God Is Watching

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God is watching, not just over the big issues of how we treat one another, but even in the smaller ways that we might take advantage of our neighbors, or short change our customers, or do something because we can get away with it, or go light on a violation because there it is a victimless crime. Not in God’s eyes. He is watching, and he cares because justice at levels big and small, seen and unseen represent his immutable character as well as his ideals for his people. We would do well to remember that!

Going Deep // Focus: Deuteronomy 19:14

When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession, you must never steal anyone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property.

When I was little, we would sing a song in Sunday School called, O Be Careful Little Eyes. The song taught that we were not only to take care what our eyes saw, but what our ears heard, what our mouths said, where our feet went, and what our hands did:

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

The lesson of the song was clear: a loving God was watching us at all times and he was quite concerned that we always did the right thing. Good theology could be found in those lyrics: God is loving, God is Father, God is omniscient, God is omnipresent, and God is just. All true, and we would do well to remember each piece of that theology, even as adults.

When we come to Deuteronomy 19, we find that God is expressing the same concern for the children of Israel. He is quite determined that when they come into the land of promise, his justice would be represented in their legal system:

  • Cities of refuge were to be established: Deuteronomy 19:1-3
  • A process was to be set up for adjudicating both manslaughter and murder: Deuteronomy 19:4-5, 11-13
  • Rules for the evidence needed for a conviction were to be followed: Deuteronomy 19:15
  • Protocols for witnesses to a crime were to be obeyed: Deuteronomy 19:16-17
  • Procedures for judges were to be defined: Deuteronomy 19:18
  • Sentencing guidelines were to be definite: Deuteronomy 19:19-21

And in the middle of those very serious legal protocols, there is another rule issued that seems a bit out of place because it doesn’t seem to be at the same level of intensity as the others: the honoring of boundary lines (Deuteronomy 19:14). By comparison, this might seem to us to fall into the category of a petty crime. We might be tempted to adjudicate it as a “white collar crime.” We might give in to going a little easier on the violator in this particular case.

But even though this crime didn’t leave a dead body, and while it was done out of the view of witnesses, and most likely would have no physical evidence—just a property owner’s word against the accused, since land surveys were not available in those days—we should not miss this cogent fact: this was an act that God had witnessed. And it was a big deal to him.

The point being that God is watching, not just over the big issues of how we treat one another, but even in the smaller ways that we might take advantage of our neighbors, or short change our customers, or do something because we can get away with it, or go light on a violation because it is a victimless crime.

Not in God’s eyes. He is watching, and he cares because justice at levels big and small, seen and unseen represents his immutable character as well as his ideals for his people. That was true for the Israelites, and that is true for us. We would do well to remember,

There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little child what you do!

God is watching. That is not a threat; that is a comfort!

Going Deeper With God: Are there any areas of moral compromise in your life—even in little things? God cares, and he will reward our every effort to bring what might seem like things that are no big deal under his loving rulership.

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