THE EYES OF THE LORD
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (II Chronicles 16:9a).
As the years have come and gone, the above passage has become increasingly precious and meaningful to me. This week I want to write about this beautiful text.
First, it is important that the context be understood. The last half of the verse says, “In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” What is the significance of these words?
The words are spoken by Hanani, the seer of God, and are directed to Asa, king of Judah. At an earlier time, Asa and the kingdom of Judah had gone to battle against the Ethiopians and Lubim. The army of the Ethiopians and Lubim was huge, consisting of many chariots and horsemen. But because Asa had relied on the Lord, the Lord delivered the Ethopians and Lubim into Asa’s hands (verses 7-8). Later, however, when Asa and Judah were attacked by Baasha and the kingdom of Israel, instead of relying on the Lord (as he had done in the case with the Ethiopians and the Lubim), Asa turned to the king of Syria for help (verses 1-6). It is this military alliance with Ben-Hadad and Syria to which Hanani has reference when he says to Asa, “In this you have done foolishly…” (verse 9b).
Sadly, instead of profiting from Hanani’s words, Asa became angry with him and put him in prison (verse 10). But Hanani’s message was true for Asa, and it is still true for the people of God today: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” How we all do need to learn and deeply appreciate this fact and find great comfort and assurance in it!
There are numerous passages that speak of the eyes of the Lord. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” When I was a boy, we often sang the great old song, “There’s An All-Seeing Eye Watching You.” I mentioned that in a sermon on one occasion, and a brother told me that he did not like that song because it made him uncomfortable. I suspect that all of us at times might wish that the Lord did not see what we were doing, know what we were thinking, or hear what we were saying. However, we need to realize that the eyes of the Lord are not only eyes of detection, but also eyes of protection, and in this we should rejoice.
Speaking for God, the Psalmist declared: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:8). In the same context, David then wrote: “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him” (verse 10).
In another Psalm David wrote: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil…” (Psalm 34:15-16a). A thousand years later, the apostle Peter, writing in the New Testament under the direction of the Holy Spirit, reaches all the way back to this Psalm and quotes it almost verbatim in a text from which I often preach a sermon titled “God’s Game Plan For Life” (I Peter 4:8-12). Every Christian should rejoice to know that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.” At the same time, every person needs to know that “the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (I Peter 4:12).
Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times. Peter vehemently denied that he would ever do such a thing (Luke 22:31-34; cf. Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31). True to the Lord’s words, Peter did deny Christ three times within a short span of time, swearing and cursing and denying that he knew the Man! When he made his third denial, Christ, standing within eyesight, “turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61). How Peter must have absolutely withered at that look from the Lord! No wonder he “went out and wept bitterly” (verse 62). I would have too. What a humbling reminder of the piercing, detecting eyes of the Lord!
In one of the most sobering texts in all the Bible (at least to me) are the words found in Hebrews 4:13: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (KJV). Think seriously about that last phrase – “him with whom we have to do.” This is a somber phrase that is also used in the NASB to emphasize our ultimate accountability to God and the fact that we each will face God in judgment (Romans 14:12). As we approach that event, we need to remember that “all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (NKJV).
May we take seriously the reality of the detecting eyes of the Lord and may we find great peace and comfort in the protecting eyes of the Lord. Let us remember the words of the wise man when he said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).
March 17, 2020