The Hebrew people knew God as the Vision Giver. He was the One who gave specific guidance to His people at every juncture of their pilgrimage, and very often through what we might call a vision. A vision is a prophecy or oracle that provides direction, promotes instruction, or prescribes correction. God’s plan was more often than not revealed through his prophets. In fact, the prophet Amos put it this way: “Surely the LORD God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
Often the prophet would have a vision in an ecstatic state produced by the Holy Spirit. At other times the prophet would have a night vision or perhaps what we might term a “divinely inspired dream.” Both types of visions have numerous examples in the books of Ezekiel and Zechariah. The prophet witnessed the vision, and he or she would prophesy the vision to the people. To prophesy in its basic form means to hear a word from God and then speak it to the people. This was and is God’s way of sharing His secrets with that faithful remnant of His people who are listening.
The interesting thing about God is that if someone refuses to listen God does not waste His time or efforts sharing His secrets with that person. Secrets are shared between friends, not simple acquaintances. You would not share your deepest secrets with someone you did not know and so too, God does not share His secret counsel or His visions with those who have little or no relationship with Him.
You might be thinking, what does all this have to do with me? Everything! It has everything to do with you. Are you hearing the present tense voice of God from time to time? Are you experiencing dreams and visions in which God is sharing His secrets with you? The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost declared that this would be the norm—one of the distinguishing marks—of His people called the Church: “In the last days God said I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit upon all My servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18). We live in the last days and the word “all” means “all kinds of people.”
The key to hearing God or seeing the vision He wants to communicate is your willingness to be humble in faith, while you listen, watch, and wait. If you will not listen, you will not hear. If you will not open the eyes of your spirit, you certainly will not see the secrets of the Lord as He reveals them. The problem therefore rests on the receivers rather than the Sender—it is us, not Him.
But…some who read this have heard God speak, and they have seen a secret revealed through a vision or word. God does not reveal secrets simply to impress you with what He knows. He reveals His hidden counsel to those who are listening so that they can communicate it to those who are not listening. God loves the spiritually deaf and hard of hearing as much as He loves you or me. Your job is to listen and then speak what you hear or see. Don’t get discouraged at the unconcern or unwillingness of others to pay attention; your job is not to make people listen, but to speak what God is saying, and those who are listening will hear. Be encouraged—God’s vision will be fulfilled right on time.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).