Having Eyes That Don’t See

Heritage Presbyterian Church https://heritagepresbyterian.org

March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Scripture readings – 1st Samuel 16: 1-13 & John 9: 1-41

Living in these recent times has given all of us different sights that most of us have NEVER seen before!  I keep wondering what the long-term effect will be upon us, especially the children, who witness school shootings, the current pandemic, terrorist activities, and even the change in our environment due to possible climate changes.

It should also make all of us wonder what the Lord sees in our behavior and in the societies we create around the world.  Ordinary people trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities is not exactly a new thing to see; human activities reveal this since the dawn of civilization.

But acknowledging that our Lord may see things we can’t see – or haven’t noticed perhaps – is a blow to our pride and our recognition of our own intelligence.  I mean, after all, how hard is it for us to see what’s going on, what the so-called “big picture” includes, and how new opportunities have arisen? 

In both Scripture readings, we have direct evidence that in the days of the Bible events that the Lord sees what the Lord sees… and humans lag far behind.

First of all, we have the prophet Samuel being led by the Lord to witness and anoint the new king of Israel.  Samuel, using his ordinary human vision, did miss quite a bit; however, he was also a prophet, which meant that he was open to the views and words of the Lord and he obeyed instructions.

The Lord accurately saw Saul as a poor king for Israel.  In fact, any of Saul’s initial successes or qualities to be the King of Israel were quickly fading as he failed to do the job properly or well.

Samuel was told by the Lord to go to Bethlehem, find Jesse, and anoint one of Jesse’s son as the next king of Israel.  But Samuel also saw the danger in anointing a new king when the current, war-hero king was still alive and still powerful.  The Lord told Samuel to tell anyone who asked that Samuel was coming to offer a sacrifice.  This was then seen by the terrified elders in Bethlehem as a legitimate reason for Samuel to be there.

Then the scene switches to Samuel’s view again.  He sees the “perfectness” of each of Jesse’s seven sons that he initially saw; yet, the Lord whispers in Samuel’s ear, “That’s not the right one.”  Samuel asked just the right question for this situation in which Samuel had not yet seen what the Lord wanted him to see: “Do you have any more sons?” 

Imagine the look on Samuel’s face when he learns that one more son remains…and now we, the Biblical witnesses to the story, see how David came to be the anointed King of Israel.

David is introduced to the human eye in three ways:

  1. He is the shepherd boy who was not even included in the banquet.
  2. He was the young musician who played his songs to lull and comfort his sheep.
  3. He was an unknown warrior who quickly had to confronted the biggest, baddest Philistine, Goliath.

In all three views, David did not measure up.  That’s because he was seen with a human view, not with the Lord’s view. 

And it all happened because the Lord saw David when no one else did.  King David went on to be seen by all as the greatest Biblical king Israel ever had.

In John’s Gospel, we have a man born blind who was in need of a healing miracle from Jesus.  But first, the reader of this account must confront the age-old questions:

Why was this man born blind?

Where was the blaming sin that caused this tragedy?

Jesus, of course, saw the whole scene clearly and with the Lord’s eye.  There was no sin that caused this man’s blindness; it occurred so that human could witness the Lord’s blessings in places where it did not usually occur.  Ordinary human vision saw the following:

  1. The neighbors viewed this with surprise and suspicion; how could this blind man see?
  2. The Pharisees viewed this with disbelief and prejudice; healing on the Sabbath could not come from the Lord because it was done on the Sabbath – which was against the rules.
  3. The parents of the man born blind viewed this with fear of excommunication and almost disbelief; they rejoiced at the miracle of their son’s eyesight, but they covered that joy with fear of being shunned by their community.
  4. And finally, the healed man viewed with whole scene with a growing sense of wonder and a growing sense of his own faith in his healer.

Which view was accurate?  The obvious view that came from the view of the Lord.

So, what do we see with our own human vision?  Do we even come close to having eyes that can see…really see?  Or do we retreat into the narrow vision that usually works for us?

What will believers see in the days, weeks, and months to come?

What will we see that the Lord is revealing to us?

Yes, we are seeing brand new problems that no one has faced in this context before.  But do we also see new solutions that have never even been tried?

Yes, we see much fewer folks around us due to our self-quarantining behaviors.  Do we still see the dear faces of others in our mind’s eye?  Do we see any type of opportunities to reach out to them?

And YES, we see political leaders at all levels and in all political parties scrambling to do something to help.  Do we see the need to pray for all of them – especially those that we don’t like and don’t support in elections?  Or are we actually, secretly hoping they will FAIL so that “our type” of leaders can move into their places?

And finally, having eyes that sometimes don’t see, can we imagine views in our current situation that reveal how the Lord’s church here on earth can be served?

Look around, Christians.  Look around with your eyes – and look around in your mind’s eye.   

What do you see?