“10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I rebuked the officials and asked them, ‘Why is the house of God neglected?’ Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.”NIV

Because the Levites had no tribal territory of their own, it was God’s intention that they should be supported in their ministry primarily through the tithes and offerings of the people (see Numbers 18:21-24). Here was something else which had gone awry in the land. Because the Levites were not being properly compensated they had been forced to earn their bread elsewhere, and there was hardly anyone to serve in the temple. Again we see that when Nehemiah became aware of the issue, he took decisive action to restore things to normalcy. At times leadership demands tact, sensitivity and diplomacy; and it often requires careful thought and consideration. But there are moments when a leader can see something is so obviously wrong it just requires immediate action. Nehemiah is the embodiment of such decisiveness.

We see in verse 13 that, in the appointment of people to leadership positions, good character is of the utmost importance. This is still relevant today. Someone said, ‘Character is what you are in the dark.’ The Bible seems even more interested in a person’s character than their abilities. To have appropriate gifts and talents is important, but it is not all-important.