I want to talk about the watch care of God in the coming year. To illustrate this, I call your attention to God’s dealings with the congregation of Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness. Here in Chapter 11 of Deuteronomy, we learn they are about to embark upon their journey to the Promised Land. I want to show you how God both encourages and warns by telling them that throughout the entire year, God is watching over them all of the time! He had His eyes upon them from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
“For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of Heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:10-12 ).
Now, by way of application, I believe I can confidently say that the eyes of God are upon you and me today. God is interested in each individual Saint and cares for us, too! In fact, God’s watch is so complete and so specific that even the hairs of our head are numbered and even as His eye is on the sparrow (Lk.12:7). The logical conclusion is that if His eyes are on the creatures of this world, then surely His eyes are upon individuals. God cares for His saints: a truth we all need to remember as we, too, move on to a brand-new year: 2013! Every single, solitary soul is about to go in and possess a fresh, new year. Like Israel, our challenge is to go in and possess it.
The Apostle Paul’s view of the future was:
” Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14 ).
The future lays before us and it ought to be lived to its fullest. Every opportunity ought to be taken; every advantage ought to be seized in the fullness and power of God for His glory. Let’s go in and live to the praise and glory of His name (Eph. 1:6 ), believing we are not here by accident but by the will and design of God.
The Promised Land Experience: God said, “Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse” (Deut. 11:26 ). The Israelite’s journey to the Promised Land would be either a blessing or a cursing, depending on the choices that were made. So also, the year of 2013 will be either a blessing or blight for the believer. Thus, it is essential that we understand the principle by which afflictions are changed into blessings or blessings into afflictions; it is the word obedience. If we obey, that’s blessing (Deut. 11:27 ) – if not, that brings affliction (Deut. 11:28 ). It is that simple. Do we want a blessing as we enter into 2013? Do we want an advantage? Do we want help? Do we want joy? Do we want happiness? Do we want to be satisfied? Then, it is all wrapped up in that word “obey.”
“Obey” Is A Trans-Dispensational Word: Obviously, the subject matter or focus of obedience has changed from the Old Testament, after the finished Cross-work of Christ, and the Apostle Paul’s revelation of the Mystery. Today, we have a fuller revelation and much more opportunity: Grace is the Land of Opportunity. What the Israelites had, they were to obey. What instructions Grace Saints have we, too, are to obey.
Ignorance is no excuse for disobedience. Today we have the full canon of Scripture and we are instructed to “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 ). The challenge for believers in 2013 is to know the Word of God and do it! The Apostle Paul is not hesitant to call for obedience in the execution of the Christian way of life. We are to “Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (see further: 2 Cor. 10:5 ; 1 Cor. 14:34 ; Rom.1:5; 5:16; 16:19, 26; Gal. 3:1 ; 5:7; 2 Thess. 3:14).
Many of the curses that came on the Israelite’s journey came from disobedience. So, too, we are in a like manner, if we obey not the truth. The coming year, 2013, will either be a blessing or blight and it largely depends on the believer making the right choices and walking in obedience to the Word of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Watch Care Of God: Please take note that Israelite’s journey to the Promised Land was under the observation of the all-knowing, all-seeing God. We are told, “The eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” And, by way of application, whatever 2013 holds for us from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, everything is under the watch care of God. Nothing is hid from God! It was King David who observed:
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in Hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shallThy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them” (Ps. 139:1-17). (See further: 2 Chron. 16:9; Ps. 11:4; 14:2; 33:13-15, 18; 53:2; Jer. 23:24 )!
Never doubt that God cares for you. He cares about how you live your life in 2013 and what happens. “The land which the Lord thy God careth for. The eyes of the Lord Thy God are always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”
God told the Israelites this so that they might receive two things – encouragement and warning. It is an encouragement to the child of God to know that the eyes of God are upon their life. But it ought to also be a warning to the child of God when he’s tempted to sin. He needs to remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon us from the beginning of the year even unto the end of it.
We all do better when we know we are being watched. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, heard someone say, “Hey, careful, Mom and Dad are watching?” We did better didn’t we? A whole lot better! How many children have been sitting in the classroom and the kid next to them says, “Teacher’s watching.” And we always did a little better, didn’t we? How many men or women, in the office or out in the shop, when the boss comes through the swinging doors and your fellow workman says, “Careful, the boss is watching;” and you do a better job when the boss is watching. I remember the lesson I learned as a child with the Sunday School Song:
O be careful little feet where you go! O be careful little feet where you go! There’s a Father up above looking down in tender love. O be careful little feet where you go! (Other verses: hands what you do – ears what you hear – eyes what you see – mouth what you say.)
