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Grant Metcalf
(C) November 2008

     Are you blind?--a citizen in the Country of the Blind?

In a recent sermon my pastor made a reference to the "country of the
dead." This immediately started me thinking of the old H.G. Wells
science fiction story "The Country Of The Blind".*1 And, of course,
there also is that old proverb "There are none so blind as those who
will not see."*2 Well, all this has been rattling around in my head for
several days and with your permission here are some random thoughts.

For more than sixty years now I have been blind as a result of falling
head first through a window. And although most people would rather
lose a limb, be deaf and dumb or die than be physically blind, I have
found it to be a blessing from God in my life through which it has been
possible for me to learn about and experience His awsome grace.

In H.G. Well's story "The Country of The Blind", Nunez, a sighted man,
accidentally falls into an isolated valley in the Andes mountains of
Equador where all the inhabitants have been blind for many generations.
Recognizing the state of affairs, he immediately thinks of the old axiom
"The one eyed man in the country of the blind is king." But soon he 
discovers that they have adapted their world and belief system to their
own condition and have a strong desire to make him like themselves.
Because they are physically blind they cannot see the stars he sees--nor
will they believe his words! You see, their belief system was based only
on what they were able to observe for themselves.

This brings me to my second thought: "There are none so blind as those
who will not see!" which speaks of a condition far worse than mere
physical blindness. An even more dangerous condition from which all men
suffer is spiritual blindness.

Both Jesus and Paul quote Isaiah in describing the people of Israel:
'Go to this people and say, "'You will keep on hearing,
but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will
not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, and with
their ears they scarcely hear, and THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and
understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them."' 
(Acts 28:26-27, Matthew 13:14-15, Isaiah 6:9)

In Jeremiah 5:21 we find a similar statement: 'Hear this, O foolish
and senseless people, Who have eyes, but see not; Who have ears, but
hear not.'

And Paul, in Romans 120-23,28,32, describes the Gentiles as no better. 
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His
eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being
understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
For even though they knew God, they did nothonor Him as God or give
thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish
heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and
exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of
corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals andcrawling
creatures.... And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any
longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which
are not proper,... and although they know the ordinance of God, that
those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the
same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

In the above passages we have been given a description of "those who
will not see." Obviously, this is a state of mind chosen by the
individual. One does not usually choose to put out his own eyes,
although, I know of at least one man who did. And yet, when it comes to
spiritual matters concerning the truth as seen in God's Word, countless
multitudes make the decision to reject it, preferring to follow their
own misconceptions as those in the country of the blind. How foolish

The Bible is primarily a book that reveals God to men and what He wants
us to know. However, when touching on history or things scientific, it
has always been demonstrated to be reliable, even though often disputed
by unbelieving men. But it is here we want to discuss how it is that we
may come to know Him.

Jesus, the "God-man," said in the Gospel of John: "I am the Light of the
world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have
the Light of life" (8:12). As the physical eye requires light in
order to see where it's going, likewise, the spiritual eyes of men
require a source of light. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, we have
seen that Jesus proclaimed Himself to be that light.

In the next chapter, John 9, we see the story of the man born blind
whose eyes were opened. Not since the beginning of the world had anyone
heard of such a thing, and yet, the Pharisees reject the evidence and
testimony set forth before their very eyes. What they could see with
their physical eyes they refuse to see with their spiritual eyes.

Notice what Jesus had to say about this in John 9:39-41.

And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who
do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." Those of
the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him,
"We are not blind too, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind,
you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.

In other words, they rejected the truth available to them, choosing
rather to follow their own unenlightened way. And that way led them to 
crucify the very One who came to lead them out of their darkness
into the light of life. "He came to His own, and those who were His own
did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the
right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will
of man, but of God" (John 1:11-13).

In John chapter 3 Jesus also spoke to Nicodemus about being born anew.

... "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see
the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when
he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be
born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one
is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh [physical birth], and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit [spiritual birth]. "Do not be
amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'..." Nicodemus said
to Him, "How can these things be?" (vss 3-9)

Nicodemus needed to see, as do we, that sinful man, spiritually blind
and separated from God, must be newly born spiritually from above by the
Spirit. In verse 14 Jesus goes on to explain how this is to be

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son
of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal
life [a godly quality of life]. "For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whoever [is believing] in Him shall not
perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the
world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (3:14-17).

Elsewhere in chapter 12;32-36 Jesus says:

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to
die [on a cross]. The crowd then answered Him, "We have heard out of the
Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, 'The Son
of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" So Jesus said to
them, "For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you
have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in
the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light,
believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light. "

What Jesus is saying is that it was necessary for Him to die, the
sinless One, for the sins of the world in order that men might once
again have a living relationship to God. He says in 14:6, "I am the way,
and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

And how is it that we come? By faith. Faith in the fact that Jesus died
for the sins of the whole world[ including our own], was buried [because
He was dead], and raised again the third day [by this God showing His
acceptance of Christ's sacrifice in our behalf for  our justification].
After this He  was seen by more than 500 people. Not only  seen with
their physical eyes, touched by their hands, but now justified through
the eyes of faith. A great many of these died as marters because of
their testtimony to the truth of what they saw. Do you see it?

Back in John 3 Jesus finishes His conversation with Nicodemus in verses
18-21 as follows.

"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been
judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into
the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their
deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does
not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he
who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be
manifested as having been wrought in God."

Have you seen the Light? Are you walking in the Light? Are the eyes of
your faith opened to Him? Or, do you choose to remain a citizen in the
Country of the Blind?

Believe in His Name, and all that it represents, and you will be
delivered out from the country of the spiritually blind.


*1 The Country of The Blind: H.G. Wells, 1904 (read onlinne)

*2 John Bartlett: Familiar  Quotations: 1919 10th ed.
    a. "None so blind as those that will not see." Commentary on
  Jeremiah 5:21. Mathew Henry (1662-1714)
    b. "There is none so blind as they that won't see." Polite
  Conversation, dialogue iii. Jonathan Swift: (1667-1745)
  c. "Who is so deafe or so blinde as is hee
     That wilfully will neither heare nor see?" Proverbes. Part ii.
     Chap. ix. John Heywood (1497-1580)

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