Of the twenty or more times the phrase "lift up your eyes" is used in the Bible only a handful are negative and those generally forbidding lifting up eyes to idolatry. The primary thought is that to lift up one's eyes is to see reality. Over and over again, lifting our eyes is linked to the reality of God and his majesty. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened" (Ephesians 1:18). The Psalmist sings, "The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous ..." (Psalm 146:8). So, there are at least two ways in which the eyes are opened. One is to have the Lord open them for us, the other is to refocus from the mundane or the false and see the real and the glorious.
Downcast eyes generally represent being sad or humiliated. While there are exceptions, generally when our eyes focus on the ground at our feet, we miss much of the real beauty and opportunity that surrounds us. I once hunted with a man who was so afraid of snakes that he continually focused on the ground just ahead. I will grant you that he did not step on a snake, but neither did he ever see the squirrels up in the trees who were the objects of our hunt. The cautious may feel that they will not make mistakes, but all the while, making the greatest mistake of all: they fail to see the blessings, opportunities, and beauty beyond their feet. This does not mean we are to ignore danger, rather that we are to focus on that which is positive instead of the negative.
How many great vistas are unseen by the "down-looker"? Have you ever driven through the magnificent beauty of the mountains reading a book? Or missed a glorious sunset filling out a crossword puzzle? People who fail to lift up their eyes are destined to be limited in their description of the future.
God calls us to look outward and upward to the limitless possibilities he has placed before his children. Trouble enough awaits those who walk this limited path on the way to glory. We will all stumble and fall now and then. However, the secret is to keep our eyes open to the vision of the Almighty who will always be there to pick us up and lead us on to His glory.
Twice, in the story of Balaam of Beor — a prophet who was called by Balak to curse Israel — we hear about Balaam having his eyes opened to the will of the Lord. The Bible describes it this way: "The oracle of him who hears R608 the words of God, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered ..." (Numbers 24:4). Sometimes stumbling allows to see that which is truly significant, especially when we are on the wrong path.
Lift up your eyes! When you stumble, God has a new plan for you to follow.
Lift up your eyes! The Holy One has great plans for you.
Lift up your eyes! Your Father calls us to His glory and goodness.
Lift up your eyes! There are no great visions on the ground at your feet!