The Blind Seer – Isaiah 40:6
Supplement to “Armor Bearers”
“A voice says, ‘Proclaim!’ and [the [prophet] asks, ‘What shall I proclaim?’ – ‘All flesh is grass and all its kindness is like a blossom in the field. Grass withers and blossoms fades when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; indeed the people are grass. Grass withers and blossom fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
God comforts Israel by having the prophet proclaim that all flesh is ephemeral and transitory while the word of God stands forever.
Israel was chosen by God to testify that there is no power aside from Him (Isaiah 44:9). You don’t need a witness for something that everyone can see. The truth of God’s power is hidden behind the façade of the natural order (Isaiah 44:18). With eyes of flesh we see might, strength and permanence in natural objects such as mountains, rivers and seas. We see power and force in armies, weapons and warriors. And we see security and stability in financial resources and in political entities. But Israel was taught to see through all of these. When God took this nation for Himself He taught them that all of these are illusion and God alone is the only power (Deuteronomy 4:35; 8:3).
Throughout the long exile Israel ignored the success of the nations around them because it knew that any success that is not rooted in loyalty to God is transitory and illusion. The power of the empires and emperors, the strength of armies and warriors and the glory of idols and heroes did not impress the Jew who saw through all of these. The Jew was blind to the glitter and dazzle of the natural order and the Jew’s heart and hope were to the God of Israel and no one and nothing else. Israel’s steadfast loyalty to God and to His holy law gives testimony to the world that God alone is the true power.
God declares: “Who is blind but my servant” (Isaiah 42:19). Israel cannot see that which all other nations see and appreciate. Israel has already been taught by God not to be influenced persuaded by the natural order of things. Even when God castigates Israel for their blindness it is because they have been granted the tools to see beyond flesh and to perceive the power of God – and when they do not live up to this exalted calling – they are called blind (Isaiah 29:10).
Within the body of corporate Israel it is the prophet; the seer, who is the most blinded to the illusion of the material world. As Israel saw God on a national level; the prophet was granted vision by God on a personal level. The vision of the prophet cannot see the world-view that other people live with for God has opened his eyes to see the truth of God’s might.
Ultimately all of mankind will see that nothing is real aside from the word of God (Isaiah 40:5). All of the persuasions of the eye of flesh will embarrass those who believed in them (Isaiah 2:11). Israel will ultimately be comforted when all will recognize that all flesh is but grass. And until the day when God’s glory is revealed Israel draws its strength from the trust it has in the Rock of all existence (Isaiah 26:4).
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal