In God’s blessings and grace, the new year has come. Greeting another year in God, I hope that all you people of God will prepare for the eternal kingdom of God by increasing your faith and knowledge of God.
There are some people in the world who act as if God does not exist, while confessing with their mouths that God exists. Of course, none of our members in Zion behave that way, but many people around the world do not yet understand the will of God and are ignorant of the existence of God. That’s why they indulge in all kinds of bad habits and wrongdoings.
God sees and knows all things. So the Bible says that the “God of justice” will judge both the righteous and the wicked according to what they have done (Mt 16:27; Isa 30:18).
A boy found some electrical wires and metal scraps scattered around while he was walking along the road. The boy looked around to see if there was someone else nearby, whom they belonged to, but he couldn’t see anyone else in the vast plain. Then he said to himself, ‘Oh, yeah! Let me take these to a taffy vendor and barter them for some pieces of taffy,’ and started coiling the electrical wires scattered on the ground. When he was about to leave with the bundle of electrical wires, suddenly he heard a thunderous voice out of nowhere.
“You little thief! Put those back where you found them!”
The boy was startled and looked up, and he saw a repairman looking down at him while working on the electric pole.
This is how humans think. They are apt to commit evil because they think that no one is watching them and nobody knows what’s going on with them except themselves. However, God is watching everything they do. When they look around and feel like there is no one else around, they must realize the existence of God who looks down from heaven upon them. The Bible warns that the people, who are not conscious of God and commit evil with wicked thoughts, will be tormented in the lake of fire forever and ever. Those who do not realize that God watches everything are not worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven.
From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. Ps 33:13-15
God looks down from heaven upon each and every single person. People may think, ‘There are countless people on this earth. So, how can God know everything about everybody?’ Even some of our members in Zion may think, ‘The pastor won’t know what I am doing while delivering his sermon, because there are so many members who are attending worship together.’ But when standing at the pulpit, the preachers can see every single member. Likewise, when viewed from the universe, the earth is completely laid bare before God; it is just like God holds the earth in the palm of His hand and looks at it. From the point of view of humans, it seems that the earth is very large and there are numerous people around the world, so if they hide in secret places, no one can see them. However, everything is naked and exposed before God’s eyes.
Most people in the world think that nobody can know what they do, so their hearts are filled with schemes to do evil. However, we who believe in God should set our hearts on doing good and glorify God who is watching us. From heaven God watches all who live on the earth; He sees their actions, whether evil or good, and searches their hearts.
In the history of Elisha, we can see the scene where God was watching a crime. Naaman, who was commander of the army of the king of Aram, visited the prophet Elisha and was cured of his leprosy by the power of God (2 Ki 5:1-14). He tried to give Elisha valuable gifts for his healing, but Elisha refused. Then Elisha’s servant Gehazi became covetous when he saw the gifts, and plotted an evil scheme without letting the prophet Elisha know it.
Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.” The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” … Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “… I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked. “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’” … he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left. Then he went in and stood before his master Elisha. “Where have you been, Gehazi?” Elisha asked. “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? … Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow. 2 Ki 5:15-27
Gehazi, who was unaware that God was watching him, committed the sin of deceiving the prophet Elisha and dishonoring God. Even at that moment, God was looking down upon him from heaven. Because of that sin, Gehazi was punished with leprosy, and the curse of leprosy clung to his descendants forever.
This is the kind of sin that we are apt to commit when we are oblivious to the fact that God watches everything. In the days of Joshua, Achan also committed a sin in the thought that God wouldn’t know. He hid in his tent the treasures dedicated to God among the spoils that the Israelites took from Jericho when they conquered it.
Because of Achan’s sin, Israel lost the next battle―the battle of Ai, where many of the Israelites were killed. When Joshua was greatly grieved and distressed because of that, God told him that someone among the Israelites had sinned, and revealed the sin of Achan.
But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel. … The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. … and Achan … was taken. … Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” Jos 7:1-21
Achan committed the sin of stealing from God and also the sin of not believing in God, thinking that no one would know what he had done. His sin was also exposed completely before God. In the end, Achan and his entire family were all killed (Jos 7:22-26).
