Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
In our reading today we have God’s instructions regarding the priests. Something I find interesting are the duties laid out for the Levites (v. 25-37). Some of their roles appeared to be lowly labor – maintenance, guarding, packing, and hauling. Yet all of this work was honorable and important because it was in service to the King.
Sometimes we see our labor in God’s kingdom as small and insignificant. However the smallest, most insignificant tasks can make a great difference. Preparing food, cleaning, visiting someone who is sick, encouraging a neighbor – they all make a difference. Remember the words of Jesus, “Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matt. 10:42). Nothing that is done for God is small.
“Almighty Father, what an honor and privilege it is to work in your Kingdom. Thank you for giving us work to be done, talents to put to use, and opportunities to seize and utilize. Help me to realize that my efforts for Your work are necessary and important, no matter how great or small they may seem to others. And in all I do, I do so for Your name’s sake, for Your glory and Your praise.”
Numbering The People
In the numbering of the people God assigns each family a responsibility, as relates to the care, movement and protection of the tabernacle. Nothing is left to chance or human ingenuity. God has taken of every detail. Everyone knows his responsibility.
Also, with each assignment we see not every one had the same assignment. Each tribe had a different responsibility. There are some burdens we can share and then there are some burdens that are ours to bear.
God ordered a pattern for them. With this pattern they could move orderly, engage in battle successfully and carry on the work of the tabernacle orderly.
God had purpose in all He designed and created. Even here God established a pattern. Following God’s pattern in the family, the church and life is not simply “traditional.” Following God’s pattern is from our God. It was when Israel left the pattern of God that they had trouble. So it is with us. If we follow God’s pattern our lives will be peaceful.
For the next 40 days we’re going to go on a journey with Israel. They were led by God to a promised land, one which flowed with milk and honey. But the journey to that land of abundance took them through a wilderness. The path through the dry, desolate, desert was no accident – it was by design. God would use the difficult journey through the wilderness to test Israel’s obedience, to strengthen their faith, to see what was truly in their hearts (Deut. 8:1-2). The journey that should have taken a few weeks lasted 40 years. Their failure to trust and obey God cost them greatly.
The path to a stronger faith, a deeper trust, and a richer commitment to God is not found on the smooth, easy ways of life. Rather it’s a path that leads us through the wilderness. It’s a place where faith is not given, it’s proven. The various trials we face on this journey have the ability to shape, mold, and perfect us (Jas. 1:2-4). But, just like Israel, that’s up to us. Will we trust in the Lord to see us through our trials, or will we rebel and go our own way?
We encourage you to join us as we read, reflect and pray through Numbers and Deuteronomy these next 40 days. May these words from the past help encourage our faithful commitment to God.
This chapter reminds us why this book is called “Numbers.” What an opening! Lots of names and numbers are given as the census of God’s people is recorded. The question is – why? Why count the people? Why would that matter? Remember this – God knows everything. If God knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), don’t you think He already knew the number of men able to go to war in Israel? See, it wasn’t for God, it was for them. God was reminding them to literally “count their blessings.” When they came to Egypt there were 70 total. Now there’s 603,550 (just men ages 20 and up)! God had been good to His people. He gave them children. He gave them grandchildren. He blessed them with families, with growth and protection. It was a visual reminder of His loving-kindness.
Why not count your blessings today? Take a census of the good things God has given to you. How easy it is to forget all the great blessings God has given to us. Take time today to number your blessings, and return thanks and praise to the Giver of good.
“Wonderful God, when I consider the works of Your hands, when I stop to count the incredible blessings I have in my life – my family, my brethren, all I have, where I am by your grace, and where I hope to be by Your strength – I can’t help but think, “Who am I to receive such blessings.” Thank you for thinking of me. Thank you for blessing me. Thank you for all Your gifts, great and small. You fill my heart with joy – I know I can trust in You to provide.”