Nothing is Hidden from God's Sight
Based on Hebrews 4:12-13
Intro - “Gehazi, Gehazi! Did you think it would go unnoticed? In all the years you have followed me, traveled with me, attended to my daily needs, heard my preaching and teaching, were you asleep at the wheel? Did none of it sink in? You heard me tell the Syrian general whose leprosy was healed, ‘No payment necessary! No charge! God’s love, God’s healing, God’s help are free.’ And yet you snuck out, tracked him down, made up a story that I had visitors who needed help, and bilked the general out seventeen and a half thousand dollars’ worth of silver and two Brooks Brothers suits with silk ties and Allen Edmunds shoes. Do you think you can hide from God? Don’t you think God knows what was in your heart? Don’t you think he knows your greed, your trickery, your lying, your cover-up? The general’s leprosy is now yours!”
I heard that Bible account when I was younger, and it still scares me. God knows. What does he know? Well, everything. In today’s second reading from Hebrews chapter four, the Bible writer inked what I have to wrestle with and so do you:
“NOTHING IS HIDDEN FROM GOD’S SIGHT”
- He knows us (13)
- So we can know ourselves (12)
- “Hey, Eve! Let’s hide in those bushes over there. Maybe God won’t find us.” She didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Can you imagine that? Trying to hide from God! That’s ridiculous. That’s impossible. Sinners can’t fool God. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good (Pr 15:3). He knows every secret sin, every stowaway temptation, every speck of decay in our hearts. We can’t hide from him. But we still try. “Pull down the shades so no one can see.” “We’re in this big city. Who’s going to know?” “Have you noticed lately how humble I’ve been?” “I can do what I want. God’s going to forgive me anyway.” We can try the fig leaves of those lies and cover-ups, but none of them work. The writer of this Bible letter states: 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 an account (13). Like a flashlight shining on a dust-ball under the bed, the holy eyes of God expose all the dust-balls in our heart, and to him we must give an account. That’s scary!
- But just when we are about to jump into the shrubbery with Adam and Eve, the Lord God surprises with us with another side of his knowing. He also knows our wants and desires, our loneliness and fears, and he knows how to help. Think of Jacob. He lived by his wits and outsmarted his narrow-minded brother and his nearly blind father in order to be named heir-apparent and future family head. That meant extra possessions and power and the prestige of being an ancestor of the promised Savior. God knew that Jacob was a cheat and needed humility and a heart that relied on God not himself. So he allowed his Jacob’s brother’s blood to boil to the point of a death threat, and Jacob had to flee to a distant land where he would learn humility and learn to lean on God not himself. As Jacob left home, he swallowed hard, “Will I ever get back home?” God knew Jacob’s heart of sin and also his fears. So he promised, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land” (Gn 28:15).
- Just when we want to crawl into a ball and cry, “Doesn’t anyone know how I feel? Doesn’t anyone know how lonely I am?” God steps in, “Wait! Nothing is hidden from my sight.” He knows when we are lonely and afraid. He knows when we are down and depressed. He knows the battles going on inside, and he knows how to fill in the holes in our heart. Best of all, he knows how to save us. God called to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” He knew where they were. But why did he call out? He wasn’t hoping they would step out from behind a tree so he could stick his mighty thumb out of the clouds and squish them like ants. Wasn’t he offering them an opportunity to step out and fess up? Of course!
And when they blamed him for their troubles, we would think, “Now God is going to unleash his anger. Look out below!” But the Lord turned and addressed the devil, not them. “Look what has happened, Satan! They bit into your lie, and now they are mad at me, and I am rightly mad at them. They’re stuck in your camp with no way out. So, I’m going to do the unexpected and the undeserved. I’m going to pull them out of your camp and get them back with me. To do that, I’m going to send one descendant of this woman into the world. I won’t tell you who or when just yet. But that descendant is going to crush your power.” What well-read scholar, what genius scientist, what brilliant academician could come up with a plan like that? Where is the wise person? … Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … the world through its wisdom did not know him, [so] God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached [the message that a Savior died on the cross in our place to pay for all our sins] to save those who believe … For the foolishness of God [sacrificing his Son for us] is wiser than human wisdom (1 Cor 1:20-25). Nothing is hidden from God’s sight, and certainly our hidden sins are not hidden to him. God knows. He knows our sin, our cover-up like Adam and Eve, our trickery like Jacob, our greed like Gehazi. But God also knows what to do about all that, and so something he did.
- A man once approached Jesus, confident that he knew himself, sure of his own ability to earn points with God, expecting a pat on the back from Jesus, “Well done! You’re just the kind of fellow God smiles on. Stand up straight while I pin on the medals you have earned.” But Jesus’ words cut like a scalpel, opening the man’s eyes and exposing the spiritual tumors rotting inside. At this the man’s face fell (Mk 10:22). He had to admit that he now knew himself as he really was, far short of what God demands, unable to get close to God.
- The writer to the Hebrews hit the nail on the head. The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (12). When the double-edged sword of the Word of God pokes inside, it bursts the balloon of our self-esteem? Oh, I know there are plenty of people who struggle with insecurity and low self-esteem. How do we deal with that? We can try reading self-help books, but they provide only a temporary band-aid on the leak. The Word of God shows us what we are really like. Without God’s mercy we are not OK. His words lay open our hearts like the neck of a lamb ready for slaughter.
But the double-edged sword of God’s Word cuts another way. It’s like a scalpel that not only cuts and exposes a tumor but also removes the tumor and germs of sin. During the great annual springtime harvest festival in Jerusalem, the apostle Peter stood before a huge crowd and lambasted them with an honest appraisal of their evil, “You, with the help of wicked men, put [Jesus] to death by nailing him to the cross” … When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do? What’s going to happen to us when stand before the one to whom we must give account” (13b)? Peter called out, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Ac 2:23,27-39). The words of God judged their thoughts and attitudes and, covered by the blood of Jesus, the judgment was “Not guilty!”
- Do you have worries beyond paying bills and making ends meet but worries about what God knows about you? Do you get scared that nothing is hidden from God’s sight, that he knows us so well? Do you have days when you feel like Adam and Eve, wishing you had more than fig leaves to hide from God? Do you have nights of wrestling with God like Jacob? Has your greed like Gehazi been exposed, and you are worried about eternal leprosy on your souls? Do you struggle with and wrestle with low self-esteem and low self-worth? God knows that, too. So, his words of love and mercy penetrate our heart to give us Christ-esteem and Christ Jesus’ worth. He considers us to be so valuable that he sacrificed his own Son in our place. Talk about esteem and worth! You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed own to you … but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pt 1:18-19a). Nothing is hidden from God’s sight including the blood of Jesus covering our secret and not-so-secret sins so we can know ourselves, so we can stand in front of a mirror and state, “I’m a sinner, but I’m a forgiven sinner.”
Concl – “Gehazi, Gehazi! Yes, you have leprosy, but now you are trembling not because of that slow eroding of your flesh and the slow and painful death that likely awaits you down the road but because sudden death seems like it will crash down on our heads. You peeked out the tent flap and have seen an army with horses and chariots all around. [Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Is 40:28-31).] Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Don’t be afraid, Gehazi … Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servants’ eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire [an army of angels] all around (2 Kgs 6:15-17). Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. But each time you hear that or remember that, and you are shaking in your boots, won’t you join me in recalling that God peers into our hearts and sees the blood of Jesus covering our greed and our selfishness and wraps us in his loving arms in spite of our sin? Thank you, dear Jesus!