Note well, that if you are going to be a person of influence, you are going to get criticism. Your knee-jerk reaction needs to be falling on your knees in prayer. But prayer isn’t the only thing we need to do at this point. We need to buckle down and finish the task at hand! No one who takes on a difficult task and does it to the best of their ability ever loses self-respect!
Now Nehemiah faces another problem: 4:10-12 When strength begins to wane and burnout is imminent, work comes to a standstill. In these kinds of situations, a leader of influence must keep his own personal thoughts in check and hold to a secure faith in a God that is a lot bigger than the problem!
How does Nehemiah goad them back into action? With amazing human insight. 4:13-23 He observed that the basic unit of encouragement was the family. They had been broken up by working in different places on the wall, and this system was counterproductive. So, he re-organized the work around the family with a common goal. In V.14 – When he saw their fear, he knew he had to act fast. The look of fear is quite recognizable; it is highly contagious. Until he did something about this creeping dread, little progress would be made. There’s no greater way to push back fear than to point their attention to an Almighty God…and to rally them to defend their own family!
In V.15 – When you feel you have done all you can do and the problem won’t budge, don’t give in or up. You are not through yet; leave room for God to work! God encourages our hearts, and He frustrates the plans of our enemies!
What do we learn from Nehemiah as we watch him work through these thorny issues? A person of influence is able to stick to the battle plan and not be distracted by distracting skirmishes! Nehemiah presented a plan to the people that gave them peace of mind while allowing the project to move forward.
As a fallback, Nehemiah provided them a rallying point in the event of an attack and reminded them God was fighting with them! So much for fear…we have a plan, and a backup plan, and most importantly, we have God.
Thanks for taking the journey with me. I think we can let Nehemiah rest for a bit. We shall see…