1Pe 3:12-13 “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?”
Have you ever been given a task that you weren’t quite sure you were ready for? Perhaps you were learning to drive or had been given some new assignment at work. When it came time for you to take the wheel on your own, you very possibly wanted someone watching over you. But you didn’t want them standing far off and just looking your way. You wanted them to be right there beside you, paying attention to your every move, and ready to intervene if you messed up. This is the kind of attention we are told the Lord pays to the righteous.
In verse 11, Peter instructed us to shun evil and do good. This is not according to our nature. Even when our intentions are good, we can be deceived into doing something evil. This is why verse 12 opens with the word “for.” I believe it is used in its causative sense here, carrying the idea of because. We can carry out the instruction in verse 11 because the Lord is at hand. His eyes are over (resting upon) us; He is paying close attention to help us as we strive to live in the mind of Christ. As we walk according to the mind of Christ, we walk in righteousness. It is not our own righteousness, but rather the righteousness of Jesus that He imputed (ascribed) unto us.
The righteousness of Jesus allows us to stand in the eternal presence of God the Father. We often think of this only in terms of “going to heaven” when we die. However, when we truly understand that God is eternal, then there is no time, place, or state in which God is absent. Just as the eyes of the Lord rest on us, so are His ears continually open unto our prayers (requests) when we walk righteously. What peace it should bring us to know that our Heavenly Father, our Elder Brother, and the Holy Spirit that reveals them to us is ever attentive to our efforts to do good; attentive so that we may have help in time of need. But the face of our Lord is against them that do evil.
It is interesting that the same Greek word is used for “over” (in reference to the Lord’s eyes) and against (in reference to those that do evil). We sometimes think that God does not take note of the evil around us. The writer of the old hymn “Tempted and Tried” lamented the fact that the wicked seemed to prosper. The prophet Jeremiah lamented this in Jer 12:1. But we are being assured here that God is just as attentive to the worthless (evil) acts we commit as He is the good deeds of the righteous. However, His attention to the evil is that is face is set against it. Make no mistake brothers and sisters: God does not take lightly the evil that men do. He is not ignoring it at all. He is very aware, and His face is against them that do evil. Again, His face is not just against evil, but them that do evil. When we stop to consider that the Greek word translated as evil has as its first definition “worthless” (see Strong’s), that makes me even more concerned about doing evil. We sometimes take comfort in the fact that we have never physically robbed anyone, murdered anyone, or done any number of other things that men consider heinous. But how many times in our lives have we done, said, or thought something that was absolutely worthless to the kingdom of God?
Knowing that God is attentive to the righteous for their good and His face is set against them that do evil, who is he that will harm you for doing good? As Paul observed, “If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)”. To be followers of that which is good means to imitate the good. The principle of being in the same way with (imitating) Jesus is taught throughout the scripture. To imitate the good is to do more than mimic the deed. Just as the scripture says that God is love, it also says that God is good. Good does not just describe what God does, but is a statement about His character. In the same way that God is love, God is good. He has called us to be holy as He is holy, and He has never called us to be anything He did not give us the power to be.
May we rejoice today in knowing that His attention never strays from us!