Neh 4:1-9 “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. 4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. 6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. 7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.”
Nehemiah worked as a servant to the king, the royal food-taster. He protected the king from being poisoned. If he weren’t trustworthy, he could kill the king himself. He found out that Jerusalem, the city that he loved, was in ruins. So, he decided to rebuild those walls. He had a dream.
Do you have a dream? It’s a good thing. You aren’t like animals who can’t plan for the future. They operate only by instinct. Humans can think many, many years ahead. You can make a difference. You have a choice. You can dream!
But, there is always a challenge.
Maybe you want a great family or a to be a great Christian or to build a great business or to just make it to college. When your dreams line up with the Lord’s will, He will help make those dreams come true. He will help you do something great.
However, anytime you do something great for God, you will have to deal with adversity. There is an enemy that will try to stop you.
Your spiritual success in fulfilling your dream, will probably not be based on how you handle the good times. Success will be determined by how you respond under pressure.
Sanballat and Tobiah represent those adversaries to the dream. They had no business being there in the first place. They were sticking their wicked noses in Nehemiah’s business.
Satan will try to stick his wicked nose into your business.
The reason it bothered Sanballat and Tobiah and Satan is because they had no inheritance in that city. They had something and lost it.
When you dream for the Kingdom of God, it makes Satan mad, spitting mad, and he will do all that he can to stop that from coming true.
You are an unqualified candidate to worship God, and be called one of His own. Satan hates you for taking his place. He will do all kinds of hateful things.
How will you respond? Will you cry and go home?
This city belongs to who? It belongs to God and you! The Kingdom of God is for you!
Isaiah 14:13-15 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
That was Satan speaking and notice how many times he said, ‘I will.’ He said it five times. When your will becomes more important than God’s will in your life, you are thinking like Satan.
The enemy works on your mind.
Satan doesn’t know your future, but he knows it’s better than what he has mind. His tactics are so subtle. Anytime the devil tells you something, know it’s a lie and easier to identify. So instead, he will ask questions. He will cause you to question God and His will and His promises.
If you allow those thoughts to get into your mind, you’re allowing Satan’s thinking into your head. Don’t do it!
When you’ve got an enemy up in your face, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track!
There are five questions that Sanballat asked. Right away Nehemiah encountered challenges to the dream.
1. What are those feeble Jews doing? He wasn’t really asking that because the answer is obvious. The question is, ‘Is what you’re doing worth the price you must pay to get it done?’ Don’t let that evil seed go to work. It’s designed to discourage and bring doubt. It focuses on the difficulty. The dream is worth it! You might be feeble, but it’s worth it! The task is worth all your feeble efforts.
You have got to have a dream! When the challenge comes, respond, ‘It is worth it!’
2. Will they restore their wall? This is designed to create fear of failure. Is success even possible? Is it better to have a dream, a goal, a noble project, but because you are not convinced it will get completed, is it better to not start the project at all or start it and leave it half done? It is a good thing to start on a dream and not finish it in your lifetime! That’s okay because the people coming after you will complete it. Abraham had a dream and never saw the fulfillment of it—nations. Isaac and Jacob didn’t see the fulfillment of that dream, but Israel exists today! It’s okay to fail, to not finish. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! People won’t get healed if you don’t pray. Nehemiah said, ‘Even if I don’t, I’m still going to try.’ God will always fulfill His promises. God is looking here. He has planted promise after promise. He will fulfill them!
Have you ever wanted to give up? I have, but this gives me hope. You know, it’s okay if you don’t ever see the results of your dream. Just working toward it is a victory in itself.
3. Will they offer sacrifices? The undertone there is, ‘You think you’re worthy?’ You’re a sinner, how can you do anything great for Him? The thing that goes through your mind is your past and your imagined future of who you are.
Whew! This one stings. I know I’m not worthy, but I also know this is God’s will and I have to keep going. I could be back in my lost past, but Jesus saved my soul. God thinks I’m worthy and I’m going to keep going! It’s His will. I’m not perfect and neither are you, so let’s keep going and do the will of God.
Get past your past!
God chooses the people we wouldn’t choose. He shows His strength in your weakness. You didn’t choose God, He chose you!
Don’t worry about your past, start dreaming about your future!
Take a package of all your past and put a label on it, ‘To God, From Thankful.’ Your past does not need to dictate where you’re headed. God doesn’t serve the realm of time. He knows and sees the direction you’re headed and changes things to keep you on track. He can go to the future right now. He can even go into the past and change it. Jesus will cause you to walk in a healthy (mind, body, spirit) person’s shoes. God will mess with your mind to cause you to not be the person you used to be! Your past belongs to the Lord. You are worthy!
4. Will they finish in a day? Of course not! This is a lifetime thing. It’s a long-term thing. What they started they will do right. They will do it well. This dream is worth doing right and well. Your dream is worth taking the time necessary to do it right and do it well.
5. Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble? This is designed to cause hopelessness. God is a God of hope. The devil wants you to see the burnt up rocks, the bad. Burned up rocks make the most beautiful islands on earth. God causes new growth in the midst of mess. That destroyed rock becomes much more fertile. Stuff grows on burned up rock. It’s more valuable. You can produce a whole lot more having been through the fire.
You have so much value! You’ve come out of the fire. You may see a burned up mess, but Jesus sees something fertile, something He can use and work with. It is more valuable and precious. God works with fragmented lives and causes them to become kings and nobles and queens and knights of renown.
Your dream will be challenged, but use your mind the way God wants you to use it.
Think His thoughts! Be a Dream-Chaser!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!