A Brief Meditation for the Month

August 2020

Hannah, the mother of the great prophet Samuel, was one of the most remarkable women of the Old Testament era. Following a prolonged period of affliction and disappointment in her life, she offered praise and thanksgiving to God for responding to her persistent petitions. While doing so, she expressed an unchanging truth: “The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him, actions are weighed.” 1Samuel 2:3. While Eli the priest did not appreciate the behaviour of Hannah, falsely accusing her of drunkenness when she was secretly praying, God heard her prayers, understanding what was in her heart. Eli’s judgement was so wrong, but God weighed Hannah’s actions and responded graciously to her. 1Samuel 1:9–16.

Such is the extent of God’s knowledge that it is impossible to conceive of anything that He does not know. Therefore, because God knows everything, he can pass an infallible judgement upon every thought, intention, action, purpose, and motivation in the lives and experiences of us his creatures. Not only does he know what we do at any time, but he understands perfectly why we do it, and the spirit in which we do it—what motivates us. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jeremiah 17:9. Thus, there is often a degree of hidden dishonesty or deception in our words and actions. They may convey a deceitful message or make a false impression on those before whom they are spoken or acted. There are occasions when spoken words are empty because they are without sincerity—they are formal or are simply expected under the circumstances, but they are practically false. Likewise, words or actions may be motivated by selfish, egoistic desires, merely done to give the impression that they are solely for the benefit of others. For example, what may appear to be a charitable act for the good of our neighbour may be motivated by a stronger secret desire to enhance our own reputation as being compassionate or philanthropic. Jesus made some scathing remarks regarding the Pharisees who were like this, whose religious exercises were done to be “seen of men,” so that they would “have glory of men,” Matthew 6:1–5. However, being God, Jesus could see into the hearts of men, and he knew what lay behind every word and every action. He could read hearts, and thus, actions were “weighed” by him to be approved or else condemned.

In the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to overlook this critical fact that God takes a thorough account of everything we are, do, and say. God, to whom we are all accountable, keeps a perfect record. We ought, therefore, to live with the consciousness that there is a day appointed when that accurate and indisputable record will be disclosed. The books will be opened, and each of us will be judged according to what has been recorded, Revelation 20:12. This sobering fact ought to engage our minds, impressing upon us the importance of sincere and honest motivation in all our activity. The slightest degree of falsity is observed by God, from whom nothing can be concealed. While it is impossible for us to analyse our motives with the perfection of our Creator, nevertheless it would be a profitable, and perhaps a convicting and humbling exercise, to give honest consideration to what lies behind much of what we do and say throughout each day. Such an exercise, however, requires courage, honesty, humility, prayer, and willingness to repent, if we discover a lack of spiritual integrity in our dealings with our fellows. Dear friend, never forget all our actions are always impeccably weighed, not by men, but by God.

G. G. Hutton.