Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eye Trouble

2 Kings 6.15-17
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Eye Trouble
Let me give you a piece of background. The king of Syria was warring against Israel. He took counsel with his servants and set up camp in a particular place. Elisha warned the king of Israel to where the king of Syria was camped. Time and time again Elisha warned the king.

Eventually, the king of Syria called his servants to him. He questioned them as to which of them was secretly on the side of Israel. Someone had to be telling of their plans. His servants told him that Elisha, who was a prophet of God, told the king of Israel what things were spoken on his bedroom. The king of Syria sent his armies to take care of this situation.

Here is a great story about the saving, keeping power of God. For this study, however, I am more interested in the condition of the servant. He didn’t see the armies that were encamped round about them. He saw the armies of Syria. When the prophet prayed and his eyes were opened, he saw the right vision.

Revelation 3.14-18
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

God said, you don’t even know you are wretched. The Greek is talaiporos. It means to be ‘enduring a trial.’ God told them that they didn’t even know they were enduring a trial.

Have you ever had a trial and didn’t know it?

According to this passage, those at the church at Laodicea, were doing just that. I know what you must be thinking, because I thought the same thing. HOW can I be going through a trial and not know it? When we think of trials, we think of hardships and troubles. The clue is in the rest of the passage. They said they were rich and increased with goods. They thought they had need of nothing. I have seen Christians endure poverty and remain true to God, and then, when they get a little wealth, they fail Him. It is easier to trust God when there is no one else to trust. It is easier to rely on God when there is no other avenue for help. Sometimes, prosperity is a harder trial to endure than poverty. The Scriptures ask the question: What does it prosper a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

He went on to say they were miserable and didn’t know it either. The Greek word is eleeinos, which means pitiable. They were to be pitied. They stepped high, proud of their wealth, and didn’t know they were to be pitied by those around them. Do not be envious of the wealth of sinners, but rather pity them for the object of their trust.

They were also poor. The Greek word is ptochos, which means to crouch, as a beggar. They were also blind (tuphlos) and naked (Gumnos.) Blind refers to opaqueness. It is a condition where things are not seen clearly. One may see images or shadows, but the trueness of the image is obscured by opaque vision. Naked refers to being nude or exposed.

Here was a group of believers, which, because of their blindness, could not see their condition. They thought they were to be envied, while in truth, they were to be pitied. They thought they were rich, but were poor in the riches that mattered. They saw themselves as lifted up, while God saw them as crouched like a beggar. They were in the midst of a trial, and didn’t even recognize it.

This is definitely a case of severe eye trouble.

Ephesians 4.18
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Blindness in Ephesians 4.18 is Porosis in the original text. It means hardness or blindness. It denotes stupidity or callousness. This is a willful blindness by inaction. They do not see because they do not look. God says that in times past, He winked at ignorance, but now calls men everywhere to repent. Ignorance is simply, not knowing. God said there was a time when He would give exception to those that did not know, but that time is past and now he calls all men to repentance.

This bring to mind an argument of those that say Jesus cannot come for His Bride yet, because the Gospel has not been preached to all the nations. I don’t know if you have heard this argument or not, or if you ascribe to it or not. Allow me to point out a few couple things:
1. Acts says in the 2nd chapter, as it recounts the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the inhabitants of the upper room, that it was noised abroad. In verse 5, it tells us that there were dwelling at Jerusalem, devout men out of every nation under the heaven. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter stood with the twelve, and delivered the sermon that pricked the hearts of the hearers, this message was preached to every nation.
2. Every person does not have to hear the Gospel. At some point in everyone’s life, God will strive with them. They will accept or reject that striving. They may be in a church service when it happens. They may never set foot in a church service and it happens. Every one of mankind will hear the voice of the Savior calling to them at some time in their life. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” The Spirit draws men everywhere.

Therefore, Jesus can come at anytime.

Here again, is eye trouble.

There are several causes of temporary blindness. There is a blindness of darkness. We have all heard the saying, “you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.” The lack of light causes this blindness. It causes us to stumble across the room, feeling along the wall, looking for the light switch.

I recall a tour I took once through Mammoth Caves. The tour guide explained to us that absolute darkness only occurs in two places. One is the bottom of the ocean, and the other is deep on a cave. He told us we were going to test the theory about being so dark you literally couldn’t see the hand in front of you face. He asked us, when he turned off the lights, to put our thumbs on our noses and wiggle our fingers in front of our faces, to see if we could see them. The lights went out. A couple seconds later, the lights came back on. There, in the light, was a group of adults, all with our thumbs on our noses, wiggling our fingers. It was quite the humorous sight.

The Scripture tells of the god of this world has blinded the eyes of the lost so they will not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. The Greek is tuphloo which means to obscure. Satan obscures the gospel by distraction. His desire is not your best interest. He seeks to blind you.

Let us take a few lines to look at some natural eye conditions and how they can relate to our spiritual vision as well:

How do our eyes work?

