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Skills: Problem Solving

Read Nehemiah 6:1-14

One way in which individuals prove their leadership ability is by using their problem-solving skills. Nehemiah certainly demonstrated his capability in that way. While the walls of Jerusalem were rapidly taking shape, Nehemiah’s enemies tried to sidetrack him from the project with a number of different strategies. First, they tried to lure him out of Jerusalem by repeatedly inviting him to a summit (vv. 1-4), but Nehemiah rejected their invitations and focused his attention on the job at hand.

Next they accused Nehemiah of leading a revolt against King Artaxerxes-a potentially devastating lie (vv. 5-9). Nehemiah addressed this problem by confronting his enemies head-on. He exposed their lies and prayed for strength (v. 9).

Finally, Nehemiah’s enemies tried to intimidate him into violating the law of God by urging him to seek refuge in the temple (vv. 10-14). Nehemiah realized that their ultimate motive was to discredit him as a godly leader. But he solved the problem by obeying God and seeking his strength. As a leader you’ll face problems. They can’t be avoided. But if you follow Nehemiah’s model and are careful to (1) retain your focus, (2) confront any false accusations against you immediately and with integrity, and (3) pray to God for strength and wisdom, you’ll find, as Nehemiah did, that God is eager to help.

Who are the Sanballats, Tobiahs and Geshems in your life? No matter how powerful the opposition may seem, God is an invincible ally. How much more effective to ask God, the One who sees and knows all, for help than to try to formulate a solution on your own!

Problem Solving and Who God Is

The greatest example of problem solving in action can be found right in the pages of this Bible. God took the ultimate problem-the chaos and destruction wrought by human sin-and transformed it into the beauty of holiness. In this best of all stories, God made it possible for those who were previously his enemies to become his beloved children. Turn to Romans 1:1-3:31 to learn about God’s marvelous solution to the thorniest problem ever known.

Problem Solving and What I Do

Leaders must face and solve problems. Daniel provides us with a stunning example of problem solving ability, and Donald Schon gives us some practical advice on how to do it. Turn to Daniel 5:10-16 for today’s reading.

Problem Solving and Who I Am

If God is the utmost problem-solver, what resources does he provide for his people to solve the problems they encounter? If he offers us resources that transcend our own, why are we generally disinclined to lay hold of them? Why do we typically attempt to solve our own problems without appealing for divine provision? Turn to Esther 3:1-5:8 to see how Mordecai and Esther responded to a problem that seemed insurmountable.

Problem Solving and How It Works

Exodus 32:1-35 delivers a wealth of information about problem solving and deserves careful study. Find out the two most important summary principles for problem solving from a great leader who solved great problems: Moses himself.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

“It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”