“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18, KJV). We hear this verse quoted frequently in order that we may be inspired and challenged to move with intensity toward a future goal. We applaud the leader who is a visionary, one who can paint a picture of a better future and show us the way to attain it. We are a goal-oriented society. We need a dream, a target to aim for if we are to get our adrenaline moving and our passions stirred.
Every goal, every short-range vision must be measured against the supreme and final norm of all future Christian visions. We must keep before us the ultimate vision of the people of God. We cannot see God because He is holy and we are not. I have never seen God. I have felt His presence and reasoned through His existence. I have read His Word and heard of dazzling displays of His glory. But I have never seen Him. He is invisible. Not only have I never seen Him face to face, but no one else has seen Him either. The creation heralds His majesty; the stars declare His handiwork. We can view the work of the Artist, but the Artist Himself remains unseen.
Why can’t we see God? It is not because He is a spirit, nor is it because He is not present. He is here; there is no question about that. We live in a world of real entities that we cannot see with the naked eye. What is invisible to our eyes can have dramatic effects on us.
The forces of electricity and nuclear power affect our daily lives though we do not see them. Our bodies may be invaded at any moment by life-threatening microorganisms. The sophisticated instruments of telescopes and microscopes reveal a dimension of reality that escapes our naked glance.
There is no microscope powerful enough, though, to penetrate the veil that covers the face of God. There is no lens capable of magnifying our weak eyesight to the level of seeing God. Our problem is not a weakness of visual strength. It is not the optic nerve that is deficient. The deficiency is in our hearts, not our eyes. We cannot see God because He is holy and we are not. It is because of sin that we are told, “No man can see God and live.”
Read and compare the visions of God seen by Isaiah (Isa. 6:1–5) and John (Rev. 1).
Passages for Further Study