Posted by: rcottrill | November 2, 2012

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Words: Helen Howarth Lemmel (b. Nov. 14, 1863; d. Nov. 1, 1961)
Music: Helen Howarth Lemmel

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: You’ll find more about Helen Lemmel, and about how this lovely 1922 gospel song came to be written, in the Wordwise Hymns link.

It’s not surprising that words such as “see” and “seeing” are found about a thousand times in our English Bibles. It’s a common word. And you can add hundreds more if you include forms of the words “look,” “behold,” “gaze,” or “view,” and so on. But not all of those have to do with sights seen with our physical eyes. More may be involved.

Sometimes, there is a physical seeing. But we can tell from the passage that there’s also an important inner dimension to the sight, an inner attitude behind the look. It may be faith, or despair, or lust, that’s involved, or something else. Whatever it is, there’s an inner sight that’s significant.

In the sad story of Abraham’s nephew Lot, he “lifted up his eyes and saw” the lush vegetation around the city of Sodom, and coveted it to graze his flocks and herds, in spite of the moral danger posed by that wicked city (Gen. 13:10-13). Later, the Lord Jesus speaks of the sin of looking at a woman, with an immoral purpose. “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).

When it comes to faith in God, words such as “look” are sometimes used. In that case, there’s no physical sight involved–unless we take it to include the act of reading about Him in the Word of God. God says, “Look to Me and be saved” (Isa. 45:22), and we know that it’s speaking of an attitude of surrender, trust and utter dependency.

In the days of His flesh, John the Baptist cried to the multitudes, “Behold! The Lamb of God” That is no longer possible as it once was. But, even so, Hebrews says we need to be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” What’s called for is a thoughtful concentration. “Consider Him,” says the writer (Heb. 12:2, 3). Again, it is a look of faith that recognizes who Christ is, and what He has done for us.

Initially, we turn our attention to Him, and trust in Him for our eternal salvation, just as the Israelites gazed upon the serpent in the wilderness and were delivered from physical death (Num. 21:5-9; cf. Jn. 3:14-15). Then we look to Him in worship and fellowship, and look to Him for strength and guidance.

CH-1) O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Christians are also to be “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13), when we shall indeed see the Saviour, face to face in all His glory. Seeing Him at His return is as certain to happen as His followers saw Him depart from this earth (Acts 1:10-11).

In the meantime, like Moses, we endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). We see the Lord with Spirit-empowered eyes, the eyes of faith, as He is revealed in the Word of God, and through sharing that Word, we are to make Him known to others.

CH-3) His Word shall not fail you–He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

1) In what other circumstances of life is a “look” far more than a physical act?

2) What can hinder and cloud our spiritual sight? And what should we do about that?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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