The Omnipresence of God

September 2013 Scripture of the Month

Psalm 139:7-12

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

 

The Lord’s omnipresence is the comparative attribute that David focuses in the next section of the 139th Psalm. Omnipresence literally means “all-presence”; it is defined as being everywhere at the same time. It is closely related to omniscience, as verses 11-12 relate; nowhere we could go could hide us from God. He always knows where we are.

David’s rhetorical questions in verse 7 teach us about God’s omnipresence. God is a spirit (cf. John 4:24), which enables Him to be present in all places. We humans only inhabit a miniscule fraction of the space created by God; but His presence is found flowing through every one of us, as well as throughout the entire universe. He is with us in life and in death. He walks with us in the most crowded places, and He sees us when we think no one else is there. I could go on, but my point is clear: He is with us always.

Though one of the most popular Bible stories of all time, the story of Jonah still brings light to this subject of God’s omnipresence. Jonah did not want to follow God’s command, and so he attempted to “flee…from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3). I sometimes wonder if Jonah ever read or remembered the 139th Psalm. He was seriously underestimating God’s power – an act that seems laughable, but is something that we do even now. Anyhow, the Lord did not even have to follow Jonah onto the boat bound for Tarshish. He was with Jonah all the way to the point where he asked to be thrown into the sea to save the sailors; and He stayed with Jonah into the belly of the great fish, where Jonah finally realized the truth of David’s timeless words and the big mistake he had made.

So since God is everywhere at the same time, what does that mean to us? As discussed before, we cannot hide from God, and we should not try to as Jonah did. There is a positive aspect to God’s omnipresence, of course. God is always with us. Whatever kind of day we are having, He is right beside us. It does not matter whether our life is filled with sunshine, or if it is filled with rain; He promises to stay alongside and be our closest Friend. So when you place your trust in the Lord, when everything goes wrong, know that something still is right; God loves you and is with you everywhere you go.

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