It is a well-known fact that crime increases when it is dark and decreases when there is adequate lighting. A burglar is not as likely to break into a car parked on the street in broad daylight as he is at 2:00 AM. The reason is simple: Criminals don’t want to be seen committing their crimes, and darkness acts like a curtain for their activities. This is why police officers often need to use hidden surveillance cameras, night vision equipment, and binoculars to investigate crime. They need to be able to witness crimes committed in the dark, often from far away or via remote video monitors, in order to catch the crook.
Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, the secrecy of criminals and their preference for darkness often enables them to escape from earthly consequences. Nevertheless, they are always being watched by Someone who has more authority than any human judge. As the Bible assures us, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). The wicked person has no escape from God’s watchful gaze. Though he may try to put God out of his mind, or even deny that God exists, God is right there, watching his every move.
Unlike a police officer, God needs no binoculars, surveillance cameras, or night vision goggles. “His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves” (Job 34:21-22).
The thought that all wickedness will eventually receive its just punishment from God should cause us all to rejoice, but I must caution the person who does not see himself as wicked or guilty. I am addressing the “law-abiding citizen” who comforts himself with the fact that he is a good person, at home in bed at night, not out committing crimes in the shadows. The eyes of the Lord are there too—that is, in your home, in your bedroom. And much of what you do in your home—activities that are considered “legal” by our culture—God calls wickedness.
The eyes of God look over your shoulder when you read a book, a newspaper, or a magazine. His eyes view every website with you, and He sees every forbidden object or person upon which you allow your eyes to dwell. He watches you at work, at school, at the swimming pool, at the movie theater, and at the mall. He watches while you drive, while you shop, and while you file your taxes.
Even more sobering is the fact that the eyes of the Lord do not only see. They know. The Lord knows your thoughts, your dreams, your anger, and your lust. He knows your lies when others believe you’re telling the truth. He knows your pride when others see you as humble. He knows your rebellion even when you appear to submit. He knows the object of your highest affections, and He knows when that object is not Him.
Every sensible person should be sobered by the knowledge that the all-seeing, all-knowing eyes of the Lord are tirelessly observing and recording every thought, word, and deed. The truth is, there is not a person alive who does not have a criminal record in God’s sight. As the Apostle John said in condemnation of the human race as a whole, “men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt” (Ps. 53:2-3). “There is none righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10).
God’s perception of the human race is not at all flattering, and His final judgment of men will be “according to their deeds” (Rev. 20:13). Furthermore, the record of your misdeeds is being kept meticulously. All you have ever done will be exposed in God’s court. On your own merit you will not fare well on the day of judgment. Only if you trust in Jesus Christ and His perfect righteousness will you be accepted by the Father, for “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
The person whom God accepts is not the one who says, “I’m no criminal. I’m a good person. When God looks at my life, He likes what He sees.” In reality there is no such “good person,” although many persist in this delusion. The person whom God will allow into His kingdom is the one who knows that what God sees in him is corruption, rebellion, and untold numbers of sins. He is the person who is humbled by His need of Christ the Savior and says, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13).