Seeing eye to eye
When we use this phrase it’s usually in the negative: “I’m sorry to say we don’t see eye to eye on this issue.”
Not seeing eye to eye means disagreement. The very nature of the phrase communicates an inequality of stature, perhaps also of power.
What would it take for antagonists to start seeing “eye to eye”? One would have to shift their position. We might imagine one of them raising themselves up to the height of the other.
But the Bible has another idea. Isaiah shows us two parties who do see eye to eye, and they are as unequal as they come. It’s the LORD and His people. Yet when they see eye to eye it’s great news:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. (Isaiah 52:7-9)
Here are “good tidings of good”. This is, perhaps, not the greatest King James translation, but what it speaks of is priceless. The reigning God of heaven will see “eye to eye” with His people.
Is this because His people have raised themselves up? Not at all. God has stooped. This eye to eye agreement and fellowship is all because “the LORD hath comforted his people.”
The word “comfort” is very important in Isaiah. The prophet uses it to describe the LORD’s attitude to His people. Listen to the LORD’s comfort:
O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isaiah 12:1)
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1-2)
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:13-16)
For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. (Isaiah 51:3)
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound… to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:1-2)
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 66:13)
Just think of all that the LORD’s comfort involves:
It’s His resolute turning from anger, His pardon for all our sins, His mercy upon the afflicted, His renewal of the whole earth, His reversal of death and curse and His tender, motherly compassion. And because of His steadfast compassion, He comes down to our level.
Seeing eye to eye with the LORD is not about us raising ourselves up. Nor does it mean giving broad consent to His moral philosophy. It’s about face to face fellowship. And how is it possible? Because He has stooped.
Isaiah 52 continues by telling us of this LORD who became a Servant; a Servant who became a Lamb; a Lamb who was then led to the slaughter. Who can doubt that the LORD wants to comfort us when we see Him join us in our depths?
We do not naturally see eye to eye with God. Our lives are not in agreement. We fall far short. Yet look to the cross and there you see a divine condescension motivated by astounding love. To see Christ and Him crucified is to see “eye to eye” with God. In that encounter we know almighty compassion and we “break forth into joy!”