11 Quotes From “The Nehemiah Code”

All of us have opportunities where we need to rebuild something that has fallen apart. O.S. Hawkins uses the example of Nehemiah in the Bible to teach us highly applicable rebuilding principles. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“One never rebuilds until he personally identifies with the need and weeps over the ruins. … Sadly, there are many who are simply not grieved or burdened about the walls in their lives that are broken and in need of rebuilding. It has been far too long since some of us have ‘sat down,’ much less ‘wept, and mourned for many days.’” 

“Those who play the blame game never get the task of rebuilding completed.” 

“True rebuilders identify with the fears and failures of those around them. They take personal responsibility for the situation—even if the problems didn’t begin with them.” 

“Opportunities most often come our way when we are knocking on the door and not simply waiting for an opportunity to knock.” 

“Nehemiah was able to convince the people to adopt his vision because he followed three vital rules in goal setting: they were conceivable, believable, and achievable.” 

“Note the repetition of the plural personal pronouns in his challenge: ‘we … us … we’ (Nehemiah 2:17). Nehemiah was smart enough to incorporate a lot of plural pronouns. He was subtly motivating his people to work with him and not for him.” 

“Nehemiah left us a stellar example to follow by laying out five important principles that are essential to the delegation process: set clear objectives with specific tasks, pick the right person for the right job, be an example yourself, hold others accountable, and be generous in giving genuine pats on the back.” 

“When it comes to personal relationships, we all need someone to whom we are accountable. Someone who will remind us of God’s standards and give a gentle nudge—or shove—when we stray from those standards. Without such a friend, the result is often self-reliance, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, and self-centeredness, rather than God-centeredness.” 

“The fatigue factor is often at the root of our own failures. We simply give out and become too tired to go on, so we are then tempted to give in and to give up. When fatigue sets in during the rebuilding process, it brings along with it a loss of perspective, and little things often become much bigger than they really are. …Fatigue pulled their focus from their goal and placed it upon the rubbish, which led to frustration.” 

“People have a way of rallying around a cause if they are convinced that God is in the midst of it. Which voice do the troops hear from your mouth? Is it the voice of Sanballat and ‘We won’t’? Is it the voice of Judah and ‘We can’t’? Or is it the voice of Nehemiah and ‘God will!’?” 

“At last, the goal was in sight. The finish line. ‘Mission Accomplished’ just ahead. But be warned: this is the most dangerous point in any rebuilding process. This is when the enemy comes along with one final attempt to divert us from our goal. …It is not so much how long our personal race may be, nor even how difficult the obstacles we face along the way, but it is how we finish that matters most.” 

The Nehemiah Code (book review)

I love studying biblical leadership principles, the people who follow or violate those principles, the outcomes of their decisions, and the lessons that we can apply today from those stories. Probably everyone has had something fall apart in their lives that needed to be rebuilt. If so, you will love the biblical leadership principles that O.S. Hawkins reveals in The Nehemiah Code. 

Nehemiah comes on the scene after the Jewish people have been in exile for 70 years, but they are now allowed to return to their homeland. However, there’s an embarrassing problem: the walls around Jerusalem are in utter disrepair and the city gates have been burned away to ash. The returning exiles are wringing their hands over this sorry state of affairs for a long time until a rebuilding leader named Nehemiah comes on the scene. 

O.S. Hawkins shares the leadership principles Nehemiah employs to get the walls rebuilt and the gates rehung—a massive project that he was able to accomplish in just 52 days! But the powerful thing about the way Rev. Hawkins shares these principles is that they are all applicable to rebuilding projects we face today. 

Maybe you don’t have city walls to rebuild, but perhaps your marriage has crumbled, or your status at work has fallen apart, or you’ve done damage to your integrity. Whatever rebuilding project you need to undertake, you will find principles in The Nehemiah Project that you will be able to put into practice today! As Rev. Hawkins says over and over: It’s never too late for a new beginning. 

Whether you have a rebuilding project of your own, you would like to come alongside a friend who is rebuilding something in their own life, or you are simply a God-honoring leader that wants to expand your leadership capacity, this book will help you soar. 

