LOOKING UP: Something we all need
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 by Joe Baisden
When I was growing up, the church would now and then sing a song that gave me the creeps. I am sure that the hymn writer had the best of intentions, but it gave me an unfavorable impression of God.
The name of the song was "Watching You." The words of the first verse were: "All along on the road to the soul's true abode, / There's a Eye watching you; / Every step that you take this great Eye is awake, / There's an Eye watching you."
The refrain sent the sopranos to attack a high F with the words "Watching You"—the longest note being held on "You." These words were repeated in the lower voices, and again by the sopranos as they brought the melody down a bit, also to be repeated by the lower voices. By the time the refrain continued with the words, "Every day mind the course you pursue," I had the urge to crawl under the pew and hide.
It seemed to me that the song represented God as a policeman just looking for an opportunity to catch someone doing wrong, arrest folks and give them a ticket. The song presented a truth, but not the whole truth. If that is all someone knows about God, they probably go through life believing that God is against them. That concept contradicts the very words of scripture.
In Roman 8, we read, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" How do we know that God is for us? The scripture continues: "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" The cross is the proof.
God is all-seeing and all-knowing, and that is a good thing. 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells why the all-seeing eye is looking our way: "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."
Another song, one I appreciate very much, is "Father and Friend," by John Bowring (w.1824). Bowring gives these encouraging words about God: "Thy children shall not faint nor fear, Sustained by this delightful thought; / Since Thou, their God, art every where, / They cannot be where Thou are not."
Henry Lite, in his immortal hymn, "Abide with Me," sheds light on why we need a continuing awareness of the presence of God in our lives: "I need Thy presence every passing hour; / What but thy grace can foil the tempters power?"
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, after receiving the tables of stone upon which God Himself inscribed the Commandments, he found the Israelites had become impatient because of his absence and convinced his brother Aaron to cast a golden calf that they could worship. When Moses saw the idolatry and debauchery of the people, he was so angry he threw down the stones and broke them. God was so angry with the people, He told them to go on to the Promised Land, but He informed them that He would not go with them.
Moses asked God to forgive the people and reminded God that these were His people. When God relented and said to Moses, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest," Moses replied, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Ex. 33:15).
As we live our lives from day to day, we need more than anything else to have a constant sense of His Presence.
How many of us find ourselves like Jacob, who after his dream at Bethel, in which he saw the ladder resting on earth and reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and knew it not." Do you realize that God is everywhere you are?
The thing most needed in our lives is an awareness of His Presence.
" He is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being." – Acts 17:28