Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Prophecy of Isaiah About the Blindness of the Pharisees
When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them. Although he had done such great signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. It happened thus that the word which Isaiah the prophet spoke should be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” It was for this reason that they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes, he has hardened their heart, so that they may not see with their eyes and understand with their heart. and turn, and I will heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke about him.”
John quotes from Isaiah 53:1-2 where Isaiah asked if there is anyone who has believed what he had been saying, if there is anyone who recognized the power of God when it is revealed to him. John then quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10: And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “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.” That is a passage which runs all through the New Testament. It is quoted or echoed in Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:8; 2 Corinthians 3:14; Acts 28:27.
The passage is troubling because it seems to be teaching that their unbelief was caused by God. I do not believe, even for one moment, that God predestinated some to believe and be saved and others to refuse to believe and be lost. First, 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The golden text of the Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God wants us to be saved because He knows how sin diminishes us, and hinders us from accomplishing God’s divine purpose for our lives. The Bible says that God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), but sin thwarts God’s plan and prevents us from experiencing God’s best. But sin is the choice of everyone committing sin and the refusal to believe in the Savior and refuse His invitation is also the choice of the one refusing.
Two problems need to be considered regarding this text: 1) Isaiah had pleaded with the people to turn to God and they refused to heed his message and was disheartened with their rebellion. 2) It was that basic view of the Jews that nothing could happen outside the purpose of God, therefore, unbelief was God’s purpose. Their preconceived notions of what the Messiah ought to be like and do had blinded them to an objective evaluation of the character, words, and works of the Lord. However, the Bible tells us that God in His controlling wisdom and power can use the unbelief for His purposes and not that He forces people to reject the gospel to be lost.
Notice that some believed in the Christ but were cowards, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 “And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”
Faith in Christ is so very important there must not be any reason to fail to confess Jesus and obey Him. If one is lost, it will be because that person refused to believe and obey the Lord, not because God predestined him/her to be lost.
by Guy Roberson
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