In our treatise on the Principles of Revival, we must begin with the subject of spiritual vision. While it should be an elementary part of what we do, too often the fact is that much of what is done in the name of church ministry may not be based on a real vision received from the Lord. A lot is said about the will of God and the part that it plays in our lives and ministries. Vision is very closely related to this. The Lord is the source of the vision that we as church leaders must have in order to carry out the will of God for our local churches and our regional and national works. This is, after all, His Church!
Jesus simply said that He would build His Church. That’s the will of God, and it has been so since before the foundation of the world. We can see the types and shadows of this Church as early as the Book of Genesis, and we see it throughout the Book of the Revelation. To attempt, therefore, knowingly or unknowingly, to participate with God in the building of this Church without a proper vision is simply unacceptable. Besides not having a true vision, we will see in this chapter that it is possible to have a vision that is a wrong vision. We will examine in this first principle seven different aspects of having, casting, and truly communicating a real vision.
The Sacrifice Of Fools
“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.” – Ecclesiastes 5:1-3
What could this “sacrifice of fools” possibly be? Obviously, it must be something less than acceptable! Notice first of all that the one giving this sacrifice is at “the house of God.” This is a believer of some sort, someone who claims, at least, to be a follower of the Lord. This is someone who thinks that he is offering something that is acceptable and honorable, when in fact it is not that at all. But he is offering something. The “something” turns out to be a substitute sacrifice, something that is artificial in lieu of a genuine and acceptable sacrifice.
The passage also tells us, “…they consider not that they do evil.” They either don’t know that what they are doing is wrong, or else they don’t really care! In either case, it is merely a sacrifice of fools. Whether or not others in the house of God recognized it as such, before God it was seen for what it really was—a vain attempt at obedience.
Notice also that the entire passage is in the context of making a vow before God. The writer counsels us to be more ready to hear than to speak. In other words, we have an obligation to find the will of God, not to impose our own way of thinking on Him! Like the so-called sacrifice made by Cain in Genesis 4, there are gifts, offerings, and service offered unto the Lord that were never defined nor expected by Him. They are simply substitutes for what He actually wanted from us. God is in Heaven we are told, meaning that His way of looking at things, His perspective is far superior to ours. And, it is said that dreams are rather ordinary in nature. They often come as a result of what occupied our thoughts during our daily affairs. There is a vast difference in carnally inspired dreams and the real vision that comes from the throne of God! We might conclude, therefore, that those that offer the sacrifice of fools lack real vision.
It was Solomon that wrote the verses above. This wisdom came from a man that had spent 7 years in building the Temple of God and 13 years in building his own house! While a young and vain man he had made many mistakes. He had seen the error of his ways much later in life, and in this vein tried to pass on this sage advice concerning having the proper direction for one’s life. How futile it is to try and produce something spiritual by the power of the flesh. And how dangerous it is to seek church growth without first adhering to the principle that all of what we do must be based upon a God-given vision. Let us consider seven things that will help us in finding and communicating this vision that is necessary for real revival and harvest today.
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