With God’s help the Biblical leaders Ezra and Nehemiah were able to fulfill their roles as leaders in the Jewish community. These men of God were chosen to be leaders to pray for the Israelites, relay Gods commands and encourage the people. As God’s leaders Ezra and Nehemiah carried out their respective duties even if fierce opposition awaited them.
According to scripture, Ezra was the son of Seraiah. His lineage makes him a priest in the line of Aaron. His duty was to teach the law and work as a scribe. This enabled him to study God’s word diligently. The current unfaithful state of Israel needed to be addressed and Ezra stepped up to the task. “He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.” (Ezra 7:6) He and some Israelite volunteers set off on a journey to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God. Before they set out he chose to pray first and lead the people in a fast. “I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.” (Ezra 8:21) This demonstrates his willingness to submit himself before God before taking up responsibility. It is still important to remember that God should always come first in our lives.
However, the Israelites had not remained faithful to God and chose instead to marry foreign wives. This made Ezra feel immensely sad when he heard this. “While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.” (Ezra 10:1) This act of humility and grief over sin lead the people to feel sadness for all they had done against God. As a leader it is important to lead by example and to demonstrate a proper attitude towards sin.
A proper attitude towards sin also means proclaiming it as such and not being afraid to lead others to repentance. “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” (Ezra 10:10-11) This command demonstrates God’s will and asks the people to honor him by separating themselves from this sinful behavior. As a leader in the church God’s will remains the same and it is up to those leaders to use the law in order to bring repentance from sin.
In the book of Nehemiah God...