The Eyes of the Lord
(New Year's Sermon)
"The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year." Deuteronomy 11:12.
The Israelites were about to go into the Promised Land. The year 1451 B.C. was one of the most eventful and contrasting years of all in the life of the Israelites. Moses speaks to them at the first of the year. he knows what they will face during the year. (God knows and He inspires Moses.) He knows that in 1451 B.C. the Jews begin the year in the wilderness in wandering and suffering, but during this year they will cross the Jordan River. They will fight and win the battle of Jericho. In 1451 B.C., this same year, they will lose the battle of Ai because of the secret sin of Achan. In 1451 B.C. they will conquer the land of Canaan. They will wander in the wilderness, cross the Jordan, be victorious at Jericho, get defeated at Ai, and conquer the land all in one year. So Moses is saying, "Folks, don't forget thins. From the beginning of the year until the end of the year, the eyes of the Lord are always upon you."
Let me give you a story. Dr. Max Helton is with us working in our college. He is one of the finest fellows you will ever want to meet-a hard worker, good Christian, a man of character and honor. Max Helton was a missionary in Hawaii. He was home on furlough when he came to me for counsel. He said, "Dr. Hyles, for some reason or other I feel unrest about where I am serving. I feel that God has something else for me."
I said, "Max, I believe God want you to come to Hyles-Anderson College and be a part of our team here." He prayed about it and here's what he said: "I was praying about it and while I was praying about it, I did some checking on you. I watched you. I watched you while you preached. I watched you at the table when I would eat with you. I watched you around other preachers; I observed what you said and how you talked. Then I went to the Bill Rice Ranch in the summer and someone said, 'That fellow is David Hyles'. I asked, 'Is that Dr. Jack Hyles' son?' They said, 'Yes, it is.' David didn't know it, but I was watching his every move. I did not see one single slip-up. Everything he did would bring honor to the Hyles name. Then," he continued, "one week I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was at the J. C. Penney store with a friend. My friend said, 'Hey, Max, do you know who that young lady is?' I said, 'Who?' He said, "That's Becky Hyles. That's Dr. Jack Hyles' daughter.'" Max said, "I decided I would follow her and watch her as she shopped. I watched her as she talked to the clerks. I watched her as she walked down the street. I followed her for awhile. She was a picture of grace and charm."
Becky didn't know she was being watched. David didn't know he was being watched, but the truth is, you know, we do better when we know we are watched. Why do you look at the rear view mirror so often when you drive? When you see a little car with a little bubble on top, why is it that your right leg changes from one peddle to another? You are being watched!
The other day one of our fine ladies said to me, "Brother Hyles, my son did something wrong." He is just a little bitty fellow. She said, " I spanked him. Then I asked him, "Now whose heart did you break?' He said, "Mommy's and Daddy's.' 'No,' I said, 'somebody else. Somebody that is far greater than Mommy and Daddy.' He said, 'I don't know.' I said, 'Somebody greater than Mommy and Daddy. You hurt Mommy and Daddy, but you hurt somebody far more than that. Let me give you a hint. It's somebody who hears all you say and sees all you do. Now who is it?' Then he said, 'Brother Hyles!'"
I know a lady in this auditorium who keeps my picture in her kitchen. She is on a diet. She said, "I sit down to the table and somebody asks, 'Would you like some macaroni?' I look up at you and you are looking at me, so I say, 'No.'"
"Want some pie?"
"No, thank you."
Do you know why? She is being watched.
