Jehovah’s “Beaming Eyes” Examine All
“[Jehovah’s] beaming eyes examine the sons of men.”—PS. 11:4.
1. To what kind of people are we drawn?
HOW do you feel about people who take a genuine interest in you? They offer an honest opinion when you invite them to do so. When you need help, they provide it generously. When you need counsel, they offer it in love. (Ps. 141:5; Gal. 6:1) Are you not drawn to such people? Well, Jehovah and his Son are just like that. In fact, their interest in you exceeds that of any human, and their motive is entirely unselfish; they want to help you to “get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Tim. 6:19; Rev. 3:19.
2. To what extent is Jehovah interested in his servants?
2 The psalmist David expressed the depth of Jehovah’s interest in us when he said: “[Jehovah’s] own eyes behold, his own beaming eyes examine the sons of men.” (Ps. 11:4) Yes, God does not simply look at us; he examines us. David also wrote: “You have examined my heart, you have made inspection by night . . . You will discover that I have not schemed.” (Ps. 17:3) Clearly, David was aware of the depth of Jehovah’s interest in him. He knew that he would hurt Jehovah and merit His displeasure if he nurtured sinful thoughts or developed a scheming heart. Is Jehovah as real to you as he was to David?
Jehovah Sees the Heart
3. How does Jehovah demonstrate a balanced attitude toward our imperfections?
3 Jehovah’s primary interest is in the inner person—who we really are at heart. (Ps. 19:14; 26:2) Lovingly, he does not dwell on minor failings. For example, when Sarah, the wife of Abraham, spoke less than truthfully to a materialized angel, the angel evidently saw that she was afraid and embarrassed, so he simply gave her a mild reproof. (Gen. 18:12-15) When the patriarch Job declared “his own soul righteous rather than God,” Jehovah did not withhold a blessing from him, aware that Job had suffered intensely at Satan’s hand. (Job 32:2; 42:12) Likewise, Jehovah did not take offense at the frank words of the widow of Zarephath to the prophet Elijah. God understood that she was grief-stricken at the loss of her only child.—1 Ki. 17:8-24.
4, 5. How did Jehovah show graciousness in the way he dealt with Abimelech?
4 Because Jehovah examines the heart, he has shown consideration even toward unbelievers. Consider his dealings with Abimelech, king of the Philistine city of Gerar. Abimelech, not realizing that Abraham and Sarah were married, took Sarah to become his own wife. However, before Abimelech could go any further, Jehovah said to him in a dream: “I too have known that in the honesty of your heart you have done this, and I was also holding you back from sinning against me. That is why I did not allow you to touch her. But now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will make supplication for you. So keep living.”—Gen. 20:1-7.
5 To be sure, Jehovah could have dealt harshly with Abimelech, a worshipper of false deities. But God saw that the man acted honestly on this occasion. Graciously acknowledging this, Jehovah told the king how to gain forgiveness and “keep living.” Is that not the kind of God that you want to worship?
6. In what ways did Jesus imitate his Father?
6 Jesus perfectly imitated his Father, focusing on the good in his disciples and readily forgiving their errors. (Mark 10:35-45; 14:66-72; Luke 22:31, 32; John 15:15) Jesus’ attitude harmonized with his words found at John 3:17: “God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.” Yes, the love that Jehovah and Jesus have for us is deep and constant. It is seen in their desire that we gain life. (Job 14:15) Such love explains why Jehovah examines us, how he views us, and how he acts on what he sees.—Read 1 John 4:8, 19.
Examined Through the Eyes of Love
7. With what motive does Jehovah examine us?
7 How wrong it is, then, to think of Jehovah as a celestial policeman who peers down from above in order to catch us in the act of sinning! Satan is the one with a cynical, accusing eye. (Rev. 12:10) He even attributes bad motives where there are none! (Job 1:9-11; 2:4, 5) Concerning God, the psalmist wrote: “If errors were what you watch, O Jah, O Jehovah, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3) The implied answer is, No one! (Eccl. 7:20) Rather, Jehovah watches us with the merciful, kind eyes of a caring parent who wants to protect his beloved children from harm. He often alerts us to our imperfections and weaknesses so that we can avoid harming ourselves.—Ps. 103:10-14; Matt. 26:41.