So, the point is this. We all do better and it is a warning to us when we know that someone is watching. I believe that God has placed this in His Word as an exhortation, as a word of encouragement and warning to the nation of Israel and then to the Saints of 2013. Remember, and don’t forget, “The eyes of the Lord are upon us from the beginning of the year even unto the end.”
Now, the Jews needed the watch care of God as they went into the Promised Land and we “Grace” believers are going to need it, too! Our Scripture text, Deuteronomy 11:11-17 , was written in the year 1451 B.C. and the Jews were going to need all the help and watch care of God that they could get in 1451 B.C. They were going to begin the year in the wilderness. The beginning of the year 1451 is going to find them in wanderings and sufferings. In 1451 they were going to cross the Jordan River and they were going to fight and win the battle of Jericho (the walls came tumbling down). They are going to fight and lose the battle of Ai because of the hidden sin of Achan in the camp. They are going to conquer the land of Canaan. Now Moses is encouraging, as well as warning the children of Israel. He is saying, “The eyes of the Lord Thy God are always upon you from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” Moses is saying, don’t forget, you Israelites, that in good days and bad days, when you are on the mountain top or in the valley, when you are in defeat, when you are in righteousness, when you are in sin: don’t forget, “The eyes of the Lord are always upon you from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.”
Is there not a lesson here for us who are saved by faith? Those of us who are trusting in the finished work of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection; those of us who have been baptized by God the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ and joined to Him as His body. Are we not to take instructions and make application to our lives from the examples of the Old Testament Scriptures?
Romans 15:4 – “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
1 Corinthians 9:9-10 – “For it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of His hope.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
I Say To The Children:
Remember: in good days and in bad days, in days when you are on the mountain top or in the valley, in days of victory, in days of defeat, in days of righteousness, in days of sin, don’t forget, “the eyes of God are upon you from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”
Remember: when you are in the classroom and you are whispering; when you say things in school or at home or with your playmates and your buddies or friends; when you say things you shouldn’t say; when you get those demerits, “the eyes of God are upon you from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”
I Say To You Men At Work:
Remember: God is scrutinizing every word you say; every dirty joke that you hear; every curse word that you utter; every suggestive thought that you have; every lewd calendar that you look at; every dirty book that you read in your car or at the shop or at the office. You may even be sitting at home watching some dirty old movie that you know you ought not to watch but you rationalize by saying nobody is watching me; the wife and the kids are in bed, and I’m all alone. But you need to remember God is observing all of us – every person: boys and girls, teenagers, young people, moms and dads, every adult. We need to remember that everything we do in 2013 is seen by God. We need to live this year with the consciousness that what we do, what we say, what we read, what we hear, where we go, where our feet lead us, what are hands do – all of it is under the constant inspection of Almighty God Who knows all we know; Who hears all we hear; Who sees all we see and do. “The eyes of the Lord are always upon us from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”
Remember: look again at Deuteronomy 11:12 and with a pencil, mark the word “always” and remember that God always, always, always, sees everything we say, do or hear. God doesn’t spot check just every now and then.
I Say To The Bible Church:
Remember: at best, all a Pastor or Church Board can do is spot check. Every now and then they will spot check the Sunday School teachers. Every now and then they will go and get the Sunday School Roll Books to see which class is maintaining a good average and how many were in attendance. It gives them some idea as to the conscientiousness and the preparedness of the teacher. Every now and then, the Pastor will spot check the Deacons and Trustees, as well as other activities and functions that go on at the Church. At best, he can only spot check the congregation. But I will tell you something. There is Someone who is always, always, always watching the Church “from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year.”
I Ask Our Modern-Day Culture: Do you know what is wrong with this rebellious generation that we are living in; a generation that defies God and laughs at punishment and scoffs at holiness and righteousness? It is sin! It is the world system of the Devil, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father” (1 Jn. 2:16 ). This generation has forgotten that there is a holy and a righteous God Who sees all we do and hears all we say, and who knows where we go. If there is anything we need in 2013, it is a revival of preaching the holiness, justice and righteousness of God!
