Summary: Do you see God’s possibilities? Or do you see on the negatives of life? Would you like to see God’s possibilities in you marriage? In your job? In your children/parents? In your spouse?
Remember the story from your history class about the Battle of Waterloo? The allied troops under General Wellington fought Napoleon on June 18, 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, a village in Belgium just south of Brussels. News was transmitted by the use of lights across the English Channel to anxious Brits awaiting the outcome. The words were spelled out, “Wellington defeated . . .” and then a fog, typical of England, fell over the channel. England thought the battle was lost and the dreadful news was spread quickly, throwing the land into despair. But when the fog lifted they could see the final word, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.” And the mood in Great Britain changed from one of tragedy to triumph. The whole country exploded in thunderous celebration as the news was relayed. Napoleon had been defeated.
Without God’s vision His people will perish.
I. God’s dream has His perspective. (3)
God’s dream, vision gave Nehemiah the perspective that the people were in. He saw them as God saw them. They were in fact survivors. That word is saturated with underlying meanings.
The Israelites were in distress.
How many people do you know that are in great distress? Most of which don’t even realize it. Do you understand that the Israelites were so accustomed to their lifestyles that they thought it was normal to live that way? Most people this day and time are so accustomed to our fast pace lifestyle, that they don’t realize that their marriages are in trouble until it is too late. Or that their children need help because they haven’t been there for them. Churches don’t realize where they are because they have become accustomed to their reality.
Man believes that life is getting better. After all, man believes that we have evolved from apes. Therefore, we are better than when we first began. God sees us as merely survivors. Surviving life is tough. Any arguments? We in fact are not better, but are getting worse. What God created in the beginning was perfect until the fall of man. Now sin has embedded itself in every life that it’s roots cannot be separated from our lives without destroying some of our fruit.
The Israelites were a deplorable. They were a reproach to God. Does the U.S. realize that we are a reproach to God? We are a nation that has turned our back on God. We have taken God out of the work place and the schools. We are no longer allowed to hang the Ten Commandments on the wall in a public place. Over 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce.
The Israelites’ walls were damaged. They had no protection from their foes. Our walls of truth, the Christ like foundations that this country was established on are not only under attack but have been overthrown in most instances. Our protection from our enemy is down.
The Israelites doors were destroyed. That means that anyone or anything could come in or out at any time. Our doors are burned. We no longer know Truth. We believe anything. We have drug addicts that believe that they need a hit to make them feel better. We have prostitutes that believe they need to sell themselves for money. We have Christians who would rather keep quiet than offend someone, or be persecuted. FOLKS WE NEED GOD’S PERPECTIVE!
II. God’s dream promotes prayer. (4)
God’s dream caused Nehemiah to have compassion. Notice what Nehemiah did when he received the news of his people. It knocked him off his feet. He wept for many days. He fasted for many days. He prayed for many days. We must remember that Nehemiah didn’t know these people. Though some may have been his relatives, he wouldn’t have known it. Why? It had been so long since they were extracted, he wouldn’t have known who was there. Yet he had compassion for them. That is what God’s dream, or vision does for us. It causes us to have compassion for His people whether we know them or not!
Liguardia’s Gesture of Mercy. 1935 mayor of NY showed up at a night court in the poorest ward of the city. It was a cold winter night and he dismissed the judge for the evening. That night a tattered woman was brought before him for shop lifting a loaf of bread. She said that her daughter’s husband had deserted her. She is sick, and her children are starving. The shopkeeper refused to drop the charges wanting to use her as an example. The mayor/judge said, “I’ve got to punish you; the law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he was saying those words, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill, through it into the hat and said these words, “Here’s the ten dollar fine, which I now remit, and furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.” The NY news reported the next day: “Forty seven dollars and fifty cents was turned over to a bewildered old grandmother who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Making forced donations were a red faced storekeeper, seventy petty criminals, and a few NY Policemen.”