“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right had shall hold me.”
(Psalm 139:7-10 ESV)
We are taking some time to work our way through the Attributes of God in a multi-part sermon series, and this week, taking a look at the attribute of God being Spiritual. The simple understanding of this is that God is not limited by physical matter He is thus able to be anywhere and everywhere at once. This should be a source of great comfort for us, for us to know that He is able to be with us right where we are, and at the very same time, be with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, or just on the other side of town. He can be, and is with us wherever we go.
David helps us understand this with this great psalm about the omnipresent, penetrating nature of God. Of course, we would expect Him to be there in heaven. But then David writes, “If I make my bed in “Sheol”, a term used to represent the very center of the earth, or even hell; he was confident God would be even there with him. Because God is Spirit, He is able to be anywhere and everywhere at once.
It’s not that David was looking for a way to get away from the presence of God, but stating how completely and comprehensively God looked after him. Not only was God present with Him everywhere, but David writes in the verses before about how completely God knows him. “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” (Ps. 139:1-3).
While such thoughts can be a great source of comfort to us, that God is so familiar with us to even know our thoughts, that same concept might be very troubling if our thoughts haven’t been so pure. While we might try to be careful about our actions, and words, the things other people around us may see, we’re not always as careful about our thoughts. If we were really honest, we’re probably glad that others can’t read our minds, and know what we are thinking all the time. Our God, who is Spirit has no such deficiencies, and does know our “thoughts from afar”.
While we may hide such things from friends, co-workers, even family, we cannot hide these things from God. So it behooves us to guard our minds against the things we know are harmful, impure or unkind that it doesn’t cause us to squirm when we think of how completely God knows us. David closes this Psalm with a very vulnerable line: “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!”
May that be our prayer; that God would bring those destructive, impure and unkind thoughts to our attention that we could repent of them, and seek to have God lead us in “the way everlasting!” Also, don’t forget to rejoice in the knowledge of the attribute of God’s spiritual nature that allows Him to be always present with us, and with all those who are His all at the same time. What a Great and Awesome God we serve!
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen