I Was Blind “But Now I See,” Literally!!!

Sometime around 2009 while driving on Hwy 90 I rubbed my left eye and then noticed that I couldn’t see very good through my right eye. It was like I was looking through a white fog. Sometime later I went to a nationally known Contact, Eyeglass, Eye Doctor store that I had been going to. When the optometrist tried to find the proper lens for my right eye I told him I can’t see the letters, just a white fog. He looked into my right eyeball with and instrument and told me I had a type of dystrophy but to be certain he went get the other optometrist to examine my eye also. The 2nd optometrist agreed, I had a dystrophy. I asked if it could be fixed with eye surgery but both doctors said no, it’s too deep into the eye to be repaired by surgery.

Some people function just fine with sight from only 1 eye but if you are a USCG licensed captain as I had been since 2007, you are required to have correctable vision to at least 20/40 in both eyes and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 in both eyes. My first renewal came up in 2012 and I needed to past the medical physical which included the eye exam. The technician that did my medical exam tried an electronic eye exam that I failed, then he moved me into the hall to try the wall chart exam that I failed again. He told me, “you don’t qualify for a USCG license with your vision but I will grade you at the lowest level they accept, you need to see an eye doctor”. God’s hand of Mercy and Grace was extended to me through that man.

So I thought, I’m safe for 5 more years, until my next USCG renewal comes up. Because of my poor eyesight my Coast Guard license required that I always carry an extra set of eyeglasses (46 CFR § 10.305 – Vision requirements section d).

I was resigned to the fact that getting another technician with God’s Favor extended to me in that way was expecting a lot and that I’d probably lose my license next time. My hopes of 5 more years soon evaporated when I found out that my Louisiana driver’s license was coming up for renewal. Now I had another eye exam I HAD TO PASS. Each time we did a USCG vessel inspection, the USCG officer in charge of the inspection had to see our Coast Guard credentials and state driver’s license. If my state license was marked as they do that I was legally blind in one eye, he would have had my license pulled from me. I stalled and waited to renew my driver’s license knowing I’d fail the eye exam.

Then I thought, if only this was a renewal that could be done by mail and I wouldn’t have to go into the office and have my eyes examined. Running out of time and waiting for the mail renewal form to arrive I thought to look through some mail I hadn’t sorted yet and guess what. The renewal had been sitting on my desk all that time. Before I had thought to hope and pray a mail renewal would come, God’s hand of Mercy and Grace had been extended to me yet another time. (Isaiah 65:24)

After that my wife told me, “why don’t you go to another eye doctor to get another opinion”. She told me about some doctors close to home that had I good reputation for their excellence in their trade. Thinking, I’ve already had 2 opinions what have I got to lose by getting another one so I set up an appointment. I told the ophthalmologist what the 2 optometrists (there’s a BIG Difference in those 2 words) had diagnosed just before he examined my right eye. When he did he exclaimed, “You don’t have a dystrophy, you have a horrible cataract, I can fix that”. After a few months of medical tests for the cause of the deposits in my eye and eye drop treatments to get my eye in condition to have the surgery on August 6, 2014 my sight was completely restore. I praised and praised and praised God some more for my sight being restored.

Two bible verses took on a whole new meaning to me.

Isaiah 42: 5-7  Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

John 9:25  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

Cataract Epiphany Rejoice

Fast forward to Sunday morning August 6th 2017, not long before leaving for church. As I sat at our kitchen table, looking at the Hebrew calendar app on my phone, I again thanked Father God for restoring the sight in my right eye. For almost 5 years I had thought it was go forever. As I looked at the calendar I noticed that the 9th of Av had just passed a few days earlier on Tuesday. A thought came to mind, just what if the day of my eye surgery had been on the 9th of Av that year so I checked it out to see. When I did tears filled my eyes again for God’s Great Mercy and Grace He so generously pours out on my life. It WAS The 9th of Av my sight was restored and the revelation of ALL that meant came to me. You see I had spent many months studying the different holidays and feast days of the Hebrew, God’s calendar really, I compiled them on a single word document to categorize them here.  He decreed the dates of each event. They are like dressed rehearsals and memorials for the “actual” event.  Hebrew days run from sunset to sunset of each day.

Cataract Surgery 2014

The 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av) is the day the 12 spies returned to tell Moses and the people of Israel about the land God was giving them to possess. Only Caleb and Joshua (Hoshea, in Num. 13:16) had a good report. The other 10 had no faith to trust God. The people cried to go back to Egypt, wanted to reject Moses and Aaron and rejected the land flowing with milk and honey God wanted to bless them with. All this lack of faith after ALL the great miracles God had done for them in only a little over a year in time.

40 Days

The 9th of Av should have been a day of rejoicing for them. It should have been an anniversary “Forever In Time” of Praising God for the wonderful land He was giving them. God was giving them cities they didn’t have to build. They’d eat the fruit of trees and vines they didn’t have to plant. Prosper from the flocks and herds they’d put no effort to raise. The 9th of Av should have been to them like what August 6, 2014, the 9th of Av would forever be to me now. A day to be thankful and to praise Father God for another proof of His Tender Mercies and Lovingkindness’ upon my life. Another reason that I should walk out a life of faith, sharing my faith, in a pleasing way to God. Not seeking what else can I get from God but what can I bring to Him as an offering of thankfulness for ALL He has Already Done for me!!!

But what did their lack of faith and rebellion bring them instead? It brought an anniversary date that they will never forget throughout memorial for all the terrible things that happened again and again throughout Israel’s existence, even when they weren’t a nation anymore. Calamities on this one day of the Hebrew calendar defies chance or odds that they are only random events. There are NO Coincidences where God is concerned. The Sovereignty of God excludes anything happening that He is unaware of. The Omniscience of God for all things is proved by prophecies written thousands of years in advance in His Holy Word, the Bible.  This year the 9th of Av is on our August 10-11th.

