A few weeks ago I started a series on Nehemiah. It is a favorite Old Testament book, but what stood out to me were the evidences of what a godly leader is and does as evidenced in the text. I will add three more posts and finish the series.
If you have been following along in this series about Nehemiah, you will likely recall that when we left the story Ezra had read from the book of the Law to remind the exiles of who they were and how they were to be living. When they heard about the level of their sin, the people became sorrowful. Nehemiah, however, reminded them of the need to be joyful and celebrate the truth they had learned and they set about celebrating the Feast of Booths. (Ezra also continued to read for seven more days!)
After the feasting and celebration, the leaders now focus on the sins that had come to light as a result of hearing the Law. What did they do? They led them in a confession of those sins before God. The lengthy prayer began with them praising God and then specific confession of their sins and the sins of their fathers. They made no effort to blame or shift the responsibility for what they had done and failed to do on God or anyone else. How hard that can be for us so many times.
It seems quite evident that hearing the truth of God and seeing His character evident in His mercy and loving-kindness brought them into a much keener awareness of their sin.
God’s Word has a way of adjusting us to the right standard of His truth when we take time to read it. We should never look at the Word as a buffet we can pick and choose from to adjust it to our preference.
When the exiles heard God’s words to them, they saw His everlasting love and were reminded of His promises of love.
When we first come to know the Lord personally, we are acutely aware of our sinfulness and find it relatively easy to confess those sins to Him. What may not happen as often is how we attend to daily time in God’s Word and how that should not only lead us to worship Him, but also cause us to confess our sins that we can ignore or slough off without thought.
What we read informs our conscience of His love, mercy, and grace, but also His justice. What we read reminds us that our lives are meant to increasingly look more like Him and that can only happen when we are keeping short accounts with Him.
In this series, we have identified 5 characteristics of a godly leader so far. Here they are again:
- A godly leader prays
- A godly leader acts
- A godly leader faces opposition
- A godly leader cares
- A godly leader turns people to God’s Word
The part of the story we have looked at today gives us a sixth characteristic to add to the list:
A godly leader confesses his sins and leads his people to confess their sins.