Gabriel and I have started reading the Bible in different translations, especially the English Standard Version and NIV. If this offends you, I apologize in advance, but we have found it to be very refreshing. Both of us were raised in circumstances where all scripture was read in King James Version. I will go on record as saying that the KJV is beautiful, poetic, authoritative, and deeply meaningful to me. However I found myself with a tendency to read the familiar passages and skip right over some of the most amazing truths, which is why I like to switch it up and spend my devotional reading in a different version.
This morning I started reading some Psalms and after a while I started seeing all the references to the eyes of God. As a child I was taught repeatedly that God sees everything I do, “Be sure your sin will find you out” and that sort of thing. It took all the fun out of doing naughty stuff and probably kept my hand out of the cookie jar more than once. I was also taught that God can see in the dark and I don’t ever need to be afraid because He is with me and by some divine ability will never lose track of me. These are amazing truths that didn’t really sink in, especially over the time period where my brother and I were convinced that a scary person named Viola would come out of the hole in the floor of our room while we were sleeping.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Ps. 32:8, 9
“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all humankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do”. Ps. 33:13-15
Obviously, this is not a comforting fact for those who really don’t want God to see what they do, but for those who want to be in a relationship with the Most High, it is the solid ground on which they tread: God sees me; He is with me. What I noticed for the first time this morning is the connection between His seeing me and my responsive looking up to Him. Many times this is referred to as guidance. David said, “So don’t be like the horse or mule.” Look up into His face. He can look down on you all the time but it doesn’t make a bit of difference unless you look up and respond. He won’t put a bit and bridle on you. You have a choice about following His guidance.
This is a very apt picture for me just now. I dislike intensely when I am trying to instruct one of my children and they continue what they are doing with only a mumble of assent. It is very frustrating when I ask my child why he didn’t do what I asked and he says, “I didn’t hear you.” I am trying hard to train my children to look at my face, repeat the instruction I gave, or at least make a verbal assent that they heard me. Does anyone else see the parallel here? I see my own mulishness quite clearly. I see that I can require from my children what I myself forget to do for my Lord. Just look up.
Here is what happens when I do this face-to-face, what-do-you-want-to-say-to-me attentive listening.
“I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him; he saved him from all his troubles.” Ps.34:4,5
That radiance comes from seeing the love, the smile in His eyes. You don’t see that with a scurrying lifestyle of mumbling quick assent to what you think He wants you to do. You see it when you really look up and absorb His radiance. Oh, I do so want that!