Nehemiah: Studies on Leadership | Week 05

inTro: Newton’s Third Law

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction in the realm of physics. But the same occurs in the spiritual realm as well. When there is movement going forward, there is also friction moving against it. In leadership, any project is bound to undergo opposition before it meets success.

While God’s people are rallying behind Nehemiah in chapter 2 and uniting to build the wall in chapter 3, chapter 4 gives us insight into what their enemies were doing. God was not the only One moving—His enemy was too. A coalition alliance had been forming against Nehemiah’s initiative consisting of Sanballat the governor of Samaria (northern region), Tobiah the Ammonite (an eastern region), Geshem the Arabian king (a southern region), and the Ashdodites (west of Israel). They could not openly war against Jerusalem for Nehemiah was under the protection of the king but they used ridicule (4:1–3), violence (4:7–8), and discouragement (4:11–12).

This week we find the biblical answer to external forms of opposition: prayer. It sounds like a simple answer, but it really is the ultimate means to overcome any challenge. Instead of letting emotion take over, Nehemiah resorted to prayer. He did not repress or express his frustrations to others. Instead, he confessed his heart to the Lord and then re-assessed his situation. This focus allowed the people to have confidence in their leader and to mimic his restraint and resolve.

Read This Week’s Passage: Nehemiah 4:1–6