Thoughts from The Bible

The ever-present God
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27, ESV). As Solomon was praying at the dedication of the Temple, he knew the small, earthly structure he built could not contain the infinite God of the universe. God made the heavens and the earth; how can He be contained by something that He created (cf. Isaiah 66:1-2)? The answer is simple: He can’t.
Last week, we looked at the omniscience of God – the truth that God possesses complete knowledge of all things. This week, we are studying the omnipresence of God – the truth that God is fully present everywhere, at all times.

We have a wonderful example of God being omnipresent in Psalm 139. David asks himself a couple of questions: “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?” (verse 7, ESV). David thinks of heaven, but that is God’s throne room, so David cannot escape there. David considers Sheol (the place of the dead), and yet, he finds that God is still there. Even if David goes to the edge of the unknown sea, God is there. Men cannot escape the presence of God no matter how hard we try.

It can be terrifying to know that God is always present. Amos 9:1-4 is similar to Psalm 139:7-10, except in Amos, God is saying that the Israelites will not escape His judgment. God says that if they flee to Sheol, to heaven, to the top of a mountain or even to the deepest depths of the sea, God will bring them out, cause calamity to overcome them and fix His “eyes upon them for evil and not for good” (Amos 9:4, ESV). Or consider God’s address to false prophets in Jeremiah 23. They were committing unspeakable sins and claiming to be true prophets when they were actually shams. Therefore, God says, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? … Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24, ESV). There is no escape; God is ever-present both in Heaven and on Earth. No one can escape the eyes of the Lord and sin secretly (Psalm 90:8). He knows every evil thought, word and deed.

On the other hand, it is a great joy and comfort to know that God is always present! Going back to Psalm 139, as David considers God being ever-present, he comes to a conclusion in verse 10. No matter where David tries to go, God would be leading him and upholding him with His right hand (verse 10). No matter where believers find themselves, they can never escape the presence of God! As David sings in Psalm 23, we can go through the valley of the shadow of death without fear because God is beside us. He hasn’t left His children; He is guiding them.

When we consider the omniscience and omnipresence of God, we realize it is absolutely foolish to try to hide ourselves and our sins from God; instead, we should humbly approach God and ask Him to expose even our unknown sins to us so that we might repent of all our grievances towards Him. Then, we should stop going through life leaning on our own flawed knowledge and understanding. God is the One who is all-knowing and ever-present; we trust Him to lead and direct our steps. He is faithful. Or as David concluded, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV).

-Sarah Wootten

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