Summary: This sermon deals with what is it that we see when we look at a problem. Do we see opportunity or defeat?
"What Do You See"
It is amazing how we look at things and never see what it was we were looking at. Have you ever been walking and then have someone say something like, I was walking right behind you and saw the money just lying there on the ground. You walked right over it. You sort of get upset with yourself because you had the opportunity to get it first, but you didn’t.
I remember a few years ago, several of the kids walked out into the front yard and went to the van. I was the last one coming out, but I went over to pick up this silver beer can someone had thrown into our yard, only to discover it was a hand held TV in perfect working order that someone had thrown away. All of a sudden all the kids wanted, my newly discovered TV. Even though they had seen it first, they had not really seen it.
Do the names Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti ,Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel ring a bell with you. You know about these men because they were leaders among the people in the Bible. You don’t remember their names, because they looked at something and saw all the wrong things. Helen Keller who was blind was once asked, is there anything worse than not having your sight. She said yes there is, "It’s having sight but having no vision." These men’s names are not well known today because each of them had great sight, but none of them had vision.
God’s people had been slaves in the land of Egypt. They had been beaten, abused and cruelly oppressed for 430 years. God determined to deliver them out of their misery and suffering, by breaking the power of the Egyptians over them, and bringing them into a new land known as Canaan. God chose Moses to be the leader of His people and to lead them out of the land. The people are at the front door of the land God wants to give them. In order to encourage the people of the goodness of what God wanted to give them, God told Moses, choose 12 men, leaders from each of the 12 tribes and have them go out and explore the land.
These 10 men whose names we have forgotten, along with Joshua and Caleb were sent to check out the land. They were to report on the number of people, the fertility of the soil, the types of fortifications in the cities, and the number of trees. They were to bring back some of the fruit of the land. When they left, I can imagine the excitement in the air. It was about time for them to stop wandering in the desert. They would give up their lives of living in tents moving from place to place. Finally they would build nice homes, and permanent businesses They could grow crops and have a much larger variety of food. All of what they needed and wanted was right over there in the land of Canaan. They couldn’t wait for God to make good on His promises.
God has a land of Canaan out there for us. A land that will give us some of the things in life that we truly desire. He tells us at times, go out and explore the land and see what it is I want you to have. You may be hurting in a relationship right now. As a matter fact just last night you suffered another blow. You may be about to fail a class in school. Your job might be coming to an end. You might be upset and angry with God, because you don’t feel like you’ve been treated fairly. But God’s word is before you decide to stay where you are or do something foolish, go outside of yourself and explore the land, I want to give to you..
For my word says, Jeremiah 29:11-12 " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." This isn’t something the psychics are saying, or the astrologers are predicting, this is God Himself saying you may be down and out, but I’ve got a plan if you’re willing to stop seeing and begin to gather a vision for what I can do in your life.
Years ago on a dusty street outside Jerusalem, people looked at Bartimaues and all they saw was just a blind beggar sitting on the road side. But the truth is, Bartimaues had a vision. He saw himself as a man who would get his sight if he just got a chance to run into Jesus. The people saw the woman at the well as just a half step below a prostitute and a woman any man could have just for the asking. But the truth is, when she met Jesus, she gained a vision that despite what she had been, she could go and preach to others about the forgiving power and acceptance of God. Don’t let what somebody else sees, when they look at you, determine who and what you are, and what your potential can be.