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Someone To Watch Over Me

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Someone To Watch Over Me

1 Peter 3:12-3:12

A little boy who lives up north was eagerly looking forward to the birthday party of his friend who lived only a few blocks away. When the day finally arrived, a fierce blizzard was making driving hazardous. But the boy insisted that didn’t matter – he could walk to his friend’s home. And he could do it all by himself. He didn’t need any help. In fact, he didn’t want any help. He was a big boy now.

Still his father hesitated. "But Dad," he pleaded, "all the other kids will be there. Their parents are letting them go.” Finally, the father replied, "All right, if that’s what you want to do.” Overjoyed, the boy bundled up for the trip and plunged out into the storm. The swirling snow sometimes made it difficult for him to see, and it took him nearly half an hour of trudging through the snow to get there. But finally he was there. He climbed the porch steps, and reached up to ring the doorbell. As he did he turned briefly to look back behind him and out of the corner of his eye he saw the form of a receding figure. It was his father who had followed him all the way just to make sure that he arrived safely at his destination.

I like that! I like the idea of a father who would allow his son to tackle something difficult on his own, but who at the same time would make sure to be there if he were needed. I think that’s one of the characteristics and evidences of real love.

You know, whether we realize it or not, I’m absolutely convinced that everyone of us needs someone to watch over us, someone who really cares about us, someone who’ll celebrate with us in the great events of our lives, who’ll offer us a shoulder to cry on in seasons of sorrow, and encouraging words when we most need them.

With that in mind, listen to these words of Scripture found in 1 Peter 3:12: "… the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil"


1. HIS EYES ARE ON US

Did you hear that? The apostle Peter tells us that “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous..."  And Psalm 139:1-3 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. …

Vs’s 8-10 “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. …

Vs’s 13-14 “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

God knows us and He loves us! He knows us even better than we know ourselves. And His eyes are upon us!

He is aware of the frustration that makes you weary, the dreams you have dared to dream even when everyone doubted, the fears that trouble you, and the joys that fill your heart. He knows your disappointments, and the heartaches that have come your way. He knows you! You see, He created you, and He loves you.

And in the midst of all that complicates your life - remember this uncomplicated but marvelous truth: "…the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous." And because they are, be assured also that “His ears are attentive to their prayer"

2. HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO US

Charles Swindoll, in his book “Stress Fractures,” tells about one time finding himself in a bind with just too many commitments and not nearly enough time in which to accomplish them. As a result, he became very nervous and tense.

"I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at any unexpected interruption during the day. Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable. I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ’Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’

"Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ’Honey, you can tell me - and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.’ I’ll never forget her answer: ’Then you listen slowly.’"

 The apostle Peter assures us that not only are God’s eyes upon us, but that He hears us, He’s attentive to our prayers, and He listens slowly!

Bob Keeshan, whom most of us remember as "Captain Kangaroo" once said: "Attention is like a daily bouquet of love."

You can be sure that God is waiting for you to come to Him, to talk to Him, to lay before Him your goals, your dreams, your fears and your uncertainties!

C. S. Lewis once wrote: "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in."

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer."

John McArthur, in a sermon called, "Praying For The Right Things," said: "Sadly, the prayers of most Christians are directed toward the wrong stuff. … The prayers are often misdirected, short-sighted, and selfish. “Christians typically pray for health and happiness and success. They pray for personal benefits. They pray for comfort. … They pray for a healed body, or a home, or food, or a job, or a car, a husband, a wife, a promotion, and more money.”

Those things, while they certainly make up a big part of our lives, are very low on the Apostle Paul’s priority prayer list. Listen as he tells the Christians in Thessalonica what he is praying about concerning them: “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

In other words, he is telling them that he and Silas and Timothy are constantly praying for them – for them to be living lives pleasing to God, worthy of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for them, and that God will be able to use their attitudes and actions as living witnesses of His love. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."


3. HIS FACE IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL

I can understand what it means when the Bible says that “His eyes are on us,” and that “His ears are open to us.” But what message is it trying to get across to us when it says that, “His face is against those who do evil”? Is it saying that someday, when we’re all standing before the judgment seat, that those who have done evil in their lives will finally face the wrath of God and receive the punishment that they so richly deserve?

Well, yes, the Bible does tell us that, Matthew 25:31-32, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

And the time will come when He will say to those on His left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41,46)

So there will be a judgment day, and it will be a time of rewards and punishments. But is that what Peter is talking about in the Scripture we have been using this morning? I don’t think so. And let me tell you why.

