Doing what is right in God’s eyes

Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you forever, when you do that which is good and right in the eyes of Yahweh your God.

Deuteronomy 12:28

Doing what is right in the sight of God is the biblical definition of integrity. It means following his instruction or acting according to his precepts.

Some examples of those who have done what is right in God’s eyes can help us to understand what this practical righteousness or integrity looks like.

2 Chronicles 14:2-5 Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the LORD his God. He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded the people of Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns. So Asa’s kingdom enjoyed a period of peace.

2 Kings 22:1-2 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
2 Kings 23:24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the LORD’s Temple.

Notice in these examples that Asa and Josiah were considered doing what was right in God’s sight because they were doing something according to God’s word. As kings, they had the ability to make laws and take actions that would guide and protect the people of Israel. They had chosen to take action, to do what was right in God’s eyes (according to his word), in regards to the corruption and idolatry that they saw had creeped in among God’s people. They were men of practical vision who recognized that the idolatrous influences of the surrounding cultures were polluting God’s people and they acted in accordance with God’s word; they did what was right in God’s eyes.

By contrast, those who instead follow their own ways do what they think is right, not paying any attention to the commands of God.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Proverbs 21:2 People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.

Similarly, we can see peoples’ stature and the impressive way they present themselves, but we don’t always know what’s in their heart.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

Some people’s actions are praised, but they may actually be hypocritical because they are doing things only to be seen as righteous by others. Yeshua had to combat this type of unrighteousness among the leaders of his day.

He said to them [the Pharisees], “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Luke 16:15

There are things that are right in the sight of God, and there are things that are an abomination in the sight of God. The key factor is understanding what God’s perspective is, then we can know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Even if the rest of the world doesn’t understand our motivation, we can still do what’s right in God’s eyes. Meditating on his word and understanding it in its entirety provides us the correct context for our outward actions. Like Asa and Josiah before us, this type of obedient integrity purifies God’s people and accomplishes God’s purpose in each generation.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here.

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