We're turning to Zechariah please, I told you already that Zechariah and Haggai were contemporaries, prophets to Judah post-exile - that means after they came out of the Empire of Babylon, they had been there 70 years. Haggai was an old man by that stage, and Zechariah was a young man. If you were here last week, you will remember that we saw that Zechariah has pertinent things to say about the circumstances of God's people that Haggai was prophesying to. We related in chapter 3, the vision of the High Priest, Joshua, in filthy garments, to why the harvest was not coming. The people were doing everything right, it seemed, they were being obedient to the prophet, but the harvest wasn't coming. Now, the Lord has led me to a verse in chapter 4 that we read last week, and I'm not going to go into details because - well, I haven't time, apart from anything else - but just to say to you that we are very much in the Spirit tonight, very much in the Spirit.
Verse 10 then of chapter 4 of Zechariah: "For who hath despised the day of small things?", now that's often quoted - and, like a lot of things that are quoted, people don't know what they mean. What that means, simply, is that there were mockers, people who were mocking the children of God rebuilding the Temple. Not only were there mockers, there were people who were downcast because, you remember, some of them who were living, the older generation, could still remember the glory of Solomon's Temple - and so their hearts were downcast at the thought of this paltry thing that was being put in its place. God's saying: "Who has despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet", or the plumbline, "in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven". Now, what that is basically saying is that the plumbline will be in Zerubbabel's hand because he is going to finish the building of the Temple, and the cause of God will be vindicated. This is a strange phrase, 'these seven', 'with those seven'. If you were to read the whole chapter, you would see at the beginning of chapter 4 it speaks of 'a lampstand', or 'candlesticks' - quite similar to the Jewish Menorah that some of you will have seen. This is the testimony of Israel, and above the candlestick there is a bowl of oil and it's showing how their testimony is being fed by the Holy Spirit, and the oil is often a type of the Holy Spirit. But here the candlesticks, seven of them, in this lampstand refer to, look at verse 10, "They are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth".
Now verse 6, and we quoted it last week, said that: 'This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, this Temple would not be built by might', the margin says 'armies', 'nor by power', by human energy, 'but by my Spirit, saith the LORD'. These seven eyes are the eyes of the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord is feeding these seven candlesticks, the oil is coming down from a bowl on top of the lampstand - so the Spirit of God is the Lord. Doesn't Corinthians say: 'The Lord is that Spirit that searches all men's hearts'?
Let us pray: Living God, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God and Father; we thank You for Your word. I thank You, Lord, for Your presence. Lord, even this day You have said to me: 'I am with you, I am with you wherever you go, I will do what I have told you' - and You are able, You have said, of this place to make a house of God, and to make a gate to heaven, that we might be like Jacob. Our God, You are the God of Jacob, Jacob who said: 'Surely God is in this place'. Faithful is He who has promised, who will also do it. We say 'Amen', so be it, to what You have said. Glorify Your name, Living God, and Your Christ - in whose name we pray. May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O God, my strength and my Redeemer. Amen.
In John chapter 5 verse 19, Jesus said that the Son does nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father doing. Let me repeat that: the Son of God does nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father doing. What I'm doing tonight is getting behind what God was doing last week. Now if you weren't here last week, or you were and you're wondering, 'Well, what was it that God was doing last week?' - well, it appeared to me that He may have been doing many things, but one that was obvious personally was that it was the awareness of God's complete awareness of us that gripped many people. The awareness of God's complete awareness of us. That led to a brokenness in the meeting - it's a long time since I have been in a meeting like it. Equally so, I have sensed - and Bertie, I know, has been the same, and perhaps others - that the presence of God has been intensified week after week as we have been studying God's word. Now, it is not for me, or indeed any man, to decide to go off and do his own thing. We need to get behind what God is doing, and I have had on my heart for several weeks now the seed of a message on the eyes of the Lord, and I believe this message gets behind what God is doing. I believe this message will give us a greater awareness of God's awareness of us, a greater awareness of God's awareness of us - and thereby increasing more the intensity of the sense of God's presence in our midst.
