by Tom Wacaster
Second Chronicles may be one of the most neglected of the inspired books by otherwise good Bible students. I must admit that my yearly trek through the genealogies in 1 and 2 Chronicles takes some patience. Much of what we read in the Chronicles is a repeat of the material in 1 and 2 Kings with but little difference. It is interesting, therefore, that on my journey through 2 Chronicles some years ago my eyes happened to light upon a little phrase that I had read a number of times, though only in passing. But first, some background information. It was the 36th year of the reign of Asa, king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Asa was instrumental in maintaining pure worship before God. He removed his own mother from being queen because she had made an idol unto false gods (2 Chron. 15:16). In addition, he brought into the house of God the things that his father Abijah had restored to the temple. When the 16th chapter of 2 Chronicles opens we learn that Baasha, king of the Northern Kingdom, rose up against Judah. Rather than depend upon God for protection, Asa turned to Benhadad, the king of Syria, and sought an alliance with that idolatrous nation. The union was successful and Benhadad retreated from his aggression. Asa may have won the battle, but he lost what might have otherwise been a blessing from God in the final overthrow and defeat of Syria itself. Hanani the prophet was sent to Asa: “Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand” (2 Chron. 16:7). Hanani then makes this interesting statement: “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 before him. Herein has thou done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars” (2 Chron. 16:9). Please note these lessons from this record.
First, God has searching eyes. Here it is said that He is looking for those “whose heart is perfect toward him” (16:9). During the last days of the southern kingdom, Jeremiah was once instructed to “run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Jer. 5:1). Those must have been trying times in the nation of Israel, when a righteous man was hard to find. The northern kingdom had already been destroyed because of the absence of the “righteous few” that might have preserved that nation. Jeremiah was instructed to take an inventory and see if “a man” could be found in the streets of Jerusalem. Wickedness was rampant. For the most part Israel had become corrupt. But God would give them another opportunity. “Jeremiah, see if you can find a man!” To be sure, God already knew the answer! The question was for Jeremiah’s benefit, not God’s. The hammer of judgment was about to be lowered on the city and the nation, and God wanted Jeremiah to know that the divine judgment was justified. Oh, the searching eyes of Jehovah God. Like the prodigal son whose father must have never ceased to look, our Father in heaven keeps searching for one more soul that is “perfect toward him.”
Second, God has far reaching eyes. His eyes are said to run “to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron. 16:9). There is no hamlet, no small village, no isolated corner of this globe that can escape the penetrating look of the eyes of God. Surely the New Testament equivalent of this Old Testament passage are expressed in the words of the Hebrews writer: “And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). One wonders by the timing of Hanani’s statement from God whether or not Asa may have attempted to make this “league” with Benhadad in secret. Men may perpetrate and perform their crimes in the dark of night where they THINK they can escape detection. Law makers and politicians may receive a bribe “under the table” in an effort to conceal their wicked deeds. The abortion industry may succeed in hiding the horrible nature of their crimes, and the thief who breaks through and steals in the dead of night might be successful in hiding their misdeeds from men. But our God sees all, and all will answer to the Almighty for their ungodly deeds.
Third, God has urgent eyes. It is said that His eyes “run” (2 Chron. 16:9). When it comes to judgment and salvation, time is of the essence. “The King’s business requires haste” (1 Sam. 21:8). We must preach the word, “be urgent in season out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). But what it is that makes the search so urgent? It is the limited time constraint that faces each one of us. Life is but a vapor (James 4:14). There is no certainty of tomorrow. God knows this; and so His eyes are said to ‘run.’ If God’s eyes are urgently seeking those who are lost, should we not have urgent eyes as well? A world lost in sin, standing on the very brink of eternal ruin, calls for the eyes of every servant of our Lord Jesus Christ to be urgently seeking the lost.
Fourth, God has revealing eyes. God is said to “shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect” (2 Chron. 16:9). I, for one, am glad that God is a revealing God and that He WANTS to make Himself known. How grateful we should be that not only has He made “one of every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth,” but that He desires that all men “should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). Some years ago it was declared that “God is dead.” No, God is not dead. He is alive, and He has made Himself known. For those who fail to find Him, the fault is solely theirs, for God is looking for them, and He is ready and willing to show Himself to those who earnestly seek after Him (Heb. 11:6).
Finally, God has demanding eyes. While His love is unconditional, His blessings are for a limited few. He is strong in behalf of “them whose heart is perfect toward him.” The context of those words helps me understand what God means by a “heart that is perfect toward him.” Asa failed to trust God. He doubted the power of God to fulfill the promises given. While Asa may have proven himself noteworthy by seeking to eradicate idolatry and return to true worship of Jehovah, he failed in this one area. He failed to seek God’s advice, and then to follow it when it came to him. God demands that we bow in submission in every single aspect and area of our life. Failure to do so will be catastrophic.
May we never forget that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, and may we live soberly in view of that wonderful truth!