Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 20, 1961

The Divine, Satanic, And Human Look

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

The thoughts, the speech, and the deeds of all responsible beings are constantly being checked. Those people who are acquainted with the word of God are very conscious of this fact. And whether we enjoy such close scrutiny or not matters nothing at all. The observation goes on just the same. But the fact that we know about it going on, does give us an advantage that we would not otherwise have. Being conscious of this, we can put the brakes on here and there as needed, and should do so, by all means. But now for our study:

The Divine Look

I like to think of divinity as being above. This helps me to think of divinity looking down. In such a conclusion I am not without scriptural authority, for, do not the Scriptures speak of people as being the "footstool" of his feet? And has not the word of God declared: "The Lord came down to see?" And again has not the statement been made in the Scripture, concerning the Lord, "I will go down now and see, etc." This causes us to think of divinity as being above, and being above, would God and Jesus not look down?

"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" Man overlooks sin in those he loves, but "iniquity is not hid from the eyes of God." God has "set our secret sins in the light of his countenance." In looking down, divinity takes account of three main things which concern us greatly. These are as follows:

1. "If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not." Any service rendered to God, no matter how great or small, is rendered acceptable according to the state of the mind. This service must be given without grudging. It must be a cheerful offering. "God loves a cheerful giver."

2. The Lord's look down takes into account the capacity of output we are capable of doing. The God of heaven wants us to put out all we are able to put out. We learn this lesson from the parable of the talents. The five talented man used all five. The two talented man used all two. Both were working to full capacity. Neither was doing more than the other for both were doing according to their ability. The one talented man did not use what he had. He was not condemned for having only one talent, but he was condemned for "failing to use" that one talent. Had he used it, and gained only one more, he would have done as much as the man with five talents. It is not the amount of work done, that gets the approval of the Lord, but whether we are reaching our capacity for output for the Lord. To hear the Lord's well done "good and faithful servant," we must fill our quota of the work we are capable of doing.

3. And when the Lord looks down and sees our giving, he does not count it as we do. We count what we give. The Lord counts what we have left after we give. The rich, the Lord said, gave much. But the poor widow who gave about one half a cent, all she had, the Lord said she gave more than the rich. The rich man had much left, the widow did not have. I greatly fear at times we think we are doing pretty good in giving, but when the Lord counts what we have left, or what we have wasted that could have been given if we had been good stewards, we will come short of "giving as prospered."

The Satanic Look

The Satanic look is for the purpose of seeing where he can hinder our Christian work. In the long ago, it was said of one, "Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him." And the beloved apostle Paul wrote, "I would have come unto you once and again, but Satan hindered me." In keeping Paul away, Satan hindered the preaching of the gospel, God's way of saving souls. I like to think of Satan as one who looks on. His look is not a helpful one. The only commendation a person gets from Satan is when he is doing a good job for him. Satan tries to hinder good work for the Lord.

The Human Look

I like to think of the human look, as the personal look, the look in. The Lord looks down, Satan looks on, and why not, then, by all means, Christians look in. That Christians should make a personal inspection is evident from the teaching of the Scriptures. We note the following:

1. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" It is so easy to criticize someone. I hear so much criticism of elders and preachers. Then, too, the deacons come in for their share of the criticism. So many times people do not know what they are talking about when they criticize. Perhaps if they were in the place of the elders, deacons, or preachers, they would do no better, perhaps not so well. The Lord stresses the point for us to look in, not out. But let us further think of this matter.

2. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." The point that is here stressed is examine "self" while we eat and drink. Instead, many times people say, "I can't commune with so and so, so I just don't come to meeting any more. He isn't fit to commune with," says another. All this examination is outward, when our Lord says it should be inward. But more:

3. "Examine yourselves. whether ye be in the faith." Be sure your life is consistent with gospel teaching. Do as David did. Said he, "I thought on my ways, and I turned my feet unto thy testimonies." This individual examination by looking in is bound to help more than the critical eye with only an outlook. God help us all.