As I share with you periodically, I contribute to sixty-six books in a year blog. This is my latest post. My assignment was Nehemiah 9&10. I am a huge fan of Nehemiah. I believe he was one of the best leaders we find in the Bible. I probably should do a whole series of posts on Nehemiah some time.
1“On the seals are the names of Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah, 2Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,6Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah; these are the priests. 9And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;10and their brothers, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13Hodiah, Bani, Beninu. 14The chiefs of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,16Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,20Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,25Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27Malluch, Harim, Baanah. (English Standard Version)
Chapter nine of Nehemiah is a corporate confession of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. They had committed a number of sins against God. Even what they had neglected to do was sin. So in the beginning of chapter ten the leaders of Jerusalem sign a covenant stating what they were committing to do in being more godly and righteous before the Lord. In a very real sense they put their names on the line. It was a public document. A number of leaders signed the covenant. It was a public confession of wrong-doing as well as a commitment to follow strong after God.
This act of public confession and commitment are foreign to us today. We don’t do things like this. We don’t like our names going on a public record in this manner. As a leader in the local church I remember apologizing twice in congregational settings. It was a painful, yet necessary thing to do. And although it was painful, it produced growth in my life both personally and as a leader. Leaders don’t like to say they’re wrong. But after saying I was wrong, it seemed to garner more trust in the people I led. It was renewing and empowering. I’m glad I did it. It’s something I need to be open to doing again, if I am wrong. I need to remember the example of these courageous leaders.
Father God, thank you for the newness that comes from confession. Thank you for the example of these leaders that we read about in chapter ten of Nehemiah. Help me as a leader, help the leaders that read this post to always be ready to confess our short-comings when necessary. Thank you for those that have confessed their short-comings in my presence. I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.