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(#91) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:3-God Knows More Than “TSA” and “NSA”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

This is not saying God’s “eyes” are everywhere, but they see “in every place” all the behaviors of mankind, both “the evil and the good.” One thread throughout the Scriptures is that God is Omniscient, that is, He sees everything at all times. When “Big Brother’s” TSA in airports and NSA in communications invade personal space as they do, how can anyone question God’s complete knowledge of all that happens on the Earth? To say “God wound up the universe and then sat back and watched From a Distance (as a song used to teach, and Deists believe)” is a complete denial of the Word of God, which is a record of God’s dealings with mankind since the Creation!

In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8), but God called them out (Genesis 3:9-13). When Abraham proved his faith, but was stopped before he actually offered his son, Isaac, on the altar, and offered “a ram caught in a thicket” for a burnt offering “instead of his son,” he “called the name of the place, The-LORD-will-provide” (Genesis 22:1-14). Israelites sinned while Moses was in Mount Sinai receiving God’s Law, “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!’” (Exodus 32:9). King Hezekiah was “sick and near death” and God told His prophet, Isaiah, to say, “Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5).

God can also see all that is done that is good. Upon completion of His Creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Upon Jonah’s preaching “Repent or Perish,” the King of Nineveh led his people in repentance, and, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

Other proverbs teach this: “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths” (Proverbs 5:21); “Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men” (Proverbs 15:11); “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). Since God created “the seeing eye” of humans, doesn’t it follow that God is a “seeing” God? “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalm 94:9)

“’Am I a God near at hand,’ says the LORD, ‘And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him? says the LORD; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

This major doctrine about God is summarized in the New Testament, for Jesus taught that our charitable deeds, prayers, and fasting, that are done in “secret” before God, and not for show “before men,” would be seen by our “Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4,6,18). “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Since nothing is hidden from God, why hide our evils behind husband, wife, children, house, job, friends, nighttime, dim lights, doors, walls, or any other supposed barrier? God know these, our consciences know these, and more often than not, some other people know them as well. Truly, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden” (1 Timothy 5:24-25). Let God cleanse your soul from hidden sins, and “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#baptized, #bible-study, #big-brother, #deists, #evil, #from-a-distance, #god, #good, #nsa, #omniscience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #repent, #secret, #truth, #tsa, #wisdom

Letter to the Editor — A Purpose to Our Suffering

[draft; your input is always welcome; will submit to the paper Monday]

Paul Williams wrote in Dr. Weinberg’s most recent column: “If God sometimes seems indifferent and uncaring, it might be He has chosen not to know. Maybe, when he created all that is now, he also chose to remain unknowing until this grand play comes to its final act.”

Williams was careful to use “might” and “maybe” as he speculated on the nature of God. Such is a wise course when one’s position is conjecture. Of course, if Williams is right then it is certain that the Bible is wrong since the Scriptures affirm that God “knows all things” (I John 3:20). If the Bible is true, then God does indeed know all things and is not ignorant of anything. If the Bible is false, however, then perhaps Williams is correct. I affirm, without hesitation, that the Bible is true. It would be my pleasure to sit down and study with anyone on this matter and provide a logical rationale for why I believe the Bible is true and why it should be the guide for our lives.

The “problem of evil,” as it is often called, has been around since before the birth of Christ: If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, full of love and kindness, then why doesn’t He put an end to all the evil that exists in our world? Atheists would suggest that God must not exist since there is so much suffering. Williams doesn’t seem to doubt God’s existence but does suggest that maybe God is purposefully remaining in the dark about the misery of this realm. I think there is another solution to the alleged problem.

The book of Job (located in the Old Testament) is a masterpiece all should study to better understand human suffering and our proper response to it. In that inspired work, it is implied that God knows all humans thoroughly since He told Satan there was none like Job on all the Earth (1:8). Job was blameless and upright. Yet, despite these facts, God permitted Satan to strike Job with a tsunami of suffering. In one day the man who was rich in possessions, influence, and offspring lost them all. But he did not curse God or doubt His existence. He mourned and worshiped God. Next, Satan was allowed to destroy Job’s health and make him suffer like few other humans ever have. Most of the book deals with dialogue between Job and his friends, who are convinced he must have committed some heinous sins to have fallen like this. Job gets a bit sassy at times, but stays true to God and generally speaks what is right (42:7). In the end Job is held up as a model of perseverance (Jam. 5:11).

Why bring all this up, Stephen? Because it shows that God can have full knowledge of human suffering and even permit it to happen because there is a greater purpose to be served. Job grew through his suffering and turned out better for it in the end. As James 1:2,3 puts it – “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Sometimes we suffer because of poor choices, and sometimes we suffer for no reason we can discern. But, merely because we cannot discern such doesn’t mean that no reason exists! Job didn’t understand at the time, but came to learn what we all must: namely, that God’s ways and thoughts are beyond ours (Isa. 55:8,9). Let us all trust God and believe in the final analysis that He will work all things out for good–for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). For more info on this important theme, please visit: Evil.AudioEvangelism.com.
-Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ

#job, #omniscience, #problem-of-evil, #suffering