The Valley of Vision — Part 1
“The burden against the Valley of Vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops, you who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.” Isaiah 22:1-2
“For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the Valley of Vision—Breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountain.” Isaiah 22:5
Valleys work well as metaphors, because they are vivid images of real places, and each has its own unique characteristics and significance. Battles are fought in them, Kings build palaces in them, and ordinary people live in them. There they grow their crops, feed their herds, worship, and celebrate in valleys. They are gathering places for the start of long journeys and resting places after the journey. They are fertile ground for vegetation where and streams of water flow. They can be walled around by high mountains, or they can be found in the high deserts. They are places of humility and lowliness, places of great loss, and places of victories, both small and great. They are places from which people ascend to the high places of the earth.
The valley is generally not a destination but a way of passage to a higher dwelling place or a place of retreat and rest. But there are some people who dwell in the valley permanently and some only temporarily. The blessing of Jacob was the promise that those who trust in the Lord and keep sacred the Sabbath would ride upon the high places of the earth.
“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13-14
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2
Valleys are frequently mentioned in scripture. Her are a few instances.
1) The very familiar Valley of the shadow of death for example in Psalm 23
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me…”
2) The Valley of Siddim, (a valley of asphalt pits) the Salt Sea in Genesis 14, where the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies made war with the kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam and Tidal King of nations.
3) There is also the Valley of Shaveh where the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram after he had defeated his enemies and brought back his nephew Lot and his family and all his goods and livestock. He also brought the spoils of war and the people who were hostages. The king offered to reward Abram with the spoils of the war, but he would keep the people for himself. However, Abram told the king he had sworn to the Lord God that he would take nothing from him, not even a shoelace, so that the king could not say that he had made Abram rich.
4) Genesis 26:17-19 we have the Valley of Gerar where Isaac dwelt after leaving Abimelech and the land of the Philistines.
5) Then in Genesis 37:14 –there is the Valley of Hebron where Joseph was sent by his Father Jacob to check on his brothers, but he did not find them there, because they had moved on to Dothan. They were angrily jealous of Joseph, because their father Jacob favored him above them all, and Joseph was a little full of himself as well. When he finally found his brothers at Dothan they seized him and threw him in a well. Later they sold him as a slave to a trader heading to Egypt.
7) Numbers 13:23 speaks of the Valley of Eschol where the spies of Israel went in to survey the land that God had promised them and brought back clusters of grapes so massive that they had to be carried by two men on a poll.
8) There is the Valley of Decision mentioned in Joel 3:14.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” This valley is also known as the Valley of Judgment. Located just East of Jerusalem in the Kidron valley, it is considered by Christians, Jews and Muslims as the place of God’s final Judgment.
Like most people, I guess, my vision was something I didn’t think much about until I had to start wearing glasses, and then I took that for granted, until the glasses couldn’t correct the effects of developing cataracts. Recently, I had the first of two surgeries to remove the cataracts from both eyes. The first was in my right eye. After the surgery I was amazed at how much more light there was to be seen and how much more vivid colors now appear. I’m still in the healing process so there is some lingering blurriness until the eye completely heals. But, the greater perception of light in the right eye, by contrast with the left eye, reveals how limited is the light I can see with my left eye alone.
How much of light and truth are we missing until God changes the lens in our spiritual eyes? How much of truth are we unable to comprehend until the cataracts of our human perception are removed? We have a lot of phrases we use as metaphors for sight. “I see now.” “I had a vision of something.” “If you can see your way clear to…,” “In my minds eye,” and so forth. The Word uses vision or sight in various ways, also. For example,this passage from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:16, “…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…” And in Matthew 6, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22
Visions from God don’t depend on physical sight, but they are dependent on our spiritual sensitivity and perception of what we see in terms of the future. True visionaries and true prophets are not hindered by the cataracts of sin or the blurred vision of fear and cowardice. But false prophets speak from their vain imaginations and their darkened sight because of sin. Isaiah, the prophet didn’t see through a glass darkly as we do. God revealed Himself to His people in ancient times by the prophets. [Hebrews 1:1] But in this time, now in the last days, He is revealing Himself to all men through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Hebrews 1:2] Jesus is the Light of the World and how much more of that light will we comprehend when we no longer see through a glass darkly, but then face to face, to see Him as He is, to know Him, and here is the greatest part, to be like Him.
Next time, in Parts 2 we will look particularly at the Valley of Vision. What is it? Where is it? What did it mean for Israel and the nations when it was prophesied? And what is its message for us today?