A major obstacle in achieving our dreams is a fading vision. It is crucial to remain focused on the ultimate prize and not be distracted by our environment.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. – Genesis 3:7
Immediately after eating the forbidden fruit, the eyes of Adam and Eve opened to the world but closed to God. They could no longer see the awesome Glory of God, but rather an earth without form and void (Genesis 1:2). Adam and Eve had always been naked and unashamed; suddenly their perception changed and walking about in the nude became a really huge deal. Following disobedience, we lose sight of the important things and start focusing on vanity and the mundane. In Numbers 13, God tells Moses to choose a man from each tribe to go and spy out the land. After forty days, they return with grapes and other fruits from the land to show to the congregation of Israel.
And they told him, and said, we came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great. Moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, dwell in the mountains. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. – Numbers 13:27-31
The spies confirm that the word of God is true; the land is indeed flowing with milk and honey. They brought back evidence to proof the fact that it was real. There is just one problem, the cities are fortified and the gigantic children of Anak live there. Four powerful tribes surround the land. Moving in there is like walking into a snare from which there will be no escaping. It became insignificanct that God had warned them about the inhabitants the land and promised Israel victory over them. Making notes of the giants in the land was not a problem; God wanted them to see it. Like the Egyptians at the red sea, God would destroy the Canaanites (Exodus 14:13).
The Israelites troubles really started when they shifted their gaze from the richness of the land to the strength and size of the inhabitants. They left the substance of their God given dreams and started chasing shadows. Up to this point, they had not actually acted in disobedience yet; okay, they were faint hearted, but it was not a sin unless they acted out in unbelief.
In verse 30, Caleb stills (calms) the people and challenged them to gather and march out to possess the land immediately. But the men refused saying “we cannot because they are stronger than us”. They grumbled and complained; we were better off dying in Egypt or in the desert they said. We will be killed and our wives and children enslaved in Canaan. Let us elect smarter leaders to take us back to Egypt so we can serve Pharaoh and live. The evil we know is better than the one we do not know. In their minds, being slaves was not too bad after all, working without sick leaves or vacation time isn’t so terrible. We still get a meal a day and on good days, the Egyptians will not kill our babies. Egypt did not look too bad compared to slavery in Canaan.
We run into problems when we start thinking that our life in sin and hardships is better than God’s promises. Whenever we long for our old life rather than God’s plan, then the battle is already lost. It is at this stage that the people become guilty of disobedience and in Numbers 14:10; we see how they almost stoned Joshua and Caleb for daring to believe. Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
It is amazing that even in the presence of God’s glory, the people could only see their own weakness. They just could not focus on His strength. This should serve as a warning to us who are born again Christians and used in miraculous ways by God. We can still get distracted by our human weaknesses or by the enormity of our circumstances. So whoever thinks himself to be strong in the Lord should take heed lest he fall (1corinthians 10:12). If God rebukes us, we should not harden our hearts, for if we get cut off, only destruction can follow. Numbers 14 reveals God’s rage at Israel’s act of disobedience; He wanted to destroy Israel, but Moses interceded and destruction was averted.
God has promised us victory in this life; there may be tribulations, there may be trials, but he has told us to be of good cheer, victory is ours through him. Life is not going to be a bed of roses, if any man tells you it will be so, they are not being truthful to you. If you look back carefully at your life, you will see God’s hand working in your life even when you were not conscious of Him. Our testimonies are the fruits of the land, the proof of the victory in this life that he has promised us. Think about it, what is a victory? It is a process of overcoming an obstacle or a hindrance; without obstacles, there is no victory. If there were no mountains, seas or races, there would be no need for climbing, for ships, nor the ability to run.
To successfully run the race of faith, we must keep God always before us and His word and promises always in our remembrance. If we turn away, give up on him and chose a life rejecting His counsel, then there is no grace available to see us through difficult times.
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it. – Numbers 14:23
When we choose not to see the world through the eyes of God, we eventually stop seeing God all together. It is a natural progression, it becomes the punishment of the nation; the vision of the promise of God would be lost to an entire Generation. That dream, that promise first made to Abraham would become to this generation nothing but a fading vision. This generation would not see the land, but Joshua and Caleb would enter into it, and their children would possess it.
Israel had spent an entire 430 years in Egypt. Through that time, one dream gave them comfort and the strength to endure hardship. Now, that vision of a homeland was closer than ever. Yet when it was time to possess the land, the vision faltered and faded like a dream of the night; like an illusion. God’s vision for our lives will not lie, it will always come to pass if we do not ever give up or doubt it. Even when our vision tarries (is delayed), we must wait for it. As the Lord lives it will surely speak (Habakkuk 2:3).
We must live by faith that He who has begun a good work in us will perfect it. In Proverbs 15:30, we learn that the light (revelations) of the eyes rejoices or gladdens the heart so what we see or is revealed to us greatly impacts the state of our hearts. According to Proverbs 4:23, all the issues of life come out from the heart; whatever we carry in our heart will determine our attitude to life and situations. In other words, the vision that we see will determine what we become in life.
Even Jacob with all his supplanting understood this principle. In Genesis 30:41, we see how Jacob put rods before the eyes of the stronger cattle during childbirth so their lambs bore a mark. He understood that the visions seen by the eye would determine what becomes of the soul and what manner of fruit is born. When we gaze into God’s lovely word, everything else fades away and we are transformed into his likeness; we become bearers of His mark. May His words be laid in our heart and soul, may they be bound for a sign upon our hands and as frontlets between our eyes (Deuteronomy 11:18). That our hearts should not be deceived to follow other gods and may that which is born of our wombs be called blessed.
There is a common saying among healthy eating advocates; you are what you eat. I will gladly add to that; you are what you see. Even the secular world teaches that the eye is a mirror to the soul. That is why God gives men the ability to see with the eyes of the spirit and acquire a vision to guide in life and ministry.
Our eyes are like swinging doors that can open into one of two possible ways. They are either opened to God and shut to the world or vice versa, but never opened to both at the same time. The direction to which our eyes are opened is a choice and responsibility that God has entrusted into our hands. If we focus on God’s glory as revealed in His Word, we will live the victorious life of an overcomer in Christ Jesus. If we turn our gaze instead to vanity and the darkness of this world, we will live a life of temptation and sin. Whenever we disobey God’s word, we become vulnerable to and are lead astray by lying spirits who seduce us with visions of things that are untrue (2 chronicles 18:12-21).
In Mathew 18:9, Christ teaches the disciples that it is better to pluck out your eyes than to keep them both and perish in hell fire for eternity. It is crucial to have the right vision, for if we err in vision, we will stumble in judgment (Isaiah 28:7). As God’s people, we are unable to see and comprehend that even under difficult circumstances, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). In our minds and eyes, we make God so small and restrict His ability to intervene in the events of our lives. If only we could learn to trust in and surrender to His will? If only we could open our hearts and see Him magnified in us. Then would His Shekinah Glory perfuse into our entire being and He would show Himself strong and valiant on our behalf.
Whenever we stop seeing Gods miracles and wonders, we see temptations and impossibilities. Whenever we stop seeing Christ glorified, we begin to see the world amplified (see figure below). May the eyes of our understanding be opened and the Power of His presence deliver us from every seducing spirit. I pray that you may hear his voice that the visions of His will may be multiplied in your life. Your God given dreams shall never die nor your visions fade. May the light of His glory fill your heart with perception and Love to see His kingdom come.
Figure 1. Disobedience deflects the vision from God’s glory. Our vision should be on on our victory through the risen and glorified Christ. Disobedience refocuses our vision on earthly desires and aspirations