I saw this on the wall of an elderly lady in her 90’s recently:
“Lord, your eyes are open, watching over this house day and night”
The late Christopher Hitchens often recoiled at the idea of a God who watches over us, yet Christians take great comfort in that self same fact. The reason for these two very different responses must be found in two very different views of God and two very different relationships with him.
In the first God is like an Orwellian “big brother” who spies on us all the time to hold us accountable for deviating from his will. He wants to control and dominate us for his evil selfish twisted purposes. In the second God is a loving loving Father who wants to protect and provide for us. His way for us is in fact the best for us, and he has already done us immeasurable good at great cost to himself.
One person wants to be separated from God. The other longs to draw near. One doesn’t feel safe around God (or the idea of him), the other takes great courage and comfort in his presence. One feels stifled by God, criticised and bossed about. The other feels encouraged by God, and sees wisdom in his council. One finds his own meaning apart from God, the other takes meaning and purpose in doing life with and for him. One feels enslaved and dis-empowered, the other energised and empowered.
Young children want their parents to watch them do things. As we grow older we naturally want a bit more independence and privacy but we still need to know that someone cares enough to look at our lives and take an interest.
Hagar needed someone to see her plight. When God spoke to her and let her know that he knew of her situation and circumstances and cared about her needs we read:
13…she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (Beer-lahai-roi means the well of the Living One who sees me); it lies between Kadesh and Bered. Genesis 16:13-14 (ESV)
God is the God who sees us. His eyes are watching over us day and night. Sure that means he sees all the bad things we have done or will do. But his response was not to hunt us down and lock us up but to send Jesus his son to bear his wrath and displeasure against those things. He now watches over us in love, pursuing us, that we might come to know him.
Psalm 139 was written by someone who didn’t see God as an Orwellian “big brother” but a “Loving father”. In the person of Jesus however, God is also a loving bigger brother. He took on the bullies for us. He protected us. He speaks up for us. He sets a great example for us. He loves to be with us. I am so glad the Lord’s eyes are always open, watching over my house both day and night.