Another odd thing about it is that it’s the 9th day of the 11th month on the Hebrew calendar of the civil year and the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. This is the only month which is not named in the Bible.  As the 5th, it is mentioned and the day Aaron Remember Bishop Drew’s saying, “When odd things happen, look for God!” It’s a 9-11 in reverse, a day America vows to Never Forget, Israel can’t forget theirs either. Another coincidence? They Don’t Exist!!! “Wake Up America,” as Earl Pitts says.

The Book of Lamentations is written about the destruction of Jerusalem “before it happens” by Jeremiah the Prophet, oddly in Lam. 1:15 he calls it a “mo’ed” an appointment made by God.

Jeremiah 1 15 Mo'ed Outline

The Torah Portions for this week are read this coming weekend, August 10/11, 2019, the 9th of Av, are named

Devarim | דברים | “Words”
TorahDeuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22
ProphetsIsaiah 1:1-27
Brit HadashaMark 14:1-16John 15:1-11Hebrews 3:7 – 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:1-7

In Deuteronomy 1:19-46 Moses reminds Israel why they’ve spent almost 40 years in the wilderness and why so many died there, retelling the story of the 12 spies. Pay attention to the verses of Hebrews 3:7- 4:11 and my final comments which is a strong conviction that I believe, it is reinforced by these scriptures in the Book of Hebrews. 3 times (emphasis), WE are warned, the New Testament church of Christ, by the Holy Spirit that “seals us,”

Hebrews 3:7-9 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.

15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Hebrews 4:5-8  And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, Elohim[b] would not have spoken of another day later on.

The number 12 in scripture is used frequently to signify the fullness of whatever is in view.  12 times in these few verses, like the 12 spies, the word “rest, rested” is used, emphasis upon emphasis, stressing the point,

Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

 

  1. Ten of the 12 spies returned with a bad report on the 9th of Av. (c. 1435 BCE).
  2. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians on the 9th of Av (c. 587 BCE).
  3. The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE on the 9th of Av.
  4. In 71 CE the Roman army plowed the city of Jerusalem with salt on the 9th of Av.
  5. Bar Kochba was killed and his army destroyed on the 9th of Av, in the year 135 CE.
  6. In 1290 CE, England expelled all Jews from the country on the 9th of Av.
  7. In 1492, Spain expelled all Jews from their country on the 9th of Av.
  8. In 1914, on the 9th of Av., World War I began when Germany declared war on Russia. In Eastern Russia, the Russian government began a campaign of severe persecution against the Jews at that time. Historians conclude World War II and the Holocaust was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914.

Numbers 13:26-33  Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:1-4  So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

Moses intercedes for the people, but God gives them exactly what they asked for in their lack of faith.

19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

20 Then the Lord said: I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.”

28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. 35 I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ”

Today in certain Jewish synagogues on the 9th of Av the Book of Lamentations or the Book of Job is read for obvious reasons.

The Torah Portions read throughout the world the week after the 9th of Av, reminds Israel yet again of the consequences of sin and rebellion, even if your name is Moses. The name of that weeks portion is “Va’etchanan | ואתחנן | “I Pleaded”. It begins with the passage from Deuteronomy 3:23,

23 “And I pleaded with YHWH at that time, saying, 24 ‘O Lord YHWH, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? 25 Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ 26 But YHWH was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And YHWH said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.

Then the reading from the prophets begins with Isaiah 40:1-26,

Comfort, comfort my people, says your Elohim.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from YHWH’s hand
double for all her sins.

Anytime words are repeated in scripture it’s to add emphasis. God tells Israel, “Comfort, Comfort” as a reassurance that His anger with them has subsided. Why? The last words of verse 2 explains, Israel had been punished “doubly for her sins” by God’s Hand.

These 2 points should be a somber reminder that although God is Forever Faithful to Pardon (H5545- “to forgive”) a repentant sinner, some consequences of that sin in this life may be required to administer “Justice”. God’s decisions are forever and always “Just”. God can be nothing but “Just”. It’s impossible for God to be Unjust, no matter if we understand it or not. The LORD, He Alone is God.

This thought is expressly presented in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews chapter 10,

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

I will never forget a teaching on this subject by Pastor Bert Clendennen. He said he went to visit and pray for an elderly pastor in the hospital not long before he passed away. Pastor Bert said the elderly pastor was terrified with the prospect of dying. Pastor Bert said after leaving the hospital room, even he was severely  shaken by the fear of death expressed by the dying pastor and asked God, ” what am I to make of this, a man who gave his life as a minister of the Gospel, so fearful to meet You”. God’s answer to Pastor Bert was simple, “He didn’t do what I told him”.

Don’t play games with God. He knows our thoughts before we know them,

Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off

Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

God already knows our every sins, failures, fears and shortcomings. It pleases Him immensely when we admit them to Him and ask Him for help to overcome them.

Isaiah 42:1-4 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

What does it mean that God is just? Even if your name is Moses or Aaron!!!

https://www.gotquestions.org/God-is-just.html

God’s justice was also applied to Aaron, Israel’s first high priest.

Numbers 20:22-29  Now the children of Israel, the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there.” 27 So Moses did just as the Lord commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 Now when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.

Although the month of Av is never named in the bible, it is mentioned as the 5th month after God directed the children of Israel at the very 1st Passover that the month of Nissan would be their 1st month from then on.

Numbers 33:38-39  Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the Lord, and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

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