Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 God is Watching You


Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? Job 7:12 (KJV)

Job was in great pain when he cried out to God and asked this question.  He was covered with sores, setting upon a dunghill and scrapping himself with pieces of pottery.  We admire those who are patient and we say they have the patience of Job; but we don’t wonder about Job’s impatience, because we understand it and can relate to it. 

Job had times where he complained, and he failed at the very thing that he is noted for.  That’s true for many of God’s people; their flaws are found close to where they are the greatest.  The weakness which we fear the most is close to our strength. Let me give you some examples:
• Elijah was one of the bravest, but he fled from Jezebel.
• Moses was very meek, but he spoke with great passion.
• God called David a man after His own heart, yet David was a murdered and an adulterer.

Job is a very patient man, yet he cries, “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”  And then he adds, “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”
Job was feeling that God was watching and whipping him. 
He felt that God was concentrating all His strength on making him miserable.  Job suffered tremendously, and at last he cried out, “I am watched and restrained, as if I was a great sea that had to be always held in check, or a terrible sea-monster that should be controlled by a hook in its jaws.  Lord, why do you harass me like this?  I am such a poor insignificant thing, that it doesn’t seem like you to treat me like this.  The oceans or Satan may need to be watched so closely, but why do you spend so much time on me?” “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”

Some people seem to be especially watched by God.  We hear about people who are being “shadowed” or followed by the police; but there are certain ones who feel like they are being shadowed by God; they are mysteriously tracked by our Heavenly Father and they know it and feel it.  Wherever they Go, His eye is on them and they can’t get away from Him.  They cannot get away from God, no matter what they do.  There are men and women who have been in this condition for many years and they know what I mean.

All of us are surrounded by God.  He is close to all of us, even now.  “In Him, we live and move and have our being.”  “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalms 139:7 (KJV)  God is in the skies above, in the depths of the earth, in the frozen oceans, in the tropical seas.  He is everywhere!  It is impossible to escape from God.  God watches over you and me.  But there are certain people to whom this is clearer than others. Some are unusually aware of the presence of God.  Some of us were never without a sense of God’s presence.  As children, we couldn’t go to sleep without saying, “Our Father which art in heaven.”  When we were young adults, we trembled when we heard God’s name used to cuss others.  As adults, engaged in the pursuits of daily life, we have seen God’s goodness, all along.  We can see Him in nature; when the flowers bloom and the wind blows: and it makes us happy to see Him all about us. 

“The fool has said in his heart, no God”; but not us.  We knew that God was good, even when we had offended Him. We have known Him since our youth.  We know that God helps us and loves us.  But there are others who consider God’s watch a little differently.  They believe they are watched by God, because their conscience never stops hauling them over the coals.  The conscience does not speak as loudly in all people.  It can be muzzled like a dog or it can disappear like the voice of a man with a cold.  But this isn’t true for all people, even after years of sin.  Some have a tender conscience, so even though they are living in sin, they are ill at ease.  They are happy-go-lucky during the day, because they are driving away the cares of the world, but at night, the cares come home to roost, like the chickens. 

The soldier is cheerful when he is in the company of his comrades, but when he must stand guard at night, beneath the silent stars, his conscience begins to remind him of the thoughtlessness of the day.  And when he finally sleeps, thoughts will turn to past sins and the judgment to come, because the conscience doesn’t sleep even when the body does.

I believe that I am speaking to people who know that there is something within that will not allow you to sin cheaply.  God can place a bit in our mouths and a bridle upon our jaws; and every now and then He gives a tug at it, and He pulls us to a stop.

You are not at home in sin.  There are those who even do the biding of the Devil, but they shake when they do it, because it doesn’t suit them.  God is watching them: they carry a detective in their heart. And then there are some people whom God is watching even more closely, because they are under conviction for their sin.  I have been one of them.  I was like a criminal, who couldn’t deny their guilt, but I dreaded punishment.  I wouldn’t go back to that condition for all the kingdoms of the world. 

