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An All-Seeing Eye


Sermon shared by Alan Smith

February 1999
Summary: God knows all that we are doing, but that can be comforting as well as frightening.
Audience: General adults
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Iím out of here.

I donít really want you to know that. I donít want to open all that up. It would be frightening to have someone know everything about us, and yet when you come to Psalm 139, thatís exactly the picture you get of God. God knows more than weíd care to have known if given the choice. He sees every nook and cranny of my life. Everything is subject to his scrutiny.

Several years ago, Bette Midler came out with a beautiful song called "From a Distance". In part of that song, she sings "God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance." Iíve always had mixed feelings about that song because I couldnít tell whether the emphasis was on the fact that God is watching us or the fact that God isnít anywhere nearby. But it certainly is true that God is watching us.

I remember, as a child, being impressed by an awesome image of Godís presence. When I was a teen-ager we used to sing a song thatís not in our songbooks here, "Thereís an all-seeing eye watching you; Watching you, watching you, Every day mind the course you pursue." Actually, itís a wonderful song if you understand what itís saying, but I used to hate it. All I can picture is this big eyeball in the sky that looks down on you and sees everything. You donít get away with anything. "Thereís an all-seeing eye watching you."

In Psalm 139:1-6, David wrote, "O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it."

In this passage, as much as we say weíd like to be known, this is a real frightening psalm. And I think one of the reasons itís so frightening is because itís hard to find much comfort in it. Here is this God who sees everything there is to know about us, even what weíre thinking.

David uses some descriptive words to talk about how God knows us. And itís not just that God knows everything. We sometimes say that God is omniscient, and by that we mean that God knows everything there is to know. And thatís certainly true. You can read in Job 38-39, where God says to Job, "Do you know how the foundations of the earth were laid and do you know how the sun sits in the sky and do you know how this happens and that happens?" The answer that Job gives is obviously, "No." And the implication is that God does know all that. He knows everything.

But thatís not Davidís point here. His point is not that God knows all the mysteries of history and the riddles of the universe. Rather, Davidís point is that God knows me. He knows everything about me. And in my desire to know God, I need to remember that he knows me before I can know him.

David uses six terms to describe the fact that God knows us.

1. God has searched me

"O Lord, you have searched me..." (Psalm 139:1). The Hebrew term here originally meant "to explore" and sometimes conveyed the idea of digging into something. Itís the word thatís used in Judges 18 for spying out the land. Itís used in Job 28 for digging for mineral ore. Itís an intent looking. David says here,
Comments and Shared Ideas
Alan, this is a great lesson. Thanks for the insightful look at an amazingly beautiful Psalm of David about our all knowing God.

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