The eyes of the Lord

If you heard, or read, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,” what would you think — positive or negative?

Does your mind conjure up an image of a fearsome giant waiting with his club raised, following you around daring you to misstep?

Or do you see the image of a kindly father, watching over his flock with firm and gentle care?

So much depends on tone, and it’s hard to feel tone in writing. Looking at the context helps some.

This line comes from 1 Peter 3, where Peter quotes from Psalm 34.

1 Peter is a letter written to encourage believers suffering persecution. Peter urges them to do good regardless of their dangerous and daunting circumstances, because God has chosen them, showered them with mercy, and is for them.

Ordinary fear inspires running, hiding, denying. Reverent fear is borne of love, and inspires honesty, confidence, openness, and trust.

So, do not imagine Peter towering dark above you, shaking his finger at you with a glare. Instead, as you read his letter, let the love and mercy of God sink in, steep in your soul, nourish every part, and the good you do will be properly motivated. And the good you fail to do, you will be motivated to confess freely, with confidence and trust.

How hard it is for people to encourage one another to do good, without it sounding like condemnation or the threat of condemnation.


2 thoughts on “The eyes of the Lord

  1. I’ve always thought the phrase, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous” as meaning that He is constantly watching over us, caring about us, protecting us….and yes, also keeping us from getting in trouble. Any fear I have of God is the fear borne of tremendous respect for His person and my own insignificance. My experiences with God have been of the “Abba, Father’ variety – a loving, all gracious Father. Nice post.

  2. After I posted this, I was thinking about how God does indeed oppose us at times — when we need it — “his face is against those who do evil” — but even then, it’s an opposition that is all mercy, a discipline of those he loves, an invitation to repent and be reconciled, and not a “straighten up and fly right or else” threat. Well, even if he says straighten up and fly right, he says it because he is providing for it to be so, and the or else is designed to bring about repentance.

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