2002-11-11 - Spiritual Blindness
Zephaniah 1:17 And I will bring distress on men, so that they will walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.
Alabama has a few interesting laws. One law is that it is illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket. On the more graphic side of the law is that it is illegal to flick your phlegm into the wind. I wonder what event led to the establishment of that law. Lastly, it is illegal to drive a vehicle while blindfolded.
Blindness was apparently a great problem in the Middle East. In his book, written many years ago, documenting his travels in the East, Volney mentions that out of 100 people he met in Cairo, 20 were blind, 10 were missing one eye, and 20 others "having their eyes red, purulent, or blemished." One of the reasons for this is the prevalent nature of disease in the Middle East. Smallpox was especially a great cause of blindness.
There are many examples of blindness in the Bible. We have the example of Bar-Jesus in Acts 13:11, who was struck blind. The entire Syrian army was struck blind when they approached Elisha, 2 Kings 6:18. We all remember that Paul was struck blind in Acts 9:9. Lastly, as we see in the verse we started with and in other places of the Bible, blindness is threatened as a punishment for disobedience, Deuteronomy 28:28, "The Lord will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart."
We can't read the Bible without encountering references to blindness. In the Old Testament, anyone who was blind or lame was excluded from the priesthood. "For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb," Leviticus 21:18. In addition no blind or lame animals were to be used as sacrifices. "You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it, says the Lord of hosts, 'and you bring what was taken by robbery, and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?' says the Lord. 'But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock, and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King," says the Lord of hosts, "and My name is feared among the nations,'" Malachi 1:13, 14.
This should be very instructive to us. Not only were the offerings brought to the Lord to be without blemish, but the one bringing the offering was to be without blemish also. For us today, this is instructive to our prayer lives. Scripture gives us several reasons why our prayers are not heard by the Lord. Many of them reflect upon the fact that our prayers are defective because of the blindness that our sin brings upon us. "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me," Psalm 66:18. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures," James 4:3.
Maybe it is the case that if we feel that our prayers are not reaching God it is time for self-examination. We should examine our hearts both to seek to identify and root out indwelling sin, and, as the verse above in James says, also to identify our motives in our prayers.
Soli Deo Gloria,