Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I finished reading the book of Daniel yesterday, and it struck me just how many times the word "vision" was used in the last few chapters. So I did a little search and found that the word "vision" or "visions" was used 31 times in the whole book. That is more than 2.5 times per chapter. Sounds like "vision" in one form or another, is the underlying theme of the book of Daniel.
Daniel was a man of strong conviction, one who saw the big picture and could see beyond his circumstances and the immediate future. As such, I believe Daniel not only was allowed to see visions from God, but that he had a personal vision...he could see clearly that the world around him was not all that there was.
The church today could use some men like Daniel. Not just men of strong conviction, men who would be willing to stand up to the ways of the world so much that they would be willing to be thrown into a den of lions, but men (and women) of vision.
There are more than one Hebrew word that has been translated as "vision" in the book of Daniel, but the one I want to focus on is used in chapter ten. It is the word "ma-raw" which means "looking glass". The term "looking glass" has two meanings. The first is: mirror. The second is: with normal or familiar circumstances reversed.
It's the second definition of looking glass, or vision that I want us to look at.
Normal or familiar circumstances reversed.
We need some men and women of God who are willing to see things that are not normal, who are willing to take a look at what is familiar and reverse it...turn it around.
You see, as I look around at the church I see most beleivers living for the same thing that the world is living for. Nice house, two cars...and maybe a recreational vehicle or two, money for a couple of vacations, a nice retirement and enough money to afford the "normal" entertainment the world delivers - tv, movies, dvds, etc.
Now, there is nothing wrong with any of theses things in and of themselves. But too often I see people, good Christian people who remind me of the lyrics of a Gary Paxton song. The lyrics go like this:
"There goes a cigar smoking a man, There goes a shiny car driving a man."
I meet Christians all the time who seem more interested in keeping their house up, working more hours to pay for their toys, planning vacations until they are stressed to the max...and it seems to me that they aren't buying a house, a house is buying them. They aren't taking a vacation...a vacation is taking them. They aren't playing with their toys...their toys are playing with them. They are entertained to death spiritually, with more knowledge about our plastic culture than about the Word of God.
But after all, they are just normal...they are just natural...but God has called His people to be more than normal...He has called us to be people of vision, to be people who reverse the normal or familiar things, people who are not natural, but supernatural.
I am praying for more men and women who claim the name of Jesus to have a vision that turns this world upside down. More men and women who will look past the homes and the cars and the tv shows and retirement and see eternity...see what they have invested not in this earth, but in the new earth.
I know we need homes, and in our culture a car is more than a luxury, it is a neccessity. I also have no problem with tv and entertainment or taking vacations. The problem is not with having or doing any of those things, the problem is when the things have us and when the things are in control of us. Think about all that you have and then really think hard about what you have that is a neccessity. If you're honest...it's kind of scary. We (myself included) have a lot of stuff...but we need very little. After all, when we stand before God and he asks us to give an account of the life He has given us, a life full of His mercy, grace and love...a life that is to be lived out in worship to Him, and in taking the gospel to those around us, do any of us really think we're going to show off our vacation photos or our title deeds as evidence of being good stewards of the gifts He has given us?
I'm not advocating poverty here. I'm advocating vision.
Ok, I need to take a peek in the looking glass.