We are preparing for our next Awake & Arise Conference in Bellingham, October 28-30, and I’m freshly inspired by Zechariah 4. Read on…. it’s relevant for us all!!
PART 1, on Zechariah 4.
Awakened – to SEE
“The angel… AWAKENED me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep”… “And said to me, “WHAT DO YOU SEE??””
Always, we need first to be awakened – awakened, in order TO SEE. What does this mean? It means we are blind.
Since the fall, in Eden, this has been true – “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” (Genesis 3:7)
The first Adam, and his woman, ‘fell’ from ‘glory.’ (Romans 3:22) Before this fall, they were ‘crowned with ‘glory’ (Psalm 8:5) – meaning we were originally ‘surrounded, covered, clothed’ with the Presence of God. Specifically, with His ‘Spirit of Glory’ (I Peter 4:14). She (a secret all Biblical scholars know is that the original word for Spirit was gender specific and that gender was feminine – but that is another topic for another time)is said, in other places in scripture to be ‘covered with eyes.’
The point is, before we ‘fell into sin’, and lost our ‘covering of glory’- we could SEE in a different way. We had fully functioning SPIRITUAL SIGHT. We had DIFFERENT EYES. At the moment the enemy succeeded in stripping you and me, in Adam & Eve, of ‘our original glory,’ our SEEING CHANGED. The scriptures simply say, “Their eyes were opened.” This was the introduction of ‘NATURAL SIGHT,’ to humanity, which is now, well, so natural (to us all)!
And what did they first, then, SEE??? Hmmmmmm….. “they ‘knew’ that they were naked!” How profound. In one fell swoop, the first man and woman lost their spiritual sight – by which they saw an entirely different reality – and now they ‘knew’ something very different about themselves. Their eyes were geared toward a different way of seeing, feeling and knowing – toward their own natural deficiencies. They were bereft of the “eyes of faith” which revealed to them, no matter what was ‘true’ in the natural realm – what was ‘TRUE’ in the spiritual, or supernatural realm. They’d LOST THEIR SIGHT. The eyes of faith, granted us originally, were replaced by natural ‘SIGHT.’
This is why, in Luke 4:18, as Jesus begins His public ministry, He quotes Isaiah 61 as His mission statement. He says, in essence,This is why I came!: “He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim LIBERTY to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the OPENING OF THE PRISON AND OF THE EYES TO THOSE WHO ARE BOUND.” Whaaaaaaat???? Yep, there it is. Our eyes have been BOUND. Since the fall, this is our PRISON. Our ability to SEE has been BOUND BY NATURAL SIGHT. We were stripped of our EYES OF FAITH. And that is not ‘natural’ at all. Our original and natural state, is to SEE WITH THE EYES OF FAITH. To have SPIRITUAL SIGHT. [Does this begin to make sense of your struggle in life, your struggle with God, and your struggle with spiritual things?]
So back to our original text, and what Zechariah is experiencing as told in Zechariah 4… [This matters to me because this is the substance and the whole point of the ministry called ‘Awake & Arise.’]
At first – we must be, as he, AWAKENED – to SEE. To recover our natural , or original, ‘EYES OF FAITH.’ Without this, we are blind.
“For the god of this world has ‘blinded the unbeliever’s mind, preventing them from seeing… Yes, down to this very day, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts… but whenever… the veil is stripped off and taken away, all of us with unveiled face… behold (once again) the glory of the Lord… and are transfigured continually… into one degree of glory after another.” [II Corinthians 4:4; II Corinthians 3:15-16 & 18]
Zechariah shares what he ‘sees’ and then asks the proverbial question, that so often follows, when we ‘see with spiritual eyes’: “What???” Ha ha ha!!! Isn’t that the truth?
