Scripture is speckled with much about the eyes of the Lord and His looking upon one and another. The look varies from that which is solemn and searching, to that which is encouraging and comforting. The look contrasts from that which fixes the Gaze upon them for evil and not for good (cf. Amos 9:4), to eyes of the Lord which roam over the whole earth to encourage those who are devoted to him wholeheartedly (cf. 2 Chronicles 16:9). There is no denying the clear difference between God’s avenging eye (cf. Psalm 94: 1) and His gracious eye (cf. Exodus 33:17).
We need to have a restraining influence stemming from the fact that the ways of man are always before the eyes of the Lord. God ponders all our goings (cf. Proverbs 5:21). Yet, we are at the same time assured of the mercy and compassion of the Lord. As believers, we will often desire that He looks upon us, knowing that our very needs and unexpressed longings will plead for us (cf. 2 Samuel 16:12), and give us cause to say He has surely regarded the low estate of his handmaiden (cf. Luke 1:48).
God’s Look Reveals His Faithfulness
Noah was given the sign of the covenant God established between Him and every mortal. The rainbow appears in the clouds as a remembrance of the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature (cf. Genesis 9:16). Every time we see it, we marvel at its appearance; for in it we experience the look of covenant faithfulness, which touches every mortal being that is on earth. We think of it as an assurance to allay fears. We ponder on it as a divine pledge that the world will never again be destroyed by a universal deluge. We know it as an endorsement of the promise which God gave for the temporal preservation of His creatures.
God, Himself refers to it as “My bow, which I set in the cloud (cf. Genesis 9:13). As God, Himself looks upon it in remembrance of His oath (cf. Isa 54:9), so should we. It is such a blessing to know that the cloud which comes across our sky is one of His very bringing, and it is there to somehow reveal His glory. The assurance we have is that the bow will appear in the clouds. It is also a blessing to know that the canopy of the Throne in Heaven is a halo as brilliant as an emerald (cf. Revelation 4:3). The rainbow acts as a sign that God rules this world in accordance to His covenant engagements.
God’s Look Grants us His Grace
When the children of Israel groaned under their bondage and cried out for help, God heard their moaning and was mindful of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This was well for them; for God saw the Israelites, and He knew… (Exodus 2:23 – 25). It is no secret that the Israelites sinned grievously while in Egypt. They were very much chastised for it. Joshua implored them to cast out the gods their ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and instead serve the Lord (cf. Joshua 24:14). The Lord revealed it to Ezekiel, explaining how He acted for the sake of His Name, to spare it desecration in the eyes of the nations among whom they were (cf. Ezekiel 20: 7 – 8). Despite their provoking transgressions, as their groanings came into His ears, the Lord remembered His covenant and looked upon them.
Although Moses had beheld them with pity, he was powerless to influence their release. The Lord witnessed the affliction of His people in Egypt and heard their cry against their taskmasters. He came down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to lead them up from that land into the Land of Promise (cf. Exodus 3:7-8). His eyes were now fixed upon them to show Himself strong in their behalf and deliver them. God contemplates the wretchedness of His elect by nature and saves them from their sins. He reveals an everlasting covenant of grace as the sure foundation of mercy and the ground of all His dealings with His people. Christians are blessed to likewise bow their heads and worship when they find that the Lord has looked upon their affliction (cf. Exodus 4:31).
God’s Look Bares His Strength
Seven years into the power of Midian, the eyes of the Lord once again focused on Israel. Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to save it from the Midianites when the messenger of the Lord appeared to him. Gideon indicated that the Lord had surely abandoned Israel and delivered them into the power of Midian. Then the Lord turned to him and encouraged him to go forth with the strength he had, for it is He, who sends him (cf. Judges 6:14).
Poor Gideon knew he had no might; but, humility always goes before honours (cf. Proverbs 15:33). So, Gideon confessed his weaknesses, having come from the poorest family in Manasseh, and being the most insignificant in his father’s house. God’s look of encouragement comes out in the assurance of His being present as Gideon cut down Midian to the very last man (cf. Judges 6: 15 – 16).
The Christian must understand that the face of the Lord is always turned unto those who acknowledge their poverty and powerlessness. The Lord fills the empty vessel. God commissions and uses the one who humbly acknowledges himself as “the least”. Isaiah learned this when an ember from the altar touched his mouth (cf. Isaiah 6:5-8). Paul recognized himself as least of all to have received the grace to preach the Good News to the Gentiles (cf. Ephesians 3:8). God’s divine look dispels our fears, revives our drooping spirits, and sends us forth in His strength to effect a mighty deliverance for His chosen people.
