God’s Masterpiece: God’s Eyes (Part I)
Sermon Title: God’s Masterpiece: “God’s Eye”
Good News Statement: God has compassion for us
Preached: Sunday, September 03, at Dogwood Prairie and Seed Chapel UMC
Pastor Daniel G. Skelton, M.Div.
Scripture (NRSV): Hebrews 4:13– Today’s Scripture reading comes from Paul’s epistle to the Hebrew people who are reminded of God’s Promises. The reading is from Hebrews Chapter Four verse Thirteen, which highlights the importance of God eyes—which are penetrating, precious, and provisional.
The Rest That God Promised
4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed are entering that rest, just as God has said,
“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”
though his works were finished since the foundation of the world. 4 For somewhere it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day—“today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. 9 So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God, 10 for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
This is the Word of God for the People of God; And all God’s people said, “Thanks be to God.”
A snake goes into see the optometrist because his eyesight is failing. “It’s actually affecting my life. I can’t hunt anymore because I can’t see,” hissed the snake. The doctor fits the snake for glasses and the snake immediately notices an improvement in his eyesight. A week later, the doctor calls the snake to check how the glasses are holding up. “They’re fine,” the snake answers. “But now I’m being treated for depression.” “Depression?” the doctor asks. “Yeah, my eyesight cleared up, but it made me realize I’ve been dating a garden hose.”
Our eyes are truly works of art! They bring to life what we see in our mind. They help us witness what God created at the beginning of time. They are the second most complex part of our body—only surpassed in complexity by the brain. Our eyes are truly works of art and wonderment! When was the last time you pondered anything about your eyes?
Here are some facts about our eyes according to www.selecthealth.org: the average blink is one tenth of a second, an average person blinks 5.2 million times per year—17 times per minute, 1,020 times per hour, 12,240 times within twelve hours—only one sixth of the eye is exposed to the human world, the body’s way of reducing motion blurriness and our rapid eye movement leaves us blind for about 40 minutes a day (Saccadic masking), eyes manage 80% of all information you will ever take in, an eye has more than 2,000,000 working parts and 256 unique traits—your fingerprint contains only 40 unique traits—and lastly, there are six different distinct eye colors—amber (5%), blue (8-10%), brown (70-80%), gray (3%), green (2%), hazel (5%), and red/violet. So, like I said earlier, our eyes are truly works of art and they say so much about who we are: they tell a story.
Knowing a little bit about your eyes, have you ever wondered what the eyes of Christ might look like? Or even what the eyes of God look like? Are they circular or oval or almond shaped? What color are they: blue, brown, green, grey, or hazel? Are they far apart or are they close together? Are they small or large or somewhere in the middle? Have you ever wondered what the eyes of Christ or God look like? In 1940, Warner Sallman painted the famous painting of “The Head of Christ” that many people and churches have somewhere in their house or buildings: Jesus is portrayed with brown long-flowing hair with a beard and brown eyes—a mirror image of the majority. Then in 2002, Akiane Kramarik, an eight-year-old Russian atheist at the time, painted Jesus with curly-messy short-brown hair with a beard and green eyes—a mirror image of the minority. People for many generations have been trying to depict the eyes of our Creator and Savior, but I ask you, is the physicality of their eyes more important then what their eyes represent or even what they have seen and see today?
Today, we begin our journey of examining different pieces of artwork. Together, we will examine what they look like, possibly what they feel like, their shape, color, size, and what they are made of. Essentially, we will take note of their physicality; but most importantly, we will examine what they represent, and how what they represent can teach us about our faith. We begin our artwork journey by looking at what is called “The Eye of God”—a craft commonly made using Popsicle sticks and different colored yarn. From “The Eye of God” we will learn that God’s eyes are penetrating, precious, and providential. The eyes of God see all, know all, and feel all. Have you ever wondered about the eyes of God?