Moses is saying, "Folks, you have a busy year. You will have to start the year in the wilderness. The eyes of the Lord will be upon you from the year until the end of the year." Then he said, "You are going to face the Jordan River. You are going to have to cross the Jordan River sometime this year. Don't forget, the eyes of the Lord will be upon you from the beginning of the year unto the ending of the year." Then he says, "You are going to have to fight the battle of Jericho. You are going to live up on top of the mountain, but don't forget, the eyes of the Lord will be upon you from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year." He said, "You are going to have some sin this year in your life, that secret sin of stealing that coat and that gold from the city of Jericho; defeat will come, but don't forget, while you sin, the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year." Then he said, "You will conquer the land. You will know what it is to languish in defeat, and yet you will know what it is to rejoice in victory. You will know what it is to scrape the bottom and yet overflow the top. You will know what it is to go down to the darkest of midnight valleys, but you will also know what it is to rise to the most beautiful sunlit peaks of all. On the mountain top, in the valley, in victory, in defeat, in good days, in bad days, in righteousness and in sin, don't forget, the eyes of the Lord will be upon you from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year."
Again I say, it is a simple truth. We don't say much about it. Oh, we teach it to our little boys and girls.
O be careful, little hands, what you do! O be careful, little hands, what you do! For the Father up above is looking down in love; O be careful, little hands, what you do!
O be careful, little feet, where you go! O be careful, little feet, where you go! For the Father up above is looking down in love; O be careful, little feet, where you go!
O be careful, little tongue, what you say! O be careful, little tongue, what you say! For the Father up above is looking down in love; O be careful, little tongue, what you say!
O be careful, little ear, what you hear! O be careful, little ear, what you hear! For the Father up above is looking down in love; O be careful, little ear, what you hear!
It is a simple truth, but God does hear everything you say; be careful what you say. God does know what you hear; be careful what you hear. God does see where you go; be careful where you go. God does know what you do; be careful what you do.
Moses, the meekest man, and I think, the greatest man who ever lived on earth apart from our Saviour, gathered all the Israelites and said, "This year, 1451 B.C., will be a year of victory and defeat, a year of mountain tops and valleys, a year of shadows and sunshine, but don't forget, whether in the mountain top or in the valley, every year, every month, every day, every moment, from the beginning of the year until the ending of the year, the eyes of the Lord are upon you!"
Ah, I wish you would get that. Kids, I wish you would get that at school. The eyes of the Lord will be upon you at school when you take the test, when you say what you shouldn't say, the eyes of the Lord will be upon you from the beginning of the year unto the ending of the year.
I wish you could get that idea while you work. Everything you do at work, God will see it and scrutinize it. Every word you say, every curse word, every dirty joke you listen to, every suggestive thought you have, every dirty book you read, every lewd calendar you see, every dirty story you read, He knows it all. You may stay up at night and watch some dirty, sexy
movie on television. Your children might be asleep. Your wife might be asleep, but the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning of the year until the ending of the year.
Everything you will do in 1972, God's eyes will see. What a truth! We teach it to our boys and girls, but let every adult hear it. Let every teenager hear it. Let every aged saint hear it. Let us live in 1972 with a consciousness that what we do, what we hear, what we say, where we go, what we read, where our feet lead us, and what our hands do are under the constant inspection of Almighty God Who knows all we know, hears all we hear, sees all we see, sees all we do.
"The eyes of the Lord are upon thee from the beginning of the year unto the ending of the year." The key word is "always." God doesn't make spot checks on His children. God always watches. While I'm preaching, for example, I look around the entire building and spot check the teenagers and
see how they are listening. I look around again and spot check the teenagers, but God always has His eyes upon you. Always! God doesn't check occasionally to see how you are doing. He always watches.
I. In the Wilderness
Now listen carefully. "He will see you," Moses said, "in the wilderness."
They start off in the wilderness and Moses says God will see them in the wilderness in the new year. That's a wonderful thought. Did you know God will see you in the funeral home when you are sitting beside a loved one? Your heart is crushed and you think the sun will never shine through the clouds again. The eyes of the Lord are upon you. Did you know that when you are in the hospital room God will see you? Your surgery is about an hour away and the nurse comes with the needle and she says, "Let me give you a shot," or "Let me give you a pill," and you know what is going to happen. Suddenly your tongue will get thick and your eyes will get a little bleary, and soon you will be rolled off to have surgery and you wonder if it will be malignant. The eyes of the Lord will be upon you. God knows every sacrifice. God knows every pain. God knows every heartache. God sees every tear. The eyes of the will be upon you.
