ODJ: leading integrity

November 18, 2013 

READ: Nehemiah 7:1-3 

I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani . . . because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do (v.2 NIV).

In 2012 a group of experts held a search for 1,000 people of integrity in their country. From that group they identified 20 who they felt could become key governmental leaders. This was in reaction to the widespread dismay over the fact that one-third of the country’s regents and mayors were under investigation for corruption. In a country of hundreds of millions, there was no shortage of leader applicants, but the group of experts believed it was imperative that they help elect leaders who possessed integrity.

Integrity was an important issue in Nehemiah’s day as well. With the walls completed and gates restored, the city of Jerusalem was secure once again (Nehemiah 7). But Nehemiah had two more tasks to do. Firstly, he appointed “the gatekeepers, singers and Levites” (v.1). Why gatekeepers? Weren’t they simply security guards who were ignored by most people? No, their contribution should have been highly valued. For what good were impregnable walls if the one controlling the gates wasn’t trustworthy? The Great Wall of China was breached many times, simply because the gatekeepers were bribed to let in the invaders. Walls and gates are only as good as the people guarding them (v.3).

Secondly, Nehemiah appointed leaders who were people of integrity (v.2). Today there is no shortage of talented people in our churches. And often these gifted ones are appointed as leaders because they’re deemed to be successful in their professional fields. But are they people of integrity, people who fear God? They should certainly be individuals who “fear God more than most” (v.2).

In appointing people to key positions, Nehemiah looked for people of integrity who feared God more than most. May we do the same in our churches. —K.T. Sim

What kind of people did Moses appoint as leaders in Exodus 18:19-26?  
What does it mean for you to be a person of integrity? How does a person who fears God more than most lead others well?