I thought, "in the sight of the Lord—that says it all. That is what (and all) that matters." I did a quick search in the ESV for that exact expression and found it occurs 71 times. My guess is that if you looked for slight variations you'd find that concept expressed many, many more times. Of the 71 it included many instance of doing what was wicked or evil in the sight of the Lord, as well as examples of things being "precious" in the sight of the Lord (a very appropriate one for today's news is Psalm 116:15 which says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints"), and multiple verses similar to Deuteronomy 6:18–19 which says:
And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.The common theme of all these is, ". . . in the sight of the Lord" and it takes me back to a theme I have blogged on repeatedly. If there is not some uniform absolute for right and wrong (or true or false) we will live in a moral quagmire of relativism in which "truth" has no meaning, in which what is right for some is not for others, in which values and good and bad change with the times. Absent of some absolute standard for right and wrong there is no moral basis that carries any weight for saying one person's actions are right and another's wrong.
I was struck that it didn't matter if the people of Israel thought what they were doing was fine. What mattered is how it was received in the sight of the Lord.
Evil in the sight of the Lord. Precious in the sight of the Lord. Good and right in the sight of the Lord. It should be very encouraging to us on many levels:
- It must mean God is watching us! He is present with us. He sees and knows our life! He is not a distant, deistic God who set it in motion then sits back uninvolved. He is active and involved in our lives. Praise Him for that! "I will never leave you or forsake you."
- When we realize only one audience matters it helps us realize the futility and foolishness of living for other audiences.
- Here is a huge one for Christians in this culture today: When we declare something right or wrong (or true or false) we are not the ones judging it, we are declaring what something is in the sight of the Lord. We can be encouraged when we start to feel beat up and doubt ourselves. We are not putting ourselves in the place of judge, we are witnesses to our holy and mighty God and what He declares. What we personally believe is irrelevant. It doesn't matter. Your opinion is as valid as mine. But what HE believes . . . that is everything, and by declaring it and standing for it we are being the most loving we can to others. Because whether or not they realize it, only One audience matters in the end, and only One definition of right and wrong and true and false is actually right and wrong, true and false. The rest will fall away, but He alone will stand.
May we live this week secure in the love of our Father in Heaven, deeply aware of the Holy Spirit's presence with us, and living for an Audience of One. Blessings to all of you. Thanks for sharing in my life. —Erick