Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Make Their Ears Heavy and Shut Their Eyes

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Keraza Magazine issue 39-40 October 6, 2017

When Isaiah the prophet saw the Lord sitting on a throne and the trail of His robe filled the temple, he felt his impurity. Then, one of the seraphim flew to him having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar, and he touched his mouth with it. His iniquity was then taken away, and his sin was purged. After that, he heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?". What was amazing in Isaiah the prophet is that he rushed in the zeal of love to accept God's call without knowing in advance the subject of his mission and the nature of ministry required from him. It was also amazing that after he accepted the delegation, God started to reveal to him what he is required to do in his ministry, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' 'Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.'" (Isaiah 6:9-10). What was even odder, Isaiah did not discuss with the Lord this weird mission but only asked Him, "Lord, How long?" (Isaiah 6:11). What type of mission is that where God ask His faithful servant to make the heart of the people dull, and their ears heavy, and to shut their eyes?!! How can this servant fulfil that while he is supposed to carry a message of salvation? How can a physician who cures the hearts, eyes, and ears make them dull, heavy, and shut?!!

In fact, the work of a prophet, an apostle, or a servant is to reveal light and truth. The response of every person differs according to the inclinations of his own heart. In the one whose heart is evil, the light of the divine truth becomes burning to the ill eyes of his heart making him more and more blind, "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you" (Proverbs 9:7-8). As for the one whose heart is humble, his eyes are ready to be illuminated with grace over grace, "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning" (Proverbs 9:9). This is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in His saying, "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:19-21).

Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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