Vision 3: The Ezra-Nehemiah Church
Ezra and Nehemiah represent the second and third wave of return from the exile in Babylon. Each of them came back to Jerusalem with a clear vision for what they had to do. Many of the exiles with Ezra were the priests and Levites and their mission was to re-establish the priesthood at the temple in Jerusalem.
At the head of the third wave of returning exiles was Nehemiah whose vision was also clear: rebuild the wall. Each wave encountered conflict and incredible challenges to divert them from their respective missions. But, they did it!
One of my favorite books about this time in Israel’s history is written by Charles R. Swindoll and it is entitled Hand Me Another Brick.* The stress upon repentance and prayer, planning and vision, servanthood and leadership in the life and times of Ezra and Nehemiah is inspirational.
The appeal for vision from this perspective is simple because everyone knows how important it is to have one. We also know the price to be paid when there is no vision. The researcher, George Barna, suggested that one definition of vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight.**
God, give us Your vision that we might obey and become visionary in Your service to our neighbors, families and friends and to the furthest reaches of the world! Make us like the great apostle Paul who became all things to all men so that he might give everyone an opportunity to see Jesus! Give us the boldness and conviction of Ezra and Nehemiah that You might be lifted up to encourage us to fulfill Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
*Charles R. Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, Rev. Ed., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1990).
**George Barna, The Power of Vision, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1992).