Our Eyes Are on You
Updated: Apr 4
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: II Chronicles 20:1-12
Prior to its much-anticipated arrival on January 1st, the year 2020 had long been dubbed as “The Year of Vision”. This designation originates from the popular term “20/20 vision”, which is actually a measurement of visual acuity, or sharpness. Despite popular belief, 20/20 vision does not denote perfect vision! According to the American Optometric Association, individuals who possess 20/20 vision can clearly see what should normally be seen at 20 feet. However, this measurement only denotes the sharpness of a person’s vision at a specific distance; it does not necessarily mean that a person can see perfectly all-around. There are other equally-important vision skills that contribute to an individual’s overall ability to see clearly, such as side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, and color vision (“Visual Acuity”, 2020). Simply put, our human vision, with its amazing perceptibility and strength, is still limited and also marred by sin, which makes setting our eyes on the One whose vision is limitless and unaffected by sin that much more crucial for our daily walk!
King Jehoshaphat understood the necessity of keeping his eyes on the Lord! At thirty-five years old, he assumed the throne of the southern kingdom of Judah and reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-five years (cf. I Kings 22:41-42). He walked in the ways of Asa, his father and former king of Judah, which was good considering that Asa was also a righteous king and obedient to the Lord (cf. I Kings 15:11, 22:43). In II Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat and all of Judah find themselves in a critical situation after they receive word of an impending attack against them from the opposing Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites. In verse 3, Jehoshaphat demonstrates the proper response to fear as someone who belongs to the Lord: "Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah”. Usually, fear paralyzes us; in this case, fear caused Jehoshaphat to mobilize!
The entire nation of Judah followed suit and assembled together to both fast and seek direction from the Lord! As Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of the people God had charged him to oversee, he began to proclaim the Lord’s deity and acknowledge His supreme authority (“O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You”). He recalled to mind God’s provision of the land in which they were currently standing in fulfillment of His promise to His friend, Abraham (“Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?”).
He recounted Judah’s commitment to seek the Lord’s face in the midst of trouble in faith that the Lord would deliver them (“Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You [for Your name is in this house] and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us"). Most importantly, Jehoshaphat acknowledged before God that both he and Judah, in and of themselves, were powerless before their enemies! Rather than feign omniscience before the only omniscient God, Jehoshaphat did the exact opposite; he blatantly admits that neither he nor the inhabitants of Judah know what to do in this situation ("For we are powerless against this great multitude who are coming against us nor do we know what to do..."). Despite not knowing what to do, Jehoshaphat makes this profound declaration to the Lord: "...but our eyes are on You"!
Imagine the entire nation of Judah looking up towards Heaven and intentionally placing their eyes on the Lord! This corporate move was a public renouncement of their own will and wisdom, and an act of surrender to God's leading and instruction! This corporate move also exemplified another popular vision term called "laser focus"! In essence, Jehoshaphat declared to the Lord that He was the sole object of his and Judah's focus. Despite the opposing forces assembling together to besiege the nation, the eyes of Judah would remain intently on the Lord and no one else! By keeping their eyes on the Lord, Judah would remain ready to obey whatever the Lord commanded them to do next! If He wanted them to attack, they'd be ready to attack! If He wanted them to stand still, they'd be ready to stand still! If He wanted them to lift up their voices in praise unto Him, they'd be ready to lift up their voices in praise! Centering their focus on the Lord would be crucial to Judah's survival and victory over their enemies!
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are constantly admonished by the Word of God and our spiritual leaders to control our bodies! Yet, we often think about our bodies as a whole without taking the time to consider each individual part! Do not underestimate the level of discipline that your eyes require! They demand just as much discipline as the rest of your body, if not more! There is more than enough in this world to both distract and discourage us! Our eyes are prone to wander in so many directions like sheep wandering away from the sheep's fold and their shepherd! Let us follow the example of Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah, in both speech and action, and look to the God of our salvation, not solely when danger besieges us but every minute of every hour of every day!
Visual Acuity. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/vision-and-vision-correction/visual-acuity?sso=y