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Having Sight But No Vision

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
–Hellen Keller

If you follow this blog you know I like to examine Scripture in the light of the Hebrew culture and setting to understand the Bible better. Without this knowledge we are short-sighted. I explain with a word picture:

Studying Scripture from our Western/ American/ Greek view is like looking for gold in a dark mine with a dim pen light. You can see enough to stumble around but you need more light to see clearly. A good grasp of the ancient Hebraic customs and terminology would allow you to reexamine Scripture in this powerful floodlight, exposing intricate details and treasures.

In John 9:7 Jesus encountered a man born blind. To heal him, Jesus spit in the dirt, made some mud and applied it to the man’s eyes. Then Jesus told him to “go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” If we examine this story in the context of the geographical location we get more meaning.

Pastor Ed Visser explains the Pool of Siloam is half a mile from the Temple Mount, down a very steep grade to the bottom of where the Kidron & Hinnom valleys meet. Walking down to the Pool (albeit on paved sidewalks), we felt what the man born blind experienced – a scary hike for sighted people!

How does that impact the story? And why didn’t Jesus just heal him there? Jesus was calling the man to real faith – not just belief, but to put his faith into action – by calling him to make a treacherous half-mile hike down a mountain.

To take even that first step was an incredible confession that he believed Jesus was the Messiah. As he did often, Jesus linked healing with faith. Sometimes we think faith is about intellectual assent to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

In reality, faith is about taking first steps toward doing God’s will, even when it seems very much impossible. Is that the kind of faith we show? Do we confess Jesus with out feet?

No Vision

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

The Bible knowledge commentary explains“where there is no vision” is misleading in this passage. The word “vision” is the revelation (ḥāzôn) a prophet receives. Also the KJV translation “the people perish” does not refer to unsaved people dying in sin. Theverb pāra‘ means to cast off restraint. So the verse is stating that without God’s Word people abandon themselves to their own sinful ways. On the other hand keeping (obeying) God’s Law brings happiness.

Sight and vision is understanding and obeying God’s Word.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your Word and you world. Open the eyes of our hearts! Give us vision in the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know You better.

Suggested Resources:

The En-Gedi Resource center enter has compliled a great list of devotionals that examine the Bible within the Hebrew culture. See more super articles at Water from the Rock.

Listening to the Language of the Bible is a guide for discovering the richness of the Scriptures in their Hebraic setting. From seemingly odd phrases, it shares important insights from Hebrew and Jewish culture that clarify reading and deepen Bible study. It also looks at the powerful sayings of Jesus in light of the Jewish culture of his time.

The book contains more than 60 brief, illustrated devotional articles that unpack the meaning of a biblical word or phrase for our lives. It is intended both for personal reflection or group discussion. See excerpts.

Robin Sampson

29 comments

  1. Robin,
    Thanks for revealing the deeper meaning in the story of the blind healed by faith. Envisioning the man walking down a steep path paints a true picture of faith.

    Heather@mommymonk’s last blog post..Sight

  2. Thanks for the further insight Robin. Great post!

    Miriam Pauline’s last blog post..In Other Words–The Need of a Vision

  3. I love how you brought a deeper insight to this week’s “In Other Words Tuesday’s” post…I love it!!

    P.S. fix the font on blog..hopefully it’s better now! Thank you for pointing that out! :)

    *Hugs* :D

    Twinkle Mom’s last blog post..In Other Words Tuesday-Helen Keller

  4. In reality, faith is about taking first steps toward doing God’s will, even when it seems very much impossible. Is that the kind of faith we show? Do we confess Jesus with out feet?

    oh Robin that is wonderful!!
    Thank you for taking us deeper!
    We just heard that passage this weekend in church!!
    ♥you!
    lori

  5. I love your beautiful insight.

    Denise’s last blog post..In Other Words Tuesday

  6. Dear Robin,

    This is just awesome! Thanks for taking the time to share this with us and all the great resources too.

    You are such a blessing!

    I’ll be back~ :smile:

    Susan’s last blog post..Following The Light

  7. I love your passion for understanding God’s word in light of it’s original language…I have that desire to. Me and my strong’s exhaustive concordance are best friends! I’m not educated in the area of Hebrew or Greek or Biblical culture but I love it when I seek to understand something in God’s word and ask…He always reveals a truth that later I end up reading in someone’s commentary or teaching about the original language of the passage I originally asked God about.
    I love your heart for God’s word Robin! I have that heart too!
    Thank you for sharing this!
    Sheila

    Sheila’s last blog post..I have an etsy shop!

  8. Thank you for sharing & for your insights with this thought-provoking quote.

    If you have a chance come visit – I have a neat book giveaway going now and SEVERAL next week! :)

    Loni’s last blog post..New Book Review & Giveaway: SENTINEL – CITY OF DESTINY

  9. I have been there but never paid attention to the story and the fact of the hard journey the blind man was asked to take, I think that sometimes if we don’t look for the insight the whole context can be missed.

  10. Deanne

    WOW! Robin, You really brought this scripture passage to life for me!! Thank you..I ordered my book for the World View class at CBD yesterday and am so excited!! Thank you for blogging about it.
    Blessings Deanne

    Deanne’s last blog post..Embracing God’s wonderful design?

  11. Robin, I enjoyed this so much. You brought to light this scripture in a way I have never thought of before. I will be back to read you again! Thanks also for your sweet comments on my devotion at WI today. :smile:

  12. so true… it reminds me of the biblical-times people who “saw” all the miracles, but yet didn’t believe them or refused to accept God. Just like being able to hear, but not listen. Many times I hear people saying, “If only God will show me a miracle, then I will believe.” I don’t think they would believe even if God does show a miracle… and if they believe, they will believe in the ACT not the God BEHIND the act.

    Oh and thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed reading your comment. :)

    TransitionGirl’s last blog post..This is how it should be?

  13. You wrote: Jesus linked healing with faith… faith is about taking first steps toward doing God’s will, even when it seems very much impossible.”

    I say, Amen! I pray you feel better soon! Love, Leinani

    Pure and Sensible’s last blog post..My First Blogversary ***Sticky Post***

  14. What wonderful food for my spirit today. I am going to look into these devotionals. They sound like they are just what I’ve been looking for!

    Carol

  15. love this post, beautiful ideas, thank you, the firts one about sight definety got me

  16. Spot on! Our prayer should be “Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear AND a heart to perceive!” (Deut 29:4).

    I cleave with Luke 8:10 “And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand,’ (Is 6:9).

    The mysteries are the deeper understanding of the Word ~ seeing past the literal and historical level, into the deeper symbolic prophetic level. The Jews call this level the Sod level. (There are 4 levels of understanding according to the Jews). Jesus spoke at the Sod level but how we ‘hear’ is our responsibility.

    Unless one had their ‘eyes and the ears’ opened and their heart circumcised enough to perceive the fullness of Truth revealed, they missed the depth of His Words. This explains why there are so many disputes even to this day as to what Jesus was really ‘saying’…

    Robin, I haven’t read your blog often or much, but when I do, I feel a connection with your revelation of scripture. I am really refreshed by what I read here. Thank you… and may God continue to bless you with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that perceives’ what He is saying…

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