Pastor Hans Fiene
Matins Devotion: May 22, 2023
Number 14:26-45, Luke 18:35-19:10
Throughout the broader Exodus event, the Israelites saw many miraculous signs demonstrating God’s power over their enemies. They saw the plagues that humiliated and humbled Pharaoh, miraculous acts of destruction that Pharaoh's magicians couldn’t replicate. They saw the plague of the firstborn destroy the might of Egypt while they were kept safe. They saw Pharaoh’s armies drowned in the Red Sea. They saw God ward off the enemy of starvation with the manna from heaven. And yet, when the Israelites spies returned lamenting how strong the Canaanites who occupied the Promised Land were, it was as if the people who saw everything saw nothing. They despaired and cried out in anguish, they despised and rejected the promise of God. Though seeing, they couldn’t see the might of God they had repeatedly seen. And so God punished them for it, cursing that adult generation to wander in the wilderness until all but Joshua and Caleb had died off. That’s what we heard about in our first reading for today.
But in our second reading, we hear about a man who saw nothing and yet saw everything. A blind beggar, named Bartimaeus in Mark’s Gospel, has not seen the wondrous works of Christ. His eyes have not seen Jesus cast out demons or heal the sick. He hasn’t seen Jesus display His power over the great enemy Satan. But Bartimaeus has heard it. And so this lowly beggar cries out for mercy to the one He knows is the Messiah. He calls Jesus “Son of David” and will not stop crying out for Jesus to heal him even after he’s told to be silent. So Christ opens his eyes and the man who could not see now can see what he already saw–the victory and mercy of His God.
The lesson here is simple. Sight will not fix your problems. It will not cure your doubts and destroy your anxiety. You could see Jesus pour out a thousand miracles upon you and you would have no trust that you’ll see miracle number 1,001 if your ears don’t also hear His promises. So hear them. Believe them.
Jesus Christ has conquered your sins and won eternal life for you. The enemies of the Gospel have been crushed and conquered a thousand times before and they will be crushed and conquered a thousand times again. Fear will not usher you into the Kingdom of God. Trust will. So trust your Lord and His promises. Hear His word, believe it, and you will see His victory.