We have hunter types in the family, and come hunting season be sure of it. They are out there scoping for game. They get out the spotting scope and the binoculars and are off to the hills looking for their prey.
They did pretty well this year. They got game in their binoculars, and then in the scopes of their rifles… and we have moose and elk in the deep freeze now.
I used to scope for game myself in earlier days, and one thing I know about looking through a scope. When you are looking through a scope you are pretty much oblivious to all else around you.
Now, I realize it’s usually not good practice to pin modern English definitions to Greek words in the Bible merely because the Greek is the word from which the English is derived. For example, our English word despot—a cruel dictator—is derived from the Greek despotees. But this does not mean the people who used Greek in Bible days had a despot in mind when they used the word. They meant one who has absolute power, and in fact the word is used of our Lord in a number of places.
However, here is a case where I think it works to export the English meaning back into the Greek.
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction (or, tribulation), which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not on the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal: but the things that are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4.16-16).
The Greek word for look here is skopeo, from which we get our English scope. The Greek word meant to consider, to heed carefully, to mark. We see the noun form in, “I press toward the mark.” There was something Paul kept his eye on, you might say kept in his scope.
And Paul says we are to keep in our “scope” things that otherwise cannot be seen—eternal things. We must be living our lives more or less oblivious to what is seen—trials and troubles, temporal things, our light affliction which is but for a moment—and keep scoped in on what cannot be seen apart from the eye of faith.
You mean when the troubles of life are right in our face we are to have our eyes fixed on things that cannot be seen? That is a very amazing thing when you think about it. You mean, here is a person who lives their life on the basis of something that cannot be seen—something in an entirely different realm, a different dimension? Their life is governed by something unseen, something eternal? They go by that?
Yes, it is truly amazing. And so, Christian, let us consider this. There is all kinds of Game roaming the everlasting hills of God—some of it very Big Game indeed. But mere knowledge that the Game is out there will not do us much good. We must keep that in our scope! We must keep our spiritual faculties fixed on spiritual reality, on unseen things—on Jesus Christ who is Lord, not sin, not circumstance. We must look not on the things that are seen, temporal things—but on unseen things, eternal things, eternal realities.
We must keep these in our scope. There is a kind of seeing that means what you see is on your table—you know what I mean. You are able to live and walk by this heavenly reality. It is effective in your life in everything you face.
I say this as a challenge to us all. Let us be so scoped in on what cannot be seen that we walk in the reality of what cannot be seen. There is a call in this very difficult hour for strong perception as to heavenly realities—the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and His heavenly kingdom—a perception that enables us to live according to THAT, and not according to what is seen. It is a perception that enables us to live by what is unseen. It is the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus our Lord—His triumph over sin, and death, His victory over all evil. It is to walk in the Light in the midst of darkness, such that the Light and reality of what Christ accomplished at Calvary—His victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil—is as real in us as at Calvary.
Good word Allan, thanks for posting it. Have read in the past few days the parable of the sower. The Lord is talking about those influences which caused the crowded and anxious heart to be unfruitful soil for Him. This heart was noxious with weeds which were the “cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches”. These cares are very real and yet the Lord constantly tells us that He will supply all our needs; He clothes us, His hands feed us. We have to come into the fullness of the truth that He truly is ALL we need. He wants us to step out of the boat. Fixing on Him; the author and One who is able to perfect our faith. What a privelege to walk this walk. Who are we that we should be given this chance to enter into the holy of holies? But He has made us worthy. And yet I do believe as Christians that these worldly cares are something we have to guard against as they can take us out of walking in the Spirit. The reality you speak of is the higher reality we have to constantly remind ourselves of by an act of will. The cares are there too, they are seen and known, they are real and tangible in the earthly realm and we have the capacity to experience the worry and the anxiety they bring. This is a real word for today. I heard of a man called Smith Wigglesworth who said “You live on the lower plane if you want, it is not for me”. In this he was referring to the Lord, the higher and more true reality. This is a battle for where our reality lies. The cares are; of THIS world; we are not. But we are if we allow ourselves to be by not abiding fully in Him. Our desire is to be fully ingrafted in the true Vine; the true reality. The One who said “I am life”.
The Lord is not distant but addresses these issues head-on and gives us the tools for the job. He had a family as the eldest son, he had a job and responsibilities and He knew this world. He was no stranger to its harshness and yet He gives us these truths and tells us there is a way to live. We give these cares power by taking our eyes off Jesus and who we are in Him; in our minds we give the winds and the storms power they do not have. So too our own frailties and insecurities, the raging seas around us. Wrong focus. Our aim; to be the fruitful heart. Unlike the shallow heart, the crowded heart or the hard heart, this heart receives the truth and holds fast to it. The cares of this world shout loudly in our ears if we let them. But those that have ears, consider carefully how you listen. (Luke 8:18)
“I lift up my eyes to the hills –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth”
Hi Martin. A very solid response. It’s interesting that our Lord calls “the cares of this world” weeds as well as “the deceitfulness of riches.” We can spend a lot of time caring for the weeds, and end up unfruitful as far as the seed of the Word He has planted in our hearts.