By the way, you will have some wilderness in 1972. You will shed some tears. You may face the surgeon's knife in 1972. The new year may hold for you the bedside of a dying loved one. It may hold for you the sorrow of standing beside babyland in the cemetery. It may hold for you the heartbreak of standing by the casket of your beloved father or mother, husband or wife, brother or sister. It may hold for you a dark wilderness valley of shadow, but blessed be God, the eyes of the Lord are always upon those that love Him.
II. In Canaan
There is another thing about the Israelites. They not only spent some time in the wilderness, but they spent some time in Canaan. The victories are in Canaan. Do you know that God beholds you when you do things for Him? In fact, in Zechariah 4:10 it teaches us that the eyes of the Lord search to and fro to see the little things.
The other day I was in my office on a Saturday morning. It was the day before we had 12,000 in Sunday school. There was a knock on my office door, and one of our dear bus ladies was there. It was about 14 degrees outside; it was cold. That dear lady had been visiting all morning and was going visiting the rest of the afternoon She had some little problem which
needed my help. I shook her hand and it was cold. Her nose was running a little bit. She was huffing and puffing, and her eyes were a little bit red. As she and another partner went out to spend the rest of the day in the cold going from house to house trying to get some poor little bus kids to come to Sunday school the next day, I thought, "Few know she is out there. Maybe just Brother Beebe and I and a few others know, but she is out there and the dear Lord knows!"
One of our staff ladies the other day told me a beautiful story that is worth coming to church to hear. One of the young single ladies in our church came to one of our staff ladies who had worked so very long. This young, unmarried lady in our church went to her and said, "You work so hard. Why don't you let me keep your house clean for you?" That young lady, I happened to find out, goes to that staff lady's home where there is a family and a rather large house, and she washes, irons, does the dishes,
sweeps, mops and vacuums. Nobody knew abut it and this is the first time she has found out that I knew about it. She intended for no one to find out about it. The eyes of the Lord were upon her.
Last night my mother and I drove for Teenage Soul Winning. We took two of our fine girls soul winning. It was raining and cold. It was Christmas night Two girls got in the back seat of my car and we left. We went to the first place and they got out of the car. In the cold rain they stopped for awhile. I said, "Mother, look! They stood there in the rain praying. These two teenage girls went up and knocked on the door. They came back; nobody was at home. We went to another place and they prayed there in the rain.
How would you like to do that ? I mean, go up to a strange house on Christmas night, knock on the door and say, "How do you do. I'm from First Baptist Church. It's nice to know you." How would you like to do that ? Well, many of our kids did that last night!
The girls came back to the car and said that one mother said, "You can't talk to my daughter! I'll answer all the questions. We have had enough visits from your church!" The girls kept on going. While Mother and I were talking, they were back in the back seat having a prayer meeting. "Oh, God, help so-and-so to get saved tonight. Please help us." We made 12 calls. Not many were at home and the ones who were at home weren't very nice. They were not glad to have visitors from the church on Christmas night. Finally one of the girls said, "I wonder where everybody is. I thought folks stayed at home on Christmas night."
"No," I said, "they are all together in somebody's home. The family is gathered all together somewhere."
One of them said, "I wish we could find out where that is so we could win them all."
We went to another house. It was getting late. I said, "Dear Lord, You are going to have to give these girls at lease one soul tonight. I don't think it would be fair if You didn't. These girls got out in the rain and prayed before they went to every house. They have made 12 calls. It just wouldn't be fair, Lord. It just isn't like You." They were gone for about thirty minutes. Finally the door opened to the car and one of them said, "Praise the Lord! We won seven in that house! All the teenagers in one family were together-seven of them! We won seven teenagers in one house!"
