I’ve never been a fan of the song “There’s An All-Seeing Eye Watching You.” I’m not one who believes that the song book is sacred and, therefore, we have to sing every song in it. I don’t believe the hymn book is Holy Spirit inspired and, quite frankly, I think some of the songs it contains are not worthy of our singing them. I’d be fine if we never sang, “There’s An All-Seeing Eye” ever again. But, hey, that’s just me. I must admit, however, that the song conveys Biblical truth in the sense that God is all-seeing and all-knowing.
The Hebrew writer states: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Heb. 4:13).” All things are “naked” or “open” before God. The Greek term for “naked” or “open” is gumnos, and it means exactly what you would think it means: “bare, unclad, exposed.”* That’s how we appear before God. We are open to Him. We may be able to wear outer coverings or disguises, but in the presence of God these things are stripped away. He sees past our exterior and into our hearts. The Hebrew writer also states that we are “laid bare” or “laid open” before God. The Greek term employed here is very interesting. It’s the word tetrachelismena, which is derived from the word trachelizo, meaning “to seize and twist the neck.” This word refers to “bending back the neck.” It carries with it the connotation of a wrestler seizing his opponent by the throat in such a way that he is rendered helpless. It can refer to bending back the neck of a victim to be slain, as the necks of victims at the altar were drawn back and exposed to a knife or dagger. It can also refer to the drawing back of the victim’s neck for sacrifice, which suits the previous figure of the sword in verse 12. The literal sense of the word, however, seems to be “with head thrown back and throat exposed.”** The language here clearly points to the vulnerability of human beings before God. The vision of one’s head thrown back and throat exposed vividly describes a posture of complete and total submission. Our defenses are down. Our guard is dropped. We are in a non-negotiable position with no other option but to allow God to see us as we truly are.
In Acts 1:24 we find more vivid language attesting to the fact that we are totally transparent before God. The setting of Acts 1:24 is the choosing between Barsabbas (Justus) and Matthias to replace Judas as one of the twelve apostles. After praying to God, the apostles drew lots and the lot fell to Matthias. But beginning in verse 24 of Acts 1 it reads: “And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place (Acts 1:24 & 25).” Notice the phrase, “who know the hearts.” The Greek term employed here is kardiognostes. It is the combination of the word kardia (heart) plus ginosko (to know). Thus, it means “heart knower,” or “knower of hearts.”*** Not only are we completely exposed before God; open and laid bare. God also sees directly into our hearts. He knows our hearts, and when you know someone’s heart, you know every single thing about them. In the New Testament scriptures, the heart denotes, not only the seat of physical life, but also the seat of moral nature and spiritual life. It refers to the seat of grief, joy, desire, affection, perception, thought, understanding, reasoning power, imagination, conscience, intention, purpose, will and faith.
You may be thinking to yourself, so how is this supposed to make me feel better? It’s not exactly reassuring to know that I am completely exposed before God. That’s a negative rather than a positive, right? No! It’s a great thing! It’s an incredible thing! It’s a beautiful thing! God knows you better than anyone, even better than you know yourself, and He loves you anyway! Who in the world would ever love you after knowing everything about you? Who would ever give you the time of day if they knew all of your thoughts, your secrets, your darkest sins? Who? Probably very few people if any. God can see into every crevice of your heart. Even the things you don’t want to acknowledge about yourself, God sees it, and He loves you in spite of it! That should cause us to rejoice in celebration rather than recoil in embarrassment. God’s eye is always upon us, but that shouldn’t scare us. It should comfort us. It’s actually something we can revel in. It’s something we can take solace in. God knows every single thing about you and, yet, He still loves you. He still wants a relationship with you. He still wants you in heaven.
*Vine, W.E. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words. Thomas Nelson: Nashville. 1996. 425.
**Barclay, William. The Letter to the Hebrews. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville. 2002. 48.
***Vine, W.E. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words. Thomas Nelson: Nashville. 1996. 297.