A study of ears that will not hear and eyes that will not see

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- So here is our question. Why can’t the people understand, see and hear?

Romans 11:8 HCSB
8 as it is written: God gave them a spirit of insensitivity, eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, to this day.

Old Testament background

Deuteronomy 4:32–40 HCSB
“Indeed, ask about the earlier days that preceded you, from the day God created man on the earth and from one end of the heavens to the other: Has anything like this great event ever happened, or has anything like it been heard of? Has a people heard God’s voice speaking from the fire as you have, and lived? Or has a god attempted to go and take a nation as his own out of another nation, by trials, signs, wonders, and war, by a strong hand and an outstretched arm, by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? You were shown these things so that you would know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. He let you hear His voice from heaven to instruct you. He showed you His great fire on earth, and you heard His words from the fire. Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them and brought you out of Egypt by His presence and great power, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you in and give you their land as an inheritance, as is now taking place. Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other. Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
Deuteronomy 29:3–4 HCSB
You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.
and 6:1-3 and 4-6
Isaiah 6:1–13 HCSB
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; His glory fills the whole earth. The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said: Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed and your sin is atoned for. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me. And He replied: Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive. Dull the minds of these people; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed. Then I said, “Until when, Lord?” And He replied: Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants, houses are without people, the land is ruined and desolate, and the Lord drives the people far away, leaving great emptiness in the land. Though a tenth will remain in the land, it will be burned again. Like the terebinth or the oak that leaves a stump when felled, the holy seed is the stump.

Old Testament background

What is the pattern we see?

God’s grace-only full revelation of Himself to an undeserving people

A God who takes the initiative to disclose himself to a people who have no claim to His affections. This is pure grace. Nothing is owed. There are no prior obligations except for God’s own grace-only covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s gracious disclosure to the people of Israel was the partial fulfillment of God’s grace-only covenant promises to the Patriarch fathers.

Everything necessary for faith has been provided already

In a way that has never happened before in all of human history, God tells the people His name, takes a people to himself, speaks to them, blesses them, rescues them, provides for them and guides them and makes both promises and curses.
If you think this part of the pattern is purely Old Testament stuff, you need to read .
Gracious revelation
Sufficient revelation
A persistent pattern of rejection
GOD’S REVELATION OF HIMSELF, TO THOSE WHO HE CALLS BY GRACE, IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE BEGINNING OF FAITH.
What I don’t see here:
I see no Biblical support for the idea God only reveals himself partially to a select few with the divine purpose of keeping some people in the dark.

After a persistent pattern of rejection and ONLY after a persistent pattern of rejection, God releases the disobedient to their own desires.

Consider God’s rejection of King Saul after a long pattern of disobedience. <>. While God did not reject the nation of Israel but remained faithful to the covenant, he gave Saul over to the consequences of a persistently rebellious heart.
Also read carefully Isaiah’s prophesy in . Here’s God’s righteous anger comes because of a people who have tasted the full benefit of His grace have, even so, rejected Him as Lord and King. Look carefully at the language in v.5 - “I will remove its hedge, and it will be consumed, I will tear down its wall, and it will be trampled. And in v. 6, God withholds the rain for the resulting punishment of withering.
The same pattern repeats again in .
v.24 - “God delivered them over” - to cravings
v. 26 - “God delivered them over” - to passions
v. 28 - “God delivered them over” - to a worthless mind

Even after God has rejected his rebellious people, stopped up their ears and blinded their eyes and clouded their minds, he will still extend a hand of grace in the form of the preaching of His word.

and 14-18
God entrusts his message to a remnant of faithful servants who, in the face of hardship, persecution, ridicule and apathy, they will keep proclaiming God’s message.
The one with the message will suffer but God remains faithful to His covenant.

Even after God has rejected those with a pattern of rebellion (after they have been given every thing necessary) he remains faithful to His promises to a remnant.

Remember we read - “dull the minds of the people (see v. 9-10). Look how he closes the passage in v. 13 - “the holy seed is in the stump.”
God’s pattern is that even after the judgement there will be a remnant who will taste and witness God’s faithful love. <See >

All we have done so far, is to come to and understanding of the universal, unchanging pattern of God’s grace, judgement, and faithfulness to a remnant. Now let’s look back at and see how this helps us read the verse we are struggling with. How do we see the pattern of grace, judgement and remnant in this passage?

Setting in its fuller context

How do we see the pattern of grace, judgement and remnant?

- God had a covenant with Israel but they broke it. Thus God is not bound by the agreement except on the basis of His own holy character.
v. 15 - by His sovereign will, He will decide where to apply his grace and mercy.
v. 16 - God’s mercy comes purely from grace for His own glory
v. 18 - but for a people with a pattern of rebellion he will decide where to give mercy and where to harden.
v. 25- THEREFORE - THOSE WHO WERE FORMERLY EXCLUDED (AND THIS INCLUDES US) WILL BE CALLED HIS PEOPLE, BELOVED, AND SONS OF THE LIVING GOD. <Look at - God places the stumbling block in the way of repentance of those who have persistently rejected God’s message and rebelled against his authority.
The stumbling block is the requirement for a broken, repentant heart, who surrenders to the Lordship of God. Jesus’ call to “repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” is the rock that the persistently rebellious will stumble over but those who submit to Christ will never be put to shame.
The pride and arrogance of owning their own righteousness is sufficient reason for God’s rejection: v.3
Surrendering pride, faith and belief, with public confession bring us to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Now we can read

Key verse: v. 1 - Was it God who rejected the covenant relationship with His people?
Here is the persistence of rebellion:
Killed the prophets (rejected the message)
Tore down the alters (refused worship and sacrifice and a pattern of repentance)
BUT AMONG THE PEOPLE THERE WAS A REMNANT WHO DID NOT REBEL - V. 4.
THE REST, GOD GAVE OVER TO THEIR OWN CHOICE. HE REMOVED THE GRACE THAT ENABLES ONE TO HEAR HIS VOICE AND SEE HIS GLORY AND SENSE HIS PRESENCE.
THEY WILL CONTINUE TO TRY, ON THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS TO COME TO GOD BUT HE WILL NOT HEAR - V. 9-10.

What does this mean for us?

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