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Blinded Eyes And Hardened Hearts

Scriptures Expounded - Posted on Monday, December 1, 2014
by Temi Peter
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Blinded Eyes And Hardened Hearts

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
John 12:40
In the above scripture, Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 6:9-10 was revisited even as it came to pass. The Lord had deliberately blinded the eyes of the people (Jews) and hardened their hearts long before he came to the earth as a man. He did it such that seeing they will not see and hearing they will not hear neither will they be able to understand. Why? He did it so that they won’t be converted and He’ll be constrained to heal them. This prophecy and its fulfillment were also stated in Matthew 13:13-15, Mark 4:11-12 and Acts 28:25-27. Why did they have to remain unconverted? They had to remain unconverted so that God’s divine plan for man’s redemption won’t be disrupted. There was every possibility that if they (the Jews) believed in Him (Jesus), they would most likely not crucify Him. And if Christ was not crucified how shall we – you and me – have the redemption we are enjoying today? Just as Judas was ordained from time immemorial to be the one who would betray Jesus, the Jews – most of them, had been ordained not to believe in Jesus. Indeed, up till this day, majority of Jews do not believe in the Lordship of our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ. Just like Paul asked in Romans 3:5-10, if our unrighteousness/unbelief aids the plan of God, is God unrighteous/wicked to take vengeance and punish us? Paul says ‘God forbid’ because how will God be able to judge the world if it were so. From Judas Iscariot’s experience, we can learn a thing or two. Even though our Lord Jesus had stated in Matthew 26:24 & Mark 4:21 it had been written of Him that He will betrayed, He still went ahead to pronounce woe on the would-be betrayer. However, He didn’t mention anybody’s name. I want to believe the dirty job was open to anybody but Judas decided to take the job consciously or unconsciously. The Bible records that Judas, being the treasurer of the group, usually helped himself with the group’s funds thus making him a thief (John 12:6). Nevertheless, it will be wrong to say the Lord didn’t know Judas will betray Him from the very onset when He chose him. The Lord knew quite well (John 6:70-71). Am I not beginning to contradict myself? I said earlier that Judas had been ordained from time immemorial to betray Jesus and now I am saying Judas chose to do the dirty job himself. No. It can be explained. We know that our LORD God knows all things and He knows the end from the beginning. Nothing comes to Him as a surprise and nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. There are many sides to the LORD God. There is the side that doesn’t want anybody to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and there is the side that says that some have been ordained to be saved (Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48). There is the side of God that knows the end of a matter from the beginning. There is the side of God that waits to see how things pan/will pan out. All things are created for God’s pleasure (Revelation 4:11). After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man could distinguish good from evil. From thenceforth, man will be responsible for his choices and actions. Man has been given free will and the power to make his choice (Deuteronomy 30:19). However, the LORD God advises us to choose life. Hence, I’ll like to explain our destiny and the role of God in it using the analogy of a penalty shoot-out. Whenever there is a penalty shoot-out at the end of extra time in a match that must produce a winner, both sides become apprehensive. None of the sides is sure of victory. The players are equally afraid so much so that some refuse to be allotted a penalty slot for fear of losing it. However, some things are sure as regards any penalty shoot-out. First, no matter how long it takes, a winner will emerge. No human being can determine for sure who it will be. Second, for a winner to emerge, a particular player will lose his/her penalty kick. Again, no human being can determine for sure who it will be. Third, the penalty kick that will be lost will be lost in a particular way – either it is saved outright by the opposing keeper, fired at the bar, fired wide off the post etc. No human can tell how it will be lost. However, the LORD God Almighty knows how all the events above will pan out even before the start of the penalty shoot-out. He knows which team will win. He knows which players will take each penalty, who will score and who will lose. He knows how each penalty kick will be scored or lost. Does He have a hand in the turnout of events? He may and He may not. It is not unusual to see teams holding hands and soliciting God’s help and favour after the players to take the spot kicks have been chosen and the action is about to commence proper. This He also knew beforehand too and He knew whose prayer He will answer even before it was said and why He will. Where no prayers are said, He may decide to be neutral. Our God is mighty indeed. Now relating this to destiny, preordination and predetermination as it relates to mankind, we can deduce that whatever we do, however we do it, whenever we do it are known beforehand by the LORD God Almighty. It does not necessarily mean He constrained us to. We can be lucky based on the foreknowledge God has and his decision to reveal it to us directly or indirectly to pray for a change from what should have been especially if it were meant to be bad and like Jabez get a favourable answer especially if it won’t affect God’s divine plan (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Even this action (praying for a change) He knows will take place before it does.

Back to those whose hearts were hardened and their eyes blinded, let us examine John 12:40 again to go further. The Lord in the closing parts of this Bible passage gave the reason why He hand blinded their eyes and hardened their heart. He said He didn’t want them to be converted and healed. For someone to be converted, the person must first of all have fallen. And for someone to be healed, the person must have been sick. It means the Jews the Lord was referring to had by all means fallen (from the faith) and fallen sick. This must have been of their own volition. This was where their exercise of their power of choice and free will was exhibited. The Lord did not push them to fall or make them sick. They put themselves in the state. Hence, they were bound to have their hearts hardened and their eyes blinded so that they would not be able to be converted and healed by the Saviour. Their fate is similar to what the Bible said about a particular category of sinners in Romans 1:19-32. In Romans 1:19-23, the Bible basically was stating the reasons the Lord did what He did to them in Romans 1:24-32. This category of sinners had exercised their power of choice and freewill as given by God wrongly. This prompted the Lord to treat them the way He did. The Lord gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves, He also gave them up to vile affections and finally, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. All these the Lord did to them as a result of what they did with the power of their choice and freewill initially. The Lord did not push them to make the wrong choices at early stage but when they did He was bound to treat them the way He did. Yet, in all these the Lord who knows the end from the beginning, knows to the last detail how it will all happen.
In our world today, so many people have done things that have made the Lord blind their eyes and harden their hearts. Atheists, for instance, who proclaim that there is no God will keep finding more and more ‘proof/evidence’ that in deed there is no God forestalling any chance of they ever being converted and healed thereby sealing their doom. Make no mistakes about it; it is the Lord who has hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes that continues to give them proofs/evidence to keep them convinced. The Lord has given up on them. Only by a special kind of grace and intercessory prayers from brethren can save them.

Some people, despite staring death in the face, will find it difficult to repent and ask God for forgiveness. They’ll rather die in their sin. It is because their eyes have been blinded and their hearts hardened. The Lord gave up on them and won’t have them converted and healed.
Let us be careful not to do anything that will make the Lord give up on us. May God help us!





Posted by:
Temi Peter


 
 


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