Isaiah Chapter 29: Spiritual Blindness: The Cause and the Cure
Years ago a young man that I had reached out to was walking around downtown Wilmington after drinking heavily in a bar. While wander around, he stepped off of a ledge and fell into a construction pit. For hours he laid there in pain before someone finally found him. When they got him to the hospital, he had broken his back in the fall, requiring surgery and nearly a year of rehab. It was a stiff price for one night of revelry. This kind of thing happens every day – people get drunk and stumble into all types of terrible situations.
In Isaiah chapter 29, God describes the nation of Israel as a drunk person, but not from alcohol – they’re stumbling around like a drunk because they are spiritually blind.
Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. (Isaiah 29:9)
Because Israel had fallen away from following the Lord, they started to go blind – not physically blind, spiritually blind. The spiritual leaders of Israel had become proud, resting in its spiritual heritage instead of God, seeking pleasure rather than God.
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isaiah 29:13)
Because of this, they lost sight of what was really important, they became spiritually blind. Being spiritually blind is akin to walking around drunk:
- In both instances the person staggers around having no clear purpose or direction.
- In both instances the person is susceptible to making really bad decisions in the moment.
- In both instances the person is vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
- In both instances the person is likely to fall into a ditch!
And the worst part is, like the drunk, they did it to themselves! Because of this, the Lord closed their eyes:
For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I am not literate.” (Isaiah 29:10-12)
In other words, God gave them what they wanted.
The prophets no longer heard from God. Why not? They weren’t interested in what He had to say anyway!
The Word of God no longer affected them. Why not? They weren’t interested in obeying it anyway!
The prophet Amos describes it:
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
OK let’s get down to brass tacks here – It’s easy to look at this situation in Isaiah’s day and think “yea, those Israelites sure were messed up.” But are we willing to apply this same truth to our own lives? In other words…
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, or prompts us to do something, are we willing to listen and obey?
When the Word of God shows us what we should be doing, or not doing, are we willing to hear and obey?
Saints, those folks in Judah weren’t the only people susceptible to becoming spiritually blind. If we disregard the leading of the Holy Spirit and the word of God, we can become just as spiritually blind as those folks in Judah. It’s such a sad thing to see Christians walking around like spiritual drunks…
- Not having any clear direction or purpose…
- Making poor decisions in the moment…
- Being taken advantage of by the devil…
- And eventually – falling into a ditch!
What’s the cure? The sure now is the same as it was back in Isaiah’s day.
Walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:15-18)
Read and obey the Word of God:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Just as Israel will once again see, so will the saint who returns to the way of the Lord:
But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:23-24)