Monday, November 12, 2007

How Great is our God? He is Present Everywhere

Where is God? Have you ever really thought much about that question? In Psalm 139:7-12, David mediates on the answer to this question as he focuses on the greatness of God. He begins by asking two questions. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? In asking these questions, David is not desiring to flee from God’s presence but rather he is declaring an awesome fact about God. God is omnipresent. In other words, God is not limited to anyone place. The Assyrians in the Old Testament made the mistake of thinking that God was limited to just one location. In 1 Kings 20:23 they wrongly conclude that the God of Israel was a God of the mountains so if they could lure the army of Israel out into the valley they would be able to defeat them because their God would not be present. Oh, how wrong they were.

Some today mistakenly believe that God only lives in heaven. But the truth is that God is bigger than that. 1 Kings 8:27 teaches, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven of heavens cannot contain you, how much les this house which I have build!” Isaiah 66:1 declares, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool’” (Isaiah 66:1). God is not limited to one location. He is present everywhere all at the same time. Through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:24) God asks, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him? Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” In giving the great commission in Matthew 28:20 Jesus promised, “And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). This is not speaking of a part of God but rather the whole of God in every place.

The Psalmist gives several hypothetical illustrations to demonstrate his point. He begins by saying, “If I ascend to heaven.” Here he is speaking of the furthest up he could go. He speaks of ascending into the highest heaven of the heavens. Still God’s presence would be there. Second, he states, “If I make my bed in Sheol.” Now he is speaking of the furthest down he could go. He speaks of descending into the lowest depths of the dead. Even if you could go as far down as possible, still God’s presence would be there.

The Psalmist goes on to say, “If I take the wings of the dawn.” Now he is speaking of going the furthest east. Perhaps this is a metaphorical reference to sunbeams or the velocity of light. Light travels at 186,282.397 miles per second. At the speed of light I could get to the moon in less than 2 seconds. But even traveling at that speed I cannot get away from the presence of God. But what if I travel west? David says, “If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea.” This is the furthest west to the Mediterranean Sea. Even when you can see nothing anywhere around you but water, still God’s presence is there. The Old Testament prophet, Jonah, was quick to learn this lesson, wasn’t he (Jonah 1:1-3)?

Finally, the Psalmist declares, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me and the light around me will be night.” He speaks of being hidden from God by darkness. Does that hide me from God? No way! God’s presence penetrates every dark place and makes the deepest darkness radiate as the brightest of lights (Acts 17:24-28). How great is our God!

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