We don’t want to just keep the lights on, but further the VISION God has given us faster.
David Whyte wrote: “I don’t want to have written on my tombstone, when finally people struggle through the weeds, pull back the moss, and read the inscription: ‘He made his car payments.’”
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint…”
Focus enables discipline. Vision empowers restraint.
Nehemiah is the book of Living by Vision & Conviction.
In 587BC, the Babylonians invaded Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and took thousands captive in Babylon. About 70 years after the invasion, Cyrus, King of Persia, defeated Babylonians and permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, led by Zerubbabel + Ezra. The exiles rebuilt the temple, but with no fortified walls around the city, it left people defenseless against their enemies. By the time Nehemiah returns, the conditions in Jerusalem are deplorable and the temple is in disrepair.
The heart of Nehemiah’s story: No miracles are involved, just an ordinary guy and regular people, building a wall in 52 days!!!
Nehemiah 1:1-3 “1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
WHAT IS VISION?
Definition: Andy Stanley: “A mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be.”
A vision needs to be fueled by passion. Ruth Haley Barton, “Somehow we know that this moment is different. This is not about making a brilliant career move. It is not about security. It is not about success or failure or anything else the ego wants for us. It is not about choosing among several attractive options. This is about the Spirit of God setting us on our feet and telling us, “This is yours to do.”
- God’s Vision is often bigger what you can SEE.
- God’s Vision begins beyond your ABILITIES.
- God’s Vision energizes you beyond your CONVENIENCE & COMFORT.
Vision elevates our activity. Filling sandbags and building a dam to save the town is dirty, tiring work that takes a long time. Knowing why we are filling the sandbags keeps us going.
The broken wall broke Nehemiah’s heart.
Nehemiah 1:4 “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days…”
Brokenness LEADS to urgency. Without Urgency, vision is just an option. But NOTICE Nehemiah is not discouraged, defeated, demoralized even thought a broken wall is a BIG PROBLEM. GOD is bigger than any BROKENNESS.
Our PERCEPTION determines our APPROACH.
In response, Nehemiah prays… over and over…
Nehemiah 1:4 “… and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
You were made for significance, which does not always translates to success. Wrestle in the supernatural before acting in the natural.
Nehemiah 2:4 “Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah 1:5-11 “5 And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.”