The Divine Attentiveness to the Righteous
1 Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers…

Let us consider, first, who are the persons spoken of as "righteous"; secondly, what is the consolation and the assistance which they expect from heaven. You might say, if the eyes of the Lord are over only the righteous, who shall presume to hope for His favourable regard? But you well know that the term "righteous" in Holy Scripture is not always used to signify a faultless perfection. They who love and fear God, who strive earnestly to obey and please Him, are frequently denominated righteous. Their righteousness, indeed, is ever very defective; but they are called righteous, because it is their prevailing quality to be so. These, St. Peter assures us, are the objects of God's paternal regard. With regard to the eyes of the Lord spoken of in the text, we may observe that Scripture mentions them in three different ways.

1. First, an eye of knowledge, which extends to all things without exception. This is over not only the righteous, but the wicked also, and over all creatures.

2. God looketh with an eye of displeasure (Amos 9:4, 8; Ezekiel 9:10). The eyes of the Lord are over the wicked, observing all their evil doings, and preparing for them the correction which they deserved.

3. There is another aspect of the Deity contrary to that last mentioned; namely, of love and favour, with which He regards His faithful servants (Deuteronomy 11:12; 1 Kings 9:3). Great indeed must be the blessedness of being thus looked upon by the eyes of God. It is not a mere contemplative view, but infinitely powerful in operation. The sun in the firmament is a faint resemblance of it; when He enlightens, warms, animates all earthly things on which his rays descend. But here I must acknowledge that sometimes the outward circumstances of the righteous are calamitous; as if God did not look upon them, as if He had forgotten them. The eyes of the Lord may be over the righteous, whatever be their condition. St. Peter adds, "And His ears are open unto their prayers" (Psalm 50:15; Matthew 7:7, 11). But God does not always answer the prayers of the righteous in their own time and manner, and this sometimes tempts them to imagine that He is averse to their prayers. If God do not at present grant your requests, it does not follow that He hears them not, or that He is not inclined to do you good. But it may not be the fit time; or, lastly, because He reserves His blessings as the recompense of assiduity and perseverance in praying. But another objection may be urged: Do we not find several examples in Scripture of God refusing to the most holy persons the fulfilment of their prayers (Deuteronomy 3:26; 2 Corinthians 12:8)? There are two different ways in which God hears our prayers. One is, according to our wishes; the other, according to our real and final good. We are in adversity and affliction, and we cry unto God for deliverance, which He does not vouchsafe to us. But by this trial He awakens our slumbering zeal, He revives our fainting piety. Has not God, then, done better than their prayers desired? But let us carefully remember that this merciful kindness of the Lord is not promised to all men without regard to their fitness for it. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers," "but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." "God heareth not sinners."

(S. Partridge, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

God's Different Regards to Saints and Sinners
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