The Bible is full of people who had visions. There are 73 verses where the word is actually used. In the book of Daniel we have the most, with 22. We could spend a lot of time just evaluating the many times Daniel had a vision from God. Some of them had to do with giving meaning to visions or dreams others had. But Daniel also had some visions which he did not understand himself. (Dan 12:8,9)
Apart from Daniel there is Isaiah and Ezekiel who have many references to visions. But I want to go to an illustration where God gave a vision to a man through promises which he made over a period of time and we can trace. It is the story of Abram, later called Abraham. I have given some titles to the steps in giving the vision and then on to its final fulfilment and even after that. I do so that we might understand that God’s intended vision goes beyond the actual fulfillment of the vision.
Abraham’s vision in Genesis is first:
I. Clearly Given – 12:1-3, 7; 13:16
How exciting it must have been to hear from God. While others were looking to the stars for signs, God came and revealed His will. Abram was to leave his culture and family behind and go where God would direct him. Hebrews 12 says that he went “not knowing whiter he went”! Visions are often unclear in detail and steps which will bring us to their fulfilment. God graciously hides some of the steps because we would be discouraged if we knew everything. Also, the obscurity allows our faith to be tested and strengthened by its exercise. Our faith is made strong. Which leads us to the next thing I want us to see; the vision God shared was …
Then the vision is:
II. Consciously Understood and Accepted – 12:5, 6
There was no discussion or argumentation on Abram’s part. He walked out and because of that in verse 7, God appeared to him again. What a stamp of approval it was for the Lord to meet him in the land to which he was sent. Faith tested is faith rewarded. He was not a city builder or fully resident in this new country. He dwelt in tents. He was walking on land promised to him but he didn’t settle in one place. How insightful in that he was not comfortable enough to settle. We are to be ready to go from faith to faith, revealing God’s righteousness! (Rom. 1:17)
The vision is:
III. Consistently Repeated – 15:1-18; 17:1-8
God’s grace allows for our human frailty. He knows our need for reassurance and continual guidance. Even when Abram, over the year’s journeys came to famines and failures in the times of trial, God came with reassurances and encouragingly repeats the vision. God has given us such times in our pursuit of Christian educational impact. When we felt that we were failing, and our minds wandered from the vision, He came with a reassuring victory, word of confidence and brought us through.
Unbelievably the vision is:
IV. Confoundingly Postponed – 17:17; 18:11-14
This is often the most trying experience. Why is it taking so long? We at these times start to rely on our own ways to bring the vision to pass. We fail; He faithfully remains and reminds us again and again that it was HIS VISION for us, not ours for Him or His cause. If we depart from the vision He invariably comes and says “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” It is then we take his word to heart and begin to realize that His ways are not ours and His time table is not regulated by human weaknesses. The delay is often our impetus to greater faith!
Finally the vision is:
V. Compassionately Fulfilled – 21:1-3
When all promises seem to be ending in failure and our vision is dead (Heb. 11:12), God is the One who steps in like Jesus did in John 11. He demonstrates that He is the “Resurrection and the life (John 11:25). He clarifies that all the delays, disappointments and distractions are for a purpose: that God would be glorified and that we would have our faith strengthened. (John 11:4, 15)
Unexpectedly the vision is:
VI. Confidently Extended – chapter 22
Without the previous steps we never would have had the wonderful demonstration of Abraham’s faith when God asked him to sacrifice the “Promised Son”! We never would have had the picture of the substitution of one on the altar with a Sacrifice provided by a merciful God! How excited Abraham must have been when he returned home with the boy he was to kill! What an example of the victory of faith in a God who is so wise! The steps of the fulfilled Vision so impacted the boy that he became the “One who laughs”!
From parents who laughed when God promised his birth in their old age (Gen. 17:17; 16:12) comes their laughing child. He was so impressed with their story of his miraculous birth that he would laugh when his father placed him on an altar. He knew there was the fire and the wood (Gen. 22:7), and so there needed to be a sacrifice! Something of Abraham’s faith had been transferred to this boy!
The faith of those who commit to Christian education and are willing to be tested for God’s glory will be transferred to their children. This is the vision of the ministry of Church based schools, Christian private schools as well as home schoolers. We follow the vision of those who walked by faith in the will of God for themselves and their families. This is the blessing that the world is needing and by which many will be blessed in the future. We will be UNHINDERED in seeing HIS vision for us and our children come to fruition.
Rev. Delbert Hooge
School Of Tomorrow® Philippines