“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” ~ Proverbs 29:18.
The Amplified version of this passage explains “vision” as “the redemptive revelation of God”. Without ability to recognize God and His work in our midst, we fall away. That is what happened to Israel during Moses’ 40 days on the mountain.
I am greatly inspired by such patriarchs of faith as Moses, the friend of God. Exodus 33 contains my favorite visual example of his relationship with God. However, that chapter comes on the heels of the fall of Israel. What happened to cause these people to deny the true God and make for themselves a graven image even after personally experiencing the miracles of God?
Setting Moses in God’s place, they failed to discover personal relationship with the Real.
God created us physical beings with senses that greatly help our lives. We do best with what we can see, hear, smell, and touch. When we cannot physically see, hear, smell, and touch something…well…“out of sight, out of mind”…“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Up until the moment of their fall, the people looked to Moses as the expression of God they could comprehend and follow. In his absence, unsure if he still lived, they lost their moral compass because of their distorted vision, so they made a god that made sense to their senses.
Like Israel, we struggle to follow God because we cannot touch Him with our physical senses. The solution? We must seek first the Lord to enliven our spiritual senses. Like Elisha, we must pray for God to open our eyes to see His realm (2 Kings 6:17).
Father, my heart is helped when I personally see Your movement and discern Your voice. I often smell the essence of rose when You draw near, and my skin tingles with Your touch. Knowledge of Your presence touching my spiritual senses in ways that influence my physical comprehension helps my faith and keeps my feet on the firm foundation of Your reality. In Jesus, I pray vision for Your people, O God, so each may know Your reality and follow You.
Since yesterday’s blog post, where I shared a peak into my youth and exposed a little of myself to you, I have been thinking about graphics.
I am sure you realize, Christian brothers and sisters, that we live in a terribly graphic society. Movies and even games get increasingly realistic. The more real the graphics appear, the better these do at the box office. The news shows us real life action of the storylines of our day. And our graphic society is made most evident in the live-action footage shared on U-Tube type sites where the day’s good and evil acts are posted for all to see: from beheadings, to our grandbaby’s birthday celebrations and their cute antics, all shone in brilliant, lively color.
We are a very graphic society, except where we most need to be.
As I have considered this topic, I realize that we, the church, are too often muted. I am not just talking about being too quiet. Some of us shout well enough, but we fail to speak the language of the day. I am talking about failing to be clear and real enough to be noticed. We fail to tell people the details of our lives and how God has moved to deliver us, often out of shame, and sometimes because we believe people see enough evil in the world without seeing “mine”. I’m not talking about play by play, gory detail, but enough detail so they understand and see our experiential understanding of the world they live in and the difficulty they face. Beloved, if we cannot match the graphics of the day, not as hanging our dirty laundry out there, but showing the detail of the dirt and contrasting the work of God in delivering us from it, how will we catch the attention of those who are captivated by a very graphic world.
I have often wondered how much stuff my children might have been spared experiencing if I had been more graphic in my instructing and teaching them. It is one thing to tell them, “Save yourself for the marriage bed.” It is another still to say, “1 Here is the mistake I made. 2 Here is how it affected me. 3 This is God’s way that I learned too late. 4 You learn it now so you are spared the mistake. 5 God is faithful and gracious, and here is how He has restored me. 6 But I wish I would have had someone to tell me what I am telling you today so I could be spared the shame and regret and the struggle. 7 I am thankful that God used the struggle to reveal Himself to me in this way. He is gracious, and I am set free. Live the freedom I am teaching you today and spare yourself the need of the grace to heal the wounds of the sin and shame.”
By the way, that I just stated as example is the outline for a graphic testimony. Hang the dirty laundry with the cleaned up version right beside it. Let the contrast be used of God to catch the attention of those looking for help in a world that seems hopeless. People are asking us, “How do you know there is a God.” In a world of graphic evil, destruction, heartache, sorrow, and many whoas, they need to see very graphic proof of God’s work in us.
First Corinthians 14:6-9 fits here, brethren: “Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you SPEAKING IN AN UNKNOWN LANGUAGE, How Would That Help You? Butif I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching,That Will Be Helpful. Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space.”
Paul is talking about speaking in tongues, but the same can be applied to our too often religious speeches. We must learn to speak the language of the people so they can understand. In a graphic society, graphic truth is needed, spoken loud and clear above the roar of the world. People need to hear how we know there is a God. Shout it out above the roar, beloved, by speaking clearly and distinctly so as to be heard and understood, and be not ashamed to show graphic proof of how God has made a difference in you.
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” ~ 1 Peter 3:15.
Seeking to please man instead of God, our fear of being found out may well be the weapon used against us that is hindering our providing another with the graphic proof of God that will save them the trouble of sin.
Seeking Holy Habitation, seated at God's feet (Exodus 15:13).