141. The God Who Is Present Everywhere. Psalm 139:7-12. Series No.3 of 7

In this series on Psalm 139 we come to the second of the attributes of God that David deals with in this Psalm. The first attribute we looked at in the previous article described in verses 1 to 6 was God’s Omniscience, the fact that He knows everything there is to know about everything in the world. In these verses 7 to 12, David goes on to describe the Omnipresence of God, the fact that He is present everywhere in His creation. 

God’s Omnipresence. Verses 7‑12. He Can Be Found Everywhere

The question David seeks to answer. How can one get away from God? {7} Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? The same question is expressed in two ways. David is wondering if there was any way in which he could get away from the presence of God.  He answers his own question. He realised that could not flee from God’s presence. He explains why in the following verses. He thinks about the world in which he lived and the directions he might go to escape. He thinks first of the vertical dimension. Then of the horizontal dimension. If he can’t hide by going in those directions, there remained only one alternative, to run into the darkness so that God could not see him.  We will see that all those options would fail. He explains why.

 i).  The option of trying the vertical dimension.  {8} If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

God told Moses to remind the people that He had spoken to them from heaven, Exodus 20:22  And the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. Later he reminded them of that occasion, Deut 4:36  Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. He added that God was God of heaven and earth, Deut 4:39  know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

Moses later prayed for the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. He describes heaven as being the habitation of God, Deut 26:15  Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

David knew that going up to heaven would in fact bring him into the presence of God, for heaven is His home.

If David couldn’t go up to the heavens to escape from God, then what about going down to the depths of the earth? He considers the possibility, if I make my bed in the depths. He again answers his own question, “you are there”. What did David mean by “the depths”?  In the Hebrew it is “Sheol” and in the Greek Old Testament it is “Hades”. It was seen as the place of the dead.  But perhaps David is simply thinking about the extremes of height and depth as he considers this vertical dimension. For example in Isaiah 7:10 the Lord speaks to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”  David has made his decision. It doesn’t matter how high he might go or how deep he might venture, God will still be there. It is impossible to escape from Him.

ii). The option of trying the horizontal dimension. {9} If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, David is thinking of the light from the rising sun, streaking across the sky to light up the surface of the earth. He considers whether it would be possible for him to travel like that to the ends of the earth to escape God. He knows the answer, {10} even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

It is interesting to note that when he considers escaping from God in the vertical dimension that he concludes, with the words, “You are there.” But in this verse there is a change. God would be there in the extremities of the earth, but His presence would be beneficial. He would be there to guide him and to hold him fast. We see similar references in the Psalms to the “right hand” of God. Some examples, Psalm 18:35  You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 60:5  That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us! Psalm 63:8  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. And Psalm138:7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. God’s right hand speaks of His presence to protect and to bless no matter what the outward circumstances might be.

That brings us to David’s final option to try to escape from God’s presence. Hiding in the darkness.

iii).  The option of trying to hide in the darkness. 11} If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”  {12} even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

The deepest darkness we can imagine is like bright daylight in the sight of God. David is saying that nothing can ever be hidden from God. That truth can be taken in a number of ways. For example it is true that God knows every thought we have ever had. He knows every word we have ever spoken. He knows everything we have ever done. That is why we need to be open to Him to confess every sin we have ever committed in thought, word or deed. He knows about them all. But we need to confess them and to ask for His forgiveness to be able to walk in the freedom of forgiveness.

However there is another aspect to this truth.  It is this. Nothing is ever hidden from the ever-present God. He not only knows about our sins but he also knows about every sin that was ever committed against us. He also knows how to bring healing to the damage those things caused. But more about that soon!

Suffice it to say that there is no place on earth where God as the Omnipresent One is not present to bring direction, comfort and strength to His people. Praise God we cannot escape Him!

Blog No.141. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Friday 14th February 2014

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Forgiveness, Healing, Prayer, Studies in Psalm 139 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 141. The God Who Is Present Everywhere. Psalm 139:7-12. Series No.3 of 7

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