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What is the meaning of “the eyes of the Lord” in the Bible?


the eyes of the Lord
Question: "What is the meaning of ‘the eyes of the Lord’ in the Bible?"

Answer:
The eyes of the Lord is an anthropomorphic expression, meaning that it attributes humanlike qualities to God. God, who is spirit (John 4:24), does not have a physical body with eyes and ears, or arms and legs. The omniscience of God is most often the intended implication of the eyes of the Lord, as seen in Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Nothing and no one in heaven and on earth can escape being observed by the watchful, all-pervading eyes of the Lord. God is always assessing, appraising, overseeing, superintending, and safeguarding His creation. God sees all people and knows all people, both the evil and the righteous.

Since the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, so too is His presence. Thus, the idiom also expresses God’s omnipresence: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

The eyes of the Lord conveys the all-knowing, all-seeing limitlessness of God, and yet at the same time His personal, ever-caring nature. The Bible tells us that God is always paying attention to our needs: “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). Believers can count on the individual, intimate care and concern of a loving God: “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:18).

The eyes of the Lord often indicates His recognition and the bestowing of His favor: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8; see also 1 Peter 3:12). Likewise, the phrase frequently expresses His protection: “It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end” (Deuteronomy 11:12). The heavenly Father keeps a fond eye on His children: “He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3–4).

The Bible tells us that God sees everything: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13; see also Psalm 11:4). The Lord’s field of vision is omnidirectional and unrestricted. Nothing we do can be hidden or kept secret from Him. Closed doors and locked chambers will not obscure His vision. He sees everything, including our sins, which displease Him, and the depravity of the world, which breaks His heart (Jeremiah 17:9–10).

In His sovereign knowledge and foresight of all things, God is never caught off guard or taken by surprise. Nothing happens to Him or to His children unexpectedly. We may find ourselves in difficult circumstances, but we can rest assured that God is in control. As the psalmist reassures, God will be there with us: “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. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:11–12).

The concerned and compassionate eyes of the Lord are always on us, penetrating even our darkest night. From the moment we are conceived and every day thereafter, He sees us (Psalm 139:16). The Lord keeps His eyes on His children to protect and preserve them and lead them home. May we pray daily for the Lord to equip us “with everything good” so that we “may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:20–21).

Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

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