Points to Ponder: What Good is a Vision to the Blind?
Points to Ponder
What Good is a Vision to the Blind?
Someone has said that everyone has a purpose in life, even if it's only to serve as a bad example. In every field, especially among those in leadership, there are some bad examples. Scripture tells us to learn from them (I Corinthians 10:11).
The account of the twelve spies is a lesson in leadership's power to do or to thwart God's purpose. God had promised Abraham in Genesis 12:7 to give his descendants Canaan, the "promised land." But at the crucial moment, leaders failed to lead.
Scripture tells (Numbers 13-14; Deuteronomy 1:19-46) of how the spies came back with a unanimous evaluation of the goodness of the land and its abundance; however, the majority (10 of 12) only saw it with their eyes, not with God's vision:
"And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, 'The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight'" (Numbers 13:32-33).
At the congregational meeting, murmuring in the crowd spread. They had left the security of their bondage in Egypt to claim the promise of God to His people; but the odds were impossible, they said.
Caleb and Joshua saw the same obstacles their ten colleagues had seen. Yep, they'd be going up against some big guys; but then the Red Sea was pretty big, too. And yeah, the walls of those cities are thick and tall; but who opened up the Red Sea for them?
"Caleb declared to the congregation: Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it" (Numbers 13:30).
Remember who these twelve men were: "every one a leader" from among the twelve tribes (13:2). Their mission was to go into the land to determine and "bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come" (Deuteronomy 1:22). They were not
sent to determine whether they should go up or could go up. God had promised this land to them. Their ancestors died with the story of that promise, having never seen it but in their dreams. The decision had been made, the command given. The long list of prior blessings and Divine interventions served as affirmation that this mission was of the Lord. But the ten spies decided that their perception of reality overruled God's sovereignty over this situation.
How many leaders back down from leading because the obstacles stand taller in their eyes than the objectives to which they were originally committed? When the nation came through the Red Sea and
watched God drop the walls of water on their enemies, they were celebrating that they were God's people. Who could stand up against us, they declared.
"All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them...." (Exodus 15:15a-16a).
But then these ten leaders, men of influence among their tribal clans, allowed their personal fears to compromise their call. As author John Maxwell says: "God cannot carry those who refuse to go forward with Him. We cannot sense God's power until we have attempted the impossible. For it is then that He manifests His greatness." * It takes spiritual leadership. .Henry and Richard Blackaby, in their book Spiritual Leadership (Broadman and Holman Publishers), describe a spiritual leader as one who "is moving people on to God's agenda."
But these ten leaders vetoed God's command and virtually unplugged the power source that connected the people with the Lord. In his final address forty years later, Moses recalled how the people "complained in your tents" (Deuteronomy 1:27); the whining of the tribal leaders infected the leaders of the families in their homes. They said that God hated them; that He'd brought them there not to receive this beautiful land, but "to destroy us" (v. 27). The leaders' failure to lead left the people with no vision of why they were God's people or where they were going.
"Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, 'The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen (giants) there.'"
Once again, they longed to return to Egypt. God had appointed them a leader to bring them out; and they by their wisdom voted for a leader to take them back (Numbers 14:4).
In Romans 12:8, those with the gift of leadership are called to lead with diligence. Leaders are called by God to stretch our faith, to challenge us to push beyond the comfort zones of common sense - to grow in Christ while living in a world that wants Christ out. And God will hold them to a higher standard.
So what about today, you people of God? Are you someone to whom God has given the gift (and therefore the responsibility) of leadership?
Helen Keller was asked, what is worse than being born blind? She said, "to have sight with no vision." Who among us can clearly see every reason and obstacle for why something is impossible, but no vision from the God who says that with Him NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE?
Leaders! Get up and lead. Or hand off to someone who will.
* (Source: Johns Maxwell, The Communicator's Commentary: Deuteronomy. Word Books, Publisher.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.