God’s Look Desires Fellowship with His own
Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the breezy time of the day. A time meant for refreshment and delight became a time of fear. God came to be with them! They didn’t want to see Him and hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Christian needs to know God as a young deer— standing behind our walls, gazing through the windows, and peering through the lattices in order to show himself (cf. Song of Songs 2:9). Then we would love Him merely for His pleasantness and lovingness (cf. Proverbs 5:19), for His being most winsome to His people, and gentle in His carriage towards them.
The risen Lord often favours His people with spiritual visits. It pleases Him to make clearer and fuller manifestations of Himself to us. Our first encounter with Him is usually behind our wall (that barrier interposed between us by ourselves), making Him near, but not yet visible. Then He gazes through the windows with the look of revelation, is partially seen. At last, He shows Himself through the lattices of our longings with the look of discovery. Now we enjoy His manifest presence as He comes in to dine with us and we with Him (cf. Revelation 3:20).
God’s Look Confirms
The Hand of God made all things when all of them came to be; but the one whom God approves is the afflicted one, crushed in spirit, who trembles at His word (cf. Isaiah 66:2). God detests pride. He appreciates humility and submission. Being poor in spirit means comprehending to have nothing, to be nothing, and to be unable to do anything while as yet having need of all things. When God gives the look of approbation we receive perfect contrition. The spirit empties the heart of the self, that Christ may fill it. Then the Spirit discovers in us the plague of our hearts and makes sin to be bitter and hateful to us. Then we have the most painful grief and experience the heaviest burden so that we mourn over our sin with godly sorrow.
Then we are sensible of the searching purity of His word— awed by its authority. We become conscious of its requirements and hold its Author in uttermost reverence. The Christian soul must possess these qualities to be a delight to the Holy One, who views them not only with favour but also with pleasure. Because then God delights in His handiwork and sets His seal of approval immediately after that.
God Looks with a Keen Eye
The nearest glimpsing at the attitude of God towards our errant selves is in the parable of the lost son (cf. Luke 15: 11 – 32). The elect soul, by its very nature and practice wander from God and squanders His mercies, only to find itself desolate with nothing of the world that can meet its spiritual and eternal needs. In the end, the soul finds itself convicted of wretchedness and sinfulness, and its heart and feet have only but to turn unto the Lord.
The repentant and seeking sinner has much to rejoice in if he/she can comprehend the look of God. God remains on the lookout for its return. God is ready to welcome the soul back. God recognizes the soul while it is as yet a great way off, having been thus far removed from the presence of God. God anticipates receiving the returning soul. God readies Himself to receive it. Finally, God looks at the soul with eagerness, favour, and welcome. This hearty welcome is assured to the soul if it comes to God through Jesus Christ!
God’s Look Restores
One of the people to have had firsthand experience of the look of God is Peter. The Lord was facing the accusing crowd that had arrested Him and taken Him into the house of the high priest. Peter did the unthinkable. Overtaken in a grievous fault, he denied the Lord three times as earlier prophesied. The Lord does the unimaginable – He turns and looks at Peter with a sad but compassionate expression. The Lord acts with divine understanding, authority, and mercy; no scowling or frowning. A direct piercing look that goes right through and into Peter’s soul.
It was a convicting look that caused Peter to at once remember the Lord’s warning words. It was full of Love, softening the heart of Peter and making him go out and weep bitterly. The Lord is about to die, but He turns towards Peter (and all backsliders) with a pledge to put away all sins, and restore us to Sonship.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us that God sees everything, all the time (cf. Hebrews 4:13). The comfort is knowing that there is never a time when He does not know what we are doing or what we are going through in our lives (cf. Psalm 139:1-12.) No one can hide from God; neither darkness, nor space, nor time. God sees our ways (Job 32:21), and watches every step we take in the course of our chosen life. God sees both the evil and the good (cf. Proverbs 15:3). We may try so hard, but we cannot hide our actions or even our thoughts from Him.
As Solomon so aptly put it, God will bring to judgment every work, with all its hidden qualities, whether good or bad(cf. Ecclesiastes 12:14). Our salvation depends upon our receiving His forgiveness for those sins. God’s seeing should be a great source of joy to the righteous, giving us confidence to continue to live before Him. Remaining in faithful service in this life means receiving eternal life. Living in obedience to God means faithfulness is rewarded with the joy of spiritual fellowship, comfort in times of sorrow, help in time of need, and assurance in times of uncertainty and hardship. Despite receiving no recognition for the good we do, God sees and knows it all!