Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 7:37 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “In Faithfulness He Leads Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 9 (select vv. ESV): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%209&version=ESV.
God’s Sovereign Will (vv. 1-7)
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
I have to admit; this is one of my favorite Bible stories. I hope you will read the whole chapter, because it is a wonderful story of faith, healing, and testifying to God’s grace. I am encouraged and inspired by it nearly every time that I read it. All glory to God. Amen!
This story, as well, speaks to the sovereignty of God over our lives. In Psalm 139 we read that God created our innermost being. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. We were fearfully and wonderfully created by God; by Jesus Christ. All the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came into being. In Eph. 1:4 it says, in reference to those of us who are in Christ Jesus by faith, that “he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Also, from one man God “made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them, and the exact places where they should live” (Ac. 17:26). And, In Jeremiah 1:5 we read that God knew Jeremiah before he formed him in the womb, and that even before he was born, God set him apart. He appointed him as a prophet to the nations.
So, it was no accident that this man was born blind. It was for God’s purposes that he was born blind, that God might display his works in this man’s life. And, it was no accident that you and I were born the people that we are, in the homes where we lived, to the parents we had, in the nations in which we live(d). When you think about it, even before God decided to create the earth and humans to inhabit the earth, he created angels, even knowing that one of his angels would rebel against him, and that Lucifer (Satan; the devil) would lead a third of the angels to follow him in rebellion against God, and that God would have to toss them out of his heaven. Not only that, but it was in God’s purposes and design that he would not destroy Satan and these evil spirits at this time, but that he would allow them to live, and that he would permit them the power to tempt the humans God was yet to create.
Thus, when God created Adam and Eve, and he placed them in the Garden of Eden, not only did he give them a command that said they could not eat of a certain tree in the garden, but he allowed Satan to tempt them to do the very thing God commanded them not to do. None of this took God by surprise. He created Lucifer knowing what he was going to do. He didn’t destroy him, but he allowed him to exist, and he allowed him to tempt humans knowing full well that they would sin against God. Yet, God already had a plan for how he was going to one day redeem them from their sins via the blood of his Son shed on a cross. In other words, we were all born blind (spiritually) in order that God might display his works in our lives, and that Jesus would be the one to heal our spiritual blindness, and to open our eyes so we can have spiritual sight, deliverance from sin, and the hope of eternal life.
The Testimony (vv. 13-17, 24-25)
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
…For the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
The man who was born blind did not have a Bible college degree. He had not read the scriptures, though he had probably heard them read. I do not know. He hadn’t memorized a list of scriptures which many use to present the gospel of our salvation to the unsaved. I am not even certain that, at this time, that he had saving faith in Jesus Christ, but he did later. Yet, from an illustrative standpoint, with regard to God’s healing mercies in our lives in turning us from darkness (spiritual blindness) to light (Jesus; his righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God, to walk in his ways, there is a simplicity of testimony here that I love. There were a lot of things this man didn’t know, but one thing he knew, that though he was blind, now he could see. Amen! If that is all that we know, we need to share it.
When I read this story of the healing of the blind man, I see all kinds of symbolism with regard to our own salvation from sin. Our eyes have to do with our judgment and discernment, as well as our ability to see, in this case to see and to receive spiritual truth. Mud is usually symbolic of filth (sin, wickedness). The man had to go and wash the filth off his eyes before he could be healed of his blindness. And, the Pulpit Commentary says that the Pool of Siloam was “the symbolic source of the water of life.” So, this has to do with God first of all drawing us to Jesus, and by faith in Jesus, us being cleansed (washed) of our sins, and being turned from darkness (spiritual blindness) to the light of Christ and his righteousness. Although we are saved by God’s grace, and not of our own works, we still have a part in our own healing from sin. We have to obey God in doing what he says to do.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we willing die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Jesus could have just healed the man on the spot, but he didn’t, and I believe it is to illustrate salvation to us. We have to go and wash. We have to leave our old lives of sin behind us, and we have to turn (repent) and follow Jesus Christ with our lives. It is still the working of the Holy Spirit. This man was not healed merely because he washed some mud off his eyes. This was the healing of Jesus in his life as he obeyed and went and did what he was told to do. And, it is still Jesus doing the work of regeneration in our lives when we obey him, and we turn away from sin and we follow him in surrender to his will for our lives.
Now, all did not go smooth for the man who had now been healed of his blindness. He immediately faced strong opposition to his healing. And, we will face opponents, too, when we, by God’s grace, and through faith in Jesus Christ, turn from sin, are transformed of the Spirit, and we turn to follow (obey) Jesus with our lives. And, much of this resistance we face may come from within the church and its leadership, too, because so much of today’s church is following a diluted gospel absent of the cross of Christ in people’s lives. So, be prepared, but know your Lord is with you, and he will strengthen and empower you. Amen!
In Faithfulness He Leads Me
An Original Work / March 20, 2013 / Based off Various Scriptures
(Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76; Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)
Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
Your love is always, ever before me.
Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
You will cover me with feathers.
Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
Comfort and my shield.
The works of His hands are faithful and just.
Trustworthy are all of His precepts.
Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
Give understanding of Your commands.
I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
Lord, in faithfulness You have
Afflicted me so I may learn of
Your unfailing love and comfort
And Your truthfulness.
You are my husband; You have betrothed me
In love, compassion and faithfulness.
O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
Let us be glad and rejoice
In His salvation which He
Provided through the Lamb.
Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”