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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Matt's Messages "The Eyes of the LORD"

“The Eyes of the LORD”
August 31, 2008
Proverbs 15:3

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

I’m really glad to get back to preaching! I haven’t had the privilege of bringing the Word since August 10th when I was leaving for my doctoral classes in Philadelphia.

So, I’ve been excited about the chance to prepare a message and give it to you.

Today’s message is on one verse, a proverb.

A proverb is a special kind of biblical writing. It isn’t like other kinds of writing in the Bible. It’s not like an epistle. It’s not like Law or History or a Psalm or a Gospel.

A proverb is its own thing.

A proverb is a pithy saying in just a few lines, often just one sentence, that gives wisdom for living skillfully in God’s world.

It’s a short saying that is meant to make a person think about biblical living in the world that God rules.

And here’s a real key to understanding and using the Proverbs:

Treat them like a piece of gum. [Take out Wrigley’s Doublemint. Start chewing.]

Proverbs 15:3

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

It’s best to memorize a proverb and then just chew on it all day long. It actually won’t lose its flavor!

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

King James:

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

Let’s chew on this for a while.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

How does that make you feel when you first hear it?

How does that make you feel when you hear it the second time and the third?

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

The first thing I think about are these eyes.

Does God really have eyes?

No, not in the sense that there are these great big heavenly eyeballs with divine retinas and corneas and pupils and optic nerves.

Saying “The eyes of the LORD” is using anthropomorphic language to help us to understand God.

“Anthropomorphic” is just a big word that means to use human (anthropos) traits on our level to explain some facet of God’s traits on His divine level.

And we have to stretch our human categories up to understand His categories.

He sees.
He looks.
He knows.
He has vision.

What we do when we look with our eyes, on our own level, He does when He looks with His “eyes” on His level.

“The eyes of the Lord.”

He is the God Who Sees.

“El Roi” in Hebrew (Genesis 16:13).

The God Who Sees.

Where are these eyes?

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Everywhere.

Let’s chew on that for a little bit.

Everywhere.

Right here in this room.
And outside.
In every room in this building.
In every room in your house.
The living room.
The TV room.
The kitchen.
The den.
The bedroom.
The bathrooms.
In the medicine cabinet.
The closet.
The laundry room.
The porch.
The garage.
The shed.
The chicken coop.
The dog house.
Back in the woods.
In your neighbor’s house.
At school.
In the lunchroom.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

At your locker.
In your desk.
In your backback.
On the football field.

Sometimes we say, “The LORD must have been watching me!” And He was. But not just then and not just there.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

On the school bus.
In the backseat.
In the corner.
In the principal’s office.
In the computer lab.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

When I was chewing on this earlier in the week, I had this image come to mind of turning on the computer and seeing these big eyes looking back at me through the screen!

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Everywhere.

At work.
In the boardroom.
At the reception desk.
In the shop.
In the truck.
In the driver’s room.
In your office.
In the hallways.

At the doctor’s office.
At the restaurant.
Out on the open road.

In the halls of power.
In the back rooms where things get decided.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Have you ever used Google Earth? Do you know what I’m talking about?

There is this computer program attached to Google that allows you to go just about anywhere on the planet and view composite satellite pictures of just about any spot on God’s green Earth.

When the Somsel’s were here, Paul showed us where they live and work in Pakistan.

It’s not in real-time, so you don’t see people walking around and everything, but it’s pretty amazing how you can zoom in and see millions of places in the world–firsthand!

But there are places you cannot see. And right so!

But God sees it all.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Does anyone here know where Osama Bin Laden is hiding?

People think he’s somewhere between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Probably hiding in a cave somewhere.

He has outwitted the military intelligence of the United States of America for decades.

But God knows where Osama is. God is watching him right now.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Is that mind-blowing? It should be.

It should lead us to worship God.

The theologian word for this is omniscience. God is omniscient. He knows everything. He sees everything.

Nothing is hidden from Him.

Hebrews 4:13 says, “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.”

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

This should cause us to worship. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And it’s the beginning of worship, too.

To realize that God is God like that, should direct our hearts to revere Him.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Now, remember, this is a proverb.

It’s not just a statement of fact. It’s a statement of wisdom.

It’s not just here to inform us, but to transform us–to make us wise.

How are we supposed to be changed by Proverbs 15:3?

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Let’s chew on that for a little bit.

Notice that Solomon divides people up into two categories: wicked and good.

The good guys and the bad guys.

The people who are against God and the people who are God’s people.

There are two paths, two ways to live.

That’s a common theme in the wisdom literature.

Now, we all know that there is a little good in all bad people (we call that common grace) and that there is still a good deal of bad in all of the saved people (we call that indwelling sin).

But there are, ultimately, just two paths, two ways to live, two kinds of people.

And God “keeps watch” on both of them.

So, I think that meditating on Proverbs 15:3 will probably create a least 2 different applications, depending on which path you are on, or which path you are acting like you are on.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

How you encounter this verse may say something about your conscience.

When I first read it, I was made uncomfortable by it.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere...”

Even when I’m 225 miles from home, taking doctoral classes in Philadelphia?

Almost nobody there knows me.

I can order 2 suppers at Chik-Fil-A and nobody need to know!

When I came home, my wife went through my receipts for me and put them in order and in our envelope for receipts, and she clucked at my little forays into gluttony. Two chicken suppers. Two sandwiches at McDonalds. A late night snack of a PapaBurger meal at A&W. I’m glad that she kept me accountable.

Because I felt at the time like nobody was watching.

One of my professors told a story last week about heading off to an airport in a foreign country and being accosted by the pornography in the bookstore of the airport while he was waiting for his plane to take off.

