MAY 15 – DIVINE TRANSCENDENCE

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

—1 Chronicles 29:11

The term divine transcendence may sound like something that takes a lot of learning or at least a lot of profound thinking to understand, but it doesn’t. Transcend simply means to go above, to rise above, to be above. Of course, it’s very difficult to think of God as transcendent and also as immanent or omnipresent at the same time. It is difficult to understand how He can be here with us, in us, pervading all things, but at the same time transcending all things. It looks like a contradiction, but as with many other apparent contradictions, it’s not at all contradictory; the two thoughts are entirely in accord with each other.

God is always nearer than you may imagine Him to be. God is so near that your thoughts are not as near as God; your breath is not as near as God; your very soul is not as near to you as God is. And yet, because He is God, His uncreated Being is so far above us that no thought can conceive it nor words express it….

There is a vast gulf … between the great I AM and all created things…. God’s uncreated quality of life causes Him to be transcendent, to rise high above all creatures. AOGII034, 037

Lord, how awesome that You can be above all and yet so close. I am Your humble servant; may I act according to Your will today. Amen. [1]


11 Note the similarity of David’s declaration to the end of the Lord’s Prayer reflected in some manuscripts: “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Mt 6:13). Also note the points of similarity between David’s broader prayer (vv. 10–19) and David’s other prayers of thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles (16:7–36; 17:16–27) as well as Psalm 145, which is attributed to David in the superscription of that psalm.[2]


29:11 Yours, O Yahweh, is the kingdom See note on 1 Chron 17:14.

head While the Hebrew word used here, rosh, literally means “head,” it often is used to mean “first” (Prov 8:26) or “chief” (Deut 1:13; 33:5). Here, it indicates that God is exalted as the ultimate ruler of all creation.[3]


29:11 Yours, O Lord. Probably the source of the longer ending of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:13; cf. Luke 11:4). See theological note “The Incomprehensibility of God.”[4]


29:11 The purpose of the temple was to exalt the Lord and to acknowledge the universality of His kingdom. David modeled before the people the worship of the living God. It typically starts with praise for God’s eternity, His complete control over the universe, and His great power. He is the glorious Master over all (Ps. 134:3).[5]


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

[2] Mabie, F. J. (2010). 1 and 2 Chronicles. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition) (Vol. 4, p. 154). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Ch 29:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 631). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 530). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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