What would you look at if you could see any one thing God sees? Would you watch life in a warmer climate? Would you spy on a relative to ensure they’re okay? Would you see the wonders of the world or look at the depths of the ocean? Imagine what you could do if you could see what God sees!
Today in God’s Word he tells us what he sees, but it’s not all good. Far from the wonders of the world, he sees us for who we really are. But he didn’t leave us that way. As we begin our journey through the season of Lent, we use a series of 3-word sermons. The three words for our meditation today are: THE LORD SAW.
We may think God sits in heaven and sees everything, but the truth is he is present everywhere. He doesn’t have to be in heaven to see it—he’s watching it happen. But does he really see everything? Can he see the skeletons in the closet I would be embarrassed if anyone found out about? Or the time you lied, and the time you hid your faith so you wouldn’t be labeled? What about when we thought we could skip out on following God this time? Or when I found that strangely evil thought in your heart, but didn’t outright dismiss it? Did the LORD see then?
Meanwhile, God’s truth staggers and stumbles in the street. “Yes, truth is lacking.” Anyone who tries to turn from their sinful ways just gets punished for it. People will label you a “Jesus freak.” You’ll be weird. If God really cared, why wouldn’t he come and do something about it? Surely he can’t see—or doesn’t care. Why would a loving God be so demanding? His expectations are unrealistic: be you! Be the you you want to be! Don’t let yourself be defined by some book.
Mom tells her child that if he runs out into the street, he’s going to get a timeout. When that child inevitably ignores mom’s warning, what’s going to happen to him? She sees him, and he goes to timeout. God has clearly spelled out his expectations for us in his Word. How have we lived up to his expectations? God sees.
There are some things we don’t need the LORD to tell us. We are intimately familiar with them. Three words are used in the text: transgression, sin, iniquity. We know them too well. Not just the mistaken words or actions we have done, these transgressions are acts of rebellion against God. Our sins testify against us. So does God. In the courtroom of his law, our sins are all the testimony necessary. Our transgressions are with us. We know our guilt. We haven’t done what is right; any hope we have of doing it is beyond reach. And THE LORD SAW. He has seen all you’ve done. He’s not pleased. No one does what is right. He sees that, to a man, the human race is filthy. He sees we’re guilty as charged.
More amazing even than the multitude of sins he sees is what he doesn’t see. God is astonished because there isn’t a single man left to intercede for the people. No one does what is right. No one. No one can go between us and God.
The saying goes, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” God lived up to those words. He saw the people he made couldn’t meet his expectations. So he gears up for war to make it happen by himself. The LORD’s arm worked salvation, and his righteousness held him to it. He put on the protective helmet of salvation, and the body armor of his righteousness—his own perfection. He puts on his anger over sin and his zeal for his people as he prepares to deal with our sinfulness.
And he repays. His justice comes. The enemies of God take the full blow. Divine retribution falls like a hammer. He sees his enemies. And he destroys them. He repays each according to their deeds. Our deeds say we belong with his enemies. We—the whole world from east to west—rightly respond with fear. He comes like a rushing river. He leaves destruction in his wake. Nothing will stop him. Like disobedient children, we knew the punishment was coming.
THE LORD SAW our sin. He sees our terror. And he came. But he didn’t come to us with weapons of vengeance and violence. He came to Zion, to Jerusalem. Jesus came. He brought wrath down on God’s enemies—but not on you and me. He took the blow himself to buy you back from your sin. Jesus met God’s expectations. Jesus came as Redeemer. And THE LORD SAW
You redeem your points when you spend a certain amount of money at places where you have a membership. But you don’t pay to get the redemption Jesus provides. His redemption was paid by his blood. The recompense that comes from him is a reward, not wrath! THE LORD SAW his payment, and the LORD accepted it! Although our sins testified against us, Jesus’ testimony is greater. He says our sins are paid for. Although your conscience may bother you, although you know your sin, the LORD doesn’t see it anymore! It’s gone!
Jesus came as Redeemer. He calls us to turn away from our sin. In the season of Lent, we repent. That means first of all, not hiding our sins from God. The LORD SEES them anyway. We simply acknowledge our guilt before him. We admit we haven’t done what he told us to do, and we’ve done what he’s told us not to do. We have violated his holy will. But repentance means much more than just feeling sorry for our sins. It means more than having pangs of guilt. It means putting that guilt where it belongs. The LORD spoke. He declared a Redeemer came. Jesus already paid the price for our sins. So leave your guilt with him. He’s paid for it. Leave your sins on his cross. They do you no good now. THE LORD SAW Jesus make the payment. What he has said must be true, so repent! Believe this good news. That’s the second part of repentance. To trust in God’s forgiveness. And finally, we turn from our wicked ways to serve God.
What if you could see what God sees? Better than going to exotic locations or seeing impressive buildings, you would be able to see yourself as God sees you—his redeemed child. And you could tell others this truth. You could tell them that Jesus paid the price for all their wickedness. He has forgiven you and the world on the cross. By God’s grace, you can tell others what God sees. You can tell them of their wickedness, and tell them Jesus paid for it. Tell them to repent! The time will come soon when the LORD will come again. Hearts that repent—that turn from their sins to trust in him—those the LORD WILL SEE as ready. Amen.
57May the LORD our God be with us, just as he was with our fathers. May he never leave us or abandon us. 58May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways (1 Kings 8:57-58a, EHV)