiah is able to return to Jerusalem. And he goes with the full endorsement and a governor’s commission from the king to rebuild the ruined walls around the city, ensuring its security and protection from outside invaders and unifying a demoralized city and nation.
Nehemiah the Leader
As an intelligent and bold leader, Nehemiah surveys the situation and then devises a practical solution involving spiritual devotion and pragmatic execution. He then rallies and sells it to his constituents.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in…Come let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been upon me for good…
From a standing start, Nehemiah mobilizes and efficiently organizes the Jews into groups to rebuild the walls. This is done in the face of mocking, ridicule and opposition in and around Jerusalem.
“What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things?…[T]hey were very angry, and they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.” – Nehemiah 4:2, 8
A gifted administrator now taking the spiritual helm, Nehemiah is able to persevere and succeed. He notes in his memoirs which would become the Book of Nehemiah:
“So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” – Nehemiah 4:9
While overseeing the rebuilding program, Nehemiah also resolved social issues involving unfair lending practices and interest charges and slavery within the Jewish community (Chapter 5). And when the walls were completed, Nehemiah took part, with Ezra, in a celebration at which the Law (Torah – first 5 books of the Old Testament) was read and the Festival of Tabernacles (Booths) was observed for seven days, during which the Jews confessed their sins (Chapter 8). Then he, as Governor now, dedicated the wall and led a ceremony of covenant renewal in which the people rededicated themselves to God and to observing the Mosaic law (Chapter 9).
Peter Drucker (1909-2005), the great management consultant and business leader defines leadership as follows:
“A process that grows followers and makes them want to achieve the preset organizational goals. The leadership includes activities like visioning, building great teams, rewarding, caring, mentoring, executing, deciding, innovating, inventing future. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as ethics, values, beliefs, character, knowledge, and skills.”
When considering the leadership skills of Nehemiah and the application to modern management, Charles Swindoll highlights the following key principles in his article, Seven Leadership Lessons That Apply to You:
- Motivating Others
- Confidence in God
- Diligence/Hard Work
- Disciplined to Finish
- Celebration and Fun (Bonus Lesson)
These are a definition and model that certainly apply to Nehemiah as well as any successful modern business and political leader.
Our President Leader
So while many may remain skeptical, I have little doubt that our new political leader will bring this revived breath and breadth of leadership to the nation. Certainly not without challenges, opposition, and difficult obstacles. And for that we can pray with him, for him and this nation, to unify, restore, and rededicate ourselves to our nation and common Creator and Giver of Life.
But trust that it will not be his leadership gifts, strengths and prowess that will be the key to his successful administration; it will be his humble acknowledgment and submission to God.
Just like “President” Nehemiah in his day.
How are you praying for your new President?
“Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” – Nehemiah 1:11