I’ve seen these words, as you have, used as a sign of romance or friendship, with the two halves of a locket divided between two people. As beautiful as that sentiment is, it is almost exactly the opposite of what prompted the statement in the Bible.
In this story, Jacob, Laban’s son in law, had just fled with his two wives, 11 children, and all of his herds and livestock to go back to his home in Canaan. Jacob’s wealth represented the best of what had once belonged to Laban.
The two men had spent the previous twenty years trying to find ways to trick and take advantage of one another, with varying degrees of success. Now Jacob is leaving while he has the upper hand.
Laban rightly accused Jacob of having stolen his household idols. Actually, Rachel had stolen them without Jacob’s knowledge and now Laban failed to find them among Jacob’s things.
In righteous indignation(as he thought), Jacob said, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two… If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”
Admitting defeat, Laban said, “the daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for the children whom they have borne? Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.”
It is in that context that Laban says, ‘The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight.” It is not a benediction; rather, it is a threat. Notice the next few verses:
“If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me. This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us. So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac.” (Genesis 31:50-53).
So, the next time you see someone wearing half a locket, remember that the saying means, “I don’t trust you and I am calling on God to keep you accountable for not cheating me!”
On a more serious level, though, when we consider the Bible we find that God does exactly that.
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord (Romans 12:19)”
“Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering —since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grand relief to you…(II Thessalonians 1:4-7).
Even today, the Lord is indeed watching between you and me, and between you and me and every person we interact with on a daily basis. When we take advantage of the weak, He knows. When we accuse someone wrongly or when we react with anger instead of kindness, He is keeping track.
Instead of the romantic sentimentality that is often associated with this verse, let’s take the warning seriously and do all things, every day and every time, as if we were doing it in the presence of God (Colossians 3:33-35). For, actually, we are.