Summary: The Omnipresence of God means that there is no place in creation where God does not exist. It will take a while to wrap our mind around that thought.
Our Awesome God Series:
GOD’S OMNIPRESENCE OR EVERYWHERE PRESENCE
PSALM 139: 7-12
God is unlike anything we know or experience. God is infinite. God is not subject to space and time. This is the second of God’s “omni” attributes we want to study. The word omnipresent is easy to understand. Omni means “all.” Presence has to do with locally. The Omnipresence of God means that there is no place in creation where God does not exist. It will take a while to wrap our mind around that thought.
We can only be one place at one time, and there are some places where we cannot be. God alone can be all places at all times. God transcends the limitations of space and is present in all places at all times. [Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. 1988. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible. (p1588). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.)
Some folks picture God as a faraway being who lives in heaven and, occasionally, breaks into the world to do some miracle. Not so. God is right here with us right now. Our God, the God of love, the God of grace, the God of mercy, is always near to our hearts and minds and souls. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Nature is too thin a screen, the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through it everywhere!” All around us we can see that God is all around us.
God’s presence is like the air we breathe. Air is odorless, tasteless and invisible so it goes unnoticed, but it’s there. Let me qualify that a bit. When I lived in the mountain city of Arequipa, Peru, sometimes the air smelled terrible, it tasted bad and you could actually see it (pollution). But most of the time we do not even think about the air we breathe, yet we depend on it for our very existence. Likewise, God’s presence is all around us, and if it were withdrawn, none of us could survive for even one moment.
Another aspect of God's infinity in terms of space is that there is no place where He cannot be found. [We are here facing the tension be¬tween the immanence of God (he is every¬where) and the transcendence (he is not anywhere).] Nowhere within the creation is God inaccessible. Jeremiah quotes God as saying, "Am I a God at hand, . . .and not a God afar off?" Jer. 23:23). The impli¬cation seems to be that being a God at hand does not preclude His being afar off or transcendent as well. He fills the whole heaven and earth (v. 24). Thus, we cannot hide "in secret places" so that we cannot be seen.]
In our passage today in Psalm 139:7-12, we hear the Psalmist David declare that God is omnipresent. O the wondrous comfort the sense of God's omnipresence gives. The Psalmist first takes the thought into his own heart, then flies with it to the farthest reaches of the universe and then into the darkest places of being.
God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. The Psalmist came to the conclusion that nothing can hide us from God and that to escape from His presence is utterly impossible. He illustrates that fact three ways:
I. DEATH CANNOT HIDE US FROM GOD, 7-8.
II. DISTANCE CANNOT HIDE US FROM GOD, 9-10.
III. DARKNESS CANNOT HIDE US FROM GOD, 11-12.
David declares that there is nowhere that we can hide from God. Wherever we go, the presence of God¬ will be there. Listen to the very important question David raises a in Psalm 139:7 when he asks, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence (face)?”
The theme here is the omnipresence of God. The Psalmist does not want to go (or flee) from God or even to avoid the presence of the Almighty. He asks this (hypothetical) question to set forth the fact that no one can escape from the all pervading Being or from the observation of the Invisible “Spirit.” From the sight of God we cannot be hidden, but that is not all, from the actual constant presence of God, We cannot be removed.
The obvious answer to “where can I flee from your presence” is no where. God is everywhere. Now the presence and the manifestation of the presence are not the same thing. When Jacob was in the wilderness he said "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.” God dwells with His creation and is everywhere invisibly present among all His works. He is here even when we are totally unaware of Him. In order to experience His presence we must surrender fully and continually to the Spirit of God.
The sense of God's presence is due to RELATIONSHIP CLOSENESS. A man may say that he feels closer to his son since he has grown older. The fact may be that he has lived next door all these years. What the father means is that relationally they experience each other more and better now. Barriers have disappeared and they are more intimate and have a deeper understanding of each other. If we would develop intimate relationship with God we would find Him closer than our most secret thoughts. [Innocué-vivite, numen adest. Live innocently, God is present.]