Summary: To the unbeliever, He is nowhere. To the believer, He is now/here.
“Where is God?” To the man without Christ, the answer is ‘nowhere’.
Either a man declares himself an atheist and literally believes God is -nowhere-, or, if he serves false gods, God is for all intents and purposes, -nowhere-.
In I Cor 2 Paul explained that spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned.
Elsewhere in scripture we are assured that man without Christ, is spiritually dead. He is dead in trespasses and sins, and therefore has no spiritual senses for God to reveal Himself to.
Jesus Himself told Nicodemus that unless a man is born from above (spiritual birth), he cannot understand or comprehend the Kingdom of God.
So for the man without Christ, God cannot be found. “I am the way and the truth and the life” said Jesus, “no man comes to the Father except through Me.”
(Read Isa 7:14 and Matt 1:23)
The announcement made to all mankind in this verse from Isaiah, is that God would dwell with His nation. In reference to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, the birth of Christ, Matthew quotes Isaiah to show that the promise has come to pass, and for his non-Jewish readers he interprets the Hebrew word, “Emmanuel”, saying, “God with us”.
I WANT TO SHOW YOU TODAY THAT GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US.
I WANT TO SHOW YOU THAT FOR GOD, BEING WITHIN REACH OF THE SEEKING HEART WAS, FOR HIM, NOT ENOUGH.
I WANT TO SHOW YOU THAT THE GOOD NEWS, FIRST FOR THE JEW AND THEN FOR ALL OF MANKIND, IS THAT GOD SOUGHT US!
First then, GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US
In the book of Acts, Luke recorded for us the sermon of Paul to the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens. In the course of that sermon he said,
“...and has made from one (man) every nation to dwell on the face of the earth, and has appointed their times and the boundaries of their habitations, that they might seek for God; if perhaps they would grope after Him and find Him. Though He is not far from any one of us, for in Him we live and move and exist.”
The point Paul was making to these worshippers of many gods, these worshippers of man-made philosophies, was that God is not contained anywhere, but that God contains.
Think of it this way. If you drop a bucket into the ocean, it will sink to the bottom. Now you can say that the bucket is filled with water, but at the same time, the bucket is surrounded by that same water...such a large body of water that the bucket becomes insignificant in comparison.
God is with us always, in that He contains and transcends all that He has made; the universe we live in and Heaven itself.
In relation to mankind though, God has always been personally with us in more tangible ways. Let’s take a brief run through the Old Testament.
In the Garden of Eden, we are told, God walked with Adam, until Adam sinned and through that sin broke fellowship with God for himself and all of mankind to come; for all of mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned, therefore all are guilty of sin. But it is important to note here that from the very beginning, God wanted fellowship with His creation. He condescended to actually walk in the garden with his son, his friend Adam, in the cool of the day.
I personally believe that even as early as this, these visits to Adam were pre-incarnate appearances of Christ in His divinity.
Throughout the Old Testament we see accounts of men and women of God being visited by someone referred to as the “Angel of the Lord”. It is very commonly accepted that the Angel of the Lord also referred to pre-incarnate appearances of Christ. The evidence for this is that these folks offered Him sacrifice and bowed down to worship Him, and He accepted their sacrifices and their worship. A created angel of God would never do that.
He is also seen in this light as the “Captain of the Lord’s Host”, who appeared to Joshua prior to the fall of Jericho, to give him encouragement and instruction for battle.
Let’s look at some more specific accounts.
The Lord spoke to Abraham and called him out of the land of the Chaldees, telling him to go out from his home and that God would lead him to a place he knew not. In faith he went out and was promised that his descendants would be greater in number than the sand on the seashore.
He later appeared to Abraham as a human visitor, with two angels who also appeared in human form, but Abraham recognized Him. We know, because Abraham offered Him sacrifice, which He accepted, and then in his discussion about the judgment to come on Sodom, called Him “Lord” several times.