I was only a youth, but I knew that I was a sinner and I feared that God would punish me for my sin.  When I woke up in the morning, my first act was to read the Bible and to pray.  My bed was a very weary place for me, because my conscience would illuminate my fears.  The Holy Spirit was working on me; I imagined God’s anger and that He was watching me.  I knew that I had offended God.  I was saved, but I did not yet understand how to be reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Now, there is another group, and I have been associated with them also.  I wanted to live in the world as other men and to enjoy the good times and to partake of some of the vices that I saw others doing.  They were getting away with it, and enjoying it; why not me?  My first thought was to get away from the church, so I could save my tithe and would have more time available for my new pursuits.  Drinking and cigarettes were easy additions to my life.  Once again, I was saved, but you couldn’t tell it.  I was no different in the life I lived than any other sinner.  But I was dogged by fear, and I couldn’t get comfortable with this way of life.  Then the providence of God seamed to come out against me.  My business failed and I lost my home and cars; I was broke and didn’t have a job.  The stress was terrible, and a few years later I had a heart attack and had to have a triple by-pass.  I didn’t have the money or health to continue to go my way.  The providence of God was running hard against me-He was not gentle, but He brought me back to faith in Him.  He set a watch over me, and showed me that I am to depend upon Him for all things and must find my joy in Him.

There is another group who seam to always be the recipients of witnessing.  For example: a young man may leave home because his father is constantly praying for him and asking him to go to church.  He may get his own apartment and a job, so he can do whatever he wants.  But God is watching him.  The apartment manager asked him if he was saved, and tells him what God has done in his life.  One of the men he works with asks him to come to Bible Study and church with him.  He thinks he has got out of the frying pan and into the fire.  He had come here to get away from religion and here it is. Everywhere he goes; there is some gracious man or woman ready to lead him to the Lord. 

Now, that is our first point: that there are some people who seem to be especially watched by God. 

And our second point is that they are very likely to dislike this watching.  Job is not pleased with it.  He asks, "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?" 

These people, who God pays so much attention to, are foolish enough to complain that they feel hedged in, and the thought that God has his eye on them, bothers them.  Do you know what they would like?  They would like to be at liberty to sin.  They would like to be turned loose to do whatever their wild desires wants to do.  They would like to do away with all the restraints on what the world says are “pleasures.”  They would like to live where no Christian friend would ever witness to them again.  They will tell you that they want liberty: liberty to ruin themselves; liberty to jump into hell before their time. 

There has been a lot of destruction done in the name of liberty: free thinking, free living, free loving, and all that.  It’s a real misuse of terms to use the word free in connection with sin.  Those who ask for freedom to sin are committing soul-suicide. There are many today who wish that their hearts were as hard as many others are.  Some people can drink any quantity of liquor and seem that they are not affected by it.  They envy those who are foul-mouthed and can swear until they are blue in the face, while they can only say a curse or two; then they feel that God has caught them.  Young men wish they were as tough as old so-and-so and as much of a dare-devil as he is.  The hardened sinner is foolishly envied and looked upon as a man’s man.  But is it bravery or wickedness to ruin ones soul?  Is it good to have a scorched conscience?  We don’t envy the blind because they can’t see danger or the deaf because they can’t hear the alarm; so why envy the hardened old sinner because he has become blind and deaf? 

There are certain people who God will not allow to descend into rottenness, but they are almost angry when restrained.  A tender conscience is a great possession, but some do not realize its value.  Instead, they want a heart as hard as steel.  God can inflict no judgment worse than letting a man have his own way.  If God says, “Let him alone,” there is only one other word more dreadful and that is the final sentence, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

People do not like being surrounded by God-they don’t like the bit in their mouth, so they want to forget all about God.  If tomorrow the news said that God was dead, who would mourn?  It would be the greatest relief in the world to many godless men and women, if they could feel sure there was no God.  To some of us this news would be death: we would have lost our Father, our Comforter, our Savior, our all.  But for many, who cannot be sure that there is no God, they try to forget Him.  If God is out of mind, He is out of the world to the careless sinner. 

