Where is God?

Posted: February 5, 2019 in devotionals, Theology
Tags: , , , ,

When I was an intern at a local church, I was asked by a five-year-old kid (who happens to be the pastor’s daughter)…

Where is God?

I answered, “God is in our hearts, if He is our Lord and Savior.

If God is so big”, she said in response, “how can He fit in our heart?

I think I had a hard time answering that question. Sometimes, a kid could ask the hardest questions. We will be talking about God’s omnipresence and answer the question “Where is God?”

There is no place where God is not present.

Omnipresence, a theological term, is better known to us as “God is everywhere”. If God is everywhere, what does it mean to us? How then should we live our lives?

Jeremiah 23:23-24 says…

 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Four things we can learn about God’s presence in this passage.

  1. God’s omnipresence means that God is not a distant God.

    He is a relational being. He speaks (Jeremiah 23:23). Notice the word “declares the Lord”. God is saying something, He is asserting something specific, He is making a statement. The shepherds were not taking care of the flock; the priests were lying to the people. God, in His omnipresence, speaks to His people. God, in his omnipresence, isn’t limited or bound as an idea that He is impersonal. He is a relational God. He is a being who can communicate to us.

  2. God’s omnipresence means that He isn’t bound by distance – far or near (Jeremiah 23:23).

    God speaks to Jeremiah with a question. “Am I a God at hand, and not a God far away?”

    I remember the song by Bette Midler, From a distance. I was a child when this song was popular but still I can recall the lyrics. It goes… “God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance”. Some Christians actually believed this. This is not true. God isn’t watching us from a distance; He is “Immanuel”, God with us.

    Another wrong idea is that God created the world and left it to itself, something like an autopilot mode. God’s omnipresence contradicts that. God tells Jeremiah, “am I only a God nearby and not far away?” God is God even to those who would be in exile. He isn’t just the God bound in Jerusalem. He is God, even for those who are far off.

  3. God’s omnipresence also means He sees (or He is also all-knowing) because He is present in all (Jeremiah 23:24).

    “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see Him?”

    The way we live our lives depends on how we view God. If we really believe that God is omnipresent, or God is everywhere, we will act on this truth. It is a warning to those false teachers or false prophets, God sees what they are doing. At the same time, this should comfort us that there is no place where God is not present. Even in our sufferings, God is there with us. We can be assured that He knows what is going on. God’s omnipresence is also connected to God’s omniscience (all-knowing).

  4. God’s omnipresence has no limits because He fills the heavens and the earth (Jeremiah 24:24).

    Isn’t God in heaven?

    The book of Revelation speaks of God sitting on a throne in heaven (Revelation 4).While Revelation speaks of God sitting on a throne, He isn’t confined or limited to being in heaven. The issue isn’t about location, but God’s manifestation. In the book of Proverbs, God is said to be far from the wicked (Proverbs 15:29). Again, this is not about location, it’s about manifestation. In another passage, Paul writes about those who do not know God that they will be “away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). It means that God’s holiness is felt when God deals with the sinner and the sin. The presence of God, where there is joy (Psalm 16:11), is not felt by the one who rejects God. What that person would experience is God’s wrath, God’s indignation towards sin (John 3:36; John 12:48). God’s presence is felt by both the believer and the unbeliever. It’s not about location, it’s about manifestation.

What then shall we do with all this information about God’s omnipresence?

First, God’s omnipresence meant we can talk to Him.

God isn’t contained in a building or a church (1 Kings 8:27). He is a personal being, someone who talks and at the same time, we can talk to Him. We don’t have to be in a physical location (such as a church) because God isn’t confined in a singular space. We can communicate to God straight! He is near the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18). God hears the prayers of one who does His will (John 9:31). This is our confidence, we can ask anything according to His will, he hears us (1 John 5:14). We can talk to Him.

Second, God’s omnipresence meant we cannot hide from God.

Adam and Eve thought they could hide from God, just like a child playing hide-and-seek and the adult seeing where the child is, plays along with the child pretending not to know. God isn’t like that. He sees us where we are. We are accountable to God (Heb. 4:13)

Third, God’s omnipresence meant we are to be conscious of our actions because He knows what we are doing.

We ought to obey His commands. (Psalm 119:168)

Fourth, God’s omnipresence reminds us of how little we are before Him. We allow His presence to bring joy to us (Psalm 16:11).

There’s a trending conversation a few weeks back where a Japanese host asks, “does this thing bring joy?” I think the better question is, “does God’s presence bring us joy?”

My teacher in Bible school, Pastor Chuck Guill, once said, “God will either deliver you from the rough times in your life or he will be so present with you that you can endure it.

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Indeed, the psalmist was correct in saying, “in your presence is fullness of joy”. Does God’s presence bring us guilt or joy? Depending on our relationship with Him, His presence is either something we fear or something that brings delight. Praying that we get to know God and enjoy His presence.

Let me end with a prayer by AW Tozer (The Knowledge of the Holy, Chapter 14, page 80)…

Our Father, we know that Thou are present with us, but our knowledge is but a figure of shadow of truth and has little of the spiritual savor and inward sweetness such knowledge should afford. This is for us a great loss and the cause of much weakness of heart. Help us to make at once such amendment of life as is necessary before we can experience the true meaning of the words, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.”

 

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