The piece of art known as “The Eye of God” or “God’s Eye” has its origins in the Huichol (wet-chol) people. The Huichol people believed that crafting this specific item—usually constructed by using two sticks and wrapping different colored yarn in a unique design or pattern—was a way to get in touch with the spiritual world. For protection from the uncertainties of the future, the Huichol sometimes made decorative, ceremonial shields with colored yarn and sticks. These shields were called “God’s Eye” because through them a god might keep a watchful eye over the people who made them.
Furthermore, to help the god see better, Huichol people wove a pupil of black yarn or a mirrored disk in to the god’s eye. Where the sticks crossed, they left an opening that allowed shamans (religious leaders who were believed to have powers of healing) and gods to travel easily between the spirit and earth worlds. Young Huichol children were guided on a walks carrying god’s eyes and other offerings so that the gods might learn to recognize their faces, to see them. The Huichol women wove similar charms out of straw or yucca and hung them over baby cradles; and among the Pueblo groups, women wore small ones as hair ornaments. Today, “God’s Eye” can be made or purchased. What does this craft, this piece of artwork, teach us about the God that we believe in, specifically about His eyes? This piece of spiritual art teaches us that God’s eyes are penetrating, precious, and providential.
I. God’s Eyes are Penetrating – The first time I heard the phrase “penetrating eyes,” I was standing before my mother in the kitchen of our mobile home with my siblings behind me whispering, “Don’t make direct eye-contact. Don’t make direct eye-contact. If you do, you will feel the penetration of her wrath.” People who have penetrating eyes or a penetrating gaze, stare, or look make you feel uncomfortable by looking at you in a way that makes you feel that they know what you are thinking; they somehow break your protective barrier and see your soul just by staring at you. It’s a little eerie, if you ask me. However, when I say that God’s eyes are penetrating, I don’t mean for you to take that as something eerie or even fearful. Rather, God’s penetrating eyes are a way of letting us know that He is watching over us and sees us and hears us and knows us.
For example, Psalm 139:2-4 assert when talking about the knowledge of the LORD, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.” A few verses later the Psalmist notes in Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.” Turning to the New Testament, Luke 12:7 states, “He numbers the hairs on your head;” but before this, Luke states in verse three, “Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.” Matthew notes in the sixth chapter of his Gospel, “The Father who sees in secret will reward you…and Do not be like the gentiles when they pray with many words, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:4, 8). God knows what we do in secret—good and bad—and God knows what we need in life when we pray. And God sees us when we sit down and rise, and He sees us by having accesses to our heart.
The Greek name for God is Theos. It comes from the Greek root which makes up the word Theisthai, which means to see. In fact, the very name of God taken from the Greek language means, “The One Who Sees.” So God is the One who sees all and knows all. For example, Zachariah proclaims when warning the people of Israel, “The eyes of the LORD run to and from through the whole earth” (Zachariah 4:10). Job, during his days of suffering and torture and brokenness realizes, “For His eyes are upon the ways of mortals, and sees all their steps.” King Solomon offers us words of wisdom, “For human ways are under the eyes of the LORD, and he examines all their paths” (Proverbs 15:21) and “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). God is the one who sees all: from the east to the west, from the north to the south and everything in between. God even sees you in a crowd of many: He sees you—your physicality, emotions, pains, sorrows, wounds, scars, and joys and excitement.
To say that God has penetrating eyes means that God knows you. He knows what you are thinking; He knows what you did yesterday, what you are doing right now, and what you are going to do tomorrow; He knows your secrets; He knows your needs and prayers; He knows your pains, sorrows, grievances, disappointments, and your joys, excitement, and praises; He knows how many hairs are on your head; He knows the plans He has for you; He knows your goodness and your sins; and He knows your name. Through the eyes of God, we don’t experience fear, but experience comfort knowing that someone is looking after us. As our text suggests, no creature is hidden but is “laid bare open to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account” (Hebrews 4:13). God’s eyes are penetrating because He wants to see what our heart needs to keep believing in Him. Don’t be afraid to let God see you for who you are.
