“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31


The lives of so many have been upended and upset for almost two years now. People have had so many losses: health, work, daily interaction with others, time with those we love, and sometimes losing them altogether in death. It has been a time of fear, and too often that fear has been not only intensified, but also preyed upon by those in authority without compassion or regard to what people have endured. We’re left with apprehension as we face the uncertainty of the new year.

The evening I became a Christian I’d been talking earlier with one of the women in the Bible study I’d been going to that summer. I felt locked out from God (I didn’t know then, but that’s because I was!). After she listened to me she said, “You know, Iwana, God loves you so much that even the red hairs of your head are numbered.” As you can guess the verses her words echoed became—and still are—very meaningful to me.

Jesus talked about fear when He spoke of sparrows in Matthew, and in the corresponding passage in Luke. Their context in Matthew 10:24–39 is the enmity Christians would face as unbelievers reacted to them following Jesus. John MacArthur1 has pointed out He tells His disciples three times, “Don’t be afraid.”

“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”
Matthew 10:26

Look back to the previous verses, and you’ll learn Jesus told them that because a disciple isn’t above His master, if He was called Beelzebul (Satan), how much more will they be maligned. This is going to happen, but He reassures them, don’t fear because the truth is going to come out, and go boldly proclaim what He has taught them. He then goes on to say:

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28

Persecution may be far worse than lies or loss of livelihood; persecution may mean death. Even in the face of death, however, Jesus says, Do not fear. We have no reason to fear anyone but God Himself. And to further reassure them, He tells them how much God values them by contrasting how God’s knowledge extends even to a halfpenny sparrow and the hairs of our head. That leads us to the third do not fear.

“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:31

The same Greek words translated as therefore in verse 26 are translated as So in verse 31. That long discussion on persecution is interspersed with do not fear, and the do not fears are bookended with therefore. Read Matthew 10:26–31. Hear what Jesus is saying, Do not fear.

“Therefore do not fearDo not fearSo do not fear.”

On January 6, 1867, Spurgeon preached a sermon title, “Good Cheer For the New Year.1 His text was Deuteronomy 11:12. “A land which the Lord your God cares for: the eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” In his closing he said,

“If the eyes of the Lord will be upon us His people from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, what shall we do? Why, let us be as happy as we can during this year. You have your trials and troubles to come—do not expect that you will be free from them. The devil is not dead, and sparks still fly upward. Herein is your joy, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will never leave you nor forsake you. Up with your standard now and march on boldly! In the name of the Lord set up your banner, and begin to sing. Away with worrisome care, God cares for us; the sparrows are fed, and shall not the children be? The lilies bloom, and shall not the saints be clothed? Let us roll all our burdens upon the Burden-Bearer. You will have enough to care for if you care for His cause as you should. Do not spoil your power to care for God by caring for yourself. This year let your motto be, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” By anxious thought you cannot add an inch to your stature, nor turn one hair white or black; take, then, no anxious thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Lean upon your God, and remember His promise that as your day is so shall your strength be.”

I’m sure Spurgeon’s mention of sparrows alluded to the verses in Matthew and Luke on these little birds. Whatever this coming year may bring, “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

“Mother and daughter duo Patti and Emily Drennan sing one of their favorite songs of hope, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, despite being miles and states away from each other during this global crisis (Oklahoma and New York).”

Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely
and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Other verses:

“Let not your heart be troubled,”
His tender word I hear,
and resting on his goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
though by the path He leadeth
but one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted,
whenever clouds arise,
when song gives place to sighing,
when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him;
from care He sets me free:
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know he watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.


House sparrow in flight, ©Carl Bovis. Used by permission. Book: 100 Birds, prints, other items available at Carl Bovis Nature Photography https://www.carlbovis.com/
Passer domesticus, House sparrow; מינוזיג
, CC0.
1A tweet from Dustin Benge sent me on a search for this sermon. You can read the sermon in its entirety at Spurgeon Gems.
2John MacArthur has a wonderful sermon, “The Hallmarks of Discipleship, Part 1,” expounding Matthew 10:26–31 in detail.

Copyright ©2021–2022 Iwana Carpenter

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