I’ll Be Watching You
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him [and worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and obedience], On those who hope [confidently] in His compassion and lovingkindness,
How would we live differently if we were convinced that Almighty God watches us every moment of every day? Many of us would make better choices!
Of course, God doesn’t watch just His children. He is omnipresent and omniscient, meaning He is everywhere at all times and knowing everything to the smallest detail about everyone and everything. But in this verse, the poet wants us to reflect on the fact that not only is God watching us, He’s watching out for us.
To be honest, many of us don’t have a daily, genuine sense of need for God’s intervention. The modern world has made food, homes, and comfort standard equipment, and we’ve learned to expect these things. We look to God only when something happens that rocks our world. God may not have caused the calamities that bring us pain, but He uses them to remind us that He is infinitely powerful and good, and we can trust Him.
In times of desperation, we come fact-to-face with our inadequacy. We may be highly competent executives or successful in other areas of life, but when we feel desperate, we cry out for His mercy. We need Him to do for us what we realize we can’t do for ourselves.
And that’s right where He wants us.
If the Lord be with us we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer- His grace is sufficient, His promise unchangeable.
The idea that God watches us ought not bring fear or anxiety, although I’m sure that most of us might make some changes if we stopped to consider that fact. What we need to consider is that God watches over us as a caring parent watches over their child. Their purpose is not to just correct or train or judge, but to protect and teach and instruct so that child might grow up to become all they can be. God takes no pleasure in discipline but because He loves us so, He disciplines us when necessary to teach us constructive rather than destructive behavior. Every thing that God does or allows is for our good.
Some would say that if God loves us as He says then He shouldn’t ever allow adversity or trials. Yet we all know and recognize that quite often it is the struggles and difficulties of life that teach us the important values of life. Sometimes like children, even after being told the stove is hot, we have to touch it and find out through pain that it really is hot. Now I’m sure no parent would want their child to learn through pain or suffering, yet that’s just what happens. I don’t think that God allows adversity as the only way for us to learn, but I’m quite sure He uses it for nothing captures our attention like pain. As parents we may not be able to keep our child from falling down and skinning their knee, but when they do, because we are watching them, we can pick them up, attend to the wound and soothe them until the pain subsides.
God has the power to prevent us from making poor choices, but He loves us enough to let us make our own choices, if we so choose. In His grace and love, He is aware of the results of those choices, so He offers mercy, forgiveness, and healing. I’m glad that He watches and waits for our cry for help when we’ve fallen down.
Most watchful parents try to anticipate and remove as many harmful things as possible from the child’s environment. Try as we might, it seems that children can find unthinkable ways and things to cause harm. I think this is true for all of us. God has given us great gifts and blessings and somehow we seem to be attracted to those things which harm us. Again the beauty of God watching over us is that so often He removes the harmful thing before it has opportunity to harm and even when we find things that harm us, He intervenes with grace and love and healing.
I think that it is when we wish to do wrong that we become nervous about the idea that God watches over us. We all know that as children, we refrained from certain behaviors when we were in the presence of our parents. If we wished to engage in destructive behavior, we waited until we were out of their presence to practice such things. As natural children we could find time and opportunity to do so since our parents could only be in one place at one time. As the children of God, we need to become aware that He isn’t like our earthly parents. He is everywhere and He is aware of everything at all times. The idea that we can somehow pull the wool over His eyes and that He is not aware of where we are and what we’re doing is a foolish notion. If it weren’t painfully true, it would be quite amusing that we think if we control our behavior in the presence of other Christians, the pastor and when we gather at church, then we’re doing ok. How silly we are! Our Heavenly Father observes us at all times in all places. Just because we may act right at church or when the pastor visits doesn’t impress God at all, especially if we act another way when we think we are out of sight. No matter how we may impress others, it’s what God knows that counts.
The beauty of God’s love and acceptance is that it’s given with knowledge. God knows exactly who we are, what we’ve done and what we are doing. As humans we may have limited knowledge and enter a relationship only to find out later that what we believed about that person and who they really were isn’t the same, but when God chooses to enter into relationship with us, He knows exactly what He’s getting. There’s no fooling Him and that’s what’s amazing. It’s amazing that He fully knows us, nothing about us hidden and still chooses us to be His.
So let us live with the awareness that God is watching us and that God is also watching over us. Let us remember how great His love for us is and let us live for Him not from fear but from a returned love. If you choose this way, you’ll be amazed at your depth of relationship with God. It will take on new meaning and new intensity and the liberty and peace that will come because you know He’s watching out for you will be beyond imagination.
Dr. John Thompson