Archives For Vision

“We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

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!

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

When it comes to the subject of vision, this has to be the most incompletely over quoted verse of scripture in the Bible.  What I mean by “incompletely over quoted” is that the first section is included in books and blogs and in sermons of the leadership genre in a ubiquitous manner – but for some reason it always is to the exclusion of the latter part. . . “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  This is “cherry picking” at its finest!  Go on and use the parts we do like, but conveniently leave out the parts that we don’t like or don’t fit our message.

I am picking no battles with the leadership guys.  God knows I have gleaned so much from them – my church thanks you.  Though this principle of vision is a good one – it has given us an inspired view of the future, which has provided us with something to pray for and work toward – it isn’t at all what this specific scripture is about.  Maybe a couple of other translations would help.

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; 
but blessed is he who keeps the law.”  (NIV)

“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (ESV)

“Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled, but those who obey what they have been taught are happy.” (NCV)

“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.
 But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (NLT)

“If people can’t see what God is doing, 
they stumble all over themselves; 
But when they attend to what he reveals, 
they are most blessed.” (MSG)

After reading through these other translations and paraphrases, one can get a clearer vision of what’s being said here.  It doesn’t have nearly so much to do with imagining a vivid picture of a better future as much as it does embracing God’s revealed law word that secures our blessing if we keep it.  If we would only do that, a better future would be guaranteed.  “But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed” (MSG) is pretty clear.  Where we don’t have an “open vision” of God’s revealed law, we become lawless (we cast off restraint, go wild, stumble over ourselves and perish because of it) and happiness is never a consequence of lawlessness.  To say there is an antinomian (against the law) spirit in the church today is an understatement.

In our attempt to varnish the purpose of God with humanism, our man-centeredness has taught us to come up with whatever our hearts desire, take it to God and ask Him to bless it.  I’m convinced that the abundant life for which Jesus died so that we could have it, has little to do with what materialistic Christian America has claimed.

God’s vision (the one we ought to be pursing) of an ever-increasing Kingdom where righteousness and justice are revealed in every area of life is what God is doing.  It is THE WORD from God.  His Kingdom is the prophetic vision and the revelation of the Scripture from beginning to end.  The church is to take this vision and with His revealed law-word (the tool) exercise godly dominion in the earth until all creation is stamped with the name of its owner – the Lord Jesus Christ.

“In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign does not declare, ‘That is mine!’”

~ Abraham Kuyper

Hear the words of Joshua in preparation for the Israelites possession and dominion of the Promised Land (the type of the Church claiming possession and dominion of the whole earth):

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Joshua 1:8 (ESV)