It’s becoming an annual event. That morning when I get to that place in my reading plan which reminds me anew of the connectedness of heaven to earth. When I realize afresh that my “private life” is anything but private, and that what I do isn’t just my business and nobody else’s. When I pause and reflect on the glass floor which exists beneath God’s throne, providing a panoramic view as to the affairs of this world and the hearts of all men. When I consider again the implications that the LORD looks down.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. (Psalm 14:2 ESV)
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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. . . . But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. . . . But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:3-4, 6, 17-18 ESV)
Though the contexts are totally different, my readings in Psalm 14 and Matthew 6 this morning carried a powerful “one-two punch.”
The LORD looks down from heaven. The Father sees in secret. Stop there. Noodle on that for a bit.
And His primary focus is less about our actions and more about our attitudes. He looks down to see if there are any who understand. He’s on the watch for any who seek after God. And, says the psalmist, there is none (Ps. 14:1). Apart from God’s intervention, without His calling and work of regeneration through rebirth, “there is none who does good, not even one” . . . “for they have all turned aside” (Ps. 14:3).
But God does intervene. In sending His Son to be the Lamb, He paid the price for man’s corruption and “abominable deeds.” What’s more, to all who confess and repent of their corruption and receive the forgiveness offered through the cross, He credits to their account the very righteousness of His Son. Salvation has indeed come out of Zion (Ps. 14:7).
And God continues to look down from heaven. The God who sees in secret is keenly aware of, and interested in, what is done in secret.
He is not impressed with those who hand over their checks (cheques, for my Canadian friends) on stage and in front of the camera’s. Waxing eloquent in heaven-directed oratory before a crowd, so that others may take note of obvious spirituality, garners nothing more than a yawn from heaven. Groaning before all who will listen as to how hard it is to go without our Starbucks for a few days in order to seek the kingdom does nothing to lay up treasure in heaven.
But give in secret, pray in your closet, fast such that no one else can tell, and “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
As another has coined the thought so well, we play to an Audience of One. To Him who looks down from heaven and sees in secret. To Him who weighs the heart and rewards the righteous.
Righteous through the power of the Spirit. Righteous because of abundant, overflowing grace. Righteous for His glory, and His glory alone.