Now, as I was preparing this yesterday, the Lord spoke to me and said simply to my heart: 'Just bring them under the gaze of God'. Just bring them under the gaze of God! Now, I'm not going to do the Holy Spirit's job for Him, but I'm going to do what God has asked me to do - and that is: present before you the eyes of the Lord. The eyes of the Lord, Zechariah 4:10, that run to and fro throughout the earth.
I want us first to consider the One who is looking, and very simply, the One who is looking is the God who sees. He is the Living God. Now mark, please, that the God of the Bible is unique. The gods of the heathen are of wood, of stone, of clay, of precious metals - often bespeckled by rich jewels. But the Psalmist and other prophets have noted: 'Eyes they have, but they cannot see'. The God who looks upon us tonight is the God who sees, the Living God. Now, we need a reality check - what I mean simply by that is: our God is real. He is the Living God. You remember that Hagar was cast out of Abraham's house into the wilderness, and she laid down her child, her only son, Ishmael, to die - and didn't want to look upon him as he would starve to death. God came to her, and she cried: 'Thou, God, seest me'.
Now, the New King James Version, in its translation of that incident reads thus: 'Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, YouAretheGodWhoSees', that's an alternative translation to 'Thou, O God, seest me', 'YouAretheGodWhoSees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'. Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi', literally in the margin it reads 'The well of the One who lives and sees' - the One who lives and sees. 'He who planted the ear, shall He not hear; He who formed the eye, shall He not see?'.
Now, if we have a problem with this, and if we are dull to receive and perceive this - and I think this is the great modern problem, as it was the ancient problem - we are guilty of unbelief. In Evangelicalism today, particularly in the West, if there was a primary sin, it must be unbelief. We do not believe what we profess to believe. As has already been cited tonight, we sing hymns, we pray the prayers, we quote the verses, we read the passages - but, generally speaking, we go about our life as if these things were a fairytale. Hebrews warns us: 'Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God' - the Living God - 'but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today', lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin'. If you've ever sinned, you will know what the deceitfulness of sin is. It is that intoxicating sense that 'I can get away with this', and God becomes unreal to you in the thrusts of passion and desire of self to do what you want to do. You become a practical atheist at that moment - Hebrews warns us, for that will cause us to depart from the Living God - and that is the wicked heart of unbelief, and that's what you find in the godless. They say: 'The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it', but the One looking at us tonight is the God who sees, the Living God.
But something else, not only is He the God who sees, the One who is looking, but He is the God who sees everything. He counts the number of the stars, He calls them all by name. He knows the ravens and their young ones, He knows every sparrow, even the one that falls. He said: 'I know the birds of the mountains'. Now anyone can count the seeds in one apple, but only God can count the apples in one seed. He knows the very hairs of our head. He is the One who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and the earth, He humbles Himself to look upon us. The Lord looks from heaven and He sees all the sons of men. This God who is looking is the One who sees everything.
Now, I've done quite an extensive study of this this week, but it certainly will not be exhaustive in what I share with you tonight - but I'll try my best to bring you under the gaze of God with what I'm about to share. There is some very graphic imagery concerning the eyes of the Lord, and the all-seeing ability of the Lord. Let me share a couple of things. If you were to go to the prophet Ezekiel, to chapter 1, you will find there that his prophecy begins with a vision that the Holy Spirit gave him. The description of that vision could be called: 'A vision of God's glory riding on a throne chariot'. It's a very unusual depiction of the glory of God, almost being carried in a vehicle, a heavenly vehicle. Now the first thing it tells us he sees was a fierce whirlwind coming from the north. Imagine the sensation of that, the noise and the breath of it. Then he sees four living creatures, each of them having four faces: that of a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a man. Each of these four living creatures has four wings, they are depicted as being straight feet beneath the wings, hands under the wings, and these creatures that we've seen symbolise those attributes of God which are seen in creation. To name a few: majesty, power, swiftness, and wisdom. Then Ezekiel's gaze is taken above the firmament, above the sky, beyond the clouds to a throne. It would seem that each of these four living creatures are at the corner of a cloud, and at each of these corners there is also a wheel. But it's not just a wheel, rather it's a wheel within a wheel - now that's complicated in and of itself, and we can't understand that in its entirety, but perhaps it was like an empty circle in the midst at a right angle inside another circle, a bit like a gyroscope if you know what that is. A wheel within a wheel - and these wheels are depicted as coming from heaven, above the firmament, but they are also touching the earth.