The newspaper said nothing about those two fine girls this morning, but the eyes of the Lord were upon them! The dear Lord looked down from Heaven and saw those girls and many others like them as last night they served Him.
There is a couple in our church who have entered the Hammond Baptist Schools contest for free tuition. They have worked. The fellow holds down two and three jobs at a time so he can send his children to school. They said, "We are going to enter the contest so my husband can quit his extra jobs and just have one job. That way we will get to have more time as a family, etc." So they worked! They worked and worked and worked. They won the top prize in the contest. Now the husband doesn't have to work but
one job and they can have the tuition of the kids paid at school free. I went to my office, and found the lady waiting. She came in and said, "Pastor (she began to weep a little bit), we have been praying and God has burdened us to do something. My husband has been holding down two and three jobs so our kids can go to the school. We are going to win a top prize and pay some poor kid's tuition to Hammond Baptist Schools." Now that husband still works three jobs. Late at night when he is working and he is tired, the eyes of the Lord run to and fro, and watch him.
Nothing is hidden from His eyes and nothing is hushed from His ears. No footprints are covered up and no fingerprints are disguised. God knows what you do. Hear me, college student away from home, the eyes of the Lord
are upon you. Hear me, serviceman in the service in some city where you have never been before and where no one knows you, the eyes of the Lord are upon you. Hear me, young person on vacation, the eyes of the Lord are upon you. Hear me, children, the eyes of the Lord are upon you.
I was shopping the other day in downtown Hammond. I saw one of our girls in a mini-skirt. It was cold. She saw me and realized that I saw her. She quickly pulled everything down and almost tore off the top. She pulled hard on her coat, and then she got behind somebody that was next to her. Do you know why she was worried? She didn't want the Preacher to see her!
I was out making a visit in Hessville. One of our members came to the door. She didn't know it was me and she was smoking a cigarette. She put it behind her and thought she hid it, but the smoke was coming out of the top of her hear! The eyes of the Lord are upon you!
Do you know what is wrong with this old sin-cursed generation? Do you know
what is wrong with this generation that defies God, and laughs at punishment, decency, and honor? Do you know what is wrong with us? We have forgotten there is a holy, righteous, vengeful and wrathful God. Listen, I believe in love. Yes, I believe in love, but I believe that the God Who loves good also hates bad! The God Who loves Heaven hates hell. The God Who loves righteousness hates sin. God is a vengeful God, a wrathful God, a furious God, and He pours out His wrath upon those who reject the Gospel and reject the Word and truth of God. I get a little weary of this new "Jesus freak" kind of religion. God is sick of it. He is sick of a religion that says, "I don't care what you say about being clean; I'll be dirty if I want to be dirty." He is sick or rebellion against authority. he is sick of refusal to accept His truth. America needs a revival of the preaching of the holiness and righteousness and the justice of an omnipotent God Whose eyes always behold His people.
God sees you. Yes, God sees you! Nothing is hidden from God. Remember that dark night on a lonely road? The eyes of God were there. Remember that time you smoked just one marijuana cigarette to see what it was like? The eyes of God were there.
I say to you as we point toward a new year, if I could give you one word of admonition as your pastor, I would say, "For twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days, live every moment of every hour of every day of every week of every month of the year realizing the eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning of the year to the end of the year."
By the way, His eyes have been upon you in 1971! Young people, are there any decisions you ought to make this morning? Is there anything you have been doing that has not pleased God when His eyes focused upon your activities? Ladies and gentlemen, are there shady deals, critical natures, bitterness, gossip, unkindness, dishonesty, ludeness, unholy literature? What is it? What is it that you would not do if Jesus Christ lived in your house? The eyes of the Lord are upon you from the beginning of the year unto the end of the year. Don't forget it! Don't forget it! Don't forget it! When you rise in the morning, don't forget, the eyes of God are upon you. When you go to school, don't forget, the eyes of God are upon you. The eyes of God are upon you! The eyes of God are upon you from the beginning of the year to the ending of the year. This could change your year and your life.