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Faith vs Sight




Back in the 1970’s Dr. James Dobson wrote several books, primarily dealing with families – husbands, wives, and children. One of those books was, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women. In that book, he discusses why women are so concerned with their outward appearance. And here is his opinion on that issue. “The reason the average woman would rather have beauty than brains is because she knows the average man can see better than he can think. (pg 28 if you want to check that out). Now, understand that that is Dr. Dobson’s opinion, not mine.

His observation may be a valid one that can be applied to both men and women. That is when it is applied to their spiritual journeys through life.

But, this really sums up one of the greatest failures of God’s people. We tend to place our trust in what we see, rather than in what we know about God from the Scriptures.

The Bible tells us of many persons who could see much better than they could think.

Also, it tells us of other people who refused to submit to these errors of sight over faith.

Let’s look at some examples we find in Scripture who could see better than they could think. You know, that condition of placing trust in what they could see rather than what they knew God could do.

1. When the Israelites were freed from Pharoah’s grasp and the oppression they endured while captive in Egypt.

These people had journeyed through the wilderness guided and protected by God.

When the signs of security were gone they were totally dependent upon God for everything – their food – their safety – everything.

But what do we find them doing? Grumbling, murmuring, mumbling, and complaining.

If they had been able to think as well as they could see, they would have remembered God’s faithfulness to them in the past. They would have trusted Him to provide their needs at this time.

2. You may remember that 12 spies were sent out to survey the land as the Israelites prepared to enter the land of Canaan.

Numbers 13:26-33 (READ)

Ten of the spies were influenced by their sight.

The tribes in the Promised Land looked much too big and strong to go up against in battle. They said, “We are like grasshoppers in the sight of these tribes.

In verse 30, we find that only two of the spies - Joshua and Caleb – saw something different than the other 10 spies saw. Caleb told the crowd of Israelites – “We should, by all means, go up and take possession of the land, for we will surely overcome it.”

Joshua and Caleb could think beyond that which they could see.

We find the report of the other 10 spies in verse 31: “But the men who had gone up with them said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”

As we know, the people did enter the land, based upon the positive report and trust in God for protection. Because Israel could not see past the immediate situation, God’s wrath came upon the others and only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter Canaan, the Promised Land.

3. David faces Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:1-12; 32, 37; I Samuel 17:48-50

When the Israelites were in battle with the Philistines, they became cowardly when confronted by the giant, Goliath.

They were measuring the situation only with their eyes.

The young shepherd boy, David, accepted the challenge, though. He was able to accept the fight because he had confidence in God to deliver him and defeat the giant.

David could think beyond that which he could see, and God gave him victory.

4. Now, let’s look at Gideon to see how his sight was. We see his story in Judges 7.

God taught Gideon not to put his faith in only what he could see.

Gideon’s army had been reduced from 32,000 men to only 300. That is quite a reduction in manpower!

Surely, Gideon must have doubted that his small army could defeat an army that was more than 100 times stronger in number than his army was.

From a human standpoint, it was impossible. But Gideon learned that God’s strength and power are perfected in man’s weakness, as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

That is a lesson that our eyes will never learn. It has to be learned in our trust, in God, in our belief in Him, and in our right thinking of Him.

Gideon claimed no confidence is what his eyes saw, and God led him in defeating the Midianites.

Gideon could see past the difficulty he could see, and God gave him victory.

5. And now, we come to Jesus and His teaching His Apostles to think better than they could see.

Mark 6:35ff – Here is where we find what we know as the Feeding of the 5,000. The Apostles saw no way it was going to be possible to feed 5,000 people.

But, if they had used the minds God had given them, they would have remembered Jesus’ power to perform miracles. They could only see what was in front of their faces. They could not see past the situation at hand.

Luke 8:22-25 – The Apostles faced the same problem when they were at sea in a storm. Jesus was asleep in the boat.

Rather than remember Jesus’ power over nature, as they had seen it,

they listened only to what their eyes told them – only what they could see,

You probably remember what happened when Jesus woke up. He scolded them for their lack of faith. They were seeing without believing. Only seeing the danger at hand and ignoring the fact the Savior of the world was in the boat with them. They were seeing without believing.

The Bible is filled with other similar accounts when God’s people were faced with the decision of whether to trust their sight, or to trust God.

When we look at those who failed to trust in God and reacted only to what they saw, we might judge them accordingly.

But are we very much different from these examples we have looked at today?

Many of these incidents involved life-and-death situations. How would our faith have survived in the same circumstances?

Those who failed then, and those who fail now, do not realize that God is bigger than any circumstances or situations we might face.

Those who failed forgot that God remains faithful at all times.

When a Christian realizes this, he will not allow outward circumstances to fool him into believing that all hope is gone.

He will begin to allow his faith to do his thinking for him.

Paul reminded the church at Corinth – 2 Corinthians 5:7: “We live by faith, not by sight.”

We, as Christians today, may find ourselves at times in spots where it seems impossible that God could keep His Word. Satan would certainly have us believe that – to rely upon our sight only. Satan tries to tell us that faith is foolish nonsense. He wants us to believe that what we see is what we get – there is no help available to us.

But we can be confident that God, who has proved Himself faithful in every situation in Scripture, will not change.

It is the nature of faith to cause us to think better than we can see.

Let me close with this word from Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

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