II. THE PRECIOUS EYES OF GOD – Knowing that God can see everywhere and everything, it will make you glad to know that God also has Precious Eyes. What do I mean by that? I mean that God has loving, kind, and compassionate eyes: eyes that render grace and forgiveness. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus saw you and cared for you before you even knew that He existed. Look at John 1:47-51, where we read, “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” Jesus knew and cared about Nathanael before Nathanael knew about Him, just like he knows and cares about you each and every day.
We see this same level of caring in the Old Testament. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we read , “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth to strengthen those whose heart is true to him.” God is always looking for people whose hearts are loyal so that He might bless them and love them and care for them. David prayed in the psalms, “Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…” (Psalm 17:8). David knew that the very sparkle in God’s eye revealed the divine love that was upon him—a love of acceptance and not judgment. God’s precious eyes see what we have done, but they have also seen where we are going and what we seek in this life: forgiveness and repentance.
One day the great astronomer was watching the sunset through his telescope. Into focus came two boys who were stealing apples. They were seven miles away. They had no idea that anyone was watching. One was pulling apples and the other was watching for anyone who might come along. That is a bit humorous, but think of how God sees our sins but does not immediately come to judge us. He gives us time to repent and to accept His love and grace. God’s eyes are mighty but they are also preciously loving toward us, for He sees every sin but is loving and patient with us.
Do you remember how Jonah describes God? Jonah, while still in the city of Nineveh, prayed, “You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from punishment.” Jonah is basically saying that God is precious and that God will do what God needs to do to lead us away from judgment and toward repentance. God cares and loves us so much that He is patient with us, not wanting us to perish but for us to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God’s eyes are precious and a source of patience and understanding.
Another way to think about God’s precious eyes is through the following example. I read about a man who told his friend that he saw spots before his eyes. His friend asked, “Have you seen a doctor?” The troubled man answered, “No, I haven’t seen a doctor, only spots.” Let me tell you that God does not see any spots before His eyes. His vision is clear and everything and everyone is open before Him. God does not see spots, but sees who and what He has created. And if God can see past our spots, our sins, our mistakes, our wrongdoings, then shouldn’t we be willing to do the same for others in our life: to not hinge on their sins but to see them for whom they really are. Life is too short. We must pray now to see this world through the eyes of God and not our own. The precious eyes of God remind us that God loves us and cares for us.
III. THE PROVIDENTIAL EYES OF GOD – Lastly, God’s eyes are providential. Psalm 32:8 reads, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” It is our duty to trust God’s guidance and leadership, for God can see the future that we cannot possibly see or know. He can see what is happening before it happens. He desires to guide us to that which is best for us. Now, look at the next verse. God does not want us to be so rebellious that he has to treat us like a horse. That is, he doesn’t want to put a bit in our mouths in order to get us to move in His positive and divine direction. God wants us to trust in what He provides for us.
Did any of you have parents who could instruct you with their eyes? A look at your mother or father could tell you to come, go, stop, quit talking, and straighten up! I did, and I am sure many of you did, too. One look from my mother could scare the wits out of me. When my mother furrowed her brow, it felt like eternal judgment was around the corner. Yet, there are times when a look from your mom or dad could be so comforting. In a way, we can do that. His Word, the Bible, is filled with His instructions. Reading it is like looking in the eyes of God. Maybe some people don’t read the Bible often because they are seeking to avoid His restraining look.
