Vision will help us…
- not react to the problems in the world but be proactive for the long term
- live the design God planned for us from the beginning that is why we are a masterpiece
- give us the heart to help others see the need and help with solving the need
- give us the skills we need to accomplish the task and gather those around us to help
Everyone was able to do something to rebuild the walls
Everyone stood side by side even with their differences because they began to look higher
When we begin to lift our vision higher many will come with us. They feel the oppression, the limitation, the weight on them. They long for the freedom, joy, and peace they once had.
However, we must realize we have been oppressed partially by choice. We have decided we are powerless and our oppressor is going to win anyhow.
So we must recognize three things
- our oppressors like the status quo and want to keep us in captivity to a mentality of oppression where truth doesn’t matter
- we have to change our situation through prayer and action
- we may have to adapt the way we are doing things because old mindsets may be partially responsible to our captivity
That is what Nehemiah and the people in Jerusalem found and that is where we pick up what we must do to lift our vision higher and then lead with it.
For years the people around Jerusalem were enjoying the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem stood for the progress of the nation of Israel but it was also a standard of righteousness. We talked last week about knowing and understanding with wisdom, insight what God was saying and following in that with Power. Jerusalem stood for that and it not only changed them but the region as well….People want to do what they want to do regardless of the cost to the culture and the people. They want to be selfish.
Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”
Sanballat was the ruler of the area not because he had earned the position. he was an opportunistic parasite. He was a Samaritan who was placed in position by Persia because the Jews were taken in to captivity. He may have been given power and authority by man but not by God to rule this land. He is responsible for setting up Mt Gerizim as the place of worship for the Samaritans which the woman at the well talked with Jesus about (John 4: 20-22)
He liked things as they were, he was in power and could do as he pleased. Sin and idolatry were rampant in the area and he liked it. why would he want anything to change when he was given power and authority by man but not by God and he was running things to fulfill man’s desires (just as it will be with those taking the mark in the book of revelation)
We talked about how our nation was founded on Godly principles, by Christian men, not religionist who dedicated this grand experiment to the Lord. Anyone in leadership in this nation who has not dedicated his/her life to the Lord is working by the power of man not of God. God is not with those who are not with Him. They are destined to failure and reckless pursuits rather than the things that will exalt a nation. We need to pray for them to experience a relationship with the Lord
We have to realize as we live our lives as salt and light in our broken world. The ungodly leaders and people of this world will fight because they are children of darkness that do not enjoy the light. When we pray and live our lives as Jesus would have us, it impacts their world and lives.
Let’s jump down a few verses so we understand people have not really changed….I had said earlier
- we have to change our situation through prayer and action
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. 9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
In this case it only made the enemies of God’s people even angrier. Sometimes that does happen. When people are angry the scripture tells us…Proverbs 15:1,2,4
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness…..4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
We are always to do our best to walk in love, grace, and peace. It is not always easy but I have found when tempers flare if I can keep mine under control, I will often win the day and my brother or sister. Often the reason tempers flare are people are not feeling respected or heard
Paul makes this challenge
Romans 12:18 (Amplified) If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
This implies that there are some people you just can not be at peace with. However, as a mature believer it is our job to help people to know and understand the truth about any given situation.
If we are going to stand for something, do your best to understand what you believe and why you believe it. Have faith in the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, insight, and understanding, moving always in fruit of peace, joy, and love. Having done all… you stand for what you believe regardless of what others may believe. Never compromise your beliefs or faith.
Nehemiah led the people to pray and in prayer but he also took action but…
Sanballat, Tobiah, and his crew would not be dissuaded…
Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” 12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!”
The enemy kept repeating a lie over and over about how strong, powerful they were. The enemy knows external pressure always exposes internal weakness. There is much being said in our culture about education, gender, race, immigration, the economy that are just not true. They may be popular thoughts but are not based in fact..
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Among psychologists something like this known as the “illusion of truth” effect.* The illusion of truth, a study by Lisa Fazio of Vanderbilt University, Tom Stafford of the BBC
(Atlantic ocean vs Pacific ocean as largest)
The way Nehemiah overcame this propaganda and kept fighting for freedom was with the truth
Nehemiah 4:13, 14
13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
- We may have to adapt the way we are doing things because old mindsets may be partially responsible to our captivity
When Nehemiah began his rebuilding of the wall, he began with a few people going with him to see the work that needed done. Then he expanded to all those who were willing to help. But the threat is so real to them, their families and that their dream might be overrun by the lies of the enemy he had to get everyone involved.
We are battling for the freedom of this nation, remember the defund the police movement and we see today those cities are overrun with crime, the police were demoralized, and now cities are trying to rehire police. Was there a need for correction in the police departments yes, but the lie was we don’t need them and many unlearned people didn’t take the time to learn about the effects of a lack of police and had to learn the movement is built on a lie, the hard way.
To rebuild the walls of faith and freedom in our nation is going to take every man woman and child that is a person of faith
As we grow in Christ, people need to see our lives as different. They need to see that we are more loving, kind. They need to see the real Jesus in us, not the caricature TV shows and movies show. People need to see some of the things that earlier in our lives were OK, are no longer OK, and we need to watch our language, our attitudes, and adapt so we can be stronger and fight wiser.
Can you imagine how Nehemiah and all the men of Israel felt knowing that their women and children were on the battle lines.
This battle to rebuild the wall of faith in our nation will be built in the schools, in the stores, in the work places, in the colleges, in the courtrooms and everywhere
We need to remember sometimes our fight needs to be adjusted not everyone will be convinced to do what is right by the truth. We need to educate ourselves about the truth (price of gas, last time a barrel of oil was this price gas was 2.38/gallon but the regulation and limitation this administration has created has caused the increase)
Some of our battles will be won with the straight truth but we must build relationships with people and through those relationships they will see our lives build a respect and then they will be able to receive the truth
I know all of this sounds like a lot of work. But the Lord will guide and direct us, place in us the right heart. It is for all of our children and grandchildren that the true love of God must be seen. Always remember this is the Lord’s heart that people would be free to understand real hope, love and peace so He is always going ahead of us in all the battles