Now in chapter 1 of Ezekiel verse 18 it also says that these wheels within wheels were covered with eyes. Stay with me. This was a vision given to Ezekiel of God's glory riding on a throne chariot, and these great wheels within wheels were coming from heaven, but they were touching earth. Now that is simply depicting God's sovereignty. The children of Israel were still in Babylon under the iron hand and fist of a godless ruler, and the nations of the Gentiles were vaunting themselves against God's people. What this vision was saying was: 'We need to look beyond the clouds to see that there is One on the throne, and He is sovereign, and what He wills in heaven will be done on earth - the wheel touching heaven and touching earth', but see that God was moving according to what He was seeing. He moves according to what He sees, these wheels are covered with eyes.
Now, let me bring you to the book of Revelation. In chapter 1 of Revelation, just like Ezekiel, it's interesting the prophets of God that were first given a vision of God. John, on the Isle of Patmos, is given a vision of our Lord Jesus risen and glorified, and He is dressed as a Judge and a Priest. He is moving in the midst of His people, the church. There are many depictions given in that account, one of them is this: His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire - He sees the church with x-ray, piercing vision, and He sees things the way they really are. Now I touched on that last week, and I'm not going to expand. We go to Revelation chapter 12 and we see that there is a Dragon there. The Dragon has seven heads. In Zechariah 4:10, we have seen that God is depicted as having seven eyes - and so the thought is that whatever the devil thinks up, God sees and knows first, and He is able to abort all the workings of the evil one. He is all-seeing, all-knowing, and great. He is Almighty and able for anything from the kingdom of darkness.
Revelation chapter 5, another graphic image, verse 6 - we are given a glimpse of the Throne of God, and in the midst of the Throne of God is a Lamb, and that Lamb is covered. It has seven horns, speaking of strength, perfect strength, seven being the number of completion - but it has seven eyes. John tells us that the seven eyes are the seven spirits of God that are sent forth into all the earth. Now, what is the book of Revelation about? It is how God, the sovereign God of heaven, is going to consummate world history to the glory and in His Son Jesus Christ. He's going to close history perfectly through His all-seeing, all-wise, Almighty Son - who else could perfect consummation to humanity?
Graphic imagery, would you agree, of the eyes of the Lord? But you know, right throughout Scripture, generally speaking, the all-seeing eyes of the Lord are found. Right at the start of the book, Genesis 3:9, Adam sinned against God, and the cry is heard: 'Adam, where are you? Where are you Adam?' - and he thinks he can hide from God. We move on to the pre-flood sinfulness, the antediluvian society, and God's repenting - what a statement! Repenting that He ever made man. It says in chapter 6 of Genesis, verse 12, 'God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt' - God looked - 'it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth'. God judged this world with a flood, but see His eyes again - it says: 'But Noah found grace in the eyes' - in the eyes - 'of the Lord'. Because of his faith and his obedience to the command of God, he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
But it's not long after the society after the flood comes to replenish and reproduce upon the earth, until man is doing the same thing again - vaunting himself against the knowledge of God. He begins to build a tower, and he wants to make the top of it like heaven and found his own religion. It says: 'The LORD came down', to Babel, 'to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built' - He came down to see. Then we know, proverbially, about Sodom and Gomorrah. It says there, God speaks: 'I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know'.
I could go on - what about the example of the Kings? How many times do we read through Kings and Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, that so-and-so did evil in the sight of the Lord, or so-and-so did right in the sight of the Lord. Even Hannani's prophecy to King Asa of Judah speaks volumes in 2 Chronicles 16, it says: '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'.
