Thursday, May 18, 2006

But Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (Job 42:5)

As I read this verse I was reminded of Christ's words:

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Matthew 13:13-16)

People often talk about coming to Christ, of choosing Christ, they seem to focus a lot - if not entirely - upon man's action in the redemptive process. The way I've heard it described you would think becoming a follower of Christ is as simple as choosing what shoes to wear that day. But I'm not sure I believe it is that simple. How many of us grew up in some form of church and ignored the message? I grew up in church and yet it made no impact on my life as a child. If it was just about making a choice, why didn't I make that choice at a younger age? Obviously if I was able to see, able to fully understand the value of Christ I would have (ideally) chosen to follow Him. Yet I refused to follow.

I grew up hearing that He was the Son of God, I grew up hearing His words preached, and still the value of serving Him escaped me. It certainly isn't because I was unintelligent, it isn't as if I didn't understand what the phrase, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," (John 14:6) meant. I did, and still I rejected. So, perhaps it isn't quite as simple as we like to make it.

Perhaps the only way one can accept Him is for the Spirit to move in one's heart? Perhaps the Spirit has to cause a stirring, remove the blinders from our eyes (or at least poke a couple holes in them), perhaps He has to unclog our ears and soften our hearts in order for us to be able to make that choice. How many of us spent our lives hearing about Jesus, we knew about Him, perhaps some of us even claimed to serve Him, yet we didn't live our lives in submission to Him. We knew of Him, but we didn't see Him. There was some aspect of His glory that escaped us. And then an awakening of sorts occurred and the blinders came off. We had heard of Him but what we heard escaped our hearts. We didn't have ears to hear, all the precious words we heard flew right through our heads because we didn't allow them to stop by our hearts.

How many of us had hardened our hearts to the words and we had become "dull of hearing" (Hebrews 5:11) to the word we claimed to love? But then something happened, or maybe nothing happened and suddenly the Word came alive for you as it did for me. Now we can hear, now we can see, now we understand (at least in part) what an amazing gift was given to us on that cross.

No folks, I don't think you can just choose to follow. Sure you can go through the outward motions and appear to follow, but if the Spirit hasn't quickened you I think you are probably always going to fall short. You will hear, but you won't hear in a way that will bring genuine faith. You see, but it is as if you're watching a foreign film that has a plot you don't understand and no subtitles. You will see, but you won't comprehend what you're seeing. And until someone tells you, until someone turns the subtitles on for you you're never going to grasp what is going on fully. You may get a glimpse, you may have some inkling as to what is going on, but the depth of the dialog will always escape you. Until the Spirit moves you'll never be able to say "but now mine eye seeth thee," and that folks is the most beautiful moment you'll ever experience this side of heaven. When that light comes on, ah how beautiful. We never realize how dark it was until that light turns on. And at first we may blink a lot, we may squint, but as we adjust to the light the more we'll see. If only we stay in that light, if only we keep our hearts soft and our ears open...

But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom swore he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:13-19)

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