16 June 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2Chronicles 16:9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Many men and women of good report would suffer damage to their reputations if their most guarded secrets were found out and published in world journals. Should we not be aware that nothing goes without the notice of Almighty God. He not only knows the secrets of our outward actions, but also the inward-most secret thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from the observance of God – “Behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23b) As Adam & Eve, we stand naked in our sins before the Throne of God.
There is a classic poem titled, the Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson, of which the following lines are taken:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’
The eyes and pursuit of God is persistent and intense. Adam & Eve tried in vain to hide their sin from His searching eye. Their futile attempts to hide in the bushes and clothe themselves with fig leaves did not suffice. (see Genesis 3:7-9) Likewise Jonah headed west when God commanded him to go east to Nineveh. He believed he could escape the notice of his Lord on the high seas enroute to Tarshish. God sent a storm to meet him there and later heard his prayer from the depths of the ocean sea.
David, normally a faithful appellant to the mercy and wisdom of God, launched out on his own carnal desires in arising from bed when he should have remained there, walked where he should not, stopped and fed his eyes on a subject he should not have seen, committed adultery with a married Bathsheba, and finally committed murder – all without a second glance to his lord and God. He tempted God to take his life, but repented in ashes and sackcloth. (see 2 Samuel 11 &12)
The Prodigal Son stands an example of all of us who, at one time or another, have journeyed out of the presence of our Father and made our abode in a ‘far country’ away from will of our Father. But He sees us there in our squalor of spirit and soul. He allows us to get our snoot full of the mud and mire of the pigsty until we come to ourselves and return to His sovereignty and immediate presence. (see Luke 15:11-32)
All fugitives, such as those cited above, are arrested by God and His posse of angels sooner or later. Though God will forever forgive our errant ways, sin leaves scars. Sin is not merely a personal matter – it hurts others, especially those whom we love. In Adam’s case, the result was death and suffering over every living creature. The prophet Jonah wound up on a hill outside the walls of Nineveh under a withered gourd vine in bitter contempt.
The first child of David and Bathsheba died in infancy as a result of David’s sin and murder of Uriah. The Prodigal Son returned to his Father broken and destitute as a result of his squandering the benefits of his father’s estate.
We can all look back on our lives and see the trails of our sins scattered with scars and pain. But we can also look to the redeeming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who makes all things, including our own souls, new. Our future paths are not necessarily strewn with sinful indiscretions if we stay near to Him in both spirit and truth.