On Christian Leadership

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 13:15-31 Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. (v. 22) We come to the end of Ezra–Nehemiah (a single book in the Hebrew Bible), which offers a study in the leadership styles of God’s people. And what a contrast! Look at introvert Ezra. He refused the king’s offer to be accompanied by armed guards because he had assured the king that God would watch …

Covenant Renewal

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 9:1-6, 38 They cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God . . . [and] said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting.” (vv. 4-5) More than three weeks after reading of the Law of Moses (Nehemiah 8), the Jews again gather for a public reading—probably this time only the book of Deuteronomy. But the goal this time is covenant renewal. The Jews will review their history, confess their sins …

Reading and Understanding Scripture

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 7:73b–8:8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (8:8) The walls of Jerusalem have been rebuilt. Within a few days, Ezra the priest is asked to bring “the Book of the Law of Moses” for a public reading of the Scripture. “All the people gathered” (8:1) and “were attentive” (v. 3) to the reading of the Book. This was probably the …

Dealing with Internal Opposition

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 5:1-13 And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised. (v. 13) It is difficult to face opposition from people on the outside—in this story, from the Philistines, Arabs, Ammonites, and Moabites (Nehemiah 4 and 6). But it is far worse to experience threats from people on the inside—from those who are our comrades and from whom we anticipate cooperation. Satan is more than happy to work with …

Dealing with External Opposition

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 4:1-15 Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your . . . homes. (v. 14) The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was accomplished by volunteer work. In order to motivate such a large work force, at least two things were needed. The volunteers had to buy into the goals of the project, and they had to feel they were contributing to the overall success of reaching …

Ready to Rebuild

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Nehemiah 2:9-20 Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision. (v. 17) It did not please the governor of Yehud (Judah) and his advisors to read the letters that Nehemiah brought from King Artaxerxes. They saw this new situation as a political threat to their ability to control the Jews. But Nehemiah was determined to do what he felt God had been leading him to do. His first step was to …