Devotional: Solving Problems Then and Now – Nehemiah Gets It Done

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths: Nehemiah

If you’re running a building project, you want Nehemiah as your general contractor.

building a brick wall

Image: Ministry 127

Consider his resume: Nehemiah led a major structural renovation that surrounded an entire city, completing it under budget and in 52 days. And he used a volunteer work force.

He was a classic “Let’s Get It Done” kind of guy. No wonder we admire Nehemiah’s strengths!

What Nehemiah Did

Nehemiah, a Jew, had become a high official in the Persian court when he heard of the destruction of Jerusalem’s walls. With the king’s blessing and funding, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to undertake the rebuilding project.

Once in Jerusalem, he surveyed the damage to the city’s walls and recruited the Jews to repair the breaches. In a show of bravery and originality, Nehemiah organized the workers and set up guards to defend against the constant threat of those who opposed their efforts. His determination encouraged the people to finish the repairs at record speed.

Two Approaches to Solving Problems: Aggressive and Reflective

When it comes to solving problems, a person’s natural approach lines up on one side or another: either Reflective or Aggressive. Both are strengths.

Reflectives are gentle, cautious, and accommodating when solving problems.

Nehemiah represents the Aggressive side of the problem solving spectrum. Aggressives are not afraid to make a decision that will solve a problem so a team can move forward. Their goal-oriented approach is courageous and decisive. Nehemiah was all that, as well as enterprising and focused.

Solving Problems: How God Used Nehemiah

God used Nehemiah to lead in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, but also in demonstrating determination.

The project was not smooth sailing. Nehemiah faced numerous problems: the Israelites were ridiculed. The people quarreled amongst themselves. Nehemiah was personally threatened by enemies.

But he stood his ground. In a classic mark of an Aggressive problem solver, Nehemiah refused to get off task. When outsiders tried to distract him, Nehemiah responded, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave (the wall) and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3, ESV)

He stayed focused on the job until it was done.

Which is why you want someone like him on your team – both then and now.

Growth PointGod uses Aggressive problem solvers to get things done.


“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3, ESV)

Prayer Points

  • Name an Aggressive problem solver you know. What strengths does that person offer when a team faces a challenge?
  • Consider an Aggressive and a Reflective that work together. Why might God have put them on the same team or in the same family?
  • What have you learned from observing Nehemiah’s strengths?

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths

Processing Information Then and Now: Moses Gets the Facts Straight

Managing Change Then and Now: Abigail’s Steady Diplomacy

Facing Risk Then and Now: Joshua Goes Off Grid

Strengths In the Christmas Story

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 1: Solving Problems Together

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 2: Two Ways to Process Information

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 3: Two Ways to Manage Change

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 4: Two Ways to Face Risk

Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

Part 2: Processing Information: That’s Wonderful or Give Me Proof

Part 3: Problem Solving: Fix It Now or One Step at a Time?

Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System