Summary: 1st in a series of sermons on Vision, it explains the first step in vision... dissatisfaction.

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The Vision Thing

Nehemiah 1

For weeks you heard a lot about vision. Then after some meetings, you didn’t hear about it. Now, for a couple of weeks you have seen these strange signs around the church. You are hopefully wondering what they mean. Well, today I hope to help you understand.

Some of you were in the meetings where we “worked out” the vision and you understand it better now. Some of you still do not understand vision.

>>>>That is OK. George H.W. Bush, (Daddy Bush) admitted that he struggled with what he called “the vision thing”.

That just proves one thing…You can get pretty far in life without understanding “the vision thing.”

But get this… You will not get very far in life or career or anything else without having “the vision thing.” George may not have UNDERSTOOD the vision thing…but he HAD a vision.

For the next several weeks you are going to hear MORE about vision… and particularly the vision of Gourdvine. You are going to be indoctrinated and brainwashed. Those are usually bad words… but they just mean you are going to be flooded with a deluge of information about what the vision IS, and how it will work.

Today will be the first in a series of sermons about vision in general and OUR vision in particular.

When I think of vision, I think of Nehemiah.

My sermons for the next few weeks are going to follow the book of Nehemiah.

>>>>Let me introduce you to Nehemiah.

In 597BC Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jewish people, surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar who packed the King and a few thousand Judean nobles and craftsmen off to Babylon as “hostages” to assure that the rest of Judah’s people would behave themselves. They did not and in 586 BC Babylon sent a second attack on Jerusalem. This time they completely destroyed the city’s walls, the citadel and the temple and carted off a second load of the Judean upper class. A few years later there was a third exile. In all, Babylon made off with about 30,000 of Judah’s best and brightest.

Their exile to Babylon was not like the exile to Egypt. They were not slaves and even retained their own Jewish community and faith. They had become prosperous land owners and businessmen.

Fast forward about 50 years. A new world power, Persia, is on the scene and they defeat the mighty Babylonians. Having no need for them, or any desire to use them, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem. About 50,000 did.

Many did not because there was nothing to return to in Jerusalem. The economy was shot all to pieces. Their land and homes had been taken over by those of the lower classes who were left behind. The gates and walls were destroyed so there was no security and safety for their families. There was nothing that made Jerusalem attractive to some of the Jews. Those who did return were those who had not become prosperous in Babylon and they saw the return to Jerusalem as a new start and a chance to do better. Or they were those patriotic Jews who believed there was no place on earth like Jerusalem and were dedicated to its rebuilding.

One of those who stayed in Babylon was a man named Nehemiah. He had risen to a very high position in the Persian court. He was the cupbearer. He was the one who was in charge of the preparation and tasting of the King’s food and drink. He was a very trusted “right-hand man”.

He had no thought of Jerusalem. He thought only of his life in Susa. He was climbing the corporate ladder and had designs on an even better position. His roots were in Babylon, not Judah. His future was in Babylon, not in Judah. He did not even know anyone who lived in Judah.

Then one day, things changed.

>>>>“He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year, coming home to a place he’d never been before.”

That was how John Denver described his feeling as he saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time. How do you come home to a place you have never been before? I don’t know but it happened to Nehemiah.

Why was Nehemiah so broken by the plight of people he did not know and a place he had never been? ONE WORD… VISION. God wanted to give Nehemiah a vision for what God wanted to do. To have the vision, he had to have passion and a burden.

A vision without passion, is like a glove without a hand

like H2O without the 2

like an elephant without a trunk

>>>>Passion is the fuel that drives Vision.

God gave Nehemiah both.

I want you to notice something with me. Nehemiah gets the news of Judah’s plight in the month of Chislev. It is in the month of Nisan (not the car company) that Nehemiah confides in the King that he is broken hearted over Judah’s condition. Chislev would be the ninth month of the calendar and Nisan would be the first. That means it was 4 or 5 month between the time Nehemiah heard about Judah’s condition and the time the king noticed Nehemiah’s depression.

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