Let’s look at it again. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Think about what it is saying. “…the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous…” When? When are His eyes on the righteous? Right now. Right now He sees us, and watches over us, and cares for us; oftentimes in ways that we never even realize.

And when are “His ears open to us and attentive to our prayers?” Once again, it’s now. Time and time again we have seen prayers answered; maybe not always the way that we would have desired, but God has answered our prayers. He’s opened doors that were closed, healed bodies that were hurt, provided guidance when we didn’t know which way to turn, ransomed lives that were mired in sin, protected us, and brought peace and joy into our lives. God does answer our prayers!

So do we dare suggest that “the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” right now? Does all of God’s wrath and punishment have to wait until the Judgment Day? No, I don’t think so. In fact, the Bible clearly tells us that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) And God speaks in Malachi 3:6 saying, “I the Lord do not change.”

Now why am I pointing this out? Because there have been times that God has most definitely intervened in the course of human history on behalf of His people. And Jesus Himself taught us to pray, asking God to “…deliver us from evil.”

God delivered His people in miraculous ways from oppression and slavery in Egypt, and from the pursuing Egyptian army at the Red Sea. God parted the Jordan River and flattened the walls of Jericho as the Children of Israel crossed over into the Promised Land.

And when the Philistines attacked the people of Israel, capturing the Ark of the Covenant, and putting it on display in their cities as a sign of their God Dagon’s superiority over the God of Israel; God intervened again. In city after city God’s hand was heavy upon them and the Philistine cities were panic stricken.

1 Samuel 5:10-11 says, “… the people of Ekron cried out, ‘They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.’ So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, ‘Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place…’ For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy upon it.”

Again and again God intervened. From Gideon’s victory, to the death of 187,000 Assyrian soldiers in just one night when they were besieging Jerusalem, to Daniel in the lion’s den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, God’s power has been evident when His people cried out for His help. And I’m convinced that the God who did it then can do it now if He will.

In fact, as somewhat of a student of history, I’m convinced that God intervened even in the formation of our nation. Our founding fathers, by and large, were praying people. And God answered their prayers. I don’t have time to go into details now, but I truly believe that God has blessed and protected our land.

But will God continue to bless America? Should He? God has told us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Folks, it’s a time to be earnest in our prayers and in keeping our vows to God. War has been declared upon our nation by Al-Queda and Hizbolha. The horror of 9-11 was but the first installment of the destruction they and others intend for us. And unless there is a quick and dramatic change in what is going on in Middle East, we’ll soon be at war too.

If ever there was a time for fervent prayer, it is now. If ever there was a time when the people of God should be united in prayer, it is now. So will you bow your heads and join with me in prayer - now?

“Oh Heavenly Father, we come to you this morning confessing that we are sinners, asking your forgiveness and seeking your direction and guidance in our lives. Father, you have told us that your eyes are upon us, that you hear our prayers, and that your face is against those who do evil. These are perilous times for our nation and the world, and there is rampant evil that blatantly proclaims its hatred for our nation and the freedoms that we hold so dear.

I pray for our leaders, for our President and those who advise him, that you give them the wisdom and courage they need to make the decisions that you would have them make; that which is ultimately the best for our nation and for the world.

I pray for the men and women of our armed forces, those who are and will be in the forefront of danger so that we, and our children, might live our lives free and unafraid.

I pray that you will frustrate those who plot evil, that their leaders will become confused, disoriented, and distrustful of each other. And that their entire scheme and structure of attacks will fall apart.

And Father, I even dare to pray that somehow, someway, these enemies will become aware of your deep and abiding love for them, even as you hate the evil that motivates their thoughts and actions. May your Holy Spirit reach into their hearts and convict them of their sins, leading them to a saving knowledge of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

When it says, For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, who are the righteous? The bible says, “there is none righteous, no not one.” And “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.” So, who is this? It is whoever puts their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and their savior and by doing so has His righteousness applied to their account as a gift. Do you need to receive that gift today?...

Healthcare has gotten out of hand. Many of us get our medications via the internet from foreign countries to save money. Most popular: Canada, New Zealand and Australia; medicine from down under. Healthcare insurance is so high that many people gravitate toward certain jobs mostly for the insurance benefit that goes along with the position. Corporations would rather offer time and a half to their employees than hire additional personnel because it is cheaper than paying an additional healthcare benefit. The fringe benefit of good insurance is a major factor in today’s economy.

Many people show interest in the Gospel because of its fringe benefits: eternal life and deliverance from the wrath of God. But the main focus of the Gospel is a restored relationship with God through receiving the righteousness of Christ: everything else can be labeled, “fringe benefits,” important as they are.

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