“Big Brother is watching you.” Of course, Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (published in 1949) and “he is the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state taken to its utmost logical consequence – where the ruling Party wields total power for its own sake over the inhabitants” (source: Wikipedia.com).
“In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you’, which is the core ‘truth’ of the propaganda system in this state. Since the publication of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ the term ‘Big Brother’ has entered the lexicon as a synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil liberties, often specifically related to mass surveillance” (quote source here).
In 1949 when Orwell’s book was first published, this story-line most likely made for great science-fiction reading; however in today’s world, not so much . . . .
Do you own a cell phone? A GPS system? Any other type of electronic device such as a computer or laptop, iPad, etc.? If so, your every conversation can be recorded, your every communication via technology can be traced, and your every move can be tracked. And even if you don’t own any of these devices, you can still be tracked without knowing it. In fact, “a new type of speed cameras which can use satellites to measure average speed over long distances are being tested in Britain” to track a network of streets or an entire residential area (quote source here). Also, “The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all U.S. telecommunications companies modify their equipment to allow easy wiretapping of telephone, VoIP, and broadband internet traffic . . . . The Total Information Awareness program, of the Information Awareness Office, designed numerous technologies to be used to perform mass surveillance” (source: Wikipedia.com).
Now, granted, the average person walking the streets is not necessarily in fear of constant surveillance, but the technology is there to do so. All it takes is someone with evil intent and a fair amount of money to do it. Private investigators did this (and probably still do) before the proliferation of technology and satellites and other types of surveillance devices blanketed the earth. Now your own computer, iPad, cell phone, GPS system, etc., can be used to record and track you.
I say all of this not to scare you, but to make you aware of the world around us. And even with all of this 24/7 “tracking” that is available to private individuals, corporations, governments, military, etc., for not altogether altruistic reasons, there is still One who keeps track of even them (as well as all of us, too).
I read a devotion this morning that got me thinking about this topic of surveillance in the first place. It’s from “Our Daily Bread” and is the devotion for today, November 17, 2012, titled “Eye In The Sky”:
Eye In The Sky
“The Lord will guide you continually . . .” ~Isaiah 58:11a
Creating a system by which an “eye in the sky” can help guide cars and planes and boats all the time is complicated. For instance, the Global Positioning System (GPS) that most people are familiar with works because there are always 24 to 32 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 12,500 miles. These satellites must maintain a constant speed and altitude if the guidance they provide is to be accurate.
Today’s complicated GPS is just a tiny analogy of what God can do. God promised the nation of Israel: “The Lord will guide you continually” (Isa. 58:11). The psalmist was aware that there was no place he could go without God knowing where he was (Ps. 139:7-8). Long before GPS, God sat “above the circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22) and saw everything.
The knowledge that there is someone who tracks you wherever you are can bring fear to those who are trying to get away. But for the Christian, this brings great joy and assurance. No matter where he was, the psalmist was confident that God’s hand would lead him (Ps. 139:10).
God has promised to guide and lead you today. He’s the best Guide you could have, and He wants to lead you along the right paths. ~ C.P. Hia
We need God’s guidance from above;
And as we trust Him for direction,
His daily leading and His love,
He’ll give to us His full protection. ~Fitzhugh
To avoid going wrong, follow God’s leading.
One of the most encouraging passages of Scripture in the entire Bible is Psalm 139. Here are the first sixteen verses of that psalm from The Message Bible:
“God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
“Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
~Psalm 139:1-16 MSG
I find those last three lines enormously encouraging: “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” In a world where personal privacy and individual rights are being replaced at an ever increasing rate by “Big Brother” no matter how you define it, to know that God has prepared every single one of our days on this earth before we even lived one day of them is mind boggling. And even “Big Brother” can’t hold a candle to that kind of tracking!
I personally find Psalm 139 of great comfort right now as God is fully aware of these past three and a half years of unemployment, and He knows exactly where He is taking me. Read those verses in Psalm 139 above once more and really think about their implications.
. . . He knows everything we are going to say before we even say it
. . . He’s always been there in every circumstance–in the past, right now, and up ahead
. . . And He’s always present — always . . .
I don’t know about you but such knowledge is almost more than the human mind can comprehend . . . “The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (v. 16).
WOW . . . .
And think of it . . . not even the latest technology and tracking devices available today can keep up with God’s tracking system. None of them! That should give us great confidence no matter what the future holds for us and this old world of ours.
God is in ultimate control, not man.
And He gets the last say, not us.
“And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
~Isaiah 58:11 NKJV
YouTube Video: “Hail to the King” (2007) by Shannon Wexelberg (from the “Faithful God” CD):
Photo credit here