I want to challenge us all today to lift our vision higher. Christians are never to be reactors but instead to be proactive.
This may not seem like a Father’s day sermon but if you really understand it today, you will see that it is!
Every day there is something that demands our attention. Something that as Christians we are bound to be upset about but if we keep simply reacting we will never heal our land, bringing Jesus back to America again.
God has a bigger vision for our lives and our nation and so must we.
I’d like us to look at an example of someone who didn’t allow their circumstances to limit them, they could have reacted to all of the negativity around them, the injustice, the prejudice, the blatant violation of who they were as a human beings but instead believed God for the impossible, looking higher, above the drone of the culture.
These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.
In verse one Nehemiah is introduced by only the words Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Nehemiah is given no further introduction, but there are few things that we can infer from the context of our passage.
First, Nehemiah is a captive in a foreign land. We are not sure if he was born a captive or had been deported as a child or a teenager. As he writes this book, he is in Shushan.
Second, As God did for Daniel, he did for Nehemiah. Both were trusted and in good standing with the King. Nehemiah was given the job as the King’s cup bearer. While this role may seem insignificant it was extremely important. Nehemiah was to taste all food and wine before the King ate it. To insure no poison was ever present. This role kept Nehemiah in the king’s direct presence for every meal.
Third, Nehemiah must have had a God-fearing heritage. For in the midst of his captivity where he was surrounded by foreign gods, material blessings, competing values, and separation of any family influence, Nehemiah still not only believed in the one true God, but he trusted in Him.
Fourth, God placed inside of Nehemiah a God-directed and God-given purpose.- A deep longing, a homesickness for his homeland. A deep connection to the pain and suffering of his people. We see this connection in verses 3 and 4 when Nehemiah hears a report of Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
Fifth, Nehemiah not only trusted in the one true God, but he had a personal relationship with God. We see this relationship fleshed out in his prayer found in verses 5- 11. (Please take time to read this on your own later, I believe it will bless you, I believe it will give you hope for America)
In the midst of this religious heritage, God given purposes, and personal relationship, God gave to Nehemiah his eyes for the future. He gave to Him Vision.
I believe what is missing in the church, business, and our nation today is vision. We are so busy daily putting out fires, that we can see for the future. Proverbs warns us the implication of lack of vision
Proverbs 29:18a (NASB)
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained….
Our culture, nation is spiraling out of control…our education system, economy are out of control…the people are completely unrestrained and are devouring and destroying themselves. We are trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.
This vision is always God-given and God directed. Now while the average person may have the right to dream his own dreams and develop his own picture of what his future could and should be, we as followers of Christ have surrendered our lives to follow Christ and His plan. We gave up our right to be in charge when we accepted Christ and agreed to follow Him.
God has created you for so much more than daily living…He has created you to change the world.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
You are worth so much more than just survival, than just getting by, than just reacting to the latest headlines. God planned for you to do “good” things from the very beginning…this is where the frustration lies for many…what this is saying is your design, your very purpose, you have an innate knowledge of what you able and designed to do as His masterpiece and as such, because of this innate sense naturally will perform “good works” it is how God designed you
This was natural for Nehemiah so he knew when he heard the report what God had designed him to do.
God’s vision is to save a nation and culture to make it so people can walk in freedom. That is why tongues is so important as I have described a few months ago…tongues is not just a prayer language but in its origin it was the ability of the church to speak in a way that everyone could understand them so they spoke languages they did not know to people who could now understand who God is what He is about, how much He loves them and His plan of salvation and plan for their lives…thousands came to Christ….
Prayer “O God please give us the gift of tongues so we might speak to everyone in a way they can understand your heart!”
Jerusalem was a mess, the city had been ravaged and abandoned only the poorest were left there and they had given up hope. Nehemiah felt the burden for the city but more importantly the Lord’s heart for the city. Here is what happened
Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. 2 So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, 3 but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
Even in his fear, God showed Nehemiah how to respond.
When we truly recognize and feel the need around us, when we recognize the Father’s heart and we share it with others, God will give us the heart that will connect with the heart of the people…
The king didn’t need to respond, it was his culture that destroyed the city in the first place…but
What is God’s heart? What is the big picture? What is God’s vision
God wants people healed, blessed, restored to know He is their God and that He loves them
This is what will bring healing to our nation, our culture
It takes men and women to be willing to stand, to share the heart of the Father to all people. To look beyond the headlines, the problems, the fears an see the big picture of what really can cure the cultures problems
God will give you a plan and vision for fulfilling, God’s vision if you will wait and listen to Him. I mentioned earlier how even surrounded by a godless culture, Nehemiah stood for the Lord. Even with little to no support around him. Nehemiah was created for this this was the masterpiece he was meant to be and as he
Nehemiah was a cupbearer he was not a designer, builder, soldier, governor but because he saw the big picture he saw beyond the problems of the day…Chapter 2:7,8 Nehemiah asks for letters so that he can have favor in the area, get the supplies from the surrounding area, and have use of the full resources he will need to do the task….God gave him the wisdom as he stepped out
I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. 8 And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.
There are people that like chaos, destruction, like to see humanity torn down…want to see churches, businesses, families, schools and nations fail they do it for their own personal gain to build themselves up and so that people will turn to them to get their needs fulfilled… so it was in Nehemiah’s day no matter how good God’s plans are the enemy is always wanting to destroy people and tear at God
When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me. 10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.
This is only Part 1
Today I simply need us to see the need for vision to look beyond our day to day to not get caught up in constantly trying to put out fires or the complaints of the world
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