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Why Are We So Blind to the Truth Sometimes?
But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. - Luke 9:43-45, ESV
Do you ever just shake your head at the disciples when you read the Gospels? They just don't seem to get it, do they? But before we're too hard on the thick-headed disciples, we need to think about our own lives. How many times have we just not seen the truth of what we now see as obvious? And remember that these same disciples who are so clueless here would go on to spread the Gospel farther in a single generation than any other group of disciples in church history, from Spain to India to Ethiopia.
So, what makes the difference? Why is it that we didn't understand spiritual truths that we now do? How is it that the disciples could be so blind to the truth here and so insightful as to write the New Testament years later?
Well, we don't need to guess, because the Bible tells us. In verse 44, Luke tells us that the disciples "did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it." We can take this verse and add to it some other Scripture:
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." - 1 Cor. 2:14, ESV
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." - 2 Cor. 4:3-4, ESV
And here are the conclusions we can draw . . .
1. When we don't see or understand spiritual things, it's because we're being kept from understanding them. Satan actively blinds the minds of unbelievers. God sovereignly chooses to keep us from seeing the truth until he chooses to reveal it to us.
2. We need the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds to understand spiritual truths.
Knowing these two truths is vital because it keeps us humble and helps us have compassion on others. What we understand of God's truth has been revealed to us by God. Unbelievers are in rebellion against God, as we were, but they are also being kept in the dark. They need our sympathy and our prayers and not our arrogant anger and judgment. And we should also be sure to give all glory to God and take absolutely no credit for ourselves for anything we do understand of the Lord and His ways.
Prayer Based on Psalm 119:1-40:
Psalm 119 is an extended prayer for deeper understanding of God's word. We'll be praying it for the next several days . . .
Lord, You greatly bless those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the path of Your law!
You bless those who keep Your testimonies,
who seek You with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in Your ways!
You have commanded Your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping Your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all Your commandments.
I will praise You with an upright heart,
when I learn Your righteous rules.
I will keep Your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.
With my whole heart I seek You;
let me not wander from Your commandments!
I have stored up Your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord;
teach me Your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of Your mouth.
In the way of Your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
and fix my eyes on Your ways.
I will delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
Deal bountifully with Your servant,
that I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of Your law.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not Your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for Your rules at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from Your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept Your testimonies.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
Your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.
My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to Your word!
When I told of my ways, You answered me;
teach me Your statutes!
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
and I will meditate on Your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to Your word!
Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me Your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set Your rules before me.
I cling to Your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of Your commandments
when You enlarge my heart!
Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep Your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of Your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in Your ways.
Confirm to your servant Your promise,
that You may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for Your rules are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
in Your righteousness give me life!
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