On August 20, 1940 Winston Churchill was speaking to the House of Commons. Already that year he had inspired a nation with three famous speeches: The “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat” speech of May 13th; the “We Shall Fight On The Beaches” speech of June 4th; and the “This Was Their Finest Hour” speech of June 18th. But here in this speech he uttered a line that is as famous as any Churchill ever spoke. He said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” The line stems from the ongoing efforts of the Royal Air Force crews who were, at the time, fighting the Battle of Britain, the pivotal air battle of the war. The prospect of the complete domination of British air space and the consequent land invasion by the Germans was a foregone conclusion in the minds and hearts of many. But, because of the superintended grace of God and the unbelievable heroics of the RAF pilots, the German Luftwaffe was given its first major defeat.
According to some historians, on August 16, as Churchill was making his exit from the RAF Bunker at Uxbridge, after visiting with a number of the pilots who flew in the battle, he first spoke these famous words. Immediately afterwards he turned to Major General Hastings Ismay, who he called “Pug,” and said, “Don’t say a word to me. I have never been so moved.”
But four days later as they were traveling together in a car. On the way to The House of Commons, Winston was rehearsing his speech. When he came to the part where he said, “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few” Ismay interrupted him. “But Sir, what about Jesus and His disciples?” Immediately Churchill said, “Good old Pug. ‘Never in the field of human conflict’…”
For anyone wishing to discover the secret of Churchill’s success in rallying a flagging nation in the face of titanic odds, one only needs to examine the myriad lessons in leadership Churchill learned over his long life. Every aspect of his leadership as Prime Minister of Great Britain in World War II can be traced to his life as a student, a writer, a politician, an army officer, etc. Through a vast array of experience Churchill developed a remarkably adept style of leadership. The same can be said for Nehemiah.
Over the last 3 weeks we have been examining this fascinating story of how God uses one man to engage His broken people in a monumental task. This week we will be completing chapter 2 where, after receiving the blessing and sanction of the king, Nehemiah journeys to Jerusalem to accomplish God’s plan for His people. What we have at the end of chapter 2 is a wonderful outline of what godly, effective leadership looks like.
This week we will be highlighting 8 aspects that are integral to planting a vision. In a message entitled, “Planting a Vision,” we will be looking at each aspect quickly and precisely. In preparation for the message you may wish to consider the following:
1. How long did it take Nehemiah and his entourage to get to Jerusalem from Susa?
2. Why does he wait three days to get started? (Compare with Ezra 8:32)
3. Why does he start his examination of the city at night?
4. Who are the men that accompany him in his investigation?
5. Why the stealthiness? (verse 16)
6. Why is he riding?
7. How did Nehemiah know those mentioned in verse 16 who would be doing the work?
8. Why does he state the obvious in verse 17?
9. What is he saying to them in verse 18?
10. How does he handle opposition in verses 19 and 20?
See you Sunday!