“…In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.” 2 Chronicles 33:7b
“When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men who dreamed.” Psalm 126:1
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. Genesis 17:7
There are things that God grows in our hearts like babies in the womb. First, an idea lodges, then a passion. We gather information, our hearts brimming with expectation. The idea becomes a dream. It haunts our waking time and our hearts can’t help but beat fast. Soon, our “babies” start kicking, wanting out of the womb and into the earth.
Whether our dreams be a book, a restaurant, a new business, or some surprising project, we love it when they come alive. Dreams make life colorful, and they make our sense of identity grow.
Just as we dream dreams, God— our Maker in whose image we are formed— has dreams He is weaving on earth.
One such dream is Israel. This nation was and still IS a miracle. From out of the womb of a woman whose age defied pregnancy came a dream seed of God. God was going to fill this nation with destiny and a knowledge for all the world to see that a God existed, made them, and loved them. This nation was going to be a testament to the world of God’s glory, and her people who would carry the lineage of the Messiah, God with us (Immanuel).
But just like any dream, this would be challenged, and like any challenge, identity would be the first target of attack. Israel—God’s dream: What was it? The nation of faithfulness, or the nation that killed prophets and stoned men whom God sent? Israel: the nation where God had chosen to reveal Himself, OR the nation that decided to forget God? Israel: the chosen nation, OR the nation that “prostituted” herself with idolatry? Wasn’t this the nation of God’s eternal covenant?
The Dreamweaver of heaven and earth could have simply removed Israel from the face of the earth and started anew. But God was faithful. Like a heartbroken lover, God would save His dream. It would hurt, but the discipline would work. When the disobedience of this chosen nation reached Heaven in an uproar, God struck His people, scattering them into exile. It was the seeming end to His dream.
Yet in the wounding of Israel, God’s heart swelled with love. He felt the pain and anguish of the exiled people, but He also knew that life and healing would come through this wound. He knew His own character too well. He couldn’t deny Himself. His thoughts for Israel were filled with hope and a future. From the ashes of this broken nation, God would make sure of a resurrection. A remnant would come whose hearts sought Him; a remnant hungry for the law to be practiced in their homes. These would be a people hungry for the God of their forefathers; a people longing to know their identity.
The Lord’s eyes searched the earth. Would there be a man whose heart beat with His very dream to see the nation rise again?
There was one. A servant whose knees hit the floor in weeping. This man, Nehemiah, had a heart that beat for the restoration of Israel and for the glory of God’s name to come alive in his nation. As God’s eyes saw Nehemiah, He put upon him a special favor. Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls with the King of Persia’s permission and provision. Nehemiah would fight for God’s dream, making it his very own.
The story of Nehemiah is one where we can evaluate the dreams of God in our hearts. Do we have a passion to see God’s dreams come alive in the world? Are any of God’s dreams even alive in our heart? Do we know of God’s dreams? Heaven is always looking for a man or woman whose heart aligns with the purposes of God. To fight for God’s dreams is to fight for His name.
Friends, it’s time to dream His dreams.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.