God’s judgment falls on Judah. Nebuchadnezzar captures Jerusalem, kills the sons of Zedekiah the king before his eyes, burns down the temple, sacks the city, and finally blinds Zedekiah. God is faithful to his covenant. Disobedience leads to curses and God’s word has proven true. He is faithful and cannot deny himself.
The blinding of Zedekiah is a physical action, but it is also a symbolic action, as it is indicative of covenant curses. Sin leads to blindness and further blindness is the punishment. The logic is: “if you refuse to see, then you will get what you want and not see.” Deuteronomy 28:28-29 states:
“The Lord will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you.”
These words have been fulfilled by the time of Jeremiah 52. If we take a look at this theme diachronically throughout the bible, then we will see blindness at many junctures. For example, in the book of Judges, Samson’s punishment is, in part, blindness. We see the same in the life of Paul in the book of Acts. As he meets the Lord, he is blinded and it takes a man of God (Ananias) to heal him. Veritable covenant curses.
From this background, when Jesus opens the eyes of the blind, we are seeing covenant blessings. We are seeing the beginning of restoration. This will ultimately take place, because Jesus will merit the covenant blessings through a perfect life and simultaneously take our curse on himself on the cross. What a glorious exchange!
Sight, true sight, only comes from knowing Christ and abiding in him. From this perspective, we should all be humble enough, especially leaders, to have teachable hearts, to be open to counsel, to be open to correction as we might be wrong, and to seek community to overcome any spiritual blind spots. What we think we need or what we think our churches need may be the very thing we can live without or the very thing that may harm us. What we need is to see in the light of Christ. Passages such as these, call us to worship, to take steps of faith, to be in his counsel, and to pray for illumination.