Vision Makes for Definiteness and Growth
This aggressiveness, this positiveness, which is the fruit of having seen provides the Lord with the ground that He needs for a right kind of training and discipline. It does not mean that we shall never make mistakes. You will see in the New Testament - and I hope you will not charge me with heresy - that even a man as crucified as Paul could make mistakes. Peter, a man so used and so chastened, could make mistakes. Yes, apostles could make mistakes. And prophets could make mistakes. "What doest thou here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:9). 'You have no business to be here' - that is what it means. Yes, prophets and apostles could make mistakes, and they did; but there is this about it - because they had seen, and were utterly abandoned to that which they had seen of the Lord's mind, the Lord was abundantly able to come in on their mistakes and sovereignly overrule them and teach His servants something more of Himself and His ways.
Now, you never find that with people who are indefinite. The indefinite people, those who are not meaning business, who are not abandoned, never do learn anything of the Lord. It is the people who commit themselves, who let go and go right out in the direction of whatever measure of light the Lord has given them, who, on the one hand, find their mistakes - the mistakes of their very zeal - taken hold of by Divine sovereignty and overruled; and, on the other hand, are taught by the Lord through their very mistakes what His thoughts are, how He does things, and how He does not do them. If we are going to wait in indefiniteness and uncertainty and do nothing until we know it all, we shall learn nothing.
Have you not noticed that it is the men and women whose hearts are aflame for God, who have seen something truly from the Lord and have been mightily gripped by what they have seen who are the people that are learning? The Lord is teaching them; He does not allow their blunders and their mistakes to engulf them in destruction. He sovereignly overrules, and in the long run they are able to say, 'Well, I made some awful blunders, but the Lord marvelously took hold of them and turned them to good account.' To be like this, with vision which gathers up our whole being and masters us, provides the Lord with the ground for looking after us even when we make mistakes - because His interests are at stake, His interests and not our own are the concern of our heart. The prophets and the apostles learned to know the Lord in wonderful ways by their very mistakes, for they were the mistakes, not of their own stubborn self-will, but of a real passion for God and for what He had shown them as to His purpose.
Vision Gives Ascendancy To God's People
And then note that the very ascendancy of Israel was based upon vision. They were called of God to be an ascendant people, above all the peoples of the earth, set in the midst of the nations as a spiritually governmental vessel. The Lord did promise that no nation should be able to take headship over them. His thought for them was that they should be "the head and not the tail" (Deut. 28:13). But that was not going to happen willy-nilly, irrespective of their condition and position. It was when they had the vision before them clearly, corporately, as an entire people - dominated, mastered, unified by the vision - it was then that they were head and not tail, it was then that they were in the ascendant.
And that brings in these prophets again. (We think now of the later prophets of Israel.) Why the prophets? Because Israel had lost their position. Assyria, Babylon and the rest were taking ascendancy over them because they had lost their vision. It is in the minor prophets, as they are called, that you have so much about this very matter. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). That is a note to which all the prophets are tuned. Why this state of things? Why is Israel now the underdog of the nations? The answer is - lost vision. The prophet comes to try to get them back to the place of the vision. The prophet has the vision, he is the eyes of the people: he is calling them back to that for which God chose them, to show them anew why He took them from among the nations.
(continued with # 2 - "Vision Needed By Every Child of God")