The Wisdom of Vision
(Proverbs 30:24-25) The ant uses wise preparation rather than brute strength to enjoy a prosperous future. Wise preparation plus opportunity equals a break-through. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverb 28:19) The Hebrew word translated “vision” can also be translated a “prophetic revelation.”
Nehemiah was concerned about other people. He asked questions about the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem and when he learned of the terrible conditions, he began praying for their restoration. (Nehemiah 1:4)
He placed great value on prayer. (Nehemiah 1:4, 2:4, and 4:4) Nehemiah the 9th chapter is a prayer of repentance by the nation of Israel and a renewing of their covenant with God.
Prayer should be our first resort, not our last response. “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (I Timothy 2:1) God is a God of covenant and wants to be invited into every area of our lives. Prayer brings us into alignment with the will of God. (Nehemiah 1:6) We must learn to pray according to God’s word. (Nehemiah 1:8-9) We should pray asking God’s favor with those who have authority in our lives. (Nehemiah 1:11) Prayer should lead us to the next step.
Ants are exceedingly wise. Some types of ants keep groups of aphids which they milk for the sweet nectar the aphids produce.
There comes a point in our prayers where we must stop talking and start listening. Prayer should lead us to planning. Through prayer Nehemiah developed a plan for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When the king asked him, “What do you request?” Nehemiah responded, “I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it.” (Nehemiah 2:4-5) Many times when we ask God for a miracle, He responds by giving us a plan. If we work the plan, we will receive our miracle. Nehemiah asked the king for building materials and letters authorizing him to rebuild the city. (Nehemiah 2:7-8)
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he didn’t immediately tell the officials of his vision and what the king had authorized him to do. First, he secretly went out by night to survey the condition of the city. We must make sure we know what we are talking about before sharing our vision. Getting our facts straight is good planning. Nehemiah knew he must identify with the people living in Jerusalem before they would follow him. (Nehemiah 2:11-12, 15-16) Wait for the proper time to reveal the vision. (Nehemiah 2:18) There’ll always be those who oppose the vision, and if we speak too soon, we give the enemies of the vision an opportunity to organize their attack. Our goal should be for the people involved in the problem to buy the vision and say, “Let us arise and build.” The people must grasp the vision because we rebuild the city by ourselves.
Many good plans fail because we don’t have the courage to act on them. Nehemiah was attempting to do something which had never been done before. Jerusalem had been in ruins for over 100 years. Our actions reveal our level of faith. Words must lead to action or they will die. There comes a point when we must get up off our knees and act on the plan God has given us.
The ant prepares her food in the summer. We must act in preparation for the vision to be fulfilled because winter is coming.
Nehemiah left the king’s court, but he didn’t leave empty-handed. He carried with him letters which gave him the authority to rebuild Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:7-8) Ultimately all plans will be attacked and if we have not prepared sufficiently the work will be stopped.
Don’t wait until the attack begins to prepare for war. Nehemiah prayed first, and then he set a watch. (Nehemiah 2:9) He positioned men around the city. (Nehemiah 2:13) He encouraged and challenged the workers. (Nehemiah 2:14) He armed them for battle. (Nehemiah 2:18) He developed a system so the people could rally to any part of the wall being attacked. (Nehemiah 2:20)
Don’t allow the enemy to steal the focus on building the wall. The enemy’s plan is to stop us from building.
Don’t Allow the Enemy to Steal the Vision!