DOING WHAT IS RIGHT IN THE EYES OF GOD
Deuteronomy 12:8 says, "Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." It is dreadful to do what is right in our eyes. The Lord charges us not to behave in this way. Nevertheless, Christians today often say that to them a certain thing is right or wrong. To live in this way is to do what is right in our own eyes. But we must do what is right in the eyes of God. According to Deuteronomy 12:13, the children of Israel were not to offer their burnt offerings in places that seemed good to them: "Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest." They were forbidden to offer burnt offerings on the mountains, in the hills, or under the green trees. They had no right to worship God in the place of their choice. Instead, they had to do what was right in the eyes of God. Likewise, if we fear God, we shall not do what is right in our own eyes. On the contrary, we shall do what is right and good in the eyes of God. We need to pray, "Lord, have mercy on us so that we may not do what is right in our own eyes. Lord, help us to do what is right in Your eyes." We must learn to forget what we feel about things and care for the Lord’s desire and choice. To us certain things may seem right, but how does the Lord feel about them? According to our estimation, it may be right to worship in a certain place. But the Lord may regard that place as a center for the worship of idols.
NOT ABUSING GOD’S GRACE
There are a number of reasons the Lord commands us not to do what is right in our own eyes, but to go to the place of His choice. The first of these reasons is that we should not abuse God’s grace. The children of Israel were required to separate unto the Lord the top tenth, the tithe, of the produce of the good land. Furthermore, they were to offer to Him the firstlings of their flocks and herds. They had no right to keep the firstborn or the top tenth for themselves. They were not allowed to eat them at home. Deuteronomy 12:17 and 18 say, "Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thy hand: but thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose." These verses indicate that the Israelites also had to present the sacrifices for vows and free-will offerings in the place of God’s choice. No doubt, God’s people presented the best of their produce and flocks as vows or free-will offerings. The point here is that all these offerings—the tithe, the firstlings, the vows, and the free-will offerings—could be enjoyed only in the place God had chosen to put His name. In other words, the children of Israel were required to go to the place of God’s habitation with the top portion of the rich produce of the good land. This indicates that they were not permitted to abuse the grace of God. They had no right to enjoy the top portion according to their taste or preference. Rather, they had to enjoy them according to God’s regulations. They had no choice except to bring these offerings to the place God had chosen for His name and His habitation.
This principle still applies in the church life today. If we do not come to the meetings of the church, we cannot enjoy the top portion of Christ. Whenever we deliberately stay home from the meetings, we find that we are not able to enjoy the top portion of Christ. Although we can have some enjoyment of the Lord in pray-reading or in fellowship, we cannot enjoy those portions of Christ typified by the firstlings, the tithes, the vow offerings, and the free-will offerings. There is a divine regulation that prohibits us from abusing God’s grace. According to this regulation, we must go to the house of God, the church, to enjoy the top portion of Christ. We are required to go to the place God has chosen; we are not allowed to act according to our own choice or preference. By accepting God’s choice, we are subdued and are kept from abusing His grace.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)