Are you blind?

Israel and Syria were at war.  Elisha frequently warned the king of Israel about Syria’s plans.

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.  (2 Kings 6:8-10)

The king of Syria discovered that Elisha was responsible and decided to take action against him.

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.  (2 Kings 6:11-14)

Although the Syrians found Elisha things didn’t go as they had planned.

And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.

And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.  (2 Kings 6:18-20)

There is one thing that doesn’t make sense.  Why would an army that had just been struck blind persist in their effort to find Elisha?  It seems to me that they would give up their attempt to find him and instead each person would be looking for help in coping with his blindness.

The answer can be found by looking at something that happened just before the army was blinded.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  (2 Kings 6:15-17)

Why would Elisha need to ask God to open the servant’s eyes?  He could see the army surrounding the city so he obviously wasn’t blind.  The answer is that he was blind to certain things.  He could see the physical army threatening the city but he couldn’t see God’s army that was protecting Elisha.  The Syrian army was inflicted with the same kind of blindness.  They saw Elisha but didn’t know who he was.  They saw the city but didn’t realize it was the one they had been sent to.

At least two other instances of this kind of blindness are recorded in the Bible.  One took place after the resurrection of Jesus.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.  (Luke 14:13-16,30-31)

The other was when the men of Sodom were trying to attack Lot and the angels blinded them.

They struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.  (Genesis 19:11)

God sometimes makes people partially blind so they won’t see things he doesn’t want them to see.  The god of this world, Satan, does the same thing.

If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.In 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.  (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

I recall times before I was saved when I heard the gospel and it made no impression on me.  It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes that I understood it and put my faith in Jesus Christ.

But even after a person is saved it is possible for him to retain areas of blindness.  For example, many believe the earth is millions of years old and the creation account in the Bible must be interpreted to accommodate this view.  I was in that state for most of my life.  It has only been a few years since I fully accepted young earth creation.  There are genuine believers who believe that sometimes abortion and same sex marriage are acceptable.

A Christian can have 20/20 vision and still be blind.  We must examine everything we believe in the light of what God says in the Bible and pray that God will reveal any blind spots to us.

Posted on November 30, 2019, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Are you blind?.

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