When God comes to a man, He causes inner fears, and awakens the conscience, and hauls them over the coals, so that the man pauses; then he knows there is a God, because he feels the power which works against his sin.  He longs to get away from this secret force which works against his sin, but it wraps him up.He doesn’t read his Bible, but scripture comes to his memory.  It has been a long time since he has knelt in prayer, but still he feels that there is a God, and, somehow, that belief sounds a trumpet blast through his soul, and brings a message to mind.  Turn from your sin, and turn to God!  This message rings in his ears and he cannot get away from it.  That is when he cries out, “Why am I this way?  Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?” 

There is another group of persons who not only enjoy their sin, but they delight in leading others into sin.  The terrible thing about this is that someday they will be joined by those they lead to hell; they will be cursed by them for eternity for bringing them to such a terrible place.  And there are even some mothers and fathers, who have lead their children into sin, and someday they will curse them to their face for bringing them to that terrible place.  I believe there are those who would like to have license to commit immorality, and they are grieved when they are hindered in their acts of sin.  This is why some lash out against God.  I know that degraded habits are often the reason that men kick against the restraint of God’s loving hand.  I pray that God will stop them altogether, and transform their minds, so that instead they will seek God’s forgiveness.  May God grant that we will be shielded from the evil acts of others, and guided by the Holy Spirit into repentance and faith.


Job asked, “Am I a sea, or whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”  Listen.  It is very unwise for us to argue with God from our insignificant position.  And the little things, like us, are the ones that need to be watched the most.  If you were a sea or a whale, God might leave you alone, but because you are both feeble and sinful, and can cause more hurt than the sea or a whale, you need constant watching.  In our life, we usually fall to the very little things.  A person doesn’t need to fear his dog half as much as a mosquito or bee, which may sting you when you least expect it.  It’s the little things that we watch for the most, therefore it is not good reasoning to complain that God watches us as if we were a sea or a whale.After all, there is no one here this morning, who is not like the sea or a sea-monster in this respect, so we need to be watched over.  Our hearts are as changeable and deceitful as the sea. 

Today we are as calm as a sea of glass, but tomorrow we may cause rolling waves of discord.  You cannot trust the sea, but I would have more confidence in it than in the loyalty of some men.  Many men and women come to church and stand up and sing the songs of Zion, but on Monday they join their associates in cursing and drinking.  We are so good when we are down on our knees with others praying, but we look just like the rest of the world when we are away from church.  It is easy to have a calm sea when there is no wind, but how different is the ocean when a gale is blowing!  We are all very well when far away from temptation, but how are we when the devil's servants are around us?

Then, I think, that too often our good intentions prove to be, "As false as the smooth, deceitful sea, and as empty as the whistling wind. "In some ways we are like the sea, because we are restless by nature.  We run in one direction and then in another; rarely following the right thing.  Some are always seeking something, but they don’t know what.  They do not know Christ and until they do know Him they will not be able to rest.  They are as restless as a whale with a harpoon in him and as restless as the sea when a storm moves over it.

I want to say, next, that the sea can be furious and terrible, and so can ungodly men. 

All rivers flow to the sea, but it is never filled up.  It has swallowed whole navies, but its appetite is never satisfied.  It washes away cliffs that weigh thousands of tons, but it stays the same size.  The Atlantic Ocean in a storm is terrible, but have you ever seen the tempest in a man?  It is an awful sight.  I have seen my own brother when he is drunk: it changes him from a man that everyone immediately likes, to one whose eyes flash lightning, his face is black with fury, he cares for nothing, and his tongue speaks constant cursing.  Men in this condition can’t be reasoned with until they sober up, and they must be avoided until then. 

Many men crave all the wealth and prestige that they can get.  They are never satisfied.  If you gave them half the world, they would cry for the other half.  Our minds never rest in sweet content until God satisfies it with Himself.  Man or woman, without true religion, which comes through faith in Jesus Christ, it will be your fate to hunger and thirst; or, like the sea, rolling and foaming, after you know not what.  

Human nature is like the sea, in the danger it can cause.  The ocean can be very destructive and unfeeling.  It has made thousands of widows and orphans, but goes on as if it has done nothing.  There is terrible power in the ocean and when it is let loose there is immense disaster. 

