Eyesight is one thing, vision is another. One must have eyes to be able to see. But just because one has eyes is no proof that he can see. We must have eyes that are capable of seeing, but some see much more than others.
At a glance an artist can see defects in a crudely painted landscape. A mechanic detects poor workmanship that most passers-by miss. Many people see only what is near, while others can see far off.
So it is with spiritual eyesight. What did Jesus say to His very privileged disciples?
Matthew 13:16–17 16…Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Most people do not see beyond the present life, even the present moment. They are nearsighted, and don’t even realize they lack spiritual vision. What does Scripture say about the lack of vision?
Proverbs 29:18 18Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Vision here refers to divine vision, prophetic vision, “vision from God respecting future events” (GES). Without knowledge from God, there is no future for anyone. We would all perish, i.e., die without hope. That thought makes the last phrase of the verse meaningful.
18…But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Keeping “the law” is applying what we “see” with spiritual vision.
That is why Peter said, after listing all the virtues we need to add,
2 Peter 1:8–9 8… if these things [Christian graces] are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness.
There is no way to get future life apart from adding these Christian graces!
How easily our vision gets limited, or blurred or we become shortsighted. In a time of great danger, a young man, the servant of Elisha, looked, and all he could see was the army of the enemy. He cried out, afraid:
2 Kings 6:15–17 15…“Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
What was Elisha’s answer?
16[Elisha] answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”
When the young man looked again, what did he see?
17…Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
A host of angels had come to deliver. How do we know the chariots were angels?
Psalm 68:17 17The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
How often our vision has been limited! How nearsighted we have been! When surrounded by the enemy (our old self) we have become faint and fearful. If only our eyes could have been opened to see the angel power that had been sent by God for our deliverance!
In the parable spoken so forcibly by our Lord, how nearsighted and selfish was the one whose ground brought forth plentifully! Wouldn’t you think that seeing his abundant crop, his first expression would have been of gratitude to God who gave it? But no, he was looking at the money that he felt was HIS, that he had gotten with his own hands! Let’s read the parable:
Luke 12:16–18 16Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’
What was his answer to himself?
18So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
Luke 12:19 19And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’
With so much carefully stowed away, he could sit down and ENJOY! His vision being so narrow and limited, he had no thought for God or any glimpse of the eternal riches, it was all for the present. How far did he get with his plans?
Luke 12:20–21 20…God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
What was Jesus’ sign off lesson on the parable?
21“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
All he had was treasure he had laid up “for himself.” So lacking in vision, he saw NOTHING beyond himself!
No vision, no future, and no God.
For contrast, look at our great Example and Pattern. Tempted in all points like us, yet He was able to resist perfectly because of His keen, long-range vision. How clear and perfect was His vision, His grasp of the law from His Father. With that view He was able to look beyond. How do we know? Because we are … Hebrews 12:2,
Hebrews 12:2 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He had vision! He could SEE the joy the Father had set before Him. He would not touch any of the transient nothings around him that might cause Him to lose the eternal glory His Father had offered Him.
Look at Moses, the great Lawgiver. Born in Egypt, growing up in the palace of the King, adopted as the king’s daughter’s own son, he could have been enthralled with the wealth and glory around him. Had he been nearsighted, he would have looked no further. But his vision was greater. The wealth of Egypt could not compare. That is why he made his decision once and for all.
Hebrews 11:25–27 25choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Look at Abraham, father of the faithful. How was his vision? Hebrews records that Abraham had the far view.
Hebrews 11:9–10 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Our Lord verified Abraham’s farsighted divine vision when He said,
John 8:56 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
God forbid that we should be content with so short and limited vision as we might derive from present satisfactions, viewing the transient and missing the view of things eternal! What joy, peace and happiness await those who can lift their eyes and look beyond.
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the question is asked:
Isaiah 21:11–12 11…“Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?”
The keen-eyed watchman looking afar, replied,
12…“The morning comes, and also the night.
The day of the Lord will be a morning of joy and happiness for the faithful, but a dark, dismal night for the workers of iniquity.
Isaiah has another prophecy for the watchmen to deliver.
Isaiah 52:7–8 7How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the Lord brings back Zion.
It is a message for the time when God will redeem His people.
It is the Word of the Lord, the vision of things to come from the high courts of heaven, so sure that it is spoken as already accomplished! While the picture of the world looks dark and threatening, Isaiah says that with this vision of things to come it is time to sing!
Isaiah 52:9–10 9Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God.
Is our vision marred or distorted that we are not able to see beyond the dark shadows here? Let us go at once to the Great Physician and purchase the eyesalve that will relieve this condition and restore our vision of things to come. It is Jesus’ own recommend:
Revelation 3:18 18I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Then Jesus will be able to say to us as He did to His beloved disciples,
Matthew 13:16 16… blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.
“Blessed are the eyes that see the living way
To grasp the glorious prize of everlasting Day.
Physically, farsightedness or hyperopia is when an individual has difficulty seeing objects that are nearby. Said differently, they can see faraway objects clearly. It is the opposite of being nearsighted.
Spiritually speaking, we want “hyperopia” so that the worldly things around us become more and more blurred and out of focus.
What does it mean to be farsighted? Leading the list is “faith,” followed by the additions: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. The more you add, the clearer your vision.
If our focus on the future is clear enough, it will give us the determination to add these Christ-like virtues. As we become more like our Master, we can “see” ourselves being a part of those worthy ones who will welcome Him back home.
Don’t we want to be there to rejoice with Abraham and all the faithful when they see our Lord crowned with glory and power! I know I do!!