I recall one church council meeting we were having and our pastor Dr. Dennis Brunet said something I will never forget. He told the twelve or so men there that he was grateful for allowing him to share his dreams. Then he said, “Be careful with whom you share your dreams because they can be shattered before God has a chance to make them come true.”
I have no doubt if I called for it I could get testimony after testimony from all of you how someone, most likely the ones you love, had shattered one of your dreams. You dream of becoming a painter but when you say you want to go to art school your parents scoffed at you and wondered how you could make a living that way. Perhaps you dreamed of being a screenwriter and producing movies that edified God and family, and yet you were mocked for such a silly notion.
And American Christendom wonders why we have no great Christian painters or movie producers!
Then God puts something on your heart to do, you need to quietly pursue the Lord and take the actions that He reveals to you, without including others sometimes. You may just have to go it alone on this one; at least for a while until God tells you to reveal it. This is what Nehemiah did when he arrived in Jerusalem.
“So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass. So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.” (Nehemiah 2:11-16)
Nehemiah did not get to go before the king until four months after he heard the distressing news about Jerusalem and its walls. It is estimated that it took up to four months to travel from Babylon to Jerusalem by caravan. This means that Nehemiah had at least eight months to dream of what he would do for God once he arrived into Jerusalem. How many times do you imagine him dreaming of repairing the walls surrounding the city? How often must he contemplated getting work crews together to do the hard manual labor it would take to return the walls and gates to their original strength? How often must have Nehemiah in his mind dealt with the opposition he knew would come?
So the first thing he does when he gets to Jerusalem is he inspects the city walls and gates himself; at night, with the knowledge of only a few trusted men. Such wisdom as this comes only from God. After he had done this God then had him approach the people:
“Then I said to them, ‘You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.’ And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me.” (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
Nehemiah did not ask the people if they saw the ruins of the city; the people lived among the ruins and had become reconciled to it! It had been that way since Nebuchadnezzar had laid waste to the city some 128 years earlier. And Nehemiah described this situation as it was, it was a reproach. The Hebrew word for reproach is herpa and it means “disgrace, insult, scorn, contempt.” This great godly leader told it like it was and he looked straight into the eyes of the people and told them what needed to be done…by them…not the government. The people had let the situation get this way and it would be up to them to fix it. And guess what type of response a leader such as Nehemiah received.
“So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to this good work.” (Nehemiah 2:19)
Does America have such a man like Nehemiah among her over 300 million inhabitants? Or is such a man too afraid to face the ridicule and opposition that will obviously come if a movement to restore America to the traditions of its Founding Fathers begins?
Tomorrow will see how Nehemiah dealt with such opposition…
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