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer. 

Correctly Handling Your Strong Emotions

And it grieved me bitterly… (Nehemiah 13:8).

Leaders believe so strongly in what they have been called by God to do, that opposition to God’s plan arouses very strong emotions in a leader!

When Nehemiah was angered at those who either deliberately or unintentionally sinned, his anger brought swift and decisive action—

  • He threw away people’s stuff
  • He issued explicit commands
  • He confronted other leaders
  • He issued strong threats
  • He beat people up (really!)
  • He excommunicated

Yet in all these actions he did not sin. He prayed in between many of these episodes, “God, remember what I have done. Show me mercy. Reward me for this good I have done.” And nowhere after these prayers do we see God rebuking Nehemiah for mishandling his emotional responses.

A mark of a godly leader is one who handles his strong emotions in a God-honoring way.

A leader’s prayer: Father, in my anger keep me from sin. May even my strongest of emotional responses bring glory to You.

This is Part 12 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

A Godly Leader’s Legacy

…the command of David the man of God (Nehemiah 12:24).

In Nehemiah 11-12 long lists of names and functions are listed as Jerusalem is repopulated and the temple functions reestablished.

One important aspect of worship is the temple musicians and singers who offered thanks to God. The organization of these worshipers was instituted by King David nearly 600 years earlier, so the phrase “according to the command of David” doesn’t surprise me.

But the description “the man of God” does surprise me!

Why not just “King David”? Yet 600 years after his reign David is still known as God’s man!

A mark of a godly leader is one the people still think of as “godly” long after he’s gone.

My prayer—Lord, may my legacy continue to bring You glory long after I have left the scene.

This is Part 11 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

The Joy Of Understanding

Then Ezra read from the Book of the Law in the open square… (Nehemiah 8).

I love the simplicity of this! No sermon; just a straightforward reading of God’s Word. And look at how everyone responded…

  • “The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law”
  • There was a respect for the Word of God and the God of the Word—“When he opened it all the people stood up…[then] they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground”
  • The religious leaders “helped the people to understand the Law”
  • “So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them understand the reading”

The result—“And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions [to those in need] and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

A mark of a godly leader is one who helps people make sense of God’s Word.

And when the people understand the Word, they are more likely to joyfully put it into practice.

This is Part 10 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

The Power That Comes After Delegation

I gave charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel… (Nehemiah 7:2).

Good leaders delegate.

The project of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and hanging the doors had been completed, so it was time for Nehemiah to move to the next assignment God had for him.

To keep the momentum going which he had started, Nehemiah picked two trusted men:

  1. Hanani—his brother, who had previously visited Judah and brought back a faithful report about the condition of Jerusalem.
  2. Hananiah—a “man of integrity” and most importantly a man who “feared God more than most people do.”

These are good men that can carry on for Nehemiah. Nehemiah started the project, brought it to completion, and now new leaders are needed to keep the momentum going.

Notice that it is after completing the project and then delegating to new leaders that Nehemiah writes, “Then my God put it into my heart” to take on a new project (v. 5).

A mark of a godly leader is one who appropriately delegates so that he can receive God’s new assignment.

This is Part 9 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Tuning Out Enemies

“…they thought to do me harm”Nehemiah

Nehemiah had enemies on almost every side as he attempted to complete his work (the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem). Check out his enemies’ strategy and his response to them—

Enemy’s tactic #1—Get Nehemiah preoccupied with attending meaningless meetings.

Nehemiah’s response—“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

Enemy’s tactic #2—Send out letters slandering Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s response—“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” Then he prayed, “God, give me strength.”

Enemy’s tactic #3—Try to scare Nehemiah into running away.

Nehemiah’s response—“Should someone in my position run from danger? I know that God wouldn’t like that.”

Nehemiah had a vision from God and he stayed focused on that.

  • It determined his priority
  • It set his daily agenda
  • It gave him discernment
  • It gave him courage

The result: “When all our enemies heard [that we had completed our project]…they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.

This is Part 7 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

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