Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality

“For the revelation [vision] awaits an appointed time ,it speaks [as to kindle a fire] of the end [the Karios moment]. Though it linger, wait for it.it will certainly come and will not delay.” Hab. 2:3

get beyond illusion
Look at the Nehemiah story.  Those guys doing the spiritual mapping of Jerusalem were reporting to Nehemiah that there was no vision, no passion, no security, no leadership and that those chosen people there were in disgrace. Is that a picture of America today? So here this one man goes in and turns that completely around in 52 days. Really? Remember this “one man” first spent four months in prayer and fasting. For what was Nehemiah praying? There is no wall mentioned in that first chapter of Nehemiah. He wasn’t praying for a wall. For what was he praying?

Carl’s book. Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality, speaks into this change. Take a look at the Table of Contents, then order your copy from Amazon.com.

 

 

Bringing America Back to God – Nehemiah Insights

 

We can learn a LOT about how to lead in turning America around by looking a Nehemiah. What happened here is really phenomenal Here was a nation without purpose, vision, or direction and scattered. Nehemiah led in turning the nation back to God in 52 days. As Mac says in the movie Entrapment – “Impossible, but doable”.

nehemiahNehemiah was an underemployed guy working for a heathen king, Artaxerxes I, in Shushan (or modern Shush) in what is now southwest Iran. The year was 444 BC. These friends of Nehemiah were reporting to him about the early waves of Jews returning to the area of Jerusalem. These friends had been spiritually mapping the Jerusalem area and came to give Nehemiah a report. It wasn’t good. The people there in Jerusalem had no vision, no passion, no security. Nothing. The city walls were in shambles, the gates were burned with fire, rubbish and ruins all about, and the Jews who had returned were in disgrace.

At this point both Nehemiah and his friends held the same information. Nehemiah’s response to the information, however, is quite different from that of his friends. His heart is with his people. All on them saw the same thing. Nehemiah, however, saw it through God’s eyes. He is broken with compassion, he weeps. He can’t eat, can’t sleep for four months. There was a burden, a concern. He is consumed by his burden.

Notice that this first prayer of Nehemiah (in Nehemiah 1) is driven from Nehemiah’s concern and heart. A burden.

“And I said: ‘I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments…'”
Nehemiah 1:5 (all references here are NKJV)

Nehemiah uses the personal name of God (Yahweh) in his prayer. To understand this, look at the very accounts of creation in Genesis 1-2. Genesis 1:1 — 2:3 describes a creation referring to God as Elohiym, or a depersonalized being or deity who rules.

Starting in Genesis 2:4 the story of the creation begins again. This time, however, you see a shocker. It’s apparently a different author for this version. The word LORD (Yahweh) used for God for the first time, referring to a very personal and intimate God. A God who makes covenants with His people and keeps them. Nehemiah begins by referring to God as Yahweh, this personal and covenant-keeping God. Shortly Nehemiah will play one of these covenants back to God and claim authority on it being completed.

“…please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
Nehemiah 1:6-7

Now we see that Nehemiah confesses to God the sins of both the nation and himself and his own house. This “confess” means “to be sorry for” and, more than that, to turn away from.

Then we see something extremely interesting,

“Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’”
Nehemiah 1:8-9 (emphasis added)

Notice that the prayer at this time is not for the construction of the wall, but rather for the nation to return to Place. Nehemiah takes authority for this vision from the covenant God had made with Moses. That covenant, in turn, was based on the Plan of the Israelite nation being the channel through which Christ would eventually come. This return involved both a physical and spiritual return to Place. Nehemiah stands on the authority of that covenant.

As Nehemiah concludes his prayer, he asks for two things:

“O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Nehemiah 1:11

  • He asks for the opportunity to present his vision to the king.
  • He asks for the success of the vision.

Nehemiah does not ask for God to step up and do the vision He holds. Rather, he asks for the opportunity for himself to do his part of the vision and for success. The wall Nehemiah will lead in building is not even mentioned at this point.

This is the starting point for a remarkable vision and how God leads Nehemiah to complete that vision. I call it Management 101. One of the most remarkable leadership stories in the Bible. How does that apply to your life and where you are now? How do you pray?

Note: This post is copyrighted and from the book Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality by Carl Townsend.

 


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