Another Look by David Faust
One of the most thought-provoking books of the Bible ends by saying, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, emphasis added).
God evaluates “every hidden thing.” In his presence there can be no cover-ups. Omniscient and omnipresent, he knows the big picture of the universe and the micro-picture of our thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears. David told the Lord, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:2, 3).
God sees our hidden motives. We might be able to pull the wool over the eyes of others, but God’s eyes are wool-proof and fool-proof. (Sheep can’t pull the wool over the Good Shepherd’s eyes.) He knows whether we serve out of love or with a resentful spirit, whether we give to meet a need or merely to make ourselves look generous. He knows whether we offer our opinions out of a genuine desire to help, or because being right makes us feel superior and in control.
God sees our hidden sins. Others may be impressed with our track record, but the Lord reads the resume written on our hearts. Do we condemn greed in others but tolerate it in ourselves? Do we feign kindness while inwardly we’re bitter? Do we preach against sexual immorality while harboring lust in our hearts? As Adam and Eve learned, fig leaves can’t cover up disobedience. As Jonah learned, it’s impossible to run from God. “The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever” (1 Timothy 5:24, 25, The Message). Instead of trying to evade the searchlight of God’s truth, the better course of action is to come clean and invite his scrutiny. David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24, NIV).
God sees our hidden hurts. Even when no one else knows what we’re going through, the Lord knows and cares. When the Israelites labored and groaned under Egyptian bondage, “their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. . . . So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them” (Exodus 2:23, 25). An old gospel song says it well: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus.”
God sees our hidden potential. He watches a fugitive flee to the desert of Midian and sees a leader named Moses. He looks at a young shepherd boy and sees King David. He notices an orphan girl growing up far from her homeland and sees Queen Esther. He looks at a brash fisherman named Simon Peter and sees a world-changing church leader. He sees beyond what we are to what we can become, beyond our sins to the service we can offer.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Thankfully, those eyes are filled with grace.
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