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Spiritual blindness and deafness are self-inflicted conditions. God’s people suffer with both. They are blind to the glory of God, and they refuse to hear and obey his voice. God says that it is in this condition that he “gave them up” to the looter and plunderer. This is why they find themselves in exile. Even though God’s people were “set on fire all around,” they “did not understand,” or “take it to heart.” They deliberately chose not to understand or obey.
There is no crisp division here between what is spiritual and physical. The spiritual blindness and deafness had a very real manifestation in Israel’s exile. But, as any parent knows, consequences don’t always change behavior. Israel continued to “trust in carved idols” and “stay trapped in holes and in hidden prisons.” What is God to do with the people he loves when discipline doesn’t work?
But now God is going to save his people. He is going to turn their spiritual darkness to light, and he is going to speak the word “Restore.” This is God going out “like a mighty man,” and in the first part of this passage creation and the nations are “singing for joy” and “declaring his praise.” There is foreshadowing of Christ’s work for us on the cross. The work is difficult and is compared to the work of a woman in labour.
We don’t have the luxury of Scripture saying, “this thing you are experiencing is God trying to get your attention.” And yet, like Israel, we often experience trials and turn to other things, our own versions of “carved idols,” and we find ourselves “trapped in holes” and “hidden prisons” of our own choosing.
Jesus’ work on the cross offers us light and speaks the word “restore”. Will we come out of our holes?
Heavenly Father, Very often I choose my own idols in the midst of difficulty. I don’t listen to your voice or walk by the light of your Word. Many times I’ve found myself “trapped in holes” and “hidden prisons.” Please, turn my darkness to light and speak your word “restore” over my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.