But let’s not talk about how destructive the sea is; instead think of how destructive the life of a sinner can be.  How many lives have they damaged by their vices, foul words, and filthy acts?  They might say to God, “Am I a sea or a sea-monster.”  And God would reply, “A shark could not devour as many as you have by your lusts and uncleanness.” 

We must not forget that we are less obedient to God than the sea is.  No matter how unruly the waves are, they fall back at God’s request.  I wish that we were like the sea in this respect.  It yields so readily.  If a little wind springs up, the waves answer immediately to heavens call.  The great currents of the oceans flow to where God appoints them to go.  The sea was obedient to the Lord and so was that great fish, that swallowed Jonah, “The Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."  As for us, we refuse to obey, and when left to ourselves, even the law can’t restrain us.  Is there anything on this earth which a proud sinner will not attempt?  He will break down every hedge that God puts up to block the road to hell.  A man will go against the wind and tide in his determination to be lost.  We need to be looked after.  We need to be watched.  We need to be kept in check even more than the sea or a whale.  We need the restraining providence and constraining grace of God to keep us from deadly sin.

And now, last of all, I would like to say that all that they complained about was sent in love. 

They said, “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”  But if they would have known the truth, they would have thanked God with all their hearts for what He had done for them. 

First of all, God’s restraint of some of us kept us from self-destruction.  If God had not controlled some of us we would have been thrown in prison; we could have died; we might be in Hell, even now.  Who knows what might have become of us?  I believe that anyone who knows my life could say, “If it wasn’t for the grace of God changing you, you would be a terrible sinner.”  I wonder how many times has the Lord laid His hand on us to keep us from a fatal step into sin?  If you were stopped in your youth, and brought to Faith in Jesus, it was a gracious act by God. 

If we have been hindered in our adult years and brought to bow to the will of the Lord, this is also by the grace of God.  If we had been left to ourselves, we would have chosen the course of self-destruction.  Don’t you think that God disciplining you, giving you a tender conscience, reprimand you so often, proves His great love for you? 

Surely, someone has prayed for you.  Perhaps your mother or father.  My friends, the Lord would not have held you back if He did not intend to bless you.  The heart attack that I had was meant to keep me from running too far into sin.  When I went through bankruptcy, it was meant to show me that I can depend upon God for all things.  These seeming troubles are all tokens of God’s love.  The Lord will not let you perish.  Christ brought you with His blood and He means to keep you for His own.  If you will not come to Him with a gentle breeze, He will bring you with a storm.  It is best to yield to the pressure of His love.  You can be like the horse or the mule and be managed with a bit and a bridle, but it would be much easier if you were ruled by love. 

The Lord is working to keep you from sin, because He will not lose one of His.  The prodigal son was driven home by stress.  He was hungry and tired of feeding pigs.  The unkindness of the citizens of the far country helped to hurry him back to his father.  Hardship and want and pain are meant to bring you back, and God uses them for that purpose; and the day will come when you will say, “Thank you Father for the rough wave which washed me on shore; thank you for taking my comfort and security and bringing me back to you.” 

But I can say to you from experience that God will not always deal roughly with you.  Perhaps tonight, He will say His last sharp word to many who have gone astray.  But it is best to yield to softer means.  God and the Holy Spirit can send your soul for a lifetime of calm.  The winds and waves on the Sea of Galilee went to sleep in an instant.  How?  When Jesus came walking on the water, He said to the wind and waves, “Be still.”  The waves crouched like whipped dogs at his feet, even though they raged moments before. 

Jesus is here at this moment.  The one who died on Calvary looks down on us: believe in Him.  He lifts up His pierced hands and cries, “Look unto me, and be saved.” 

Here is a soul saving verse for you, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  If you will accept the Lord, as a sea or a whale, you will no longer complain of Him watching you.  Return to Him as obediently as the sea obeyed Our Lord, and you will no longer complain of Him hindering and chastising you.  And you will be able to rejoice in perfect liberty.  Those who love to serve God are free indeed.              


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