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Walk in the Fear of the Lord - Part 4 (Be a Worthy Example)

Rev. Tetteh Annor-Larbi | November 22, 2023 | Nehemiah 5:14-19


Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work. Nehemiah 5:16 (NKJV)


Nehemiah demonstrated the principle of leadership by example. He was bold to rebuke the nobles and the rulers because he was not himself guilty of what he rebuked them about. He did not burden the Jews who were already overburdened, he did not buy any of their lands and houses and loan them monies with very high interest rates, and he did not enslave any of them nor their sons and daughters.

A well-known saying states, "He who comes to equity must come with clean hands," signifying that a person seeking fairness must be untainted by fraud related to the claim. Nehemiah, by living above the reproach of prevalent issues among the people, was able to address their concerns boldly.

The focal text clearly reveals Nehemiah's commitment to leading by example, evident in his active involvement at the forefront of the rebuilding efforts. In our key verse, he stands at the post, rallying his servants for the daily work on the wall, emphasizing the principle that leadership should be exemplified. It raises pertinent questions for contemporary leaders: Would people have heeded Nehemiah's call if he hadn't led from the front? Would they have joined the effort if he merely directed without actively participating? These are crucial questions that today's leaders need to reflect upon and answer. After all, true leadership isn't just about giving orders; it's about leading the way.


What kind of leader are you? Do you tell people to do as you say and not as you do? Are you leading by example? What example are you living for people to follow? Would you follow a leader like yourself?


Lord Jesus, please help me to follow your example of leadership. And guide me to be an example for others to follow. For your dear name’s sake. Amen.



DAILY word study: WORK

In the context of Nehemiah's leadership and the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls, the term "work" takes on multifaceted significance. The Hebrew word, מְלָאכָה (melakah), extends beyond mere physical labour; it embodies the entirety of responsibilities and contributions made towards a shared goal.

This term מְלָאכָה (Melakah): while rooted in physical effort, goes beyond manual labour. It encompasses tasks, duties, and services dedicated to a purpose. It's not just about the toil of construction but also the commitment to communal well-being.

Throughout the Bible, "melakah" appears in various contexts. In Exodus, it's linked to the creation narrative, reflecting God's work in shaping the world. In Leviticus, it is associated with the Sabbath, emphasizing both God's creative labour and the importance of rest. In Nehemiah, "work" encompasses the collective effort of rebuilding the walls.

In Nehemiah 5:16, Nehemiah exemplifies an understanding of work that transcends personal gain. His leadership wasn't just about completing a construction project; it involved governance, economic reforms, and a commitment to the welfare of the people. The term "work" is a holistic concept, involving leadership, administration, and a dedication to the common good.


How does our understanding of "work" align with Nehemiah's holistic approach? Are our efforts contributing not only to personal achievements but also to the well-being of our community?

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