Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The eyes of God

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
~Proverbs 15:3 (NIV)

This is quite a thought.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.

They used to say that mothers had eyes on the backs of their heads.

In our first house, a mirror hung over the kitchen sink.  The sink was against an interior wall, so it couldn't be under a window; hence, the mirror.  I remember hot August days, washing dishes by hand (there was no dishwasher in that house, nor any air-conditioning).  My wilted, perspiring, inescapable reflection in the mirror did not encourage me as I did my kitchen chores.

Yet, when we moved to a new house, one with a proper window over the kitchen sink, I felt blind.  I'd never noticed how much my old mirror had helped me keep an eye on things behind me, children at the kitchen table, coloring or playing with play-dough while I cooked and washed up.

Have you ever watched a nature documentary about insects, and seen a diagram of an insect's many-faceted eye, followed by a camera rendition of what it might be like to view the world through a lens so different from that of our human eyes?

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.

We have two eyes, both facing forward.  Our eyes are mounted on one, single body, which at any given moment in time exists in only one location.  We have limited sight.

God is everywhere, and His eyes see in all directions.

"Am I only a God nearby," 
declares the Lord,
"and not a God far away?
Can anyone hide in secret places
so that I cannot see him?"
declares the Lord.
"Do I not fill heaven and earth?"
declares the Lord.
~Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NIV)

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.

It is comforting to know that God sees us when we are sad or frightened, and when we are in danger.  The Bible tells us about how God watched over the unloved wives of certain patriarchs, men whom He chose to produce the lineage of Christ.  In her distress, Hagar called the Lord, "El Roi,"--The God who Sees (Genesis 16:1-14).  When Leah, likewise, was in distress, God saw her and opened her womb.  She praised Him, saying, "It is because the Lord has seen my misery," (Genesis 29:31-32).  God sees when a sparrow falls to the ground and when a hair falls off my head (Matthew 10:29-31).  He not only sees my tears, He gathers them up and stores them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).

It is comforting to know that God always watches over us, but it is intimidating to know that God sees all of our mistakes, our failings, our sins.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
~Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

This is intimidating, and yet, isn't it a relief, too?  God already knows every single thing about us. We don't have to muster the courage to reveal our shortcomings to Him.  He already knows, and He loves and calls us anyway, with the unconditional promise to forgive as soon as we confess (1 John 1:9). I'm having chills writing this, pondering the unfathomable wonder of His great love for me.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.

When men have had visions of God, often things that appeared in their visions were covered with eyes.

As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces.  This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: they sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike.  Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel . . . Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.
~Ezekiel 1:15-16, 18 (NIV)

Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels.
~Ezekiel 10:12 (NIV)

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back . . . Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings.
~from Revelation 4:6-8 (NIV)

God has infinite eyes, facing infinite directions, from infinite locations.  He sees and processes and understands everything.

He sees into wombs to watch babies develop before they are born (Psalm 139:15-16).  He can see the smallest DNA strand within a human cell, and He can see the farthest star in the universe, before it explodes and falls.

God can even see into our hearts and minds, to know our thoughts, our emotions, our motivations (Psalm 139:1-4).  He knows us better than we could ever know ourselves.  He is mindful of experiences that influenced us when we were very young, perhaps even before we had any language to encode our own memories.  Yet, He knows exactly how everything that has happened to us has affected us and shaped us, even when we ourselves have no idea.

When Jesus looked out and saw the crowds, He had compassion on them (Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, Mark 6:34).  God sees us and has compassion on us.  Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to bring life.  God knows our problems, sees our sorrow, and offers His grace to cleanse and heal.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.

Tonight when you lie down to sleep, think about how God sees you, how He watches over you and loves you.

He will not let your foot slip--
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm--
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
~Psalm 121:3-8 (NIV)

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