Taking a lesson from what happened in the past, we must not forget that God is watching us with His eyes like blazing fire. We may escape the eyes of people, but nothing can be concealed from God. God is watching us constantly.
In the Bible, we can also find people who always feared God so that they would not fall into evil temptations, unlike Gehazi and Achan. Joseph is a good example.
When he was sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. While serving at Potiphar’s house, he lived a faithful life before God. Then one day, he was faced with a temptation to sin.
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The LORD was with Joseph … Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. … Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” … Ge 39:1-23
When a wicked thought enters our minds, Satan makes us oblivious to even the existence of God by tempting us to think, ‘How can the invisible God see me?’ However, Joseph rejected the temptation by thinking to himself, ‘Since God is watching me, how can I commit sin before Him?’
Joseph followed God to the end, and became the ruler of all Egypt because God exalted him even though he was once kept in prison under a false charge. During the years of severe famine that came upon Egypt, he was also able to do his filial duty to his father Jacob by helping him and all his family move to the region of Goshen, so that they could live comfortably there.
Through the Bible, we can see that the people, who forgot the fact that God was always watching them, committed sins and came to a miserable end, while those who were conscious of the fact carried out the will of God and received great blessings from God. Think of Daniel’s three friends-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were in a life-threatening situation where they would be unable to escape the punishment of being thrown into the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual if they refused to obey the king’s command to worship the image of gold. Even in this desperate situation, however, they never committed the sin of worshiping the idol because they were conscious of God. So when they were thrown into the blazing furnace, God rescued them.
What about Daniel? The officials plotted to kill him and made a law that if one worshiped any god or man except the king, he or she should be thrown into the den of lions. However, Daniel never stopped praying to God. Watching all his praiseworthy deeds, God rescued him from the lions by shutting their mouths.
Like Joseph, Daniel and Daniel’s three friends, we should also live a blessed life. From heaven God watches us all the time. He sees not only our actions but also our hearts.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sa 16:7
This happened when the prophet Samuel visited the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the new king. When he saw Jesse’s eldest son Eliab, he thought that Eliab was the one God had chosen to be king, because he was tall and handsome. However, God rejected him, saying, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”
God sees and knows everything about us-what kind of thought and mindset we have when we follow Him. So, those who have a crooked or distorted mind can never live a life blessed by God. We should honor God, being upright in heart through faith―being righteous in God’s sight.
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart. Pr 17:3
God tests our hearts every day in order to remove the impurities in our hearts one by one and to create us as the pure and blameless children of heaven like pure gold. We must not forget that God sees even the hidden things in our hearts as well as our deeds-whether good or evil.
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” Mt 15:7-9
As stated above, there are people who acknowledge and honor God only with their lips. In the eyes of people, they may seem to believe in God, but God says that they do not really believe in Him.
In the case of Achan and Gehazi, they were also the people of Israel, who claimed to believe in God, but they denied God by their actions. Those who do not have correct faith in God but forsake God’s will and continue to do evil while claiming to honor God-they can never be acknowledged by God as His people (Mt 7:21-23).
Those who are conscious that God watches them are the people who truly worship God, in whom God delights. God always sees us in secret.
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. … But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Mt 6:1-4
Although we do not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, God knows it all. He watches us, His people, when we do what is good and righteous, and also watches us when we are persecuted in order to keep our faith.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Mt 6:5-6
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, … so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Mt 6:16-18
Jesus repeatedly emphasizes that we should not do things to be seen by people but become conscious of God who always sees us in secret. We should not be like the child in the aforementioned story, who thought there was no one around because he couldn’t see anybody, but we should have wisdom to see the electrical wire repairman looking down from the top of the pole.
Unless we are conscious of the fact that God watches us, we may become evil and serve as slaves to falsehood. Sin sprouted in the hearts of people when they thought that no one would know what they had done and when they tried to hide it. However, those who were conscious of God, who sees what is done in secret, were greatly blessed by God because of their right judgment and action.
Today, like every other day, God looks at our hearts and watches everything we do with His eyes like blazing fire. When we are conscious of God, we will meet a blessed future, like Joseph, Daniel and his three friends. Let us never forget the fact that we serve God who sees everything, and obey the good will of Father and Mother graciously from our hearts and follow Them until we enter the eternal kingdom of heaven.