In the Workplace, Learn from the Shrewdness of Nehemiah

A woman at work.
A woman at work.
By Abigail WuJuly 13th, 2020

Recently, on the WeChat account "Morning Prayer", Pastor Zhang Zhongqiu gave the eighth lecture in the series of "Victory in the Workplace". This time he shared about how Nehemiah was shrewd as serpent and wise in the workplace.

Based on chapters 1-6 of Nehemiah, the pastor shared that it took Nehemiah only 52 days to re-build the wall of Jerusalem. We can apply his wisdom to our faith and work .

Nehemiah loved his country with all his heart.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:3-4)

Nehemiah was a shrewd and outstanding leader. He was as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as a dove. His shrewdness was entirely based on his love of God and his people.

He was very concerned about Jerusalem and his people. He was not in the comfort of his own easeful environment and the high position of the chief cupbearer, and then despised his people. He heard the situation, then immediately repented for the people's sin, fasted and prayed. Instead of relying on himself, he begged the power of the Holy Spirit and prayed for 4 months.

"A man is under the power of sin, with no wall to protect his spiritual life, is plundered by the enemy, and overthrown by the sins at will. Will we be indifferent and do nothing when we see this?" the shepherd asked. Because they are also created by God and have a noble image, we should pray for them.

Nehemiah acted cautiously and planned carefully.

I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:12)

When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he carefully investigated the situation of Jerusalem and knew how bad the wall was destroyed. He did not say loudly that he came to help them, but was very humble and low-key, and investigated first.

After doing enough investigations, Nehemiah summoned the chief and told them why he came back, how to get permission from King Artaxerxes, and how the gracious hand of God helped him. Rather than depending on his own position, Nehemiah used his spiritual experience and God's guidance to inspire them. This is very different from us.

And he arranged everyone to work. A good leader is asking everyone to participate. And they may have a sense of presence and engagement in their work.

Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. (Nehemiah 3:23)

Nehemiah was very smart and asked them to build a house against their own home. Why did he do this? Because when you were building a house, you not only built for Jerusalem but also for your own home. Nehemiah knew the human heart very well and knew how to stimulate them. So this is great wisdom.

If we work for the church or for social posts, we must know that it is not for others, but for ourselves. So we must do it carefully.

Nehemiah strengthened people's hearts。

When the wall was built very well, the enemies of the Judah immediately disturbed them. At first, they ridiculed the Jews that they couldn’t build the wall at all. Could the feeble Jews build a wall to protect themselves? If the Jews built walls, these people would be protected from being bullied, and they would not benefit from them. These people joined together and wanted to attack them.

When Nehemiah heard these people threatening the people with these words, he prayed first. After praying, he had the power to strengthen God's people. Our workplace is also a battlefield, with spiritual battles and devil disturbances. If we flinch, the devil is disturbing us more and more. We should beg the Lord for power, authority, and wisdom to overcome it.

From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah (Nehemiah 4:16)

In the workplace, when we work, we should pick up spiritual weapons to fight. When we win the battle, we are strong in our hearts and able to work.

and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet because they could find nothing to say. (Nehemiah 5:8)

The ruler of Judah, through the oppression of the Gentiles, lent money to his people for profit until the people were very poor. Corruption started from within, and Nehemiah must solve this problem. Nehemiah summoned these dignitaries and used himself as an example to be clean-fingered and fair.

In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. (Nehemiah 5:18)

“We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” (Nehemiah 5:12)

Nehemiah saw through the tricks。

Nehemiah was very shrewd and knew people. When his enemies saw the walls were built very well, they were desperately angry and hated Nehemiah, trying every method to let Nehemiah go out and kill him. Nehemiah saw through their tricks.

 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” (Nehemiah 6:8)

It is very difficult to know people today. Reading thousands of books is not as good as traveling thousands of miles. Traveling thousands of miles is not as good as reading countless persons. The human heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it? Corrupt sinners, do many bad things, hurt fellow citizens, etc. The process of knowing people is painful, and the growth is also painful. The process of constantly recognizing people is the time for continuous growth.

Nehemiah protected himself and knew who was tricky with him. When he should sacrifice, he had no pity for the position of the chief cupbearer and did not flinch. But he avoided unnecessary sacrifices and avoided the trap in the face of deceit. So Christians must protect themselves, and at the same time rely on the wisdom and understanding given by God, and not recognize people by appearance.

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