8. How does Jehovah instruct and discipline his servants?
8 God’s love is expressed through the instruction and discipline provided both in the Scriptures and in the spiritual food dispensed by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45; Heb. 12:5, 6) Jehovah also extends help by way of the Christian congregation and its “gifts in men.” (Eph. 4:8) What is more, Jehovah watches to see how we respond to his fatherly training, and he seeks to help us further. Says Psalm 32:8: “I shall make you have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give advice with my eye upon you.” How important it is, then, that we always listen to Jehovah! We need to keep ourselves humble before him, recognizing that he is our loving Teacher and Father.—Read Matthew 18:4.
9. What traits should we avoid, and why?
9 Conversely, may we never become hardened by pride, by a lack of faith, or by “the deceptive power of sin.” (Heb. 3:13; Jas. 4:6) Often, these traits begin when a person nurtures unwholesome thoughts or desires. He may even reach the point of rejecting appropriate Scriptural counsel. Worse still, he may become so set in his bad attitude or ways that he makes himself an enemy of God—a truly fearful situation! (Prov. 1:22-31) Consider the example of Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve.
Jehovah Sees All and Acts Accordingly
10. Why did Jehovah disapprove of Cain’s offering, and how did Cain respond?
10 When Cain and Abel each brought an offering to Jehovah, He was interested not only in their gift but also in their motive. As a result, God expressed his approval of Abel’s offering, rendered in faith, but his disapproval of Cain’s, which in some way reflected a lack of faith. (Gen. 4:4, 5; Heb. 11:4) Rather than learn from the event and change his attitude, Cain became consumed with anger toward his brother.—Gen. 4:6.
11. How did Cain manifest a treacherous heart, and what is the lesson for us?
11 Jehovah observed this dangerous development and considerately spoke to Cain, pointing out that if he did good, he would have cause for exaltation. Sadly, Cain ignored his Creator’s counsel and murdered his brother. Cain’s bad heart was further reflected in the insolent manner in which he replied to God’s question: “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain retorted: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s guardian?” (Gen. 4:7-9) How treacherous the heart can be—even to the point of disregarding the direct counsel of God! (Jer. 17:9) Let us therefore learn from such accounts and be quick to reject wrong thoughts and desires. (Read James 1:14, 15.) If we receive Scriptural counsel, may we appreciate it and view it as an evidence of Jehovah’s love.
There Is No Secret Sin
12. How does Jehovah respond to wrongdoing?
12 Some may feel that if no one sees them do wrong, they will get away with it. (Ps. 19:12) In a sense, there is no such thing as a secret sin. “All things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” (Heb. 4:13) Jehovah is a Judge who examines our deepest motives, and he responds to wrongdoing in a way that reflects perfect justice. He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.” Yet, to the unrepentant, he will “by no means . . . give exemption from punishment” when individuals “practice sin willfully” or manifest a devious, scheming attitude. (Ex. 34:6, 7; Heb. 10:26) This fact was reflected in Jehovah’s dealings with Achan and with Ananias and Sapphira.
13. How did wrong thinking evidently contribute to Achan’s bad conduct?
13 In direct violation of God’s command, Achan took spoil from the city of Jericho and hid it in his tent, likely with the complicity of his family. When his sin was exposed, Achan showed that he realized the seriousness of what he had done, for he said: “I have sinned against Jehovah.” (Josh. 7:20) Like Cain, Achan had developed a bad heart. In Achan’s case, greed was a major factor, and it contributed to his becoming deceitful. Since the spoil from Jericho belonged to Jehovah, Achan in effect stole from God, and this cost him and his family dearly.—Josh. 7:25.
