One of the most life-changing truths I have learned from studying God’s Word these last 28 years has been about perspective and how it can bring about my victory or my defeat, my hope or my despair, my perseverance or my failure. It has literally been the difference, emotionally and spiritually, between life and death for me.
The understanding of perspective that has made such a difference in my life comprises two key principles and Joshua gives great examples of both. Joshua 6:1-2 says, “Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.'”
“Wow…..really? That’s not what it looks like to me. It looks “tightly shut up” and not exactly “delivered” from where I am standing.” That is what would have been going through my mind if I were Joshua at that moment.
But this offers a perfect example of the first principle to learn: the difference in perspective. This difference boils down to God’s view versus our view. I have seen over and over in Scripture how differently He sees and processes compared to humans. This has had a profound impact to teach me that more often than not, as I approach any given situation, my initial view may be flawed, biased or incomplete. I have learned to recognize my inability, my vulnerability when it comes to perceiving and processing life.
This should not surprise me though. God affirms it in His Word through more than just examples of these differences. Proverbs 3:5 teaches, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding.” Later in Isaiah 55:9, I learn, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
These two verses, not to mention so many others, example that God sees and processes not just differently, but oh so much better than I ever can! Therefore, when I am looking at whatever situation that is in front of me, I know there is more than one way to see everything. As in the case with Joshua looking at Jericho, what he saw “tightly shut up”, God saw as already delivered!!
Let that sink in and squeeze out all the hope that offers! What we see as overwhelming or impossible, God sees as already accomplished! What we see as pointless or painful, God sees as purposeful! Why? Because He is God! Almighty and Invincible! All-Loving and All-wise! Nothing can stump Him and nothing can stop Him! He can, and will, use absolutely everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), no exceptions.
What comfort that offers us as we struggle and strain at times. But it doesn’t just stop there. We are not only blessed by God always having a better perspective of any given situation than what we are able to on our own, when we seek that perspective and align ourselves with it, our circumstance is as good as changed. One way or another. Therefore, the second principle to learn is the value in perspective.
Whether it is a different way to perceive our circumstance that is left unchanging for the time God allows, or by seeking instruction on how to deal with our circumstance more strategically, there is value in pursuing God’s perspective.
That is exactly what Joshua and the Israelites learned the hard way in Joshua 9:14-15. The people of Gibeon came to the Israelites in a ruse, seeking a treaty with them, knowing they were probably next on their list to annihilate. They pretended to live far, far away and asked for safety and assurance through a treaty and oath. Upon hearing this, it says in verse 14-15, ” The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by an oath.”
It was only a matter of time before Joshua learned that the Gibeonites were actually a neighboring nation that should have been conquered, in order to take possession of their land as God had intended and rid the potential influence of its inhabitants. They had failed to seek God’s perspective on the matter, making the decision themselves, in their flawed and vulnerable reasoning. The LORD would have loved to have helped equip them, but they had not valued His perspective enough to ask. Therefore, they missed out on the better way God had intended for them.
I have suffered the same losses in my life, more times than I want to count. I have neglected to seek His view on circumstances, wanting instead to push past patience and discernment so I could enjoy what my own flesh and reasoning wanted instead, falsely and foolishly thinking I could handle this one on my own. Now at 49, I am much more prone to stop and seek His view, His instruction, and then wait till I receive it.
When I am in the midst of this difficult state of waiting, vulnerable to feeling hopeless and fearful, I try to remember the difference in perspective from more than two thousand years ago…… The difference between the second and third day for the disciples, for the world, after Jesus was crucified.
The second day after His crucifixion, they must have been reeling with confusion, doubt, loss, fear, and despair. Helpless and hopeless would have described them well as they hid themselves from the Jews, trying to process from their flawed, limited perspective what had just happened, what the last three years had been about. You see, their perspective from in front of the cross on that day of crucifixion, from inside their homes as they hid the next day, was incomplete. Oh how their view was about to change that next morning!
Their perspective was sooooo completely different just hours later! Their view from His empty tomb made all the difference! Viewing their circumstance, what had happened at Calvary, was totally changed by the fact that now He was risen. He wasn’t defeated, He was victorious!! And that meant so were they!! And so are we!!!
Dear ones, the difference in perspective and the value of it makes all things hopeful and purposeful for us. We are not left mourning and grieving as the disciples were on the second day. We are more than conquerors because He has conquered sin and death on our behalf! What more can stand in our way?! If He is not stumped, we are not stumped. If He is not stopped, we are not stopped. So be encouraged as you seek and wait for His perspective, and remember the view from inside the tomb!!