Summary: This is the second sermon dealing with the difference between faith in God and mere fantasy on our part.
Faith Or Fantasy Part II
We have been looking at Nehemiah for the last two messages. We have seen a man that was willing to leave the luxury of living in the palace, to go do what God had laid on his heart to do. The city of Jerusalem, which was the home of Nehemiah’s grandparents and great grandparents had been destroyed the fire. The walls had been torn down. The gates were burned up. The temple had been destroyed. A group of God’s people had returned 70 years later thinking that they would be able to go back and rebuild the city.
You see God had told them they would be captives for 70 years in a foreign land, but that the Lord would gather them back into the city and rebuild it once again
The former captives had left the land of their captivity with dreams and fantasies of what life was going to be like for them in Jerusalem once they got there. They’d be dancing in the streets and living the good life. . Instead of finding an easy life and going of the process, the captives who returned found themselves being oppressed and misused the people who had moved into the area after they had been taken captive. What they needed was a vision and faith to understand what God wanted them to do.
Nehemiah had seized upon a vision to change the situation, and he had faith to believe God was going to involve him in the process. One of the big differences between fantasy and faith are the words, “God I believe you will do it” as contrasted with “God, Here I am, use me.” Which words come out of your mouth, most often. Last night we saw that we need to quit trying to send God’s Spirit to do something that God wants us to do.
Let’s pick up where we left off last night with the reading, Neh. 2:4-9
The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it."
6Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
7I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests. 9So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
That morning when Nehemiah went before the King, he was just a cupbearer. But the time he left, he was s royal official over all the governors over all the area around Jerusalem. Not only that the king had given him a blank check to buy whatever he need to rebuild the city. Now this was a real Hallelujah shouting time for Nehemiah. Nothing like this had ever happened before. We never when a day starts, what God might do before its all over.
When God gives us favor in a situation, He really knows how to give us favor. But God’s favor can cause us to start moving toward the realm of fantasy. It’s easy to forget the steps that led up to the favor. Remember there was a period in which Nehemiah was scared to death to speak to the king. He had to risk everything in order to get this kind of breakthrough from God. I want us to know, our walk with God involves more than just one hurdle.
Fantasy says, "The Lord has laid this on my heart, the king has given me his blessings, and now everything is going to be smooth sailing." It is fantasy to believe that because we are choosing to do what’s right and what’s of God, that people are going to be happy for us. Faith says, "Jesus when you did what was right it got you crucified. You said a servant is not greater than his master. If they were opposed to you doing the will of God, then what about me."