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Godly Leadership Anytime!

Rev. Enoch Thompson | December 3, 2023 | Nehemiah 7:1-3


I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. Nehemiah 7:2 (NIV)


Every human group needs leadership. Even when only two people come together for any undertaking one must become the leader and the other a helpmate. A unique example from the Bible is the headship role given to the man in a Christian marriage.

The process of choosing a leader or leaders varies from situation to situation. In the marriage situation, the gender factor determines the leader. In a traditional social setup leadership is by succession according to lineage or family lines. In democratic political systems leadership is attained by the majority votes which is seen as an expression of the will of the people. Unfortunately, in some of those societies, especially in African contexts, democracy has devolved into “moneytocracy,” the sickening practice by which the bidder who pays the highest sum gets elected into office. Democratic choice of leadership also suffers from cronyism (election based on friendship relationship), tribalism (election based on a common tribal origin) etc. These social sicknesses are more sickening when brought into the Church, and church positions could be bought with money or foul politicking.

In our reflection today we see Nehemiah appoint people to his leadership team. At first glance, it looks like an appointment for family and friends (nepotism and cronyism), that he is appointing his relatives and friends into public office. However, in verse 2 Nehemiah reveals the basis of his choices: I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. Whether the second part of the sentence referred to Hanani (Nehemiah’s brother) or Hananiah (an acquaintance, friend or known colleague, whatever the case may be), it was a redeeming explanation and basis for the choice made to them put in charge of Jerusalem; “because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.”(Nehemiah 7:2). Choosing leaders based on character and reverence for God, not just kinship, challenges common notions in public service appointments.


Are you happy with the way leadership choices are made in your church situation?

What do you consider in people you vote for or follow on social media?

Would you measure up to the Nehemiah standards if you were presented for a leadership contest, a person of integrity who fears God more than most people do?


Dear God, you are the ultimate leader over all creation, especially your new creation in me and your Church. Please help me to prefer people for leadership, in society and in your Church, who fear you and are people of integrity. Heal our people from wrong motives for choosing leaders. Please help me so that before you and before people I might truly be a person of integrity who fears God more than most people do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!



DAILY word study: IN CHARGE

The phrase "in charge" in Hebrew is "עַל־הַפְּלַגָּה" (al-ha-pəlăgāh). The term "al" means "on" or "over," and "pəlăgāh" can be translated as "division" or "company." Therefore, the phrase could be understood as being "over a division" or "in charge of a company."

The phrase "in charge" implies having authority, responsibility, or leadership over a specific task, group, or area. Throughout the Bible, individuals "in charge" are often appointed or chosen to oversee various aspects of communal life, such as administration, worship, or defence.

Similar language is found in other biblical passages, such as the appointment of leaders over various divisions or responsibilities within the community. For instance, in Exodus 18:21, leaders are selected to be "in charge" of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.

In Nehemiah 7:2, the context indicates that Hanani, Nehemiah's brother, was appointed to be "in charge" of Jerusalem. This implies a position of leadership, possibly related to the organization and security of the city. Hanani was entrusted with a significant responsibility, reflecting the importance of securing the city and maintaining order.

The concept of being "in charge" carries the weight of responsibility and leadership. In a spiritual context, believers may reflect on their roles and responsibilities within their communities, families, or workplaces. It prompts consideration of how individuals can fulfil their leadership roles with integrity, diligence, and a heart for service.


How does the appointment of Hanani "in charge" of Jerusalem inspire reflection on our own roles and responsibilities in leadership? What qualities and attitudes can we adopt to fulfil our leadership roles effectively?

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