I see that in Genesis 16, where we read that when Hagar was banished to the wilderness, she became aware of God’s care for her. Then she called Him: “You-Are-the-God-who-Sees.” And the well of water she found in that desert place was called Beer Lahai Roi, which means, “Well of the One Who Lives and Sees Me.” Knowing that our heavenly Father sees everything we do should motivate us to live in a way that pleases Him, but it should also be a source of comfort to us because the God who sees also cares for His own. The LORD is instructing us and teaching us, but are we allowing ourselves to be instructed and taught by His ways and words? God’s eyes are providential because they provide for us what we need to see in this life, they help us see what we cannot see, and they remove our limitations, spots, and the plank in our own eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
Our vision is so limited that it is difficult for us to understand the eyes of God. Our eyes are made up of millions of parts, the most important being the retina. The retina contains rods and cones which receive light and shadows, and transmits them across the optic nerve to the brain. There are approximately 75 million rods and 7 million cones in just one of your eyes. Yet, your vision is extremely limited. For example, military intelligence has revealed that America has spy satellites circling the earth 100 miles in the heavens. The eyes of those satellites are so sensitive that they can see an object 2 feet square, more clearly than you can see me now. Man has created this process of long distance satellite vision. If we can do that with a camera, what do you think the God of heaven can do when it comes to seeing? Our vision is limited because we choose to see the world through our eyes instead of through the eyes of God.
We need God’s providential eyes to help us see beyond our limitations. He has given us instructions, but now it’s our turn to zoom in and see the true needs of those around us. God sees us completely. God sees us constantly. God sees us compassionately. God sees us for who we are and what we need to be His created creation.
The Lord reminded Samuel that He does not see as man sees, the Lord looks on the heart while man looks on the outward appearance. God looks into the heart and into the soul. 1 Samuel 16:7 shares, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” Just like the artwork “God’s Eye,” created by the Huichol (wet-chol) people, the colorful strings and structure are beautiful, but the message that is embedded in each string and the meaning that lies at the center is what is life-changing. God sees us from the inside out because for God it is the heart, mind, and spirit of someone that matters. “God’s Eye” is centered at the middle of this artwork to symbolize that God is at the center of our life motivating us and encouraging us to start the work of Christ from within and then extending it outward to the rest of the world.
Our text from Paul says, “And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one whom we must render an account” (Hebrews 4:13). God’s eyes are not be feared but are meant to be seen because through His eyes—His penetrating and knowing eyes, His precious and caring eyes, and His providential and instructive eyes—our hearts are opened, laid bare, and we begin to see the world through His eyes and not always through our own eyes. What is God wanting you to see? What have you been blind to? If you could see the world through His eyes, what would you see? What are you going to do to make sure that what God sees is what happens in your life?
It’s amazing a how much this piece of art can teach us so much about the eyes of God. I ask you one last time, “Have you ever wondered about the eyes of God?”
Let it be so…
What does God want you to see? How can what you see bring God’s love to God’s creation? This week, may you be blessed with God’s vision, and may you feel the urge of the Holy Spirit to do something about what you see. May God’s eyes care for you, love, and protect from this day forward. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, go out into the world knowing that you are part of God’s masterpiece. And all of God’s people said, Amen. Amen. Amen.
 Oklahoma Historical Society: https://www.okhistory.org/kids/printables/godseye.pdf
 Oklahoma Historical Society: https://www.okhistory.org/kids/printables/godseye.pdf
 During World War II an ocean liner left a British port headed for a harbor in the United States. Enemy subs and cruisers were scattered about, placing the ship in peril as it crossed the Atlantic. Therefore, the captain was given secret directions charting the route. Added were these instructions: “Keep straight on this course. Turn aside for nothing. If you need help, send a wireless message in code.” After a few days out at sea, the crew spotted an enemy cruiser on the horizon. It appeared to be trailing them. The captain immediately sent a coded message: “Enemy cruiser sighted. What shall I do?” The reply came from an unseen ship, “Keep straight on. I’m standing by.” No friendly vessel could be seen, but the captain kept the liner on course until it safely reached the port. Within a short time, a British warship slipped into the same harbor. Although it had been out of sight, it had protected the passenger vessel all the way to port. For those of us who know the Lord, He is always watching and caring for us. He will see you till you reach the final destination. Just stay straight on course.
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