“Who is blind but My servant, Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, Or so blind as the servant of the Lord?”
BY RAY DRUCKENMILLER
“O grant, that we may at length be awakened from our indifference, and suffer us not to be inebriated by the charms of Satan and the world; but by thy Spirit rouse us to real groaning, that, being ashamed of ourselves, we may flee to thy mercy1” (prayer of John Calvin)
By Isaiah’s time in the late eighth century BC, the kingdom of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, would be carried away by Assyria and cease to exist as a nation. To the south, Judah had rapidly plunged into idolatry under the leadership of king Ahaz. Thus, the environment was decidedly hostile to a devoted prophet of God. As Judah moved further from relationship with her God, she fell deeper and deeper into the practice of worship and devotion to the crafted gods of her neighbors. Through Isaiah, God would argue for the foolishness of the people’s practice of idol worship on the grounds that they were merely pieces of wood fashioned by the hand of a craftsman into the same images that had absolutely no hope of hearing, much less of answering their prayers. Now, there was legitimate reason to be in prayer at this time as Assyria had begun flexing its brutal power, to say nothing of the almost constant conflict with Syria, Edom and Moab.
Looking at their practice of idolatry, we would wonder how a people who had been privileged to the incredible manifestations of the power and providence of the True God could abandon so quickly their mental rational and reason to worship what God had declared to them through Isaiah to be nothing more than a piece of wood from the same tree that they had cut up for fire wood. We would look at this account today and possibly boast of a much more logical rational, yet we know that idols don’t always come in the form of rigid carvings.
So, what is it or why is it that a people, seemingly to be possessing their faculties and having been assigned custody of the temple where Jehovah was seated between the Cherubim, would abandon God for idols? Certainly, there was a level of national moral failure that was pervasive in the culture; but this was only a symptom of the deeper spiritual problem that God had referred to Isaiah at the outset of his ministry to them. In Isaiah 6, God had commissioned him to speak to this people and He had described them in this manner; “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” (Isa. 6:9,10) Their problem was one of blindness and deafness that had gained its impetus from an attitude of indifference. Their insensitivity to the revelation and providence of God in Judah’s history was the source for blindness and deafness.
It is to be noted that the servants of God are stated to be the ones blind and deaf in God’s scathing indictment against the people. It was their indifference to God, His word and manifestations that had caused their blindness. It was not that they had become insensitive because of blindness or deafness; but their insensitivity to God’s endless calling and warning them to walk with Him had led them to no longer hear or see the workings of God.
To this we find a grave warning upon our own time, in that, since the day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ has been proclaimed across two thousand years of human history with the indisputable veracity that He is the Son of God. As scholars grow in Biblical knowledge and discoveries continue to come in confirming what has been said to be true; (i.e., new manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls) it becomes increasingly obvious that humanity is becoming less and less sensitive to Divine truth. But what is even more alarming is that more and more of the “church” suffers from this indifference. Biblical illiteracy is in the church is the evidence of this.
The Rev. Ray Druckenmiller is the Pastor at Manning Community Church.