“Im Doing A Great Work & Will Not Come Down Off This Wall” Nehemiah 6:1-14
VISION– a God given picture of a future that could and should be
Vision- is so vital! In fact, without it, “the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18)
Look at anyone who’s been used mightily of God to make a difference & you’ll find that a common denominator is vision
- Business – Google Chick Filet & read the story of Sam Cathy. He was a man who had a God given vision of what could & should be
- Ministry- Research the Salvation army and be inspired by the remarkable vision of William Booth
- Think personally – recall people who’ve made a lasting impact upon your own life. Parents, grandparents, small group leaders, coaches, teachers…were they not people of vision?
There are TWO GREAT TRAGEDIES associated with vision
- Christians Who Never Discover Vision- I call them Christian pinballs as they posses no real sense of direction just bounce off of everything that they encounter
- The Christian Who Had Had Vision – but lost it
Our Own Lives
Think About Your Own Calling To Ministry – God given vision of what could and should be as you employ your Spiritual gifts to Kingdom Work
Think about what could and should be concerning your marriage…your family….your business
What kind of vision do you have for these things?
If you don’t have one…you’re in some real trouble (remember the Proverb we’ve already sighted?).
If you do have a vision…..you need to keep in mind that maintaining the vision involved more than a trip to the altar on Sunday. Its going to the altar every day because its a constant struggle!
If you are committed to accomplishing Gods vision…be assured of this fact…THERE WILL BE DISTRACTIONS
IN OUR TEXT TODAY – Nehemiah the visionary teaches us how to maintain our focus on what could and should be….even while dealing with distractions
Read Nehemiah 6:1-13
When it comes to VISION…..
!. Opportunities Can Be A Distraction (1-2)
“When Sanballet, Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it-though at the time I had not installed the doors in the gates- Sanballet and Geshem sent me a message: Come, let us meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley”. But they were planning to harm me”
Nehemiah is almost done with the wall. His vision is nearly complete. All that’s left to do is hand the doors! This is when distractions hit hard!
It’s kind of like what my mother used to say to me as a young driver, “most wrecks happen close to home”. If you look at the stats, that true. I believe it’s because as we near home, we left our guard down!
Sanballet – provides Nehemiah a opportunity – Valley of Ono (20 miles from Jerusalem)
This is an Opportunity for Nehemiah To
- Rest Up – He’s led a nation, dealt with critics, fought off an army, almost completed his task…dude could use a vacation in the valley!
- Gloat a little – Its obvious they were going to finish the task. All could see that and Sanballet is the guy who called him a fool for even trying. Good opportunity to rub it in a little, huh?
This invitation looks like a golden opportunity
I’VE FOUND – most dangerous opportunities are good ones that distract us from great
Not Every Opportunity Is From God (discernment)
When we’re “on the wall” that God has called us to and other opportunities come along, we must ask….
- Does this opportunity contradict the work God is already doing in my life
- Will this opportunity help or hinder the God given vision I have?
- Does the Spirit within me confirm this opportunity?
- By taking advantage of this opportunity am I forfeiting the GREAT God has for me and pursuing good?
If, after discernment – Use the most powerful word in the English language…NO
Sound harsh? Listen to Nehemiahs reply (3)
“I am doing a GREAT work and cannot come down”
2. Criticism (4-7)
Now – we covered this a couple weeks ago – Satan raises up critics when Gods people are doing Gods work (words of destruction, doubt, deceit). The purpose is always the same…to get us off the wall!
LISTEN: NOTHING attracts critics like vision does
“Four times they sent the same proposal and I gave them the same reply. Sanballet sent me the same message a fifth time by his aide, who had a open letter in his hand. In it was written, ‘It is reported among the nations, and Geshem agrees, that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you have become their King and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: There is a King in Judah! These rumors will be heard by the King (Artxerxes). So come, let us confer together””
The Accusation – TREASON! Had worked before (check out Ezra)
Flat out lies about Nehemiah and his vision…but also slander
Letters written on Papyrus paper, rolled, tied, sealed with clay
BUT NOT THIS LETTER – (5) “open letter” – wasn’t sealed // all who handled it could read it!
Nehemiah the visionary – how did he handle Criticism?
- He Saw It For What Is Was (8)
“There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading, you are inventing them in your mind
It was foolishness. LIES. He KNEW what was being said / written about him was untrue
- He Recognized Their Purpose (9)
“For they were all trying to intimidate us saying, ‘They will become discouraged in the work and it will never be finished”
Remember – discern criticism // may be constructive – this wasn’t!
* He Relied Upon God – there would be no chasing rumors, no defending self. He didn’t give it a second thought. He let God fight His battle.
“…But now, My God, strengthen me”
(A little something extra: a pretty sure-fire way to test the credibility of information you receive about someone else is to consider the source. This wasn’t Sanballets first rodeo. He’d already had some salty things to say about Nehemiah. He was a “repeat offender”. If you hear “something” from someone who you consistently hear “something” from…well that “something” is usually nothing. By the way, if they’ll talk to you about someone, rest assured, they’re also talking to someone about you!)
BY THE WAY: THE BEST WAY TO SILENCE CRITICS – stay on that wall!
(Read 6:15-16) // They Finished the wall & their enemies lost confidence!
SO – OPPORTUNITY & CRITICISM will distract you from pursuing the God given vision of what could and should be
3. FEAR (10-13)
“I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said: Let us meet at the house of God, inside the Temple. Let us shut the Temple doors because they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you tonight”
He was counseled…. Flee in fear
Running to The Temple –
- This Would undermine his God given authority
- This Would Violate Gods Law
Often – satan uses fear to get us off the wall – to distract us from Gods vision
How About -Fear Of Man? Fear of change? Fear of the unknown? Fear of failure? (All distractions!)
The Major Problem with these fears – they bring about same problems Nehemiah had
- Fear undermines authority – God has authority over our lives, not fear. Paul wrote to a young Pastor named Timothy and said that “God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind”. If I’m distracted by a spirit of fear….that fear didn’t come from God!
- Violates Gods Law – one of the most often used phrases in the Bible is “Fear not!”. 365 times, actually (one “fear not” for every day of the year)
NEHEMAIHS RESPONSE (11)
“Should a man like me run away?” – Gods man – immortal until Gods finished
I’M DOING A GREAT WORK AND I’M NOT COMING DOWN OFF THIS WALL
Honest Question for you….what is Gods vision for….
- Your Family?
- Your Marriage?
- Your Business?
- Your Ministry?
WRITE IT DOWN!
What could and should be two years from now? What’s your vision? Your vision should be simple – just a couple of sentences
NOW: What Two Or Three Things Are Essential For That Reason To Become A Reality?
When Opportunities Come: Focus on those things!
When Criticism Comes – focus on those things
When fear creeps in – stick to those things
STAY ON THAT WALL – You are doing a great thing!