(In My Own Words)
18 …the eyes of (the Lord) are on those who (reverence) him,
over those who put their hope in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
In the verses preceding these, the Psalmist tells us that God sees everything, everywhere, all the time. But then he goes on in these verses to shift from a ‘general watching over’ to ‘God’s eyes are on’ those who reverence Him.
When I first read it, I didn’t catch that subtle difference but on further study, I realized that this is a loaded passage of scripture! Not only does God ‘watch and see’ everything, but he ‘zooms in’—His eyes fixed—and pays special care to those who walk in relationship with Him. When we put our hope in His unfailing love, and not in ourselves, we invite protection from Him, and He honours that.
It doesn’t say that no bad thing will happen, or no harm will come our way—as we sometimes hear taught in Christian culture—but, rather, it says we will not be destroyed, and He will give us life, even in times of deprivation.
The point is that God does not abandon us, or leave us to suffer alone in our difficulties. Even God’s people suffer tragedy, illness and death but our suffering is not hopeless. We know we are loved, cared for and that God brings purpose and meaning to tragedy.
The Psalmist goes on to declare the following:
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
The words ‘wait in hope’ indicate that even while our circumstances are still very wrong, we choose to trust God and recognize that He is our Provider and Protector. We don’t give up. We wait and trust in His holy name—Jesus—and we claim His promise, though not yet seen, as the certainty we cling to. We invite His unfailing love into our experience, even as we invest our hope in Him.
Not only is God our Provider, He is our Provision. Not only our Protector, He is our Protection. When everything else is wrong, when experience screams that there is nothing left to live for, we still have all we need. We have Him.
It is as though we look up, taking our eyes off of experience all around us, and we meet His gaze—His eyes locked intently and lovingly, on us. We become so lost in that gaze, that we are made complete and fulfilled, making all else secondary.
What experience do you need to lay aside so that you can look into His eyes and find hope again?