Friday, July 15, 2011
Spiritual Warfare III: Blindness
1 Samuel 11:
1 Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you." 2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, "On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel."
2 Corinthians 4:
3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
In the Old Testament account, Nahash threatens to blind the inhabitants of Jabesh so that future generations would no longer be a threat to him on the battlefield. In ancient practice this tactic ensured that the conquered would not raise up an insurrection; for without the use of two good eyes in warfare any army was doomed to failure from the start.
Born to sin in a world hostile to God and his redemptive purpose, the eyes of our non-believing friends and relatives are likewise gouged out, albeit spiritually. Spiritually dead in their trespasses, they cannot wage war against the enemy of their soul, Satan, as a spiritual veil lies over their hearts making Christ hidden from sight. Spiritual blindness is Satan's principal weapon against faith, hardening hearts and minds to turn from "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" to their own desires and passions, which will perish at the end of the age.
God is not impotent in this battle. As the operation of the Holy Spirit is constantly working in human hearts, giving spiritual sight even to those who are physically blind:
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart. Get up; he is calling you." 50And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight." 52And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
The accounts of Blind Bartimaeus, and other blind and disabled people reported in the Scriptures, serve as an acted parable for what the Holy Spirit creates in the inner man when confronted by Christ and his promise that "your sins are forgiven". Those not seeing and not hearing transformed into the believing people of God, as the God-man shows himself and is found by those who did not seek him (Romans 10:20).