Psalm 139:5-12 – You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
The omnipresence of God is one of the hardest attributes to comprehend. We are physical beings, limited by time, space and ability. We can understand at some level the power of God, because we understand physical power. We can understand at some level His holiness, because we know what sin is, and its opposite, purity. But to be, not only “in two places at one time,” but everywhere at all times – that is beyond what we can imagine!
Acts 17:24-28a – The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitations, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist.
We have the idea that we go to church to meet with God – that He is waiting for us there, to show up in our Sunday best. We have forgotten that God is everywhere, all the time, His presence filling the earth. The whole earth is full of His glory. (Isaiah 6:3)
We think that God moves to all places, that He comes to us, wherever we are. But that is incorrect. God is already there. Whenever we move, we are moving within Him. There is no place we can go where He is not. (Psalm 139)
Tozer says it this way:
The scriptures teach that God is infinite. This means that His being knows no limits. Therefore there can be no limit to His presence; He is omnipresent. In His inifinitude He surrounds the finite creation and contains it. There is no place beyond Him for anything to be. God is our environment as the sea is to the fish and the air to the bird. “God is over all things,’ wrote Hildebert of Lavardin, ‘under all things; outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly within, filling.” (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)
Myrna Alexander, in her Bible study, Behold Your God, puts it another way:
God fills space with His whole being: “Do I not fill heaven and earth? says, the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24). “Space” conditions our thoughts. For example, if you are now inside your home, we know that you are not also at the store. But space limitations in no way affect God, for He is Spirit (John 4:24). God also exists outside of space and is not subject to space limitations. “Heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee” (1 Kings 8:27). God is not contained in space (like our spirit is contained by our body while we live on earth, like an embryo is in the womb). It is just the opposite: it is “space” that is inside God!
Acts 17:28 – In Him we live and move and exist!
Colossians 1:17 – He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
The word “presence” in Psalm 139 is paniym, with the literal meaning of “face.” We cannot get away from the face of God. God always sees us, because He is always facing us.
I thought about this, in relation to those who do not believe in God, or who reject God even though they believe He exists. We live like He cannot see us, not because His face is turned away from us, but because we have turned away from Him. We think if we do not acknowledge Him, then He does not exist for us. That is why “repentance” is necessary for salvation. We must turn to God. Repentance is simply a turning in the opposite direction. If we have taken the wrong highway, we must repent and take the off ramp, and get back on the road going in the opposite direction. We must face God.
I love, too, the fact that in the second we repent, God is there. He is not far from us! (Acts 17:27). We simply turn around, and we find that He has been there, all along, right with us, pursuing us, waiting for us to face Him!
I mentioned earlier that we have limited God to “meeting Him” at church, because that is where most of us sense His presence. We are more aware of Him there. But this is not because He is only there. It is because at church we are mindful of His presence. We go expecting to meet Him, to hear from Him. If only we would live every day, every moment aware of His presence! He is as near to us in our kitchen, in our yard, in our office…as He is in the church. The building does not contain Him. He contains the building!
Isaiah was a man who had the right image of God in His mind. Consider the verses below, in which he expresses the “bigness” of God, and the idea that God is everywhere becomes easier to understand.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? … Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold He lifts up the islands like fine dust. … It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:12,15,22)
Oh, what a wonderful God we serve!
If God is everywhere, why do we fear?
If God is everywhere, why do we worry?
If God is everywhere, why are we anxious?
If God is everywhere, why are we afraid to go anywhere?
It is only when our view of God and our understanding of Him is firmly rooted in the truth, that we truly begin to live the abundant life He came to give us! (John 10:10)
Why could God promise, I will never leave you nor forsake you? (Hebrews 13:5)?
Because He is. He exists. He contains all there is. Everything that has been created exists because of Him, and for Him, and is sustained by Him. There is no place we can go where He is not.
Hebrews 11:5 – And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Do you believe?
Isaiah 66:1-2 – Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
Let us be a people who are humble and contrite of spirit…let us tremble at His word!
Because He is.
And He is here.