The Eyes of the Lord

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 15-16; John 12:27-50

At that time Hanani the seer came to Judah’s King Asa and said to him, “Because you relied on Aram’s king and not on the Lord your God, the army of Aram’s king has slipped out of your grasp.Weren’t the Cushites and the Libyans a vast army with chariots and horsemen to spare? Still, when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your power, because the Lord’s eyes scan the whole world to strengthen those who are committed to him with all their hearts. Your foolishness means that you will have war on your hands from now on.”10 Asa was angry with the seer. Asa was so mad he threw Hanani in jail and took his anger out on some of the people.

11 The rest of Asa’s deeds, from beginning to end, are written in the official records of Israel’s and Judah’s kings. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his rule, Asa developed a severe foot disease. But even in his illness he refused to seek the Lord and consulted doctors instead. 13 In the forty-first year of his rule, Asa lay down with his ancestors. 14 He was buried in the tomb he had prepared for himself in David’s City, and was laid on a bed filled with sweet spices and various kinds of perfume, with a huge fire made in his honor. (2 Chronicles 16:7-14, Common English Bible).

King Asa, for much of his life, was a king much like David. He was a king who sought the will of God. But, just as is the case for us, King Asa could have feet of clay. The term is defined as a fundamental flaw or weakness in a person who was otherwise of good character. The term is usually not for people like the majority of us, but instead, it is for leaders, people in places of prominence and power.

How many times during our lifetimes, much less our history have we seen just such an attitude among those who live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? At some point, we see it in virtually every person who has lived there. Why? Because just like the rest of us, they are human. That fundamental character flaw or weakness is really just amplified because of the prominence of their lives. When we are talking about good ole Joe Blow down the road, we are talking about a person whose face and name are not splashed across the evening news so the world can see their failures. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I am really glad my life is not on constant public display for all the world to see. In my role as pastor, it is opened enough.

The truth is, we all sin. Asa was no different in that. What did make Asa different than some of us is, even when confronted by his sin and his unwillingness to seek the help of God, Asa was stubborn. When Asa was confronted by his error in judgment, he became angry and he took his anger out on others. Even when he had a foot disease and was facing death, Asa refused to let the Lord be part of his recovery. The man who did right in the eyes of God, in his last days fell short. All too often so do we.

As I started reading the lesson my eyes really focused on a passage I used as the title but haven’t really addressed yet. The seer (as he is called), “…because the Lord’s eyes scan the whole world to strengthen those who are committed to him with all their hearts.” 

The eyes of the Lord are watching us. They are always moving. They are always seeing. They see each of us for who we are and for what we do. The eyes see more than our actions. The eyes see the depths of our hearts. And I do think, that is a good thing. My actions often not only betray God, they betray my own heart. But, because God continues to make my heart right, I, as Wesley said, “am going on to perfection.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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