This is the time of year that I often hear the popular Christmas song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” playing on the radio and in the stores. It’s a fun, upbeat song that surely must have been authored by some tired, desperate parent trying to eke a few hours of good behavior out of his children. To be honest, a section of that song always freaked me out a little as a child, the part that warns, “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!” The thought of some wizened little old man (whose suit smelled of mothballs) that I didn’t even know spying on me during all hours of the day and night did not settle well with me somehow.
I thought of that song this week as I delved into chapters three and four of the book of Zechariah. My study of Ezra has taken a few side roads as I seek to understand the book better by reading the writings of the prophets that were active during the time of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Having finished the book of Haggai, I turned the page to Zechariah with some trepidation. In contrast to the two, forthright chapters of Haggai, Zechariah’s fourteen chapters are filled with vivid imagery and inscrutable symbolism. One image that stood out to me in chapters three and four was the eyes. Chapter three describes a “single stone with seven eyes,” and chapter four explains, “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.” The question I wrote in my notebook is, “What is it with all these eyes??”
A quick topical study about the eyes of the Lord uncovered a treasure trove of precious promises:
Genesis 16:13—Hagar, who had just encountered an angel of the Lord as she fled from her mistress, said of the Lord, “You are the God who sees me.”
2 Chronicles 16:9—“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…”
Psalm 34:15—“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.”
Proverbs 5:21—“For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.”
Proverbs 15:3—“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
How encouraging to know that God keeps a special watch over the righteous, and not only that, He gives them “strong support!” Listen to Psalm 139:1-5: “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” It is God, not Santa, who is intimately acquainted with every aspect of my life! And, unlike the Santa described in the song above, He really does know me, He loves me deeply, and is not out to catch me in my sin, but to help me overcome it and to live a life that pleases Him (Romans 8:1). He is with me every step of the way, enabling me to do His will.
And how comforting to know that the Lord keeps watch on both the evil and the good in this world! Nothing escapes His notice, nothing surprises Him, and nothing happens outside of His control (Hebrews 4:13, 1 John 3:20b, Matthew 10:29-30, 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, Ephesians 1:19-23).
Oh Lord, thank you for being the “God who sees me,” for intimately involving yourself in my life, and for being my “strong support.” “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”