I would never have imagined being able to say that I have 20/20 vision. It amazes me to think that with the advances of medicine, a surgeon with a laser and corrective lenses could make the precise cuts necessary for me to have near perfect vision at a distance after more than 50 years of wearing glasses. All. The. Time! Yet that is the reality of my physical eyesight now.
The work needed on my heart for spiritual sight is a much slower process, less dramatic, often painful as I strain to see and understand what God is saying.
God’s word gives the account of a man during the time of the advancement into the Promised Land. Balaam’s story sounds like the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. For someone who called himself the “man with 20/20 vision” God had to send a donkey to lead and speak to him, an angel to block him from doing what he had been instructed not to do, before he could see.
Balaam was a prophet from the country of Aram, a native of Pethor near the Euphrates River, a non-Israelite who obviously was known in his circle of influence for hearing from God and being able to pronounce a blessing or curse that was eternally binding. He heard clearly not to go with the princes of Moab, yet he waivered in his decision to be obedient to God’s voice. Even in this, God went with Balaam, proving that His desire to be in relationship was stronger than Balaam’s disobedient thinking, even sending an angel to speak to him. As Balaam persisted in going through with his ill-fated actions, the donkey, seeing with his 20/20 vision, detected the angel guarding the pathway, even trying to communicate with him to get him to turn around. God intervened further by allowing the donkey to be His mouthpiece. (Numbers 22-24)
Yes, God allowed him to go, but He also knew what was in Balaam’s heart, that he was ultimately being tempted to go for the fame and rich reward he would receive, not for the joy of being God’s mouthpiece.
20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity, the clarity or sharpness of vision, measured at a distance of 20 feet. It does not mean “perfect” eyesight. Eyesight is the ability to see, sense of seeing, and range of sight, view. Vision usually includes contrast sensitivity, the ability to track moving objects with smooth and accurate eye movements, color vision, depth perception, focusing speed and accuracy.
There is a true blessing that comes from being able to see God at work all around us. I desire to be able to look beneath the surface and discern truth, to have my eyes wide open and a heart of faith that God will guide me in every decision and step I should make. To do this I must stay close to Him, in His range, and if I use the 20-foot rule found in ophthalmology’s definitions of excellent eyesight that means I’m constantly close to God, aware of Him, in fellowship with Him, in tune with what He is up to. Can I see Him? Better yet, can I touch Him? I must have a God-encounter! What words have been spoken over me that I have allowed to take root that have grown up to block my vision of Him? Where has my vision of Him been marred and blurred so that I cannot see Him clearly anymore?
What is the motive of my heart? Oh, I desire for it to be pure always! To be able to hear God clearly and act obediently, for the “eyes of my heart to be enlightened.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)
My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.… put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. Psalm 131 (NIV)
The sad truth is that the 20/20 vision of Balaam was in hindsight! Yet his final Decree foreshadows the coming of the Messiah, a Savior, a star rising to reunite us with God.
Decree of Balaam son of Beor, decree of the man with 20/20 vision, Decree of the man who hears godly speech, who knows what’s going on with the High God, who sees what The Strong God reveals, who bows in worship and sees what’s real. I see him, but not right now, I perceive him, but not right here; A star rises from Jacob a scepter from Israel. Numbers 24
The goal of my life is to have 20/20 spiritual vision in the moment, vision to see a different story, a God-story. The more time I spend in His presence, the clearer my sight of Him at work in me and around me will be. Like any relationship, deep knowing of God takes time and trust. When my active reading intersects with God’s voice clearly speaking – my eyes are open, my ears are open, my heart is ready to receive and act on His promptings. I have to put myself in the correct place to hear.
Oh, to really have perfect vision, nothing between! Draw me closer, God! Pull me into Your embrace, so that You can guide me with Your eye.