Bread – Blind

November 1, 2013


Readings for Friday, November 1, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Neh. 2:1-20; Rev. 6:12-7:4; Matt. 13:24-30; Psalms 40,51,54

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We can be blind to the most obvious things and then, when someone points it out to us, we say “Oh, yeah.” Sometimes, even more tragically, we still can’t see from our blindness even when someone has pointed it out to us.

Our Scripture readings today are sort of object lessons or at least object observations in blindness to reality.

In Nehemiah, he has asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to evaluate the situation and rebuild the city. The king approves and Nehemiah goes and check it out. He says of himself “I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire.” Neh. 2:13. Pretty graphic. He then says that he gathered “the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were going to do the work” and said to them “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned…” Neh. 2:17. Now, let us stop here for a second and ask a question, “Did they [the nobles, officials, priests, etc.] really ‘see’ the trouble they were in, that their city was in ruins?” Did they? Probably not, because if you think about it they were being “priests, officials, nobles, etc.” within and among the very rubble being described by Nehemiah. They were not only living in it, they had been living in it for quite a while. Why did they not see this until Nehemiah showed up, and if they saw it, why didn’t they do anything about it?” Because they were blind to their own condition and the condition of their surroundings.

In Revelation, we read that the sixth seal has been broken and calamity has struck the earth. In response “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” Rev. 6:15-17. These people, great and small, powerful and powerless, all are blind. Oh they see the calamity, but what they don’t see is that the great mountains are no more able to hide them or save them then their houses of straw can; what they don’t see is sanctuary in God’s grace, in His forgiveness, in His Son, the very Lamb of wrath (and salvation).

And in these brackets, the Old Testament and the New, we can see very clearly what we are blind to as well. We are blind to our own decrepit circumstances (sin) and we are blind to the solution (the cross). We don’t recognize that our walls are broken down and our gates are burned to a crisp, so we never engage in the investigative work and labor to make our city sound again. Once we realize the depth of destruction our sin has caused, we hide in worldly structures of education, reason, science, knowledge, things which appear to be houses made of stone (impregnable mountains) but which are really houses of straw ready to be consumed by the fires of wrath. We hide in weak places because we are blind to the strong place, the shelter of the Most High.

We are blind to our condition and we are blind to the cure for our condition.

That is why we need a Nehemiah to point out our sin. That is why we need a John to point out our need for the savior from our sin, Jesus Christ.

Why are we blind? It would be nice to blame it on Satan or say that it is our natural condition, but psychologically, if you think about it, blindness is actually a pretty safe place. After all, if I can’t see my ruin, I can live is blissful ignorance of my poverty. If I can’t see the ruin of others, I don’t have to do any work or I don’t have to love. If I can’t see the weakness of the mountains to protect me in the day of wrath, I can blame the mountains when they collapse on me. Being blind, I can be the victim. Being blind, I have a built-in excuse. Being blind, I have no neighbors I can see. Being blind, I can let others do the work. If I can’t see, then how do I know what I am missing?

Isn’t this a miracle? Isn’t this grace? That God so loves us that He will not let us live in our blindness, but opens our eyes to the reality of our condition … not so that we can despair but so that we can receive His gift of eternal joy, eternal life with Him, His protection, His good pleasure. He opens our eyes to His Son, so that in the day of the wrath of the Lamb we do not join those running to the mountains because we know that our safety is in Him.

The people hiding ask “who can stand?” The answer is “We can because He (Jesus) has, He is, and He will.”

So, in the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit He has sent to us, let us see clearly the ruin which surrounds us, and let us take up the spade and begin the work, knowing in whose strength the work is really accomplished. Amen.

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© 2013 GBF

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