Zechariah ‘saw’ and could even explain what he was ‘seeing’… but his next question was, “WHAT AM I SEEING?? WHAT IS IT???” [Because we are not used to seeing what is not natural, and it doesn’t make sense to our natural mind.] (I Corinthians 2:14)
I teach people to ‘see’ all the time in my counseling office. As they share their struggles, I lead them into prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to ‘HELP!’ 🙂 And (S)He always does. Most often, in the atmosphere of faith they have been invited into, in my office (‘my realm’), they do see. Or hear, or sense, or know. But it is almost always followed up with the same question, “What am I seeing?” Or “What does it mean??” THIS is the process of developing our spiritual sight! Often we ‘see’ in a moment, but when we don’t understand what it means, we immediately reject what we saw! Because it is ‘foolishness’ to our natural minds! This is because, since the fall, we believe in natural sight more than we do in spiritual sight!
In Hebrew,”What is it?” translates into one word in a story many of us know… “manna.” “What is it” fed the Israelites, day after day, for FOURTY YEARS in the wild.
God was restoring to them the ability to ‘SEE BY FAITH’ instead of “BY SIGHT.” After years – generations – of disillusionment while they were (physically and spiritually) held captive – in slavery to the Egyptian gods, they’d ‘lost their sight.’ ‘Their eyes were opened,’ as Adam & Eves’, to the ‘reality’ of abuse and the disappointment of things in this world not turning out the way they’d originally hoped and dreamed they would, or should. They no longer ‘believed’ and they KNEW for SURE that they were ‘NAKED’ (without what they needed, in their natural state). It is so profound, to me, that God led them to restoration day after day by meeting their most basic natural needs – food – in a supernatural way. We are told in Deuteronomy 8 (verses 2 – 3) the reason for our ‘wilderness journeys’ in which we learn things no other paths seem to teach us:
“And you shall [earnestly] remember all the way which the Lord Your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and to prove you, to know what was in your [mind and] heart, whether you would keep His commandment or not. And He HUMBLED you and allowed you to HUNGER … (so that He could)… feed you with manna (“What is it??”), which you did not know nor did Your fathers know… (and here’s the reason): THAT HE MIGHT MAKE YOU RECOGNIZE AND PERSONALLY KNOW THAT MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ONLY (the natural), BUT MAN LIVES BY EVERY WORD (spiritual, supernatural) THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LORD.”
THIS is the necessary preparation for each of us, by God, so that He can (verse 7) “bring us into the LAND OF GOOD, the LAND OF PROMISE that He has for us and wants to bring us into. [Go read verses 7-10 for yourself. It’s a pretty darn GOOD land!!!!]
Basically, in all our lives, following Christ introduces us into the personal but universal ‘journey of faith.’ It is the process in which we are each HUMBLED and made HUNGRY for what we DO NOT KNOW (naturally). And for each of us – we cannot find the answers we need by relying on the our parent’s generation, either, no matter how profound their faith revelations may have been. (Because Gods’ revelation is progressive). This is an individual journey, called ‘the pilgrimage of the heart’ (Psalm 84) that we receive a personal invitation from God, into. We could call it the “What is it????? journey.” [????? = insert favorite swear word here! :)]
SO TAKE HEART! If you find yourself presently BAFFLED, feeling like you’ve LOST YOUR WAY, and DON’T SEE OR KNOW anyone wise enough to lead you forward; where your best natural sight fails….. KNOW THIS. THE TRUTH IS – you are NOT ‘NAKED!’ You are ON THEE JOURNEY you were intended to be on! There is a BEAUTIFUL, DESIRE-FULFILLING LAND awaiting you, with a ROBE of FAVOR held by very large, benevolent hands WITH YOUR NAME ON IT.
This ‘particular course of the race set before you’ will be WON, by keeping your EYES (OF FAITH!!!) ON JESUS – Author and finisher of your and my faith story (Hebrews 12:1-2). And like Peter, as you SEE what other’s do not see, your feet will not fail no matter how impossible is the ground (or colliding seas) you are presently attempting to walk upon. (Matthew 14:28-31, Matthew 16:16).
He is AWAKENING you – to SEE.
[Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!] 🙂