Dear Brothers and Sisters in Faith,
C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia series, is one of my favorite writers. He also wrote a number of essays on various aspects of Christianity. In my opinion, he’s one of the great thinkers on theology in recent times. A famous quote on “integrity” is often attributed to him, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” It reminds me of a story I read in one of my devotions, where a young boy rushed out of the house for school. His mom asked if he brushed his teeth. His response, “You should get a video camera for the bathroom so you can check for yourself … and I wouldn’t be tempted to lie.” The camera might remind us to follow the rules. But we can still fool ourselves into thinking that just because nobody saw it … it’s okay.
God works through HIS prophet Jeremiah to warn His people about false prophets running rampant in their midst. God warns that just because someone says they’re a prophet, doesn’t mean they’re HIS God’s prophet. They may say, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” (Jeremiah 23:25) but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. He also says, “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.” (Jeremiah 23:28) Nevertheless, these false prophets were inspiring people to turn away from God. They, and the people, were hiding behind what they imagined was truth. But God asks rhetorically, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24)
While a person may think they can hide their sinful deeds from other people … what others don’t know won’t hurt them … they can’t hide from God. God is, among other things, “omnipresent” and “omniscient.” He is everywhere and knows everything (Jeremiah 16:17, Psalm 139:1-4).
On the one hand, this is terrifying … there’s no place I can run, there’s no darkness I can act in, there’s no rock I can hide behind where God cannot see what I do or find me. I may be able to hide from my mom, but I can’t hide from God. That’s terrifying.
But … it’s also comforting. First, God doesn’t hide from us. He can be found anytime, anywhere. Where? He tells us, “But let him who has my Word speak my Word faithfully.” (Jeremiah 23:28) If we want to know what God wants from us … and more importantly, what He does for us … go to the source. Go to His Word! Second, our Father knows it’s hard to turn away from false prophets who get in our face and tell us what we want to hear … what makes us feel good. That’s why He warns us with His Word and sent His Son, Jesus to suffer and die for us and rise to new life – freed from sin and death. Just as God is always present when we’re running from Him … He’s also always present, patiently waiting for us to repent and confess our sins, to forgive us unconditionally. Thank God we cannot hide ourselves from Him!