The Look could strike fear in a child’s heart from 30 feet away. It could stop foolish behavior in its tracks, silence inappropriate chatter, and deliver a complete lecture with a single lift of an eyebrow. The Look was Mother’s most effective disciplinary tool during Sunday morning church service, Sunday night worship, and Wednesday night choir practice.
Because Mother was the choir director and church pianist, she never sat with her children. Instead, ten minutes before the service, she’d march them down to the front row, remind them of proper church behavior, and take her seat at the piano. Perched daintily on the edge of the bench with her back ramrod straight, she’d begin the prelude. Her eyes would follow the notes’ progression across the sheet music, but occasionally she’d glance in her children’s direction. Misbehavior of any kind prompted The Look.
I thought of The Look this morning when I read Psalm 32:8:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”
Apparently, God has also perfected The Look.
I love Psalm 32:8, because it assures me that God will direct the events of my life. He’ll give me wisdom when I ask and instruction when I’m confused or unsure. Equally important, he’ll correct any behavior that will lead me away from him and his will for my life. I take comfort in this.
But just like Mother didn’t jump off the platform and snatch up Sue and her brother, so the Lord seldom jerks us up by the collar to dispense his wisdom and correction. Most of the time, he waits for us to ask.
Mother’s look was mostly for correction purposes, but the Lord desires to lead and guide us in his ways so we don’t require correction. Or discipline. Or consequences. His desire is to spare us from harm and lead us in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. If we’re smart, we’ll want this.
Sadly, many of us miss God’s direction—not because he doesn’t offer it, but because we’re not looking for it. In order for God to lead us, we must turn our faces toward him. How do we do this? John 1:1 shows us one way:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Because God has revealed himself through the Bible, when we look into his Word, we look into his heart and mind. We see life through his eyes. This is why it’s imperative that we read our Bibles every day. We wouldn’t start a cross-country car trip without using an accurate GPS system, yet many times we begin the day without checking with God to see if he has any directions for us.
Another way to look into God’s eyes is through prayer. By talking to him (and being still long enough to hear him), we invite a two-way conversation that can chart the course of our lives.
I’ve often heard the Lord speak during my early morning quiet time. As I pray through the day’s schedule, God will bring someone or something to mind. Sometimes he’ll redirect where I plan to spend my time, energy, or money. Other times he’ll introduce a completely new thought or idea for tackling something on my To Do list. When I follow through in faith and do what I think he’s telling me to do, amazing things happen.
Reading our Bibles and praying are two ways we seek God’s face, but some days, we’d rather not have his eyes upon us.
Some Sundays Sue and her brother deliberately avoided Mother’s eyes. They knew if they looked at her, they’d have to decide between correcting their behavior and continuing their disobedience. Once they made eye contact with Mother, they knew there was no hiding.
The same is true of us. We love/hate our pet sins: Anger. Bitterness. Unforgiveness. Lying. Pornography. Gossip. Worry. Lust. Self-sufficiency. Pride. We don’t want to let go of them, even though they’re destroying us.
I think one of the reasons God called David a “man after God’s own heart is because he knew how to turn his face toward God. Listen to his prayer in Psalm 27:8:
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’"
David knew he needed God. He knew he couldn’t navigate this world on his own, nor did he want to. His only hope was to keep his eyes on God.
If you need guidance, wisdom, direction, or correction, follow David’s lead. Turn your eyes toward God. Confess any known sin. Read his Word and obey it. Then you will walk in the ways of righteousness and feel God’s pleasure.