Somebody’s Watching You
Did you ever have the feeling you were being watched? You probably are.
Yesterday (May 31, 2008) The NY Times newspaper reported about a
new plan by some companies to install cameras on billboards to get a
better feel for who their target audience is. Cameras already are a
common tool in catching illegal activity and screening for terrorist
activity on metropolitan streets, but the billboard technology
analyzes facial structure to determine a viewer’s gender, age and
time spent viewing in hopes of more successfully targeting digital
ads to a passerby’s likely preferences, The New York Times reported.
The entrepreneurs say privacy should not be an issue since actual
images are not stored. "Everything we do is completely anonymous,"
Paolo Prandoni, founder and chief scientific officer of Quividi, a
two-year-old company based in Paris, is quoted in The Times. His
company is setting up small digital billboards in the United
States and other countries.
Surveillance is big business today. Everybody from the military to the corporate world
launches satellites so sensitive they can read words on a golf ball sitting in your front yard.
Security cameras capture your every move in the mall, the grocery store, the school. Law enforcement cameras pick up pictures of shoplifters, robbers, and even speeders on the highway. You’d probably be shocked to discover how many people see what you do.
But nobody sees everything you do, do they? As far as I know you are safe from satellite surveillance while you sit here in church (maybe they’re not interested in what goes on in here?) For the most part a man’s home is still his castle---your home is safe from prying eyes. Nobody sees everything----nobody but God.
The Bible says God is aware of everything that happens to everyone everywhere in the universe. Theologians call this God’s omniscience= all knowing. He sees not just what’s going on outside, but what’s going on in your heart and your head, the motives and attitudes and feelings nobody else sees.
God is watching you. It tells us so in Ps. 33:13-15. Tonight I want to talk about why it is important to know God is always watching you.
What difference does it make to know God is always watching you?
First of all, knowing God is watching should make you think twice about doing wrong.
Behavioral science in recent years have expounded the simple truth that “behavior that is observed changes.” Studies done in factories have proven that both quality and quantity of work increase when the employees know they are being observed. If someone is keeping an eye on me, my behavior improves.— [i]
When you know somebody is watching you, you tend to think twice before doing something
you ought not to. That’s just human nature, isn’t it? If you’re on the interstate running 90 miles/hour, you tend to slow down when you see a state patrolman. Why? Because you know if he sees you, he will pull you over and give you a ticket. Knowing somebody is watching you makes you think twice about doing wrong.
The psalmist tells us in vs. 13 The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men
God see all the good things people do, but also all the evil things people do as well. There is no way to hide our dirty deeds from the Lord. But that doesn’t keep us from trying.
In the beginning when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, what did they do? They hid. Somehow they thought they could hide their disobedience from the Lord. But God already knew where they were and what they had done. He’d seen it all.
In the days of Noah and his famous ark, the Bible clearly says in
Ge 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
God’s vision hasn’t dimmed one iota since the days of Noah. God not only sees the evil
deeds we do, but also the evil thoughts in our minds, and the evil desires of our hearts.
He sees what we do behind closed doors, the things we do in the dark, the things we try to
hide from everybody else. He sees the thoughts we try to cloak behind our smiling mask of hypocrisy, the thoughts we never share with another soul, the thoughts that would shock the people who closest to us, if they really know what we were thinking, how we are feeling. He sees the secret desires of our heart: the covetousness, the envy, the jealousy.
If I truly believe God sees all that I do, say, and think, it will make a difference in how I live.
It will make a difference on that date with your boyfriend/girlfriend, when you are tempted to go too far. God sees what you do.
It will make a difference in your home, when you know Jesus sees how you treat your spouse, your kids, your family. God sees what you do.
It will make a difference when you are tempted to cheat on your taxes, when you’re deciding whether to come to church or go to the lake, wherever and whenever you realize God is watching everything you do. Behavior that is observed changes what you do. It will help you do what’s right, and not what’s wrong.
A baffling robbery took place in one of New York’s fashionable apartments. No clue as to the identity of the thief was found until a detective noticed a statue of Christ turned to the wall. It yielded the one fingerprint that apprehended the criminal. The robber explained he just could not steal with the eyes of Christ looking at him.
You cannot hide what you do from the Lord. You cannot escape the eyes of God. He is watching you, when you do what’s wrong, and when you do what’s right.
Pr 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
The next time you are tempted to cheat, or lie, or steal, or do anything that’s not right, remember: God is watching you. Remembering this just might help you avoid making a bad decision you will come to regret. Think twice about doing wrong when you remember God is watching.
Secondly, knowing God is watching should bring you comfort. (v. 14)
God doesn’t just watch us so He can punish us for doing wrong. He also watches out for us
to protect us and over us to provide for us. Look at vs. 18-19.
God is watching out for you (v. 18) Like a Good Shepherd, the Lord watches over His sheep to keep them safe. Jesus clarifies what this means in
Jn 10:28-29 28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone
snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and
no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
Satan cannot snatch a Christian out of God’s hands. The believer is secure in Christ, as long as his/her faith is in Christ. The devil cannot sneak us out, nor can he drive us away from Christ—though he can lure us, and we can walk away from the Lord.
Ps 121:3-4 …He who keeps you will not slumber.
Our Shepherd will never be caught napping. His eyes are always on us, always watching
over us to protect us from evil. God is always watching out for you.
God is watching over you. (v. 19) The Bible reminds us many times God is always
anticipating our needs. Jesus urged His disciples not to spend time in prayer trying to get
God’s attention because
Mt 6:8 …your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
There is no need you have or ever will have that God does not anticipate long before you realize it. He is watching over you to meet your needs by His grace and power.
The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young
braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning
hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test.