Remember: there is an all-seeing God Who sees when we are parked out on some lonely street; when we smoke that joint of marijuana; when we are gossiping over the back fence or the telephone; or when we swear under our breath. And if I could give just one piece of advice for this first month of the brand-new year, it would be for us to remember that twelve months out of the year; fifty-two weeks out of the year; three-hundred and sixty-five days; day after day, day after day; day in and day out, “The eyes of the Lord are always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” By the way, my comments here are not meant to be an indictment only against young people. We adults need to remember that what we see in the youth is only the natural product of observing the adults. Behind most juvenile delinquents, behind most rebellious and delinquent youths, there is often a rebellious and a delinquent adult.
Remember: when you get up in the morning, the eyes of the Lord are upon you. Don’t forget that when you go to school, the eyes of the Lord are upon you. Don’t forget, when you go to the shop, the eyes of God are upon you. Don’t forget that when you work and when you relax, whatever you do in this New Year, “the eyes of the Lord are always upon you.” And if you will remember that, chances are, you will have a good year and a good life.
Look Again At Deuteronomy 10:11 . Notice, there were two experiences for the Israelites in the year 1451 B.C. As I’ve already mentioned, they started out the year in the Wilderness and they end the year in the land of Canaan. I really believe our New Year will be divided into these two categories. A part of our year is going to be a Wilderness Experience and, hopefully, most will be a Canaan-Land Experience.
The Wilderness usually refers to difficult times and so I will make the application as such. Remember Israel was in a wilderness of suffering and hardships and it is likely that believers are going to have some wilderness experiences, too. They will not be desirable or pleasant, but perhaps we will be shedding some tears. I don’t know what it may be; it may very well be at the funeral home at the foot of a casket, or at the cemetery. Or, we may find that the one person who has meant more to us than life itself will die and we will weep and tell them “good bye;” our hearts break as that loved one is being lowered into the grave and we think that the sun will never rise again on your day.
Our Wilderness Experience might very well be a hospital bed with nurses giving us pills and shots to quiet our nerves; we’re made drowsy and wheeled into the operating room confused and all we can think of is the worse! Let it never be so! But as a believer, we can take comfort in knowing the Lord is always there with us! He is still the “God of all comfort!” He is still watching and caring for us when we are in the Wilderness Experience. It is encouraging and comforting to realize that even in a Wilderness Experience that “the eyes of the Lord Thy God are always upon us from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year!”
Conclusion: It view of the simple lesson, I have drawn my applications from the experience of God’s watch care of those Old Testament Saints and applied them to the life of the Saints of today. Now, I have questions. Are there any decisions that we need to make? Is there anything that we have been doing that does not please God? What have we been doing do far? Perhaps it was a shady business deal? Perhaps it is a critical spirit? Perhaps it is a gossiping tongue? Perhaps it is a spirit of unkindness? Perhaps it is dishonesty? Perhaps it is lewdness? Perhaps it is unholy literature? What is it? What is it that we need to change? What are we doing that we would not want to be doing and have our Lord Jesus Christ know we are doing? Since God sees all that we do and all that we say and all the decisions we make, are there any changes that we would like to make?
Christian Friends, this coming year will either be a blight or a blessing. Are there any changes we would like to make? Are there any decisions that need to be made? Don’t wait until the spring of the year to do your spiritual house cleaning. Do your spiritual house cleaning now at the beginning of the year before you suffer with regret over loss of reward or wasted years. The Bible tells us very clearly and plainly how to clean house. We are to:
“Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace” (Rom. 6:11-14 ).
I am challenged, by the Word of God, to clean my Spiritual house. And in closing, I am compelled to ask my unsaved friends, too, “Do you know Christ as your personal Savior? If not, why not begin 2013 by trusting Him and become a child of God? If you are unsaved, there are several things that you need to know. You need to know that being unsaved, you are a child of the Devil; you are already under the condemnatory sentence of death. As an unsaved person you have already earned the wages of sin which is death: separation from God which will eventually put you in the Lake of Fire which burns with fire and brimstone. The good news is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save you from sin. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Please note: God didn’t say if you believe and join the church, you would have everlasting life. He didn’t say believe and shed crocodile tears, and you will have everlasting life. He didn’t say believe and be baptized, and you will have everlasting life. He didn’t say believe and do good works. He said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Believe means that you trust the finished work of Christ – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ – to save you. He is alive and coming back! Will you do that before it is too late?