He said that there are no plastic wrappers, no fences to keep the porn away from people to make it hard to buy. It’s just right there beckoning you to take it. And here he was in a foreign country, done with teaching his classes, nothing to do and no one anywhere that knew him to keep him from doing something that he shouldn’t.

My professor, reminded himself that God is everywhere. And he walked right on by it and found his seat by a window to wait for his plane.

And then, you know what happened? The class he had been teaching had decided to all come to the airport to find this professor and see him off.

What a terrible thing it would have been for them to find him leafing through the pornography in the bookstore instead of quietly reading his book in the gate!

But whether or not the class came by, God was there!

And He’s the most important person in the universe!

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

This proverb is meant to build some of the fear of the Lord in us.

Especially if we are being wicked.

We like to think that we can hide, that we can get away with something.

But the Bible says that we can be sure that our sins will find us out.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Friends, there is no such thing as secret sin.

Perhaps, there is something you have done that nobody but you knows about and you hope it stays that way.

But there is at least One other who knows. He watches. He sees.

And there will be accountability.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

The more that I chew on this proverb, though, the more I realize what good news it is!

At first it felt intrusive. That was my sinful first response.

But it’s becoming more and more comforting to me as I respond in faith.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Keeping watch on the righteous.
Keeping watch on God’s chosen.
Keeping watch on God’s children.

These are my heavenly Father’s eyes.

These are the eyes of the LORD. Capital L-O-R-D.

Whenever you see those capital letters for LORD, what you have untranslated is the covenant name for God–YHWH.

This is God’s special name to declare His covenant faithfulness to His people.

"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

That’s Whose eyes are everywhere!
My heavenly Father’s eyes.

They are caring eyes.
They are loving eyes.
They are concerned eyes.

They are eyes that are fixed on my good!

That changes things doesn’t it?

For His children, He’s watching to help.

Are you afraid right now?

Are you attacked by all kinds of fears?

Worry, anxiety, panic attacks, spousal attacks, attacks at work–fears for yourself, your family, your job, your financial security, your health?

Hear this proverb:

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Maybe you’re under a heavy load right now. Maybe you’re experiencing some persecution. Some trouble on the job. You’re being hurt by someone.

1 Peter 3, quoting Psalm 34: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”

He sees. And He hears. And He will act.

It might not look like the kind of action that you want or expect, but it will be right on time and best for you and me.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Maybe what you are struggling with seems small.

Maybe it’s a little decision that you need to make and you don’t think it’s worth God’s time to bring it up. So you’re just going to worry about instead.

He knows. He sees.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Nothing is too small for Him. He’s watching things on the microbe level. At the sub-atomic level right now.

“The eyes of the LORD are [at the subatomic level], keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

You know, recently, my older kids have been begun to branch out on their bicycles, and we’re letting them go further on their bikes than we can see them.

And that’s not that easy for Dad!

I want to keep my eye on them. I want to be able to call their name and they come back into view.

But they’re getting old enough, Robin and Drew, at least, that I need to allow them to spread their wings a little more.

This helps me as I chew on it.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

I can’t be everywhere.

I can’t keep up with everything.

I can’t see it all and control the information and the context and the setting and the details.

And that’s right. I’m just a man.

But God can. And I can trust Him with them.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Let’s put this into 2 direct points of application this morning.

Two take-homes:

#1. REPENT.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

So, repent.

If you and I are wicked or are acting like the wicked, we need to be called up short and turn from our wicked ways.

He sees us. And we won’t get away with it.

Sometimes, we like to pretend in our vain imaginations that there are places where God does not show up.

But “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

If you have been giving in to secret sin, this proverbs is a call to repentance.

It is wisdom!

Turn.

And turn to Him.

Don’t just turn away from secret sin. Turn to the Savior.

Confess your sins to Him. He knows them already. You’re just going to be agreeing with Him about what they are.

And ask for help. Ask for grace to cut off your love affair with your secret sin and live righteously!

He’ll give it! He delights to give it.

This require faith in Jesus.

If you have not yet placed your trust in Jesus as your Savior and your Lord, now is the time to do so.

You see, God’s eyes were on Jesus, too.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

And everything God saw Jesus do was GOOD!

Jesus lived a perfect life before the face of God!

And then, God laid upon Him our sins, our transgressions, our iniquities, our secrets, our wickedness.

And, then He poured out His punishing wrath on His One and Only Son–in our place!

He absorbed the justice that we deserve.

So that everyone who turns from their sins and puts their faith in Jesus are forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight. They become “the good.”

So that the eyes of the LORD keep fatherly watch over them. Not storing up wrath for them on the day of judgment.

But, make no mistake, if you do not trust Jesus as your Rescuer and King, then that’s exactly what the eyes of the LORD are doing. They are watching your life and preparing the justice that you deserve.

Repent!

And #2 (and last): TAKE HEART.

If you belong to Jesus, then Proverbs 15:3 is gospel-goodness for you. It’s good news.

Your Heavenly Father is watching over you.

You are not an orphan.

Sometimes we act as if we’re all alone in the universe.

I felt alone a number of times when I was away in Philadelphia. I’m used to 5 other inhabitants in my life–my family, especially my wife.

But I was away from them for 10 days.

But was I really alone? Ultimately alone?

No.

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Take heart, believer! Your Father is watching.

Chew on that. Turn it over in your mind, again and again and again.

Let it sink into you.

One my favorite Old Testament verses is 2 Chronicles 16:9. Where God tells King Asa, “The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

I get this picture of these eyes ranging through the ear, searching, looking into every nook and every cranny, every heart. And then strengthening those whose hearts who are fully committed to Him.

Let that be us!

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