Sermon on the Psalms | God is Closer Than You Think | Psalm 33:12-22

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God is Closer Than You Think (Psalm 33:12-22)

While we were living in Alabama, Kyle Butt debated Blair Scott on the existence of God. The debate was broadcast live on the Internet, but I wanted to go in person. In fact, I wished to take RJ so that his faith could be made more firm. The crowd was expected to be overflowing, but the university gave me two VIP passes–that meant I got to sit right up front. RJ and I were there in person instead of watching the live stream on the Internet. Kyle was very impressive that evening, and Mr. Scott did not know his subject matter well at all. But, the most interesting thing for me happened about halfway through the debate. My cell phone vibrated, and Dad had texted me. He simply said, “Son, I like the yellow shirt.” Sure enough, I was wearing a new yellow shirt. Dad was watching that live stream on the Internet, and unbeknownst to me, the cameras panned the audience and zoomed in on different people. I’m just thankful I wasn’t doing something embarrassing when Dad saw me.

A few weeks or months later, the family and I had gone to Cracker Barrel for breakfast one Saturday morning. As we were finishing our breakfast, someone walked up behind me and started giving Wil grief about the Alabama cap he was wearing. I turned around, and it’s a big Auburn fan who happens to be the dean of Heritage Christian University, my supervisor. Bill is also one of the elders where we were worshipping. I turn to Wil and say, “Son, let this be a lesson. You never know who is watching you.”

You know how true that statement is. How many times has someone come up to you and said, “I saw you in Wal-Mart the other day,” but you never saw the other person? How many times have you been driving down the road and waved and waved at someone who never looked up and never saw you?

You also know that it is very true that God sees us at all times. Several Scriptures teach that truth. God saw the sin in the time of Noah: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13).

This morning’s text teaches the truth that God sees everything. The point of this morning’s sermon is “God sees what you do.” Let’s examine our text to learn that lesson.

Scripture (Psalm 33:12-22)

verse 12:

I often hear this passage quoted out of context around the 4th of July or Election Day. In context, Israel is the nation that is blessed. Israel is, after all, the only nation that God ever chose as His own inheritance. The nation of Israel was blessed because God is able to see what you do. There is a dual nature of God’s vision that is presented here:

  • One—The Negative Way: God was able to see the sin and the attacks of Israel’s enemies (vv 13-17).
  • Two—The Positive Way: God was able to see the distress of Israel and come to their rescue (vv 18-22).

The Negative Way:

verses 13-15:

God looks from heaven and sees all the sons of men; obviously the wording here would apply to Israel as well as her enemies.

God sees everything. God sees and knows every sin you commit–every foul word that comes out of your mouth, every evil thought that creeps through your head, every time you lose your temper, and every Internet site you visit. God knows you better than anyone else on this earth–He knows you better than your parents, or your spouse, or the elders, or your employer.

There is absolutely no way that you can hide anything from God. Psalm 139:1-10. In the context of Psalm 139, God’s knowledge is a wonderful thing–God will be there to help. But, do not lose sight of the fact that the psalmist declares that God knows everything.

Occasionally, Tammy and I will be talking and I’ll say, “Honey, did I ever tell you about this time when I was a kid . . . or when I was in college . . . or . . . ?” Sometimes something jogs the memory, and we begin to share stories we’ve not told each other. That’s a neat process of discovery that happens in marriage, but God already knew those things. No matter how long we live, Tammy and I will never know everything about each other. Yet, God knows everything!

verses 16-17:

God saw the kings and armies that came against Israel. If God determined that a kingdom or an army, no matter how powerful, would not stand, it would not stand. Nebuchadnezzar learned that lesson. He thought he was so powerful; after all, he was the king of the world’s only superpower. He walks out on the roof of his palace and says, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my might power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30). A voice comes from heaven and says, Daniel 4:32. God drove Nebuchadnezzar into the wilderness because the mighty king forgot the Mighty God, and God saw!

The Positive Way:

verses 18-19:

God’s eye was on Israel to save from death and famine. We obviously must understand this promise in light of the promises God made through Moses. Deuteronomy 28:9-14. God would greatly bless the people because He would see their faithfulness to His Word.

verses 20-22:

When the enemies of Israel came against them, the people had no reason to fear. God saw their distress, and God would deliver them from distress.


God sees what you do.” Therefore, how should we live? In the Psalm, this had a positive and a negative application of that truth, and I believe that we apply this truth both positively and negatively.

Negatively: You must put away sin.

We can never lose sight of the fact that God will call us to account for everything that we have done. “God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Eccl 12:14). “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13).

When God looks at your life, what sin does He see? I want you to do some serious self-examination and list at least five sins that God sees in your life. Then, I want you to pick one of those sins and work diligently on it this week. I want you to take your Bible and find a host of Scriptures that speak about that sin: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Ps 119:11). Then, I want you to spend serious time in prayer about that sin; Jesus did not face Satan’s temptations until He had spent 40 days in the desert alone with God. Then, if you need help, I want you to seek help from me or one of the elders: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal 6:1). This week make a serious effort to put away your sin.

Positively: God will bless you in adversity.

We must never lose sight of the fact that God sees what happens in our lives and will be there for us. In Psalm 33, God will see what His people endure and protect them from evil. God no longer makes such a promise to His people. Instead, God promises to bless us in suffering. James 1:2-4. As we encounter various trials, God will shape us into what we need to be. How can He do that? Because His eyes are upon us.

Let us claim that sure promise of God that we might never lose sight of what God is doing in our lives!


If you understood that “God sees what you do,” how might your life be different? I believe that you would get rid of your sin. I believe that you would look at the troubles in your life differently. You’d be confident that God saw our struggles and was blessing you in them.

As you look at your life, can you honestly say with confidence that God likes what He sees? Do you need to get rid of your sin this morning?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Dale Ridge church of Christ in Roanoke, Virginia.

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