APRIL 30 – AT ONCE FAR OFF AND NEAR

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

—Psalm 139:7-8

Few other truths are taught in the Scriptures with as great clarity as the doctrine of the divine omnipresence. Those passages supporting this truth are so plain that it would take considerable effort to misunderstand them. They declare that God is immanent in His creation, that there is no place in heaven or earth or hell where men may hide from His presence. They teach that God is at once far off and near, and that in Him men move and live and have their being….

This truth is to the convinced Christian a source of deep comfort in sorrow and of steadfast assurance in all the varied experiences of his life. To him “the practice of the presence of God” consists not of projecting an imaginary object from within his own mind and then seeking to realize its presence; it is rather to recognize the real presence of the One whom all sound theology declares to be already there, an objective entity, existing apart from any apprehension of Him on the part of His creatures. The resultant experience is not visionary but real. KOH115, 118

Lord, I want to be cognizant of Your presence throughout the day today. I know the fact; I pray for the realization. Amen. [1]


139:7, 8 Not only is God omniscient; He is omnipresent as well. He is in all places at one and the same time. However, the all-presence of God is not the same as pantheism. The latter teaches that the creation is God. The Bible teaches that God is a Person who is separate and distinct from His creation. Is there any place where man can evade the Holy Spirit of God? Is there any place where he can hide from the presence of the Lord? Suppose man should ascend into heaven, would he elude God there? Of course not; heaven is the throne of God (Matt. 5:34). Even if he made his bed in Sheol, the disembodied state, he would find the Lord there as well.[2]


139:7 your Spirit … presence. God’s personal presence is everywhere throughout His creation. The thought of these rhetorical questions is that there is nowhere the psalmist can go beyond God’s view. Jonah learned this lesson when he tried to flee God’s commission to preach to the Ninevites.

139:8 heaven … Sheol. The psalmist expresses God’s omnipresence through a series of contrasts. The first contrast is spatial—God is in heaven; His presence reaches even to Sheol. Yet the hope of life beyond the grave shines through in the psalm (v. 10).[3]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 769). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 995). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

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