22220.034 The Futility of Hiding

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21)

In an event at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City—one focused on reaching the cities of the world for Christ—prominent evangelicals discussed why there is so much spiritual darkness in cities. Among the theories proffered, no one struck on one I think is key: in the urban masses, people think they can hide their sin.

In the small town in which I grew up, it was really difficult to hide your sin. Getting drunk? Being promiscuous? Doing drugs? Bashing mailboxes on the rural roads outside of town? It wasn’t uncommon to have your family know about your sin before you got home. Everybody knew you and knew what was going on. If you were homosexual, you kept it as secret as possible because it was inevitable that someone in the town would talk. In the city, a homosexual can frequent gay bars, be involved in gay events, and maybe even march in a gay pride parade and never see anyone who knows him…and might tell.

Thus, cities become dark harbors for sin-bearing ships of the night which slip in and out undetected…or not.

The Scriptures make it clear that no one—read that no one—hides anything from God. The Book declares that the “secret” things will be shouted from the housetops, or, as my mom used to warn, “Be sure your sins will find you out.”

Principle: Sin, once committed, is “posted on the cosmic Internet” where God and, eventually, others will see it. Bank on it.

My grad school French professor hated this teaching. He told how he hated the nuns at his Catholic school for making God “the Eye in the Sky” akin to the ubiquitous black helicopters of some oppressive and tyrannical regime.

But my prof completely misunderstood the benefits of this teaching. The reason injustice is rampant in society is that the evidence is hidden. A just society must have mechanisms for finding evidence of evil…so evildoers can be prosecuted.

Principle: Knowing that God sees and knows all we do is a powerful “sin-restraint mechanism” for those who believe it­ like a giant floodlight in an otherwise dark alley.

The “terror” of God’s omniscience is only for those with something to hide. We often miss the second part of the Proverbs 15:3 passage, “Watch on the evil and the good.” This refutes the axiom that “No good deed goes unpunished.” Every time we are convinced that our righteous acts and Christ-honoring actions are going unnoticed, we have this promise to encourage us.

Principle: God’s watchfulness over what we think and do is a marvelous blessing to those whose hearts are right and deeds are righteous. It means that no good deed will go unrewarded.