Summary: An intro to a series through the book of Nehemiah. A sermon to show how God delights in taking little people and accomplishing big things through them
Someone wrote years ago, “Just when I figure out all of the answers in life, they changed the questions!” Too true. More than ever, they’re changing the questions at a dizzying pace.
Life is BIG. It’s fast, confusing, transient. That’s OK. God has called us to be BIG for Him…
• Adam and Eve are put in charge of the whole earth. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Big job!
• Noah is called to build a big boat, preserve all land animal life, and repopulate the earth. Big job, especially when the forecast had been calling for no rain for 1600 years!
• Abraham was told by God he’d become the father of a Big nation; that every family of the earth would be blessed through him. Big plans!
• Joseph, only one of 12 sons, has big dreams about his family members someday bowing down in front of him. He doesn’t understand it at all at the time. God has big plans for him.
• Moses, a runaway prince of Egypt, is told by God to go up against the superpower of his day, to directly confront Pharaoh, the big boy himself, and then Israel would make a big exit from Egypt
• Joshua – “I’ll use your leadership to overthrow big, powerful, nations, with long names.”
• a Jewish girl named Esther – “I’ll use you to save the whole Jewish nation from annihilation.” That’s awfully big for one young girl.
• God speaks through His prophet to a little, insignificant town called Bethlehem and tells them they have a big future; that even though they’re small, the leader of God’s people will come from there.
• years later an angel delivers the message to a simple carpenter that his wife-to-be will give birth to a son who will “save His people from their sins.” Big expectations for a simple man!
• Jesus will enter the scene, and He calls fisherman to something bigger – to follow Him and learn to become fishermen for the souls of men.
• Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of heaven is Big, even though it’s small: it starts out small – like a mustard seed, but it grows into something huge.
• And at the end of the NT, God gives John and us the big picture of human history and the big, grand finale that’s coming.
History is filled with stories of God taking little people and doing big things through them – that way He gets the credit.
This morning, God calls us to be BIG people, because life is BIG.
The church of today is called to a big task, and we, as a congregation, are a part of that. CCC has some BIG opportunities for rather BIG things to happen through us here. In fact, without even considering the worldwide need, the task we have just before us here, is HUGE.
God has given us a share in reaching over 150,000 in Rockford – and little thinking isn’t going to get it done. We need to be people of BIG ideas for the sake of reaching out and fulfilling the task God to which has called all of us.
You know, God has also prepared ahead of time works for you to walk in, good things for you to do. The Bible shows, and so does experience, that God has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves. We sell ourselves short (we think), but Who we’re really selling short by little thinking is God, because He has big plans to work through us that depend on us, but we also have the freedom to suppress them by getting in the way.
So today let’s open up a book called Nehemiah. Here’s a book by a guy, just a man. But he leads out in a project of major size and significance. Life was “BIG” in 444 B.C., but God is bigger, and we can learn a lot from the big living of this godly man. When life is big, we need to “big back.” We need big ideas.
The setting of Nehemiah is actually quite depressed. 140 years before, Jerusalem was overrun and destroyed by Babylon. It was 70 years later that Babylon lost their power to the Medo-Persian empire, and the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem. But they were a defeated, downtrodden bunch of people, and the once glorious city of Jerusalem was now a disgrace.
We know it was still this way by
Nehemiah 1:3 (NIV)
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."