"I Am with You Always, Through Thick and Thin"
God is all powerful and all knowing. But have you thought recently about his relationship to space? Not to outer-space, per se, but his relationship to everywhere in the world? The God whom you worship is omnipresent. Jeremiah said it well: "Can anyone hide in secret places, so that I cannot see him?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord (Jer 23:24).
This means that wherever we are, God is there. This means that right now God is near you and if you're a Christian he is with you-in a very special way-with his whole being and in absolutely undivided attention. And yet, at the same time, and in the same way, he is with me and each of our brothers and sisters around the world. Thus there is an intimate relationship between his infinite knowledge and his presence. The psalmist knew this and marveled at God's wonderful nature:
In Psalm 139:1-4 the psalmist is quite aware of God's knowledge of everything about him...
139:1 O LORD, you examine me and know. 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives. 139:3 You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do. 139:4 Certainly my tongue does not frame a word without you, O LORD, being thoroughly aware of it. 139:5 You squeeze me in from behind and in front; you place your hand on me. 139:6 Your knowledge is way beyond my comprehension; it is so far beyond me, I am unable to fathom it.
...the psalmist then relates God's intimate knowledge of us to his presence with us:
139:7 Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence? 139:8 If I were to ascend to heaven, you would be there. If I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there you would be. 139:9 If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn, and settle down on the other side of the sea, 139:10 even there your hand would guide me, your right hand would grab hold of me. 139:11 If I were to say, aaCertainly the darkness will cover me, and the light will turn to night all around me,aa 139:12 even the darkness is not too dark for you to see, and the night is as bright as day, darkness and light are the same to you.
...then the psalmist marries God's knowledge and presence with his power in creation. God is the One who created us and determined the plan for our lives (cf. Acts 17:24-28):
139:13 Certainly you made my kidneys, you wove me together in my mother's womb. 139:14 I will give you thanks, because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly, 139:15 my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and sewed together in the depths of the earth. 139:16 Your eyes saw me when I was a fetus. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence (see Jer 1:5).
Is it any wonder that the psalmist ends up with a penetratingly clear realization of his own limitations and creaturely-ness in contrast to God's infinite knowledge, presence, and power...
139:17 How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! How vast are their sum total! 139:18 If I tried to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Even if I finished counting them, I would still have to contend with you.
...The net result is that we should desire the establishment of God's kingdom both in the world and in our own lives as well!
139:19 If only you would kill the wicked, O God! Get away from me, you violent men! 139:20 They rebel against you and act deceitfully; your enemies lie. 139:21 O LORD, do I not hate those who hate you, and despise those who oppose you? 139:22 I absolutely hate them, they have become my enemies. 139:23 Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns! 139:24 See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me, and lead me in the reliable ancient path!
So what difference does all this make? Well, let's think about it. God's omnipresence means that Jesus will be with us as we set out on our mission to make disciples of all nations. He told the disciples that all authority had been given to him and that they were to go and share his message of faith and obedience to all peoples on the globe and then added, "And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age" (Matt 28:19-20; cf. Gen 28:15).
His omnipresence also means that when people do come to Christ, and there are problems in relationships, Christians can get together to work out those problems with the full knowledge that Christ is there present with them. In Matt 18:20 he said-in the context of church discipline-that aawhenever two or three come together in my name (i.e., to restore a sinning brother or sister), there am I with them.aa Now the truth is that Jesus is with Christians whether there's one person present or one-hundred, but he wants us to know that he will not abandon us in the difficult aspects of discipleship. We can count on his presence when we have to deal with a sinning brother, confront a spouse, question an erring teenager, fire an employee, meet the legitimate expectations of our children, face difficulties at work, deal with irate customers, etc.
Therefore, the truth of God's omnipresence is good news because it assures us that no matter what God calls us to do or what he permits to happen in our lives, he will be there with us. He will never leave or forsake us.
Related Topics: Devotionals