Smoke in Yahweh’s Eyes


Have you ever sat around a campfire enjoying the evening with family or friends? I can remember fall hayrides and bonfires. We would sit around the fire and eat, talk, sing, and share God’s Word together. It was a great time enjoyed by all. I remember one particular time when I was with a group of youth in just such a setting. The night was cool, the mood was joyous, and we were headed to the climax of the evening the sharing of God’s Word. Someone prayed and I opened my Bible. As I began to read, the wind gently shifted and my eyes began to burn. Smoke from the fire was blowing right into my face. As I blinked to relieve the pain I decided to stand up and try a higher altitude. After a couple of sentences the elevation of the smoke changed and there it was rising up right into my eyes again. Since I like to walk while I talk or preach, I began to move around the group trying to remind myself to speak loudly enough to be heard by all. Wouldn’t you know it. Each time I moved to a new spot the wind changed direction. Honestly, every place I stood it was not long until the smoke found my pupils. My eyes ran with tears as I tried to focus on what I was saying. It was a physically painful experience that I would not like to go through again. I was uncomfortable and continuously distracted.

We often try to blow smoke in God’s eyes trying to distract Him from His will for our lives and make Him uncomfortable with the conflict of our un-submissiveness or disobedience. We use statements such as “I just can’t.” “I just could not control myself.” “It’s just the way I am.” “I have a disease.” “I was born this way, it’s in my genes.” “I’m a good man, I would never do that.” “I’m not wired that way.” “I’m not gifted in that area.” We make and hear statements like these a lot these days. Mostly they are excuses that allow us to be irresponsible. Whether it’s our responsibilities or our actions, we seem to try to pass the accountability or blame on to others. This seems to be inerrant in our nature [Ephesians 2:3] since from the beginning of history right down to the present mankind has tried to excuse himself [Genesis 3:7-13]. We are constantly justifying our motives, thoughts, and actions [Luke 10:29].

God does not see it this way. There are no excuses with God. There is no blame shifting with God [Jeremiah 31:30, Matthew 16:27]. He says He will hold each person accountable for himself. Moses is a classic example. When God visited Moses in the desert [Exodus 3-4] He called Moses to a great task that was way out of his comfort zone, ability zone, gift zone, and brain-wiring . The opportunity was presented and Moses was filled with apprehension and fear. Moses offered up every excuse in the book. But God was not listening. God was not worried about Moses’ psyche. God knew Moses in all his faltering inabilities [Psalm 103:14]. God cut through Moses’ smoke screen and insisted he humble himself to submissively obey God’s will. Moses’ problem was that he was viewing the situation from his perspective and in light of his abilities. God was presenting the opportunity fully aware of whom Moses was, but wholly from the perspective of Himself and His resources and abilities [Isaiah 55:8-9, Philippians 4:19]. Later in the wilderness journeys Moses angrily disobeyed God [Numbers 20:8ff]. It was not the Israelites fault that Moses sinned. Moses could not pass off his failings onto the whole nation, or even Aaron. God knew it was Moses who rebelled and Moses was the one who answered for the rebellion.

God is not fooled by any of our deception. Blowing smoke into God’s eyes only leads us to self-deception. We place ourselves into a position to live outside the life in the Spirit and cease to live and operate by faith. We lose the fellowship of His presence as we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual fruit begins to wilt. We lose our joy, peace, compassion, patience, self control. We become unfaithful, harsh, and mean. When we say “no” or “can’t” to God we lose all He is offering to our lives. We lose everything from fellowshipping in His presence to His rich and most gracious blessings which are beyond our ability to imagine. What we gain through our attempted deception is God’s reproof, discipline, correction, and displeasure [John 16:8, 2 Timothy 3:16]. By justifying our thoughts and actions we deceive ourselves and begin to live a lie [Isaiah 5:21, 1 Corinthians 3:18].

God knows you better than you do yourself [Psalm 139:15-16]. God knows Himself better than you know Him [Isaiah 55:8-9]. God never asks anything which He can’t produce [Philippians 4:19 ]. It’s by Him, His wisdom, His power that His will is accomplished [Zechariah 4;6, 1 John 4:4]. Our part is only humble and submissive obedience [Isaiah 66:2, James 46-10].

Hugh Folds

Interim Pastor


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