Now, let me ask you a very simple question: do you believe in the eyes of the Lord? The One who is looking is the One who sees, the Living God - but He is also the One who sees everything. Now, the second point is: what is He looking for? As I read through most of the scriptures related to this, surveying the data, the pattern quickly emerges that God is looking for good, or He is looking for evil. The more you look in the scriptures, the more you find that there is a purpose to His looking for good and for evil. He is looking for good that He might reward it, and He is looking for evil that He might punish it. There are many verses in this vein - Proverbs 15:3, 'The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good'; Proverbs 5, 'For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders' - the word literally means 'he weighs' - 'all his paths'.
Now, someone might think, their mind going to Habakkuk 1 where it says: 'The LORD is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity'. You might see an apparent contradiction: how is the Lord looking for evil to punish it, if His eyes cannot look upon iniquity? But that does not mean He is blind to what is going on in the world, what it means is that He will not accept those in sin, and He will not accept His own people in sin. Now, you might have a perception that this is an Old Testament concept, that the Lord is looking for good to reward and He is looking for evil to punish - but you would be wrong. Certainly, regarding the eyes of the Lord, it says of our Lord Jesus: 'He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man'. God doesn't just see men, He sees through men. There are so many examples in the Gospels of our Lord Jesus reading the minds, reading the hearts, and searching the motives of men - because He is the all-seeing God manifest in flesh.
Peter the apostle, quoting Psalm 34 in his Epistle, says: 'The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord against those who do evil'. Do you have it? The writer to the Hebrew says: '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'. An Old Testament concept? Now, let me anticipate a possible question that might be in your mind, having listened to everything so far. Are you saying: 'But what about the gospel? What about the cross? What about grace? Does that not change all this?'. Well, 1 John 1 verse 7 does read: 'the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin'. God has said, even in the Old Testament, He has not dealt with us according to our sins, He has not marked our iniquity. He has said He will remember our sins no more. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. He has cast them in the depths of the sea of His forgetfulness - and Romans 8, what a wonderful passage, 'There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus'.
The gospel testifies that when we repent of our sins and believe in Christ alone that we are clothed with the righteousness of God in Jesus. But hold on a minute! As Vance Havner said: 'Evangelicals have all the facts, but they make the wrong conclusions'. Those are the facts, but does this then mean that we don't need to fear that God is still able to see everything? We are legally justified - hallelujah! - if we've repented of our sins and believed in Jesus, and He does not deal with us as sinners, He deals with us as sons and daughters. But if we think that that means we have the ability to hoodwink God, you've no idea what grace means - no idea!
Our perception of forgiveness is diabolically skewed if we think that the blood of Christ was shed as a means for us to blindside God to our personal sins. There is no contradiction here, in fact there's a wonderful harmony and I want to share it with you now. What God is looking for, what God is looking for are a people who will abandon themselves to His all-seeing eye without reservation. God has always looked for it, before the cross, after the cross, He is looking for people who will expose themselves recklessly to the all-seeing eye of the Holy God of heaven without any qualification. He is looking for men and women who will walk in the purity that the blood of Jesus alone can give, but that means - as 1 John says - walking in the light. He wants us to abandon ourselves to His fiery glance, and say: 'Lord, look on me, and though You slay me, yet I will trust You'.
Now, if you've got something to hide tonight, this will be terrifying to you - because God says that He has set our iniquities before Him, and our secret sins in the light of His countenance. If you are seeking to hide something from God, you ought to be terrified. But if you are, in your heart, seeking to hide in God - my dear friend, this is sweet. The eyes of the Lord teach us that He sees us completely, and if you are reckless in your abandonment to His all-seeing eye, there's no tale-bearer that can inform on you, because He knows everything. There is no accuser that can make any accusation stick, because it's all confessed. You see that in chapter 3, didn't we? Last week we saw it. There is no forgotten skeleton that can come tumbling out of the closet, because He sees everything. There is no unsuspected weakness in our character that can come to light that could cause God to turn away from us, because He knows it all.
What God's holy heart longs for is someone who longs for His holy gaze upon them, someone who longs for His holy gaze upon them. This hymn writer, I think, had it - listen:
'Search me, O God, my actions try,
And let my life appear
As seen by Thine all-searching eye -
To mine my ways make clear.
Search all my sense, and know my heart
Who only canst make known,
And let the deep, the hidden part
To me be fully shown.