14, 15. Why did Ananias and Sapphira merit God’s disapproval, and what is the lesson for us?
14 Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, were members of the early Christian congregation in Jerusalem. Following Pentecost of 33 C.E., a common fund was set up to care for the physical needs of the new believers from distant lands who still remained in Jerusalem. The fund was maintained by voluntary contributions. Ananias sold a field and donated part of the money to the fund. However, with his wife’s full knowledge, he pretended that he had donated the entire proceeds. No doubt, this couple wanted to gain special honor within the congregation. But their act was deceitful. In a miraculous way, Jehovah revealed the fraud to the apostle Peter, who confronted Ananias with his error. At that, Ananias fell down and expired. Shortly thereafter, Sapphira also died.—Acts 5:1-11.
15 Ananias and Sapphira did not fall prey to a momentary weakness. They schemed and lied in an attempt to deceive the apostles. Worse still, they ‘played false to the holy spirit and to God.’ Jehovah’s response demonstrates in no uncertain terms that he is prepared to protect the congregation from hypocrites. Truly, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”!—Heb. 10:31.
Maintain Integrity at All Times
16. (a) How is Satan trying to corrupt God’s people? (b) What methods does the Devil employ to corrupt people in your area?
16 Satan is doing all he can to corrupt us and make us lose Jehovah’s approval. (Rev. 12:12, 17) The Devil’s evil intentions are clearly reflected in the world, which is obsessed with immoral sex and violence. Pornography can now be easily accessed through computers or other electronic devices. May we never succumb to Satan’s attacks. Rather, may our sentiments be like those of the psalmist David, who wrote: “I will act with discretion in a faultless way. . . . I shall walk about in the integrity of my heart inside my house.”—Ps. 101:2.
17. (a) Why does Jehovah eventually bring hidden sins into the open? (b) What should be our determination?
17 Today, Jehovah does not miraculously reveal gross sin and deceitful conduct as he sometimes did in the past. Still, he sees all and in his own time and way brings hidden things into the open. Paul said: “The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men their sins also become manifest later.” (1 Tim. 5:24) Jehovah’s primary motive in bringing bad deeds into the light is love. He loves the congregation and wants to protect its purity. Moreover, he shows mercy to those who were overtaken by sin but who are now truly repentant. (Prov. 28:13) So let us strive to maintain a complete heart toward God and reject all corrupting influences.
Maintain a Complete Heart
18. How did King David want his son to feel toward God?
18 To his son Solomon, King David said: “Know the God of your father and serve him with a complete heart and with a delightful soul; for all hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chron. 28:9) David wanted his son to do more than merely believe in God. He wanted Solomon to appreciate the depth of Jehovah’s interest in His servants. Do you appreciate Jehovah in that way?
19, 20. According to Psalm 19:7-11, what helped David to draw close to God, and how can we imitate David?
19 Jehovah knows that rightly inclined people will be drawn to him and that knowledge of his beautiful qualities will warm their heart. Hence, Jehovah wants us to get to know him and to become acquainted with his wonderful personality. How do we do so? By studying his Word and by experiencing his blessing in our lives.—Prov. 10:22; John 14:9.
20 Do you read God’s Word daily in an appreciative, prayerful frame of mind? Do you see the value of living by Bible principles? (Read Psalm 19:7-11.) If so, your faith in Jehovah and your love for him will continue to grow. And he, in turn, will draw ever closer to you, walking hand in hand with you, as it were. (Isa. 42:6; Jas. 4:8) Yes, Jehovah will prove his love for you by blessing you and protecting you spiritually as you walk along the cramped road to life.—Ps. 91:1, 2; Matt. 7:13, 14.
How Would You Answer?
• Why does Jehovah examine us?
• What caused certain individuals to become enemies of God?
• How can we show that Jehovah is real to us?
• How can we maintain a complete heart toward God?
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How does Jehovah watch us like a caring parent?
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What lesson do we learn from the example of Ananias?
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What will help us to keep on serving Jehovah with a complete heart?