Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
“A Heart Right with God”Categories: Lessons on Leadership
There are four aspects of a heart that is right before God.
First, a pure heart (Neh. 12:30). “When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall.” Before there was one moment of celebration there was purification. We have a lot of information about how in the Old Testament the Jews purified themselves through ceremonial washings. But God never thought that external washing would make somebody clean. God hoped that through the process of these external washings, the people would have time to reflect on their need for internal cleanliness. As they did that this day, they saw the solution was to set themselves apart for God.
Second, a worshipful heart (Neh. 12:27, 31-43). The dedication of the wall was a time to praise the Lord. Nehemiah organized two choirs to walk in opposite directions on top of the wall until they converged at the temple. They sang praises to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps, and lyres. God doesn’t want our work if He doesn’t have our worship. To worship God is to rejoice in and extol His great attributes and actions. It is to reverence God above all else. True worship is not just outward, but inward. It engages the mind, the heart, the will, and the emotions.
Third, a joyful heart (Neh.12:43). We get the distinct impression that these people were enjoying themselves! Note the emphasis on joy. It is mentioned four times in verse 43, and again in verse 44. It says, “The joy of Jerusalem was heard from afar.” “It wasn’t their song that was heard from afar, but their joy” (Swindoll, p. 188). Outsiders heard their joy! Have you ever been outside of a stadium when a ball game was going on inside, and suddenly the crowd roared? We know when that happens that something good happened inside! In the same way, people should be able to walk by the church and think, “Something good is going on in there!” In fact, God has hit a grand-slam homerun for us through Jesus Christ. We need to be so caught up with what God has done that His great joy radiates from this place!
Fourth, a giving heart (12:44-47). These people gave joyfully so that God’s work could go forward. They saw the importance of worship at the temple, and they were willing to give the necessary offerings to support the many priests, Levites, gatekeepers, and singers who served there. The people did it because they “rejoiced over the priests and Levites who served” (12:44).
We are attracted to warm, generous people who freely share what is theirs with others. One of the most reliable gauges of our heart before God is our giving. If God is going to use us to serve to others, we need to have a generous heart.
William Carey was a cobbler before he left for the mission field. He would keep a map of India before him in his shop, stopping every so often to study it. He longed to go there and preach the gospel.
He did a lot of preaching and teaching on the side, with the result that his trade dwindled. One day a friend admonished him for neglecting his business. “Neglecting my business?” Carey said. “My business is to extend the kingdom of God. I only cobble shoes to pay expenses.”
That should be the mindset of every Christian.
For us today, to be right with God, our heart must be right. When our heart is right our worship will flow from a joyful heart. Giving is no longer a burden but a privilege. Strict adherence to Bible truth does not mean we are a bunch of grumblers. Far from it! Bible truths teach us that it is a joy to worship God and give to Him and His people.