“I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may be made blind.”  John 9:41

“Therefore the king (Jeroboam)….made two calves of gold and said to the people, ‘…..Here are your gods, O Israel…..”  1 Kings 12:28

“But he (Rehoboam) rejected the advice which the elders had given him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him…….” 1 Kings 12:8

Two kings of Israel.  One king was the son of the great King Solomon; grandson of King David.  The other king was a servant in Solomon’s own house.  They would have seen Solomon’s reign.  They would have seen the blessings of Solomon’s wisdom.  From scripture we can’t be sure but they may even seen the greatest Jewish King; King David.  They certainly would have seen the Power of God.  How that power rained down blessings on those who believed and kept His word as well as destruction on those who did not follow Him.  Yet having seen, having been a witness to God’s power; they still lost that sight, became blind in their own lives.

How did that happen?  Spiritual blindness is rarely a sudden occurence, some tragic accident like some sharp or fast moving object striking the physical eye causing physical blindness.  No spiritual blindness comes from a wilful act or acts over time to purposely disregard the vision of God and supplant it with our own vision.

In the case above, it actually started with Solomon.  Solomon, the son of King David who was a man (David not Solomon) described as having a heart seeking after the Heart of God Himself; started off with a strong vision of God.  But over time, that vision faded.  Solomon who had asked not for riches or fame, but for wisdom was blessed above all kings with wisdom, fame and riches from God.  The beauty of and desire for his foreign wives, led Solomon to allow the worship of foreign gods and idols to happen in Israel.  God had warned Solomon, but Solomon still lost his vision and thus God declared that most of Israel would not be ruled by his family.

Enter, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, grandson of King David.  It was God’s plan that Rehoboam remain king of at least part of Israel.  Having seen how God had blessed but also dealt with Solomon’s sin, Rehoboam could have set his sights on God; doing God’s will, seeing God’s vision.  Solomon had taxed the people to build the temple and other splendid buildings in Jerusalem.  When Solomon died and Rehoboam is proclaimed king, the people ask for relief, to have less taxes.  Rehoboam was young and seemingly in wisdom he asks for advice.  The wise men of Israel counsel him to relent and lessen the taxes.  Rehoboam does not see it that way.  He rejects their wise counsel and instead turns to be friends as equally young, impetuous and unwise as he is for advice.  They tell him to not only keep, but increase the taxes significantly.  Rehoboam loses sight about what being a servant king is about and burdens the people even more.  They rebel.

Enter Jeroboam (boam seems to be a popular syllable for king names of the time).  God has seen fit to give him part of the kingdom of Israel due to the sins of Solomon and his son Rehoboam.  Given this great blessing, one might think that Jeroboam’s sight would have a laser focus on what God wanted to see happen.  Again, he was a living witness to the past decades of God’s direct, inescapable power.  But Jeroboam is afraid.  Clearly he is not afraid of God, but of worldly things.  First he’s afraid of losing his power; his kingship.  You see Rehoboam still had a small part of the kingdom to rule over because God was keeping His promise that the line of David would always sit on the throne; but it was a very small slice of Israel.  But that slice included Jerusalem.  And Jeroboam thought, if I allow the people to go worship God in Jerusalem, they will go back to Rehoboam and I will lose my kingship.  Secondly, if I’m no longer king, I will be killed.  So Jeroboam decides to set up his own god, a god of two gold calves and now he can control the people.  The kingdom suffers.

So what does this have to do with us today? How can we make sure our that our vision is not lost; that we are not blind?  First we must understand the vision God has put smack dab in front of us.  That is the vision of Jesus Christ.  And that vision has two parts to it.  First, is the vision of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Jesus Christ who died for our sins and our salvation.  The second aspect of the vision God has for us is Jesus Christ the risen Lord.  Jesus Christ who is King above all kings, sitting at the place of Honor, the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty.  But understand this, the world is trying to block that vision with all the power it can muster.  The world wants us to see personal power, wealth and status as the proper points to focus on.  If the world can not get us to covet worldly things then it wants us to focus in on fear; fear of rejection, of not fitting in, of abandonment, of no hope, of being utterly alone.

The smoke of the world is deep and dark.  So much so that we can not overcome it on our own.  What are we to do?  “I am the Light of the World!” Jesus Christ declares.  His Light will easily penetrate any and all darkness the world can throw at us.  Dear Sisters and Brothers we, if we will focus on the Light of Jesus Christ, will never know blindness.  When we momentarily stumble in the darkness of this world; the Light of Christ’s Love for us will lead us back on the path to Our Heavenly Father.  Christ’s Light is shining boldly and brightly for you and I today.  A Light which no amount of darkness will ever extinguish.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, Your Precious Son declared to us that the lamp of our body is the eye.  We confess, Dear Father, that the vision of our eyes sometimes stray from You and Your Vision.  Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when our eye turns longingly to the things of this world.  Through the strength of the Holy Spirit, bring us back to the One and Only True Vision that Saves; Jesus Christ.  That our eyes would be filled Your Light and that we in turn would shine Your Light of Love into the world.  This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen