Numbers 13:33b (NIV)
What we see is certainly affected by how we observe. We all wear a set of glasses – look through the lenses of life experiences, belief systems and worldviews. Varied perspectives of circumstances are quickly revealed when on-the-scene witnesses give sometimes very different accounts of what they “saw” happen. Heaven help the law enforcement officer who has to piece all of those “eyewitness” accounts together in hopes of somehow arriving at the reality of what happened. The awareness of this shouts our need for corporate vision that comes from the safety and protection of God-designed community.
Yes – God will raise up leaders who are the “first” to see, but they will not remain the only ones who see. The spirit of the Lord will always bring a sense of confirmation to hearts that are willing and open to hear the voice of the Lord. I need you. We need them. And we all need Jesus and His perspective on things.
Numbers 13 is the account of Israel’s tribal leaders going on the 40-day expedition into the land God had promised to give them. Somewhere along the way, the mission was confused. A trip that was supposed to be a sight-seeing tour revealing to the leaders the fruits of the long awaited promised homeland that God said HE would give them somehow became a “feasibility study” that questioned whether or not THEY were able to possess it. WRONG VIEWPOINT! They never were able to possess it from the get go! God didn’t send them to “see if they could handle this project!” They weren’t strong enough – there were giants inhabiting the land. They weren’t powerful enough – no military experience and there were walled cities awaiting them.
You know the story – they came back and 10 out of 12 said – we can’t do this – we aren’t able! Well d’uh! Of course you can’t – you were never expected to do this in your strength. Those leaders wrong perspectives and their loose mouths infected the hearts of the congregation of Israel. 2 guys remained faithful to the heavenly vision. Caleb and Joshua rose to still the hearts of the people – but it was too late. The seeds of strife and division had been planted and the vision of God’s ability to provide His Promise had been obscured. They just couldn’t see it. Their outer vision of the circumstances was skewed because their inner vision of themselves – who they were in God’s sight and what He’d called them to do (not in their own strength, but through His alone) had been covered with the fog of doubt and unbelief through strife. Out of their own mouths they said, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33) Someone once said,
“We don’t see things as they really are. We see things as we are.”
My own identity and how I see myself has a huge effect on how I see the world as it relates to me. The person with a deep wound due to rejection tends to see everyone continuously rejecting him (even when that’s NOT the case). This is why we desperately need to understand the finished work of Christ in our lives and the fact that God calls us His own and sees us as “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:22b – NIV) God has a spiritual land full of His Promises that you are to inherit and possess, but they can’t be obtained in your own strength or ability. It took the finished work of the all-powerful conqueror to obtain them and it will take your trust in Him to see them complete in your experience.
God has a destiny for your life – but it’s not for you alone. It can only be realized in the context of your God-ordained relationships (spiritual family). When we isolate ourselves, we risk the peril of an impaired vision that is singularly focused due to limited personal perspective. We all need to be soaked in the renewing “water of the Word” so that we can see that God is making all things new and that regularly includes our ability to see and perceive that. We need the challenge of relationships that “sharpen us” (Proverbs 27:17) and keep our perspective focused on the Greater One who rules over all things. You are NOT a grasshopper and you can take the giants that are squatting on your Promised Land!