Nehemiah 9:1-3 records the change in the people of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah as the whole nation possess being poor in spirit,
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God. (NKJV)
What did the nation do that showed they were poor in spirit?
They Fasted: fasting refers to the act or time of fasting, an act of worship in mourning, despairing while entreating God. This act involves being poor in spirit because the one fasting is not focused on the self – he is focused on God and God alone in an act of humiliation and in worship.
They wore sackcloth, and with dust on their heads: Sackcloth was of a material of poor quality made of goat hair that, and along with putting dust in one’s hair was worn traditionally to demonstrate mourning or despair; to convey the message dramatically. Being poor in spirit the people humbled themselves in the best representative form available to them.
They separated themselves: the people were poor in spirit in that they recognized they were the people of God and they have their identity in Him and not in the Self.
They stood: no sitting in the easy chair here! In this case the people showed they were poor in spirit by their reverence of the Lord given to Him by standing in His presence.
They read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day: during this six hour Bible study the people show that they are poor in spirit by their devotion to God’s Word.
For another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God: during this six hour worship service the people show that they are poor in spirit by their adoration to the Lord God.
Nehemiah’s character transformed a broken city into a people devoted to their God. Being poor in spirit, Nehemiah was able to replicate that character into the people he served. We should want that character and as servant-leaders we need to come to our God not on the abilities we possess, but we come to Him in submission. That is the character we should all desire. If you want to be poor in spirit be a servant-leader coming to God in prayer, with a heart like Nehemiah.
Do you desire to be a servant-leader like Nehemiah? You should. Start today to put the lessons learned concerning Nehemiah into practice: pray like him, lead like him, and serve like him. This can be done when the Holy Spirit is control of your life by becoming poor in spirit.