Summary: This message helps people identify what’s broken in their sphere of influence and then develop a vision to be a rebuilder of what’s broken.
What is it that is broken in your life - something that needs to be rebuilt?
Everybody has something that is broken.
The most hopeless people in the world are people who recognize that they have a problem, but have no vision from God about how to solve with that problem.
Where there is no vision, the people perish…
Becoming a person with vision
Series: Here’s Hope: Rebuilding a broken world
Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision. The most practical advantage of vision is it sets a direction for our lives. It serves as a road map.
Vision provides the push through the problems. Vision provides the energy for the effort. Without vision our passion leaks, our agendas surface, our production falls, and our people scatter.
In the pages of the OT is the journal of a man who stands tall as person with vision who rebuilt what was broken. His name is Nehemiah. The name means “the Lord’s comfort.” Nehemiah’s visionary efforts brought comfort to God’s people in a time of great need.
Nehemiah’s lessons are so relevant for today. In the weeks ahead as we study through Nehemiah, we’ll see many “how tos.” We’ll see…
… how to pray about your problems;
… how to “plan your work” and “work your plan;”
… how to set God-given goals;
… how to motivate others when morale is low;
… how to become a person of vision.
Text: Nehemiah 1:1-11
I hope you’ll study with me. We’re providing some tools: a great book by Chuck Swindoll, Hand Me another Brick and a great Bible study by John MacArthur, Nehemiah: Experiencing the good hand of God. Stop and order a tool for your own study at home at the devotional table in the foyer. You’ll get so much more out to the lessons on Sunday if you study along with me.
Nehemiah’s hope-filled visionary leadership is a powerful example – no matter what your position in life. Coaches, supervisors, parents, student leaders, executives, and spiritual leaders can all learn from this great man.
Let’s start by understanding a little about where, when, and how he lived.
The setting is about 500 years before the time of Christ. God’s people had lived in Israel for centuries before. God had told them: “Obey Me and you’ll live in the land for a long time. Disobey Me and you’ll be carried off into captivity.” That’s what happened. The Babylonians came and conquered God’s people and took the leading citizens 1,000 miles away.
But the discipline was ending. Several years before Nehemiah’s day, some of God’s people were given permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild a broken down temple and a broken down city.
But the attempts to rebuild the protective wall around the city (destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC) had been frustrated by some ‘the enemies of Judah’ (Ezra 4:1, 7-16). As a result very few people lived in the capital city (Nehemiah 11:1). Jerusalem was a city of ruins.
Nehemiah lived in the royal city of Susa, the winter residence of Artaxerxes, the Persian king. Judah, the homeland of Nehemiah, was a thousand miles away.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king. He was more than a “butler”. A cupbearer held a position of great responsibility. At each meal, he tested the king’s wine and food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. Of he died, then the king wouldn’t. Doesn’t sound like a great job. But think. A man who stood that close to the king in public had to be handsome, cultured, knowledgeable, and able to advise the king when asked. Because he had access to the king, the cupbearer was a man of great influence. The cupbearer was rather like a prime minister and master of ceremonies rolled into one.
Nehemiah was the right man in the right place for God to use. He had vision – vision to see a problem… and it’s solution. And because he had vision, he had hope
A visionary person…
1. … sees the need. vv. 1-3
(Look around you!)
Nehemiah’s routine was interrupted one day by a group of men who had come from Judah…The report was grim…
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,
2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."