May 10, 2005
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
In 587 BC, the Babylonians attacked Israel’s land, destroying the people of God and the city of Jerusalem. As a result, the Jewish people were taken into captivity, and for 70 years they lived in bondage and slavery. After 70 years of living as slaves of the Babylonians, a remnant of the people were released and allowed to go back to the city of Jerusalem.
When they returned, they were amazed at what they saw. The great and magnificent walls that surrounded Jerusalem had come down! These walls represented the strength, security, and significance of the ancient city. The temple was destroyed, their houses were ruined, and for years afterward the Israelites lived in the rubble.
Nehemiah, a Jewish layman, was living in Persia at the time. He was the cupbearer of the king—a trusted servant. One day, a family member came to Persia where Nehemiah was living and working. Nehemiah asked, “How is it going back in Jerusalem?” The messenger said, “Not good. The walls are down and the people are living in shame. The people are as broken as the walls and they are living in the devastation of the past.”
When Nehemiah heard those words, he went to his knees in brokenness. He began to weep, pray, and cry out to God. It was in those moments that a vision was born in the heart of Nehemiah. He determined to rebuild and restore the city, revive the people again, and rekindle their national passion and spiritual commitments. God gave him a vision and focus for the future that absolutely changed the history of the nation.
George Bernard Shaw said these words, “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say ‘Why not?’” That’s what happened that particular day to Nehemiah. He began to see what nobody else could seem to see, and his vision from God was fulfilled! An effective leader who has vision attracts commitment and energizes people, creates meaning in the lives of others, establishes a standard of excellence, builds bridges from the present to the future, and goes above and beyond their current situation.
There are five ways to have vision for your life: pray, process, picture, personalize, and pursue it. Pray about your vision, think it through, share it with others, and remember that it takes hard work to make it happen. You have to pursue it every day. Ask God to put in your heart His vision for influencing your family, your church, those who are unsaved, your community, and beyond.
BECAUSE NEHEMIAH WAS A LEADER, THE WALLS WERE REBUILT.
HIS VISION WAS TRUE AND AUTHENTIC, AND GOD FULFILLED IT.