This wicked one is wiser than he seems. First, he knows he’s in the wrong. He doesn’t make excuses, ironically. Of his many faults, hypocrisy is not one of them. Why is that? Well, he has one guiding principle that lets him act however he wants without guilt or fear: God’s gaze is not on him.
Without God’s gaze, there is no accountability. There is complete security in your own decisions and acts, as long as you’re smart enough to avoid earthly consequences. As long as God is not paying attention, I can take for myself what I wish. I am a god with my own domain, as long as the big God does not see me.
The wicked one needs so badly for it to be true that God is not watching, or else he would see something horrifying. Every thing he had ever done would be scrutinised. All would be seen. God’s eye would track every movement, keeping a detailed record of every malicious act and thought. The wicked one couldn’t remain wicked, if he knew God’s gaze was on him. It would be too painful to seek his own desires, if he saw in each of his victims God’s eye staring at him.
Thank God I am not wicked if I am in Christ. I know that when God gazes at me, He gazes through Christ, so I am coloured by His righteousness bought on the cross. Christ converts the heat of righteous judgement into the love of a Father.
Yet the issue of the wicked one still remains. Each time we sin, it is because our self-talk matches that of the wicked one. We’ll never say, “God has forgotten; he hides his face and will never see.” But we will live dull to the fact that God’s gaze never leaves us, and act as if we are little gods without the gaze of the big God. When we do this, we become a little more like the wicked one who must forget God to be able to live with himself.
The Christian’s aim is to meet God’s gaze. To meet God’s gaze is to do the opposite of the wicked one. It is to acknowledge fully one’s status before the Creator. It is not so much teaching oneself to not sin. It is teaching oneself that no self-satisfaction is worth averting your eyes from that loving gaze. It is to find no consolation outside that gaze.
Meditation: What is it like to know that God’s eye is always fixed on you? After reflecting on that, I expect you’ll feel one of two things. Love or shame. It’s a wonderful thing to feel loved and to know your Father never looks away. It’s also a wonderful thing to be shamed, because then you can know that Christ is your righteousness and that shame is no longer yours. You are objectively no longer entitled to shame, even if you subjectively still feel it. Pray that you will see that objective reality and trust in God’s promise of your innocence in Christ (Rom 8:1), not your own opinion which is prone to Satan’s misdirection.
Lord, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked relentlessly pursue their victims;
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
For the wicked one boasts about his own cravings;
the one who is greedy curses and despises the Lord.
In all his scheming,
the wicked person arrogantly thinks,
“There’s no accountability,
since there’s no God.”
His ways are always secure;
your lofty judgments have no effect on him;
he scoffs at all his adversaries.
He says to himself, “I will never be moved—
from generation to generation I will be without calamity.”
Cursing, deceit, and violence fill his mouth;
trouble and malice are under his tongue.
He waits in ambush near settlements;
he kills the innocent in secret places.
His eyes are on the lookout for the helpless;
he lurks in secret like a lion in a thicket.
He lurks in order to seize a victim;
he seizes a victim and drags him in his net.
So he is oppressed and beaten down;
helpless people fall because of the wicked one’s strength.
He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
he hides his face and will never see.”
Rise up, Lord God! Lift up your hand.
Do not forget the oppressed.
Why has the wicked person despised God?
He says to himself, “You will not demand an account.”
But you yourself have seen trouble and grief,
observing it in order to take the matter into your hands.
The helpless one entrusts himself to you;
you are a helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked, evil person,
until you look for his wickedness,
but it can’t be found.
The Lord is King forever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble;
you will strengthen their hearts.
You will listen carefully,
doing justice for the fatherless and the oppressed
so that mere humans from the earth may terrify them no more.psalm x (csb)