I took my wife and two daughters to a baseball game the other day. As we were casually enjoying the evening, I received a text message on my phone. The number was unfamiliar. I opened it up and found a picture of the back of my head. It was a little disconcerting that someone behind me with whom I wasn’t intimately acquainted was taking pictures of me…and sending them to my cell number. I thought, “who is this creep?” I didn’t want to be obvious, so I waited for a minute before casually turning around, trying to spot the culprit. I didn’t see anyone I knew back there. A few innings later, I was standing, gazing around the stadium when I noticed the Vice President of Engineering sliding into the bleachers a few rows behind me. He looked at me with a goofy grin on his face. As I reached back to shake his hand I said, “I was wondering who the creep was that took that photo!” In retrospect, that really could have backfired big time. But thankfully, it was him, and thankfully, he’s a nice guy. We had a good laugh together.
It’s nice being noticed by people in high positions.
It’s absolutely amazing that men and women are noticed by the God of the Universe.
God exists is far beyond the heavens. He fills the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, calling into existence that which doesn’t exist. He owns everything, including the world, all those dwell in it, and every animal on every hill. So, how is it that He cares to notice people?
Yet, God tells us plainly in His Word that He notices us. In fact, every day, His eyes are “…moving to and fro throughout the earth”, actively searching the hearts of men and women throughout the world. Unlike anyone else, God has the amazing ability to see into our heart–the very depth of our soul where all our motives, fears, hopes, and dreams reside. As He searches our hearts, He is scrutinizing, weighing, and assessing what He finds there. This blog describes what God is looking for when He searches our heart.
In God’s word spoken through His prophet, Isaiah, we find this statement:
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
After God explains that He is Creator of all things and the Ruler of the Universe seated on a heavenly throne, He amazes us with His softer, compassionate side. He says He is looking for people who possess certain qualities. I can understand why God would notice humble and contrite people, but it is most striking to me that He looks for people who tremble at His word.
To tremble at God’s word is to go beyond just reading it. You must be willing to let it penetrate your soul, where all your secrets, values, fears, regrets, expectations, hopes, malicious thoughts, and goals reside. God is looking for the person who approaches the Word with reverence because he understands it is living and active, able to penetrate the human soul and expose secrets.
Trembling also means you are willing to do what He says. Are you willing to change your daily routine because of what God’s says? Are you willing to love an unlovable person today because God says to do that? Are you willing to be content, not dissatisfied, because something you treasure or expect didn’t pan out? These are the things a person who trembles at God’s word will do. Treat your Bible like a spiritual mirror of the soul, and be prepared to act on what you see in it:
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
James says there is blessing for those who put what they read in the Bible into practice. God Himself says, “do not My words do good to the one walking uprightly?”
To tremble at God’s word requires humility and contrition. How rare it is to find a humble person–someone who is not self-absorbed, who is genuinely considerate of others, and who is aware of their inherent pride and selfish ambition. Very few people understand the deceitful nature of the human heart, which loves to manufacture goodness and kindness toward others for sordid gain, to secretly build up a sense of self-righteousness. A humble person is not someone who is overly apologetic, subtly begging for compliments by putting himself down. Humble people just seem to be sincerely interested in what other people think. They will bend from time to time–they defer to others and don’t demand their own way or manipulate them to get what they really want.
It is equally rare to find people who are contrite–people who actually feel bad when their behavior runs crossways with God’s expectation. These people don’t over-compensate or block out guilt, nor do they deflect blame on someone or something else. They own guilt in a healthy way, using it to bring them to a point of repentance. Upon reflecting on their own behavior, the contrite person will ask for forgiveness for a misplaced, unkind word.
These things, spurred on by the trembling heart, are the things that catch God’s eye.
King Asa of Judah had a problem–a menacing enemy lay poised at his border, ready to strike. God had miraculously delivered Asa before in a similar situation. But this time, rather than believing God would deliver him, Asa sought help from a powerful ally. God expressed His disappointment at Asa’s lack of trust, and then quoted this statement:
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
God is looking for people who possess an undivided heart. Asa’s heart was divided–he knew God, but he didn’t believe in Him. Asa called for support, an armed force he could see. God wants people who trust Him even though He’s invisible, people who don’t need a backup plan.
Society offers plenty of backup plans, most of which involve some form of escape–a removal from an uncomfortable situation, whether it be an unhappy marriage, a stressful job, an aging hairline, etc. The person whose heart is completely God’s recognizes God’s sovereignty over everything that is happening, and that He is using those circumstances to draw us to a deeper level of understanding and contentment.
God is a jealous God, and He does not like to share your trust with backup plans. He desires your loyalty. He wants to prove His love and ability to rescue those who look to Him. Do you believe God is who He says He is? Do you believe that He will do what He says He will do? Do you believe He can give you strength to do what He asks? These are the tests of the heart that measure the wholeness of your faith. God wants you to trust Him, and walk with Him to a place of maturity, where your love and peace reach unprecedented levels.
This verse is exciting because it tells us what God does for the one in whom He finds a loyal heart–He says He will “strongly support” those whose heart is completely His. I want you to imagine what this looks like: the same God who spoke the universe into existence, flooded the earth, divided the Red Sea, made the sun stand still, crushed powerful armies, and raised Jesus Christ from the dead wants to strongly support you. When God is strongly supporting you, nothing can get in the way. If you are able to grasp this, your courage goes through the roof. For a moment in time, you are confident, possessing a sense of humble invincibility. This is the reward for the man or woman with a heart loyal to God.
Finally, loyal people hang in there with God. When they sense God’s appeal to persevere under some difficult circumstance, they do it, holding dearly to an expectation that somehow, God will intervene. In the meantime, they cry out for God to sustain and comfort them, and, having hope against all hope, set their heart to wait for His reply. As David says,
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine.”
God notices people who fear Him, who believe He exists and that He is loving and powerful enough to sustain them. As a result, they place their hope in Him, clinging desperately to Him even when death and famine are all around.
Too often, we pray for answer and wait expectantly for a day or two, and our faith is strong. As week passes into week, however, or when things go from bad to worse, we begin to waiver. We wonder, does the God of the Bible still operate the way He used to? Is He really aware of my situation? There are billions of people in this world, and many people have worse problems than I do…does He really care about me?
The difficulties of life are tests. They can metaphorically feel like death or famine. They are uncomfortable wilderness experiences. In such cases, it is easy to lose hope, fall into despair, and seek a way out of the discomfort.
When it is clear that God has intentionally placed you in a wilderness, be aware that He is closely watching your heart. He wants you to hope in Him. He wants you to ask Him for sustaining power to endure. The one who trusts God in this way will see roots of faith digging deep into the soil of God and finding the refreshing water of maturity, expressed in a richer love, contentment, peace, and strength than ever before imagined.
It is an amazing thing that the God of the Universe is scanning the earth, searching the hearts of men and women every day. He is looking for those who are looking for Him. Do you want to catch His eye today? Take a moment to set aside your agenda. Call out to Him. Allow Him to clear your mind…and think. Is your heart completely His? Is your hope completely affixed to Him? Is His Word your authority? Are you full of yourself, or are you ready to be empty, broken, and needy? If so, gaze up at Him. He will return the gaze.
- I Kings 8:27
- Jeremiah 23:24
- Romans 4:17
- Psalm 24:1
- Psalm 50:10
- Psalm 139:3, Jeremiah 17:10
- Isaiah 66:1-2
- Hebrews 4:12-13
- James 1:22-25
- II Chronicles 16:9
- Exodus 34:14
- Psalm 33:18-19