He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone.
Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he found himself all alone in the middle of a thick forest. Every time a twig snaps, he visualizes a wild animal ready to pounce.
After what seems like an eternity, dawn breaks and the first rays of sunlight begin to shine through the trees. Looking around, the boy sees flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beholds the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long, watching over his son.[ii]
God is watching out for you. He is protecting you from evil in ways you and I may never fully understand. Though you still face all the dangers of living in enemy territory, there is
not one moment He loses track of you, not one moment His power doesn’t protect you from
the power of evil. You will face danger, but you will never face destruction when Jesus is your
God is watching over you. He knows what you need now, and what you will need tomorrow,
whether it be physical, financial, emotional, or spiritual. God provides you with all the resources
you need through His Son Jesus Christ.
Ps 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
What do you need tonight?
Do you need protection? God is watching out for you. Yes, you will have your trials and tribulations, but through them all you can know Jesus will keep you safe by His power. Evil can never snatch you out of His hands.
Do you need provision? God is watching over you. Bring your needs to Him today, and ask
Him to give you what you need. He won’t always give you everything you think you need, but
He has promised to provide for our needs when we trust Him.
What a remedy for worry! You have security in Christ from the power of Satan; you have
provision for all your needs, both now and forever. There really is no reason to worry about the
future, because God has His eyes on you. He will protect you and provide for you.
Finally, knowing God is watching should motivate you to do your best for Him.
One of the great joys of being a parent is being able to watch your kids use their gifts and
talents. Some kids have musical talents, and you go to a recital or a concert and listen to them
sing or play their instrument. Others have academic gifts that show up in science fairs, or
spelling bees. Still others are into sports, and you show up on the field or on the court to cheer
them on. I think they like for us to watch them. I think it makes them want to try a little harder to do their best when they see us rooting for them in the stands.
I think this is also true about God.
In vs. 15 the psalmist says God fashions our hearts individually, He considers [carefully
watches] all their works. God has created us to be who we are, with our own unique
personalities and gifts, and now He watches to see how we use what He gives us.
He watches to see whether or not you will use your gifts, or shelve them. Will you use them
for His glory, or for your own glory? Will you use your talents and abilities to bless others, or
just to benefit yourself?
He watches to see whether or not you will develop your gifts to their greatest potential. Will
you work hard to become the best you can be, or just settle into mediocrity? Will you make the
most of your opportunities to learn and practice, or will you be lazy and just skim by?
God watches how we use what He gives us, and that ought to make us want to do our best
for Him. Knowing He is watching my life makes me want to make Him proud of me.
Some years ago Columbia University had a great football coach by the name of Lou Little. One day Lou had a boy try out for the varsity team who wasn't really very good. But Lou noticed that there was something unique about him--while he wasn't nearly good enough to make the team, he had such irrepressible spirit and contagious enthusiasm that Lou thought, This boy would be a great inspiration on the bench. He'll never be able to play, but I'll leave him on the team to encourage the others.
As the season went on, Lou began to develop a tremendous admiration and love for this boy. One of the things that especially impressed him was the manner with which the boy obviously cared for his father. Whenever the father would come for a visit to the campus the boy and his father would always be seen walking together, arm in arm, an obvious indication of an exceptional bond of love between them. They could always be seen on Sunday going to and from the university chapel. It was obvious that theirs was a deep and mutually shared Christian faith. Then, one day, a telephone call came to Coach Little. He was informed that the boy's father had just died--would he be the one to tell the boy? With a heavy heart Lou informed the boy of his father's death, and he immediately left to go home for the funeral.
A few days later the boy returned to the campus, only two days before the biggest game of the season. Lou went to him and said, "Is there anything I can do for you? Anything at all?" And to the coach's astonishment the boy said, "Let me start the game on Saturday!" Lou was taken aback. He thought, I can't let him start--he's not good enough. But he remembered his promise to help and said, "All right--you can start the game," but he thought to himself, I'll leave him in for a few plays and then take him out. The day of the big game arrived. To everyone's surprise the coach started this boy who had never played in a game all season. But imagine even the coach's surprise when, on the very first play from scrimmage, that boy was the one who single--handedly made a tackle that threw the opposing team for a loss. The boy went on to play inspired football play after play. In fact, he played so exceptionally that Lou left him in for the entire game; the boy led his team to victory and he was voted the outstanding player of the game.
When the game was finally over Lou approached the boy and said, "Son, what got into you today?" And the boy replied, "You remember when my father would visit me here at school and we would spend a lot of time together walking arm in arm around the campus? My father and I shared a secret that nobody around here knew anything about. You see, my father was blind--and today was the first time he ever saw me play!"[iii]
Your heavenly Father sees how you play in the game of life every day. When you know that
for sure in your heart, it should make a difference in how you live. Knowing He is watching
should motivate us to do our best for Him.
Somebody’s watching you.
Pr 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths.
What does He see in your life tonight?
Does He see some things that need to be straightened out in your mind and heart? Does
He see a soul that needs to come to Christ and be saved? Why not come to Christ tonight, and
ask Him to cleanse you and give you a new start?
Does He see anxiety and fear in your heart? Maybe you need to bring your worries and
needs to the Lord tonight and let Him comfort you and give you what you need.
Does He see a heart committed to being and doing your best for Him? You may need to
come to the Lord and commit yourself to wholehearted devotion to the Lord Jesus.
He’s watching. What does He see in you?
[i]Bruce Larson, There’s a Lot More to Health Than Not Being Sick Charles R.
[ii]Our Daily Bread, October 10,000 Sermon Illustrations, electronic ed. (Dallas: Biblical Studies
[iii] James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 171-172.