Summary: There is the old song that says There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you. Those words bring fear, but with God they bring comfort.
God Is Watching You!
Woody Allen’s film, Crimes and Misdemeanors, centers on a modern Jewish physician named Judah whose adultery has caught up with him and is starting to cause his life to unravel. As is the norm, in the midst of his turmoil, Judah seeks to return to his biblical roots. Specifically, he wants to know, "What does God think of me?"
Unfortunately, the only picture of God that had made much of an impression on him from his synagogue attending days was the All-Seeing Eye.
This mammoth eyeball had been a dominant image in his life. Every time he thought of God he thought of the eye. When he thought of his life choices he was full of guilt because God had seen him and his sin. Whenever he made decisions he remembered it. He even became an ophthalmologist!
I laugh when I think of how ridiculous that is but then a moment of honesty over sweeps me. I was young once and sat in mass with my grandparents and listened as the choir sang the song there is an all seeing eye watching you. I looked up some of the words:
There’s an Eye watching you. Watching you, watching you, Every day mind the course you pursue; Watching you, watching you, There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.
It is no wonder that so many of us in the church have fear that has skyrocketed into unhealthy places.
But even with that fear we so often complain, "No one really knows me. Why do I even waste my time, it’s not like anyone really cares. “
What they are doing is criticizing the shallowness of many of our human relationships. When someone asks how we’re doing, we know that the socially acceptable answer is "fine." And that has become so entrenched in our subconscious that we don’t really listen anymore.
My parents tell a story about a church where they attended while I was just a baby. Their preacher was at the back of the church shaking hands and herding the cattle through, with how are you? Good to see you, that’s good, thank you, glad you were here today…”
A woman walked past this minister and he said “how are you?” And she replied “I am so depressed I want to kill myself” and his reply was “That’s good, thank you, glad you were here today…”
Have you ever wondered “What if it’s not fine?” If your life is anything like mine and someone asks how are you I start thinking, "The kids have been driving me crazy, and I nearly boiled them for breakfast," but I still say, "fine." And you smile.
I say that I would love to have a relationship where someone knows me so well that they understand me fully. But is that what I really want?
Can you imagine having someone who really does see you fully? Such a person might have access to every thought, every action, and every mistake in your life. Imagine not having anything secret! Imagine someone really knowing what I think of your new dress?
And yet that’s just what Psalm 139 is telling us about God. He knows more than we’d care to have known if given the choice. He is that All-Seeing Eye watching us. He sees every nook and cranny of my life: every broken window, every piece of mildewed carpet, every chipped tile, and every mark on the wall.
Everything is subject to his scrutiny. Let’s read Psalm 139:1-6
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
What a frightening psalm. Not the type that you would want to read for comfort at a funeral. Where is the grace in it?
I mean we serve a God that sees everything! He is a bigger snoop that your little brother, and that song, well let’s just say that I picture that all seeing eyeball that is swollen from anger and bloodshot from squinting and peering into every aspect of my life.
An Insider’s look
We say that God is Omniscient and even though we have scripture like Job 38 and 39 that tells us that God is all knowing I think that it is too cold a word to describe the first six verses of this psalm. It isn’t speaking generally about how knowledgeable God is. The point isn’t that God is a bright, cosmic Rhodes scholar who knows the answers to the mysteries of history and the riddles of the universe.