Have children come up front and do Children’s Minute with them:
Object needed: A tin can.
Whenever I see a tin can like this one, it reminds me of how we used to walk along with my friends and kick the can down the road until we got to where we were going. Also, there is a game called "Kick the Can." Actually, it was just a way to add some excitement to "Hide and Seek." This is how the game is played: The person who is "it" stands beside the tin can, closes his eyes, and counts to fifty while everyone else hides. Then, the person who is "it" goes searching and tries to find everybody. Whenever a person is found, he races back to the home base and tries to kick the can before the one who is "it" tags them. Doesn't that sound like fun? Even if you have never played "Kick the Can," I am sure you have played "Hide and Seek."
Do you think anyone ever tries to play "Hide and Seek" with God? Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve? After they had eaten the fruit that God had told them not to eat, they heard God walking in the garden. They were ashamed of what they had done and didn't want God to find them. What did they do? They ran and hid. Did God find them? You can't hide from God.
Do you remember the story of Jonah? God told him to go to Nineveh and tell the people there to repent of their sin. What did Jonah do? He ran from God and tried to hide. Did God find him? He sure did! And you will remember that Jonah found himself... in the belly of a great fish!
The Bible tells us that God chose David to be the king of Israel because he was "a man after God's own heart." (Acts 13:22) But even David did things that did not please God. There were probably times when David wished he could hide from God, but he knew it was impossible. The Bible verses that Cody read to us tell us that we can't hide from God. He knows all about us. He knows what we are going to say before we say it and what we are going to do before we do it. How does he know? Because He is there and sees it all. It is foolish to play "Hide and Seek" with God. Besides, the reason God comes seeking is because he loves us and wants to bless us. Why would we want to hide from our good God?
Pray with them and then hand out some Children’s Bulletins to them.
Last week we started talking about the Omni’s of God. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Last week it was God is omniscient. God knows everything about everything.
Today we are talking about the fact that God is omnipresent. God is everywhere all the time.
Don’t misunderstand. We are saying that God is present in all places all the time. We are not saying that God is in everything. God is not in the rocks, in the trees, in the earth and so on.
The first six verses of Psalm 139 answer the question: “How well does God know me?” Vs. 7-12 answer the question: “How near is God to me?”
A man offered a little boy, who was returning from a Bible class, a dollar if he would show him where God is. The little boy responded, “Mister, I’ll give you a dollar if you will show me where God ain’t!”
This is one of the reasons that it is foolish to run from God when we have problems in life with sin or with life in general. There is no “Hide and seek” with God. God knows it all because He sees it all.
In vs. 7, David asks some questions. I feel a sense of excitement in these verses as David tries to answer his own questions. This is not David trying to run from God. He did not express any fear in vs. 1-6 when he though about God’s detailed knowledge of him. Throughout David’s life when God confronted him, David did not run from God. On the contrary, he was so grateful for God’s love, care and correction that he often breaks forth in worship. Vs. 7 is a joyful astonishment that God is everywhere!
Thesis: From Psalm 139:7-12 we see that death, distance or darkness cannot hide us from God
Death (Vs. 8)
As we get into these verses we need to understand them in 3 ways:
Geographically- Wherever we may go; up to the highest regions of space or down to the lowest depths of the earth- God is there.
Metaphorically- In other words this is referring to the highs and lows of life. “Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalms 10:1, NIV. The idea here is not that God is far off and does not know, it just feels that way. When do we feel the furthest from God? It is usually during the tough times of life. It may seem that God does not know, does not see but He does. He is there for us and cares about us. When things are going well, we feel that God is so near and is blessing us. It feels that He is so near.
Literally- Vs. 8 is literally talking about the highest heaven, where we naturally expect to find God. Of course He is there. But even in “Sheol”- the Hebrew word for the place of the dead (not hell). NIV translates it as “the depths” in a more geographical or metaphorical way but Sheol is literally what is written.
Death can’t hide us from God! “Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD--how much more the hearts of men!” Proverbs 15:11, NIV.
Distance (Vs. 9-10)
Here David is thinking geographically.
Wings of the dawn- This is talking about the light of the morning that “seems to fly,” (the sunbeams)- the most rapid object known to us. Have we ever stood in the dawn and watched the rising of the sun? The rays shoot across the heavens with the speed of light and reach to the farthest bounds of the horizon. 186,282 miles per second.
Far side of the sea- the most remote regions of the west. Astronaut James McDivett orbited the earth 62 times. He said "I didn't see God looking into my space cabin window, as I do not see God looking into my car's windshield on earth, but I could recognize His work in the stars, as well as when walking among flowers in a garden. If you can be with God on earth, you can be with God in space."
Distance will not allow us to escape the presence of God. Guide- “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalms 48:14, NIV.
Vs. 10- The right hand is a symbol of God’s power- talk more about this next week. From the account of Jonah we know that God is all knowing, everywhere, and all powerful.
Darkness (Vs. 11-12)
Darkness is usually associated with sin and evil in the Bible. Most crimes are committed in the AM hours before dawn. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Ephesians 5:11, 12, NIV.
People think that what they do in the cover of darkness, no one knows. “They slay the widow and the alien; they murder the fatherless. They say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.”” Psalms 94:6, 7, NIV.
Darkness is not a difficulty with God. He sees all. “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.” Jeremiah 23:24, NIV.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19, 20, NIV.
What are we going to do? Every sin is known and witnessed by God. All of us have sinned. Amy Grant- Out in the Open: For the sake of never making waves I Kept my secrets to myself And no one ever really knew the Darker shadows of my heart But I will be a witness That there's nothing in me dark enough The power of forgiveness Cannot rescue from the deep So I'm standing here spinning around In the fields of freedom And I'm still alive and reaching out And I can feel the healing And you say Come on out come out Out in the open Come on out come on out Into the light There is no jury There is no judge Ready and waiting Are a steady arms of love
Conclusion and invitation:
God’s presence is everywhere but many times in the Bible, the presence of the Lord, is used in a figurative sense to represent God’s attitude of favor or disfavor. “But I feel so far away from God.” Without Jesus Christ this is very true. Being in God's disfavor is represented by the withdrawal of God's presence or by the concept of distance from God. This is caused by sin.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2, NIV.
“The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2, NIV.
The ultimate withdrawal is Hell: “They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
How do I avoid this? “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8, NIV. Plan of salvation.
“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8