Summary: Through this LAW & GOSPEL prophecy from Isaiah we are encouraged to let God heal the eyes and ears of our soul.
You are handed something that looks like a strange plastic spatula. “Cover your right eye and read the smallest letters you can on the chart on the wall. Now do the same with the other eye,” you are told. The person speaking to you records the results. In another office an assistant to the doctor puts a set of head phones over your ears. You are given these directions, “Raise your right hand when you hear a sound in your right ear and raise your left hand when you hear a sound in your left ear.” Following the same procedure as the eye test the results are recorded.
Why do children regularly get such tests at school or from a doctor? Why are all of us told to get our eyesight and hearing checked from time to time? In the case of those who are in school seeing and hearing are essential for learning. For us who aren’t in school we need our eyes and ears for work or to safely drive a car. In addition to meeting these practical requirements getting our eyes and ears checked regularly may at some point uncover a disease or deterioration. Often if these things are discovered early they can be successfully treated.
If sight and hearing are vitally important to our bodies how much more are those same things to our souls. If we are not seeing what God wants us to see and hearing what he wants us to hear we are in big trouble. Thankfully God has a spiritual eye chart and a spiritual hearing test to reveal any problems with the eyes and ears of our soul. We find them both in his Word.
As we direct our attention to the Word of God for our sermon from Isaiah 42 God will administer a spiritual seeing and hearing test and offer a cure for whatever he finds. Since this is eternally important I invite you to:
“LET GOD HEAL YOUR EYES AND EARS”
I. He reveals what makes a person blind and deaf
II. He offers a cure to those who don’t reject his care
Spiritual seeing and hearing are two themes that run throughout Isaiah’s prophecy. Again and again the LORD condemns his people for being blind and deaf in their relationship to him. Seeing and hearing are also frequently tied to faith and obedience while blindness and deafness are connected to unbelief and disobedience.
If we narrow the scope for background information just to Chapter 42 of Isaiah’s prophecy we will also learn that it was Jesus’ task to bring sight and hearing to God’s people. That is described in the first verses of the chapter. Then in these verses on which we are focusing in our sermon God speaks about his judgment on spiritual blindness and deafness and also the cure he offers for both. The timeless message for believers of all ages is, “Let God heal your eyes and ears.”
When we go to an ophthalmologist or an audiologist he or she will administer a series of tests to reveal any problems with our eyes or ears. God sent Isaiah to diagnose the problem his people had with their spiritual seeing and hearing. “But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame. Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD? You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.”
There was nothing wrong with the physical eyes and ears of the Israelites. Their bodies were working as God had created them to function. But the eyes and ears of their souls had ceased to see and hear. They had chosen to trust in idols instead of the LORD. Because they didn’t love God above all things they didn’t want to listen to him. What a shame it was that the very people of God who had been given so many spiritual advantages to see his wonders and hear his Word chose to close their eyes to his will and stop up their ears to his commands.
What caused this disastrous disease to infect God’s people? Can we blame it on what they saw around them? All the other nations were worshipping gods made of gold and silver. Perhaps that contributed to their lack of sight and hearing in their relationship with the true God. We could also point to the enticing sins that the Israelites saw going on among their neighbors. And the spiritual leaders in Israel are also partially to blame for the blindness and deafness of God’s people. But ultimately the responsibility must fall fully on each and every one of the Israelites who let their eyes and ears stop functioning. They chose to put their trust in other gods and let their loyalty be distracted from the one true God. They had allowed their hearts and minds to wander from God’s Word. And finally like a sick patient in denial over a disease the people who heard Isaiah’s prophecy chose to deny the results of their seeing and hearing check. In their pride they refused to acknowledge what they had become. They refused to hear the truth about the condition of their relationship with God.