A Devotional

The Test of Aloneness

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.” (Job 24:15)

Sexual sins in particular, like mold growing in the dark, relish the place where “no eye shall see me.” Involvment in the false worship of pornography is deeply accustomed to hiding from the presence of disapproving eyes.

“And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:
For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.” (2 Kings 17:9-12)

Every child faces a day when he realizes there are no eyes upon him and he is “free” to do as he pleases, even to step into territory forbidden by his parents. The tempting promise of such a moment whispers: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (Proverbs 9:17) To overcome pornography, the lure of secret pleasure, in the moment of aloneness, must be walked away from.

It is rightly said that our true character is proved by who we are and what we do in secret. From the very beginning God presented man with the test of aloneness.

This “freedom” of being alone, able to do what we please, apart from disapproving eyes, carries tremendous responsibility. It is rightly said that our true character is proved by who we are and what we do in secret. From the very beginning God presented man with the test of aloneness. Beyond the forbidden fruit, the test of the Garden lay in man’s “aloneness” in the presence of temptation. God did not camp out with his children in the Garden. He visited them in the cool of the day and then left them alone, or did He? We read, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) But as Eve encountered the serpent, God was nowhere in sight. When she offered her husband “stolen waters” and they ate such food “in secret” they were unconscious of His eyes upon them.

Every parent worries what their children might do in their absence. What commendation Paul had for his spiritual children at Philippi: “… My beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence” (Philippians 2:12). To obey in a parent’s presence is one thing, in their absence is quite another. Would it have been easier for Adam and Eve to have resisted the serpent’s offer had they been in the presence of God? Undoubtedly yes, but what kind of obedience would it have been? Sooner or later the test of aloneness must be given to every child. Without passing this test one has not been proven faithful. A child who truly loves and honors his parents, remembers their words and seeks to please them even when physically absent from them.

From the beginning of time until now, men bent on sin, do not wish to be burdened with the thought that God’s eyes are upon them. They would rather forget that there is a God of righteousness who deeply cares what they do and will one day hold them accountable for every word and thought, let alone every deed.

In every transgression man forgets God. “…There is no fear of God before his eyes.”(Psalm 36:1) He says, “The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.” (Psalm 94:7) This is the common description of the wicked: they claim that God does not see their actions and doesn’t have knowledge of them. Such an attitude is willingly chosen as “…they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” (Romans 1:28) This flight from the presence of God began in the garden when Adam and Eve heard His voice walking in the cool of the day and “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8) It continued as their son Cain “went out from the presence of the LORD.” (Genesis 4:16) Cain would be the first “fugitive,” running from the presence of a God whose worship he disdained. Cain’s grandson Irad carried on this tradition of wiping out God’s knowledge by calling his son Mehujael which means “Wipe out that Jah is God.” What could be more evident than that from the beginning of time until now, men bent on sin, do not wish to be burdened with the thought that God’s eyes are upon them. They would rather forget that there is a God of righteousness who deeply cares what they do and will one day hold them accountable for every word and thought, let alone every deed. They truly want to be alone and therefore they delight in the proclaimation of philosophers like Nietzsche who announce, “God is dead!”

But a true worshipper of God in opposite fashion cries out: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:2) The heart that worships God is willing to always put God before him. “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8) There is a movement toward God, not away; there is desire to be known, not hidden; there is the confession of the living, intensely personal God, not a wish for God to be dead, ignorant, remote or non-existent.

God takes account of every part of our life, even those parts that may seem small or not worthy of His notice.

In the true worship of God one is never unconscious of His presence. One need not see Him physically to know life is lived before His eyes. It is one thing for us to say, “Lord, I want to know You;” another to say, “Lord, I want you to know me.” God established the nation of Israel to be a worshipping nation who walked before Him. As a people who were called into the presence of God to live in His sight they were not to take any part of that life away from Him. Leviticus 19:27 says, “Ye shall not round the corners (pe’ahs) of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” To this day, orthodox Jewish males literally keep this injunction. In a spiritual sense, when God told the Israelites not to cut the corner of their heads and beards He was telling them not to remove anything of theirs from His knowledge. The “pe’ahs,” or corners of our hair, might be considered the most inconsequential part of our head. Yet, God says, “Don’t remove from my sight even what seems to be the most inconsequential area of your life.” God is aware of every detail, every corner of our life. Jesus said all the hairs of our head are known by God. “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 19:27) In other words, God takes account of every part of our life, even those parts that may seem small or not worthy of His notice.

As opposed to the wicked who are willingly unconscious of God, the true worshipper desires that his whole life be lived before the eyes of God. He has nothing to hide from God’s sight. He wants to be known. He says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23) When we worship God as He intended, no part of our life is removed from Him. Every corner of our life belongs to Him. Nothing is taken away. There is no mine and Yours; it is all His.

Those who worship are conscious of His presence. The temple signified that place where men came knowing that God’s eyes were upon them. To enter the courts of God was to come into His presence. Even though God sees us no matter where we are, it is when we enter His courts that we are aware of His eyes upon us. To come into the temple was in effect to allow God to see and observe you. The true worshipper makes a conscious decision to live out his life in the sight of God. He gladly wears his pe’ahs because He is willing for God to rule every corner of his life.

The next time the enemy of your soul whispers, “You’re alone. NOW is the perfect opportunity,” shout back, “I am never alone and there is NEVER a right time to be unfaithful to God!”

Of all the men in the Bible, Joseph gives us the greatest example of standing against sexual temptation. When Potiphar’s wife “cast her eyes upon Joseph” and offered herself to him, Joseph did what countless others have not done: he refused. His final challenge was when no other eyes were upon him:

“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. “ (Genesis 39:11,12)

Why was Joseph able to pass the test of aloneness? Because he remembered that he was not alone: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) Scripture tells us: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

The next time the enemy of your soul whispers, “You’re alone. NOW is the perfect opportunity,” shout back, “I am never alone and there is NEVER a right time to be unfaithful to God!” Potiphar’s wife is still on the prowl, if not in flesh and blood, then through some image. But when she secretly offers herself to you, remember that you are not alone. Remember the greater presence of your God.

“Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (Psalm 25:15)


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. You can find him on Facebook.