The Tragedy of Having Sight But No Vision
The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the
Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots…”
Go Deep: “Mom, I’m starving, and we have nothing to eat!” If I said that once, I said it a hundred times as a kid—all the while staring into our fully stocked refrigerator. Of course, I wasn’t the first little brat to utter that complaint—it’s a universal whine that’s been heard early and often in one form or another since the beginning of time.
Obviously, when kids make that complaint, what they’re saying is that they don’t like the choices sitting right in front of them, or they don’t want to do the hard work of actually taking those ingredients and making them into a tasty meal. What they really want is mom to come to the rescue and make life easy for them—usually by cooking up something that tastes really yummy but is not so nutritious.
That’s kind of what the tribes of Joseph were doing here. They had been given land, but they weren’t so excited about the hard work that would be required to drive out the godless enemies who were squatting there. Rather than measuring their divine inheritance by the potential of the land to be possessed, they looked only at existing cities and already cleared territory.
They suffered from a problem common to humans: They had sight but no vision. Helen Keller, the first person to overcome both deafness and blindness to earn a Bachelor degree, went on to become a prolific author and has endured as one of the world’s most inspiring figures. Understanding more than others this sad human tendency, Helen wrote, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
The tribes of Joseph had sight but no vision. That’s why their leader, Joshua, gave them a figurative kick in the butt and pointed them to the yet-to-be cleared hill country. He said, “look, you are a large and strong tribe, so open your eyes and see all the land that’s yet to be conquered. Sure, there are enemies there, but so what, God has already given it to you. So get on with it already—you can do it!” (Joshua 17:15,17-18, my translation)
I have a feeling that this story was recorded not just to fill out the white space in Joshua’s book, but to serve as a reminder to us that it would be a shame for us to settle for less than God’s best in our lives. It’s true that possessing God’s promises will take some work on our part, but he has guaranteed our success. So use this little reminder today as a proverbial kick in the rear to quit surrendering to limitations and start envisioning your potential.
And then, get on with it already! You can do it.
Just Saying… James Russell Lowell, the 19th century American poet wrote, “Not failure, but low aim, is crime.” I hope you don’t commit that crime today!