Episode 1. Sight for the Blind
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There’s an old saying when we’re too close to something, that we can’t see the wood for the trees. The closer we are to a problem, the harder it is to see the solution. So, when you’re too …
There’s an old saying that … when we’re too close to something, we can’t see the wood for the trees. Indeed, the closer we are to a problem, the harder it is to see the solution. So, when you’re too close, when you’re blinded by the complexity, how do you get that sense of perspective you so desperately need?
It’s funny how you and I can be blind to something which is patently obvious to someone else. A lot of that has to do with proximity. I was sitting with a young man the other day who has a great business. He’s a well-known speaker and author and travels all over the world and he’s an absolutely delightful human being, not full of himself in his own sense of self-importance which is pretty rare among media personalities.
Anyhow, he and I catch up every once in a little while to chat and before our last meeting I was thinking a bit about his business and something glaring jumped out at me – an opportunity that he was missing to really take his enterprise, which he works very hard at, to the next level.
So we chatted over lunch and he became more and more excited and then I could see it in his eyes, he had one of those, ‘now why didn’t I think of that’ moments. It’s so obvious, how come I didn’t come up with that? Can I tell you I’ve had many of those moments in my life from my early days in IT consulting when our managing director would fly in and review a project that I was working on and he would see this and see that and this and the other thing that I’d missed, why didn’t I think of that? I remember thinking that to myself, it’s so obvious.
And these days in this ministry of Christianityworks of which I’m the CEO. The ministry that’s responsible for this radio program that you’re listening to and lots of other things to boot. Even though I’m many years older and hopefully just a bit wiser than I was as a young consultant I know that there are still things that I miss.
And so what I’ve done is to surround myself with some smart, insightful, external advisors as well as some great board members who see things differently because they’re not involved in the day-to-day running of the ministry. It’s through their input that so many of the amazing things that God’s done through Christianityworks have in fact happened. And it’s also through their input and advice that we’ve managed to avoid a few mistakes along the way.
You get the point right? The closer you are to something the harder it is to see the wood for the trees. And one of the things that you and I are really close to, far too close to, unavoidably close to is our sin, our weaknesses and our failings. Now that’s a dangerous thing because as we saw last week on the program – sin always, always, always has painful consequences.
And if our weaknesses and failings, our sin are tucked away in the blind spots where we can’t see them they’re going to continue to ruin our lives. What we need is that external perspective and wisdom and insight to help us see what’s wrong so that we can do something about it.
If you’ve been able to join me over the last few episodes on the program, you’ll know that we’ve been talking about the powerful transformation that God wants to bring into our lives, to make our lives better by setting us free from sin which robs us of the amazing life that he always intended we should have.
God is a God of new beginnings and He is also a God of powerful lifelong transformation and growth. That seems a little far-fetched when you’re down there in the mire of the consequences of your own sin but it’s true. And we saw together how God spoke and brought transformation over the nation of Israel precisely at such a time as that, when it seemed impossible.
When as a result of their sin they’d been in exile in Babylon as slaves for seventy years, when because Babylon was the dominant super power of the day freedom and transformation and redemption and restoration all seemed completely impossible.
Right in the middle of that God stepped in and said this:
‘But now’ thus says the Lord, ‘he who created you O Jacob, he who formed you O Israel, do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you.’
‘For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you because you are precious in my sight and honoured and I love you. I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.’ (Isaiah 43: 1-4)
So God steps in to redeem them but the problem for Israel is that they still probably don’t completely see their sin, they still probably don’t have a good handle on what got them there in the first place and how to avoid it in the future.
So just a few verses later God acknowledges that and this is what He says, Isaiah chapter 43, verses 8 to 10:
Bring forth the people who are blind yet have eyes, who are deaf yet have ears. Let all the nations gather together and let the people’s assemble. Who among them declared this and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them and let them hear and say it is true. You are my witnesses, says the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
In other words, the blind will see and become God’s witnesses. The deaf will hear the truth and will be able to tell others, ‘hey guys, it’s true’. God is going to remove the blind spots and clear out the deaf ears so that they can really see things as they are, so that they can see God as He is, so that they can see themselves and their sin for what they are.
When you think about it that’s exactly what you and I need in our lives, isn’t it? That external perspective and where better the get that than from God Himself? Who could be wiser? Who could care more? Who could love us more? Who could give us better advice than God Himself?
So God goes on and sets Israel free and restores them back to the Promised Land, back to Jerusalem, great. But if He doesn’t bring sight to the blind and hearing of truth to the deaf then they’re just going to make the same mistakes all over again just like you and me.
Do you imagine that a sculptor would begin and sculpture and then leave it incomplete? Do you imagine that a potter would toss a lump of clay on his wheel and leave it to go rock hard as a half-formed lump of dirt? No. They want to complete what they started and so it is with God.
He didn’t redeem you from your sin. He didn’t reveal Jesus to you to save you just to let you rot in your sin for the rest of your life.
Listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it in Philippians 1:6. He says:
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
God wants to finish what He started in you. He wants to keep shaping you and transforming you and one of the main ways that He does that, just as He did with Israel, is through His Word.
One of the great tragedies of the Church is that there are so many so-called Christians. People hungering to be set free from the consequences of their sin, who trifle with the Word of God, who pick and choose what suits them and worse still who ignore it all together.
I wonder how many people today have a Bible or two or three or five, sitting on a shelf or in a cupboard at home, somewhere gathering dust. A Bible that they haven’t opened for months or even years. I wonder. And those self-same people are invariably the ones whose lives are in turmoil. They are the same people who are wallowing in the consequences of their sin.
Wake up! God wants to bring sight to the blind. He wants to bring truth to the deaf. He wants to transform your life so that you can be all that He ever planned you to be, so you can do all the things He ever planned for you to do.
God has an amazing plan for your life, God wants to transform your life, are you ready?