Light reflecting off of an image enters the eye and is refocused on the retina. Our brain perceives these images and tells us what we see. (Extreme over simplification)

Myopia: Nearsightedness
Hyperopia: Farsightedness
Presbyopia: Loss of elasticity of eye tissue (usually around 50 years old)
Aniseikonia: Images produced by each eye a different size
Diplopia: Double vision

Proper vision is to perceive the right relationship between objects, near and far. This is true in natural and spiritual vision.

Luke 6.41-42
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Hyperopia: Farsightedness
An abnormal condition of the eye in which vision is better for distant objects than for near objects. It results from the eyeball being too short from front to back, causing images to be focused behind the retina.

There are those that focus on the past sins of others and cannot see the events of their own life clearly. This is the case in both those doing the wrong and those doing the right. Luke spoke about seeing the small sins of others while being unable to see the large sins of the person looking. They can tell you everything everyone in the church is doing. They can point out the faults of every minister. They can see every misstep by anyone around them. However, when it comes to seeing their own shortcomings, they cannot focus clearly.

Asaph wrote in Psalms 73, that he was focused on the sins of others and nearly lost his own footing. He could not step surely until he was about to slip. His focus was wrong. He saw the prosperity of the wicked. He saw the fatness of the sinner. He was envious of the foolish. UNTIL he went into the house of the Lord.

The vision corrector is the Word of God. When we put on the glasses of God’s Word, we can see more clearly. His Word refocuses the actions of others, the events of the day, the trials and the hardships, the prosperity of our own lives, and the end of days. In his Word it all comes to clarity.

Myopia: Nearsightedness
A vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.

There are those that can only focus on today. They cannot see the big picture. They cannot see the end of this walk. They are bi-polar Christians. Their walk with God is only as strong as their walk today. They do not have long range faith. If times are good, they are strong in the Lord. If times are bad, they are weak. They are buffeted about by every wind of doctrine. They are tossed to and fro, by their circumstances.

When Moses sent 12 spies to spy out the land of Canaan, they came back with varied reports. Ten of the spies came back with stories of great walled cities, men of great stature, and a land that would eat them up. Joshua and Caleb came back, seeing the same cities, the same inhabitants, the same land, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.”

Joshua and Caleb saw the land through the glasses of the promises of God. We have promises to take us to the end of the race.

Obstacles are what we see when we take our eyes off of our goals.

As long as we face the sun, we will see no shadows.

We need to have the proper focus. We need to see the right relationship of our trials. Trials bring us closer to God and increase of faith. We have to be able to see beyond the trial to the victory ahead.

Presbyopia: Loss of elasticity of eye tissue
There are those in the church that have become rigid. They are hard and unmovable. The Spirit of God can’t get them out of the pew. They are set in their ways. Now, there is nothing wrong with being established in the Word and rooted in the truth. However, that steadfastness should never become a reason to become unmoving. God is looking for those that came still be moved by His Spirit.

There are times when His Spirit must sweep over us and guide us, correct us, move us, and lead us. Jesus spoke to one group and asked them why they transgressed the commandments of God after the traditions of men. It might come as a shock to some, but the way you have always done it is not always the way it should be done. There must always be in us, a willingness to learn from the Spirit and Word of God.

Aniseikonia: Each eye producing a different size image.
Translated from Greek, aniseikonia means "unequal images". It is a binocular condition, so the image in one eye is perceived as different in size compared to the image in the other eye.

In the natural, this has devastating effects. It destroys our perception of depth. We cannot tell what is close and what is far away.

We have a natural eye and a spiritual eye. Each of these eyes produces differing sizes of images. What the natural eye sees as important is seen differently by the spiritual eye. We, as children of God, need to understand the importance of seeing things through the spiritual eye. We must be led by our spiritual eyes. We cannot equate the importance of the spiritual with the importance of the natural. The body tells us that we need to eat. The Spirit tells us the fasting feeds our souls.

Diplopia: Double vision
Diplopia may also result from failure of both eyes to point at the object being viewed, a condition referred to as ocular misalignment. In normal vision, both eyes look at the same object. The images seen by the two eyes are fused into a single picture by the brain. If the eyes do not point at the same object, the image seen by each eye is different and cannot be fused. This results in double vision.

The Word tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. My pastor, when I attended church in Massillon, Ohio, told the young ladies in the church to use caution in choosing a boyfriend or husband. He told them that a man that cannot be faithful to God will not be faithful to them. Samson was double minded. He was used mightily of God, but sought to live in the sinful world as well. This proved to be his undoing.

We cannot serve God and Mammon. No man can serve two masters; He will love the one and hate the other. He will cleave to one and reject the other.

Samson had eye trouble. He looked into the land of the Philistines. He sought a woman there. Love follows look. If we do not gaze on the products of the sinful world, we will not be enticed.

David had eye trouble. At a time when he should have been leading his armies, he was on the roof of his palace. He saw Bathsheba bathing. He was in the wrong place looking in the wrong direction.

Peter had eye trouble. He took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink into the waves.

Eye trouble leads to heart trouble.

Where are you looking?

Where is your focus?

What is your focus; your center; your hub; your nucleus?

Eye trouble leads to heart trouble.

Heart trouble leads to gate trouble.

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