Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand.
- Numbers 22:31
How miserable is our state! The things we ought to have loved are so remote and undiscovered and unknown by us, that while we are men and situated in the prison of this body, the things that are truly good and eternal are utterly incapable of being seen or heard or thought by us.
- Columbanus, Sermon III, Irish, 7th century
Well, better late than never, eh, Balaam?
In this wicked seer’s case the vision of unseen things did not avail him much, for it only impressed him for a while, until the allure of money and esteem overcame and suppressed the command of God.
But don’t miss the larger point: The Lord opened the eyes of Balaam – Balaam, for crying out loud! – to see the angel of the Lord in all His might and power.
That Hebrew word means something like “uncovered his eyes” (think of Paul and the scales that fell from his eyes when he finally believed and was baptized), a work only God can accomplish. There is a glorious landscape of unseen reality, with Jesus enthroned right at the center, and we are commanded to fix our gaze on that heavenly terrain (Col. 3.1, 2).
Few of us, I suspect, will be given the privilege of actually seeing this realm with the physical eye. All of us, however, can gaze into it with the eye of the heart, the eye of faith and sanctified imagination to which Paul refers in Ephesians 1.15-23.
But giving evidence of the unseen things (Heb. 11.1) takes, well, practice. If we do not subject our souls to the disciplines of grace, we will remain their prisoners in our bodies to mere earthly commitments; we will be blinded to the larger world around us.
In prayer, meditation, and slow reading of God’s Word we can position ourselves before the Lord and all His angelic host, from which vantage point, in His pleasure and time, He can uncover our eyes to see Him in His glory.
If it’s possible, brethren – and surely it is! – is it not worth pursing?
Do not allow the things we love most – Jesus in all His glory and the beautiful City to Come – to remain remote, undiscovered, and unknown. God is able to uncover our eyes and make His glorious mysteries clear to the eyes of our heart.
We only need to meet with Him in those disciplines where He can do His illuminating work in our souls.
Psalm 113.4-6 (Armaggedon: “Who is On the Lord’s Side?”)
High above the mountains, on Your glorious throne,
Who is like You, Savior, ruling all You own?
Sovereign and all-knowing, over all above,
Praise to You is owing for Your perfect love!
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame!
Open the eyes of my heart, O Lord, that I might glimpse Your glory, see Your splendor, encounter Your enormity, and be grounded in Your glory – today and every day.