I used to work with eyeballs. My first big-girl job in 1989 was with an optometrist, who taught me basic technical skills to measure a patient’s visual acuity.
When my husband went to seminary, I worked for an ophthalmologist as his scribe—following him from exam to exam, writing every word of his findings for his 60-80 patients a day. Whew!
After hubby completed seminary and began his first ministry position, I returned to work in an optometrist’s office—pushing buttons, testing patients’ vision, and fixing broken glasses.
Let’s Get Spiritual
I loved working with eyes—maybe because the eye is the lamp of the body (Matt.6:22). Some of the medical and scientific truths about the eye hold spiritual significance too.
- Did you know that “near-sighted” means you can see things near but not far?
How many times are we spiritually near-sighted, focusing on ourselves or the things we think we control but refusing to see God’s long-term plan and His ultimate control?
- “Far-sighted” means you can focus on things far but not near.
Far-sightedness increases with age, and spiritual far-sightedness is no different. It sees the future and tends to become pessimistic about today—because of hard life lessons.
Did Moses Need Glasses?
I’ve been reading in Exodus during my quiet time with the Lord, and Moses is such an interesting character. Imperfect. Transparent. Utterly human.
I’m thankful for flawed biblical heroes. How about you?
When God says, “I’ve chosen you to deliver the Israelites!”
Moses says, “Why me?”
When God says, “You da’ man, Moses!”
Moses says, “No way!”
(This, of course, is the Mesu-sian version of Exodus 3:1-15.)
In 3:16, God begins to describe His plan for Moses and the Israelites. This was God’s first choice for Moses:
[God said to Moses,] “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt…’ The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” Exodus 3:16-20 (emphasis added)
Did Moses assemble the elders and take them to Pharaoh to confront him about leaving Egypt?
Nope. Long story, short, Moses felt unequipped to lead when God called, and he begged God to send someone else (Ex. 4:13). So, the Lord obliged and sent Aaron with Moses instead of the seventy elders (Ex. 5:1).
Because Moses could only see what was right in front of him…he was spiritually near-sighted.
What If Moses Had Been God-Sighted?
Imagine with me for a moment that Moses had listened to God’s first-choice plan. What if Moses had taken that frightening first step of faith and shown up in Pharaoh’s court with seventy elders rather than just Moses and his brother Aaron?
Would the results have been different?
No. God said Pharaoh still would have been stubborn.
But what work might have been done in those seventy elders’ hearts?
God’s Eye on the Heart
Our God is seldom focused only on the end result. Why? Because He’s eternal, so He’s already waiting at the end, right? He’s not worried or concerned or biting his nails about how things will turn out. He’s most interested about His children’s hearts, our choices, and our TRANSFORMATION.
It’s easy to focus on Moses in this story, but what about those seventy elders who were cut out of the deal because of Moses’ insecurities? They show up later when the ten plagues hit and again at the base of Mt. Sinai. They grumble about the plagues, and they worship a golden calf when Moses is gone too long on the mountain.
What might have happened to those elders’ hearts had they been a part of God’s original work in Pharaoh’s courtroom? We’ll never know.
Wear Your Own Glasses
Please don’t misunderstand my message. I’m not blaming Moses for the personal choices of the elders. Those men chose to grumble. They chose to worship an idol made by human hands rather than the God who delivered them by wondrous power from Egypt.
God worked in their hearts despite their grumbling and idolatry—through patient and relentless lessons in the Wilderness.
My question for us is: If we choose God’s best plan—His first-choice—can we and the people around us walk a better road? Can we avoid at least some of the Wilderness?
It’s easy to talk about going with God’s “first choice,” but much harder to discern what His first choice is. I don’t know of anyone except Moses that hears God through a burning bush! Generally, the Holy Spirit’s voice is much less definitive and requires a little more faith to determine a direction.
For example, my hubby and I are seeking God’s direction on which dog to choose for our new four-legged family member. We could go to the Humane Society or a myriad of rescue organizations and get any number of dogs. But we want God’s first choice. How can we know for certain?
The truth is…it’s a faith thing. But I believe we can cultivate God-sightedness.
- Set aside near-sightedness—Like Moses, I could get consumed with self-focus: What do I want? What do I need? But God-sightedness means focusing less on myself and more on God’s long-term plan as a whole—including how He’ll work in others through this decision.
- Manage far-sightedness—Everyone gets more far-sighted with age—physically and spiritually. We form our opinions of the present by what we anticipate in the future. Life has taught us hard lessons, and wisdom can become pessimistic and worrisome if not managed by faith in the Lord’s loving care.
- Seek God-sightedness—The only way to know God’s heart is to spend time in His Word. He promises to reveal Himself to those who seek Him. Do I believe Him? If so, am I interested enough in His opinion to truly seek it?
- Do you want to follow God’s plan but struggle to discern what it is?
- God-sightedness means focusing less on self and more on God’s longterm plan.
- Wisdom can become pessimism and worry if not managed by faith in God’s loving care.
- Does God’s first-choice plan sometimes include the Wilderness?