Throw light into the darkened cells,
Where passion reigns within;
Quicken my conscience till it feels
The loathsomeness of sin.
Search all my thoughts, the secret springs,
The motives that control;
The chambers where polluted things
Hold empire o'er the soul.
Search, till Thy fiery glance has cast
Its holy light through all,
And I by grace am brought at last
Before Thy face to fall'.
Someone has said: 'God looks most where man looks least'. Are we ready, are you ready, to invite this all-seeing God who sees everything, are you ready with abandon and reckless selflessness to say: 'God, look on me, and if it kills me, so be it; but look on me rather than looking away from me'?
Now, if you are, there will be two things that you will show. You will have a welcoming of His watching eye, like Isaiah - listen carefully to what he says: 'Look down from heaven', he's welcoming the eyes of God, 'Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, The yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained?'. 'Lord', he's saying, 'I can't live without You any more! Look down!' - and he's welcoming the watching eye of the Lord. Are you doing that?
But let's go a bit further, there is not only a welcoming the watching eye of the Lord, there's a weeping after the watching eye of the Lord. You find this in Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, and in Lamentations 3 he says this - listen: 'My eyes overflow with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. My eyes flow and do not cease, without interruption, till the LORD from heaven looks down and sees'. 'My eyes bring suffering to my soul, till the Lord looks down from heaven and sees'!
Oh, we all know Psalm 121 don't we? The God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. We all want His eye on us in times of trouble, don't we? Praise God, He is, and His eye sees His saints in affliction - but who of us want His eyes to be upon us at all times? You say: 'What in the world is God looking for?' - this is what He is looking for: people who will welcome His watching eye, and will weep for His watching eye upon them.
Julius Drusus was a Roman Tribune, and he had a house that in many places lay exposed to the whole neighbourhood - how would you like that? A tradesman offered him for five talents, he would work for him and make his house more private. Drusus said this, I quote him: 'I will give you ten talents, if you can make every room so open that all the city may behold in what manner I live'. Will you be transparent to God? Now, the real issue might be: do we really believe all this? Do we? Come on now! Do we really believe it? That there is not a moment's privacy from God, not a moment. That there is no anonymity with God. What a difference it would make! We will be like the Psalmist who says: 'I set the Lord always before me'. You see, that's the difference - it's meant to be - between the child of God and the child of the devil, for the fear of the Lord is not in their eyes. But we are meant to have a holy fear of God on us, because God's eye is on us.
It's said of Hugh Latimer, who was burned at the stake for his faith in Christ, that just before his execution, during his examination, he took heed to every word he said because he heard the nib of a quill - a pen - scratching behind him, and he knew it was on record. God's eye is always on us. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is God's message, and God has told me to bring you under the gaze of God. Marquis de Lafayette was imprisoned as a political prisoner in Prussia and Austria from 1792-1797. He tells the story that on the door of his little cell there was a very small hole cut, and at that hole a soldier was placed day and night to watch him. He said after he was released that all he could see every day and night was the soldier's eye - but that eye was always there, day and night, every moment, when he looked up it was there. This was his exclamation: 'O', he said, 'It was dreadful!'. There was no escape, no hiding, when he lay down, when he rose up, that eye was watching him.
I don't know how to finish this. All I can say to you is: I have been very very conscious, very very conscious, in these last days and weeks of God's eye on me. I can tell you, it's curtailed a whole lot of sinning. I have felt, in these meetings, that God's eye has been upon us. Now, listen: some of you will not take this message kindly. Now, that doesn't bother me, because I've my eye on Someone more important than you - but, having said that, I want you to realise that this is one of the reasons why the Lord Jesus only had twelve disciples, and one was a devil. Many of the crowd were following Him for the loaves and fishes, and the signs and wonders, the perks - but, my friend, if you want to be a disciple and you want to go through with God, there's nothing like it, because intimacy and the presence of God will be with you, and the power of God will be on you - but, my friend, the eye of God will be open to you, and you must be fully open and transparent with it.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Lifeboat Mission in Moy, N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Eyes Of The Lord" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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