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The prophet Isaiah wrote, “We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places” (Isaiah 59:10 also Jeremiah 5:21; 10:8,14). In the days of Isaiah, it was not the Lord who blinded the eyes of the people or made their heart heavy; the people brought this state upon themselves by their refusal of His warnings. For with each refusal of truth, the mind becomes stiffer and the spiritual insights duller, until finally there is complete failure to comprehend spiritual things.
The above passage presents a clear description of the consequences of sin. When people reject the path of righteousness, God permits darkness to come upon them (Psalm 81:12; 92:6; Romans 11:25). He allows them to walk in the way of their own choice (Isaiah 44:18; 1:3; 6:9-10; 56:11).
This path will unavoidably lead them into trouble and confusion (Isaiah 29:10; 44:20; Proverbs 28:5). And these people will find themselves surrounded by misfortune (Isaiah 44:9; 45:20; 56:7-8). Blindly and in vain they fumble about, seeking a way out. Isaiah wrote, “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed” (Isaiah 6:10). This was the very consequence that Moses warned the Israelites about (Deuteronomy 28:20, 29).
God reaches for man
Since the fall of Adam, man’s natural state has been one of spiritual dullness (1 Corinthians 2:14). But the Lord tries through His Spirit to change this state and to reawaken the powers of spiritual insight, while at the same time He gives to people the truths that belongs to His redemption (Psalm 43:3).
But when man determinedly rejects this grace, God, who will not force anyone against his will, withdraws His refused grace and abandons man to the natural results of his persistent rejection (Romans 1:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). The apostle John wrote about this condition, “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; 8:43; 12:39-40 also Matthew 13:14-15).
Christ our Hope
The Lord surveys the seemingly hopeless condition of humanity and offers Himself as the Savior and Mediator (Isaiah 53:12). It is encouraging to know that when the circumstances seem dark that the Lord grants humanity a way out. Without God’s intervention man has no hope (Proverbs 2:5-9; Daniel 12:10; Hosea 14:9). Christ offered Himself as a ransom for the world and shed His innocent blood on the cross to pay the penalty of man’s sins (John 3:16). Thus, Christ became man’s Redeemer. And today, He offers His victory for man to claim as his own by faith. And He also provides the weapons that enable Christians to fight the war over sin (Ephesians 6:14, 17).
Rejection hardens the heart
When people reject God’s free offer of salvation, their spiritual insights become so cloudy that they fail to give notice even to the most inspiring messages Heaven would give. Their condition would be like that of Pharaoh when his mind was hardened and he rejected the call to listen to the Lord’s message that Moses delivered (Exodus 4:21).
God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, and does everything possible to turn them from their evil ways, in order that they might live and not die (Ezekiel 18:23–32; 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). But it is up to man to respond or reject God’s call of salvation. Therefore, Paul wrote, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Hebrews 3:15).
In His service,