Nelson Mandela was born in a nation that did not have equal rights for black people. There were very strong rules against them. They were treated as second class citizens. Even though he was born in a small village, he was able to go to school and become a lawyer. Then, he started leading some peaceful protests. When this happened the government responded with a lot of violence. This violence started to get to him. He said, “We need to respond with violence as well”. They started using weapons and attacking the local authorities. After this he obviously became a target. When he was taken to prison he was given a life sentence What kind of life awaits you as you hear this sentence? Apparently there was no future for him. This vision he had for a united South Africa was just a wish. When he got to prison he started to read the Bible a lot. He also started to read Christian books about hope and purpose. They recently found some of the letters he had written his wife. He wrote:
“Remember that hope is a powerful weapon even when all else is lost.”
— Nelson Mandela
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”
― Nelson Mandela
When others said, “You cannot do it. You’re a loser. You are worthless”, he never gave up. Mandela knew that his vision was an idea given by God to a whole nation. A united South Africa was not his idea, it was God’s idea.
A God idea vs. a good idea
Nehemiah knew that he had a God vision. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem wasn’t just a good idea. It was a God idea.
Who could fix a 100 year old problem? Every time they had tried to fix it enemies always stopped them. Nehemiah wasn’t the first to try to rebuild the walls. So what made him succeed?
Nehemiah had a concern about the city and the people in Jerusalem. That concern turned into vision. That vision turned into a plan. During his time of conceiving the vision, he was able to get God’s favor. Just as he had prayed for an opportunity. He got it. When the king asked him to tell him why he was sad. He was able to share his heart for Jerusalem. Then when the time came for him to go to Jerusalem and tell the people his vision. He said:
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Nehemiah 2:17 NIV)
Good ideas depend on our abilities, and our strength.
A God idea depends on God’s ability and in his supernatural work.
When Other people say you can’t
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:19 NIV)
Sanballat and Tobiah were fellow Jews. At first I thought they weren’t Jewish and they just simply hated Jews. They represent those envious people who don’t want anyone else to be successful. These are the kind of people who say: “If I failed then I want everyone to fail.” These are very selfish people who are always trying to speak negativity into people’s lives.
How does opposition speak?
You cannot do it
You don’t have the money
You don’t have the talent
Are you lifting people up with your words? Or are you bringing them down?
Are you bringing people down with your words.
Do you feel you have envy?
Do you get jealous when others succeed? Or do you get happy and you want to learn from them?
There are spiritual opponents as well
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
How are you going to respond?
“I shot back, “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this Jerusalem’s none of your business!” (Nehemiah 2:20 the MSG)
I love this version of the Bible. “You can keep your nose out of it” (haha) I’m pretty sure this is what we want to say to people most of the time. Nehemiah actually said it. He knew that although they were Jews as well. They did not love Jerusalem and they did not love its people. Basically he paid no attention to these people and he just kept working on what God had told him to do.
ACT IN FAITH
Most people in the Bible got to become great leaders because they had courage. They were obedient. They acted in faith. Nehemiah is one of those leaders.
Noah acted in faith when everybody mocked him as he was building an ark and not a drop of water was falling from the sky. He was acting in a God vision.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8 NIV)” By faith Abraham went into the unknown. He persevered on God’s word.
When others say you can’t, believe in God’s vision
When others say you can’t believe in the things not yet seen
When others say you can’t declare “I will walk by faith and not by sight”
When others say you can’t declare “without faith it’s impossible to please God.”
Faith is to believe in the unseen