Friday, June 4, 2021

The Eyes of God (Hebrews 4:13)

"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).

In Genesis 1 we repeatedly read the refrain, “And God saw what He had made, and it was good”; that is, He judged it good. Seeing is judging. When Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was good to eat and beautiful to the eye, she was judging correctly (Genesis 2:9), but her subsequent actions were nevertheless wrong. When Adam blamed Eve for his sin, he was seeing and judging wrongfully.

Later in the Bible, we see God’s eyes patrolling the earth and evaluating all things. This is pictured in amazing imagery in Ezekiel 10:12 and Revelation 4:8, where the cherubim who guard God’s throne are full of eyes, and in Zechariah 4:10, where God’s eyes roam the earth.

God sees all, and His Word penetrates everywhere He sees. He sees our inmost parts, our “soul and spirit,” and His Word weighs them and cuts us apart at that innermost place. We don’t need to speculate on which parts of us are “soul” and which are “spirit,” because the Bible does not say. Rather, the idea is that of sacrifice: just as the priest cuts the animal apart, joints and marrow, so God cuts us apart, soul and spirit.

Hebrews is an epistle of warning. Jewish Christians were being pressured and tempted to go back into the sacrificial system of the old covenant. The author of Hebrews repeatedly warned them not to do so, but to persevere in the kingdom. They were going through a wilderness time, a time of testing. The ancient Israelites failed their test, and did not enter God’s rest. The author wanted them to persevere and to survive the ordeal, which would come to an end when Judaism was destroyed in A.D. 70. Part of his message to them was that God was watching them.

Another part of his message was that they didn’t need the animal sacrifices with literal swords and knives, because they had the Word of God and they had the privilege of being living sacrifices. Unlike under the old covenant, God’s altar can now be approached by believers, and we also get to be the sacrifices. Fiery trials may lie ahead, but these are just God’s way of perfecting His offerings.

The destruction of Jerusalem brought to an end most of the pressure and temptation faced by the early Jewish believers. God saw their trials and brought rest and deliverance (physical and spiritual) to His people. Until He delivers you, ask God for strength to persevere in whatever your circumstances.