John T. Willis

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Lift Up Your Eyes

The eye is the physical organ by which a human being or animal can see another object of some sort. The eye and the ability to see is a miraculous gift of our Creator--see Exodus 4:11. It is unfortunate that most of us take the ability of see for granted. We need to be grateful every day for the ability to see. The eyes are affected by age, emotions, sleep, and death.

The Bible emphasizes that the eyes show emotional qualities, like generosity (Proverbs 22:9), greed (Psalm 10:8), arrogance (Isaiah 2:11), envy (1 Samuel 18:9), evil desire (2 Peter 2:14), sorrow (Psalm 119:136), well-being (1 Samuel 14:27), humility (Psalm 123:2), pity (Ezekiel 16:5). mockery (Proverbs 30:17), etc. Many figurative expressions appear in scripture to communicate significant thoughts. For example, "to keep someone or something as the apple [pupil] of the eye" means to preserve someone or something with particular care (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8).

Many biblical texts contain the expression "LIFT UP THE EYES" to symbolize the idea of "opportunity," "optimism," "anticipating a bright future," etc. Here are few examples.

*After the controversy between Lot and his herders and Abram's herders, and Abram told Lot he could have anything portion of the land of Canaan he wished, Yahweh said to Abram: "LIFT UP YOUR EYES now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever" (Genesis 13:14-15). Often, we human beings see only what is at the end of our noses. God challenges us to LIFT UP OUR EYES and look to all the opportunities God has for us in the future.

*When Moses and the Israelites arrived at Shittim just east of the Jordan as they prepared to cross the Jordan into the promised land, Yahweh said to Moses: "Go up to the top of Pisgah and LIFT UP YOUR EYES around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people and who shall secure their possession ofthe land you you will see" (Deuteronomy 3:27-28). Often, wew human beings see only what might happen during our own brief lives. God wants us to LIFT UP OUR EYES to envision what might happen to the next generation and the next and the next. Our God is eternal. He is concerned above generations which preceded us and generations which will follow us.

*When God's people were in Babylonian exile, they were downtrodden, dejected, despondent, crestfallen, downhearted. After a brief time, God sent them this message:
"Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.'
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.
Your builders outdo your destroyers,
and those who laid your waste go away from you.
LIFT UP YOUR EYES all around and SEE;
they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
you shall put all of them on like an ornament,
and like a bride you shall bind them on."
We human beings often become very pessimistic. We look on the gloomy side of life. God summons us to LIFT UP OUR EYES and see all that God is and will do for us. He is our Creator and Sustainer. Trust in him alone.

*John 4:31-35 relates this familiar paragraph:
"Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, 'Rabbi, eat something.' But he said to them, 'I have food to eat that you do not know about.' So the disciples said to one another, 'Surely no one has brought him something to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, "Four months more, then comes the harvest?" But I tell you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting." We human beings assume that there is no way we can touch the lives of others and bring them to God through Jesus Christ. God responds that HE ALONE has the ability and power to bring people to him. All he wants us to do is LIFT UP OUR EYES and see all the people who are in need and go to them in love and let God work.

Share YOUR experiences and desires and concerns with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis
or show no compassion


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