May 8, 2020
The Omnipresence of God
There are far more Attributes or Characteristics of God than we can ever begin to cover even in a protracted sermon series. I believe there are far more Attributes of God than we have ever seen, or will see, at least on this side of heaven. He is like a diamond with a myriad of facets. Every different way you look at Him you see something new. So, during this series we are going to limit ourselves to several of the aspects of God that seem to touch us and influence us most.
Through this series we will be looking at God’s Omnipresence, God’s Omniscience, His Omnipotence, God’s Love and more. All of these affect us personally on a daily basis.
When discussing the Attributes of God I fall into the same problems the Apostle John had when he was describing the events in the Revelation. The words just are not available to completely describe God; and it is not just me. I submit to you that no one can find the words to completely describe God. But I will try to give you as much as I can.
To talk about the Omnipresence of God I want to start with King David’s words found in:
O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord.
5 You hem me in — behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (NIV)
Let’s begin with verse 5 – You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. I love the picture this paints. No matter where I go, He goes before me – and He has my back. He surrounds me. He is watching out for me, personally, individually, me! He is just always there, or should I say here. He is always with me, just as He said He would be. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Then King David takes us even further: 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Here David is saying God is not just surrounding him, but God is everywhere, at once, surrounding everyone at once, no matter where they are, no matter where YOU are.
God is not bound by time or space. He is beyond time and space, and all of space is contained in Him, all time is contained in Him. The best analogy I have seen lately is the picture of a bucket at the bottom of the ocean. Water fills the bucket, and the bucket is surrounded by water. God is present everywhere and everything is in Him. There is no place without the presence of God. Yet, as I say that I realize that there may actually be one place without the Presence of God… hell. I believe that anyone in hell, now and forever realize an abject absence of the Presence of God.
Every day, every hour we have the presence of God with us, whether we consciously sense Him or not. However, this brings up a subject that can create questions for some people. I have spoken of hell as a place where people are sent, and spending eternity there they experience the absolute absence of God. It does not mean that God is not there. It simply means that anyone there does not know and experience His presence. I cannot imagine a more severe loneliness.
But, as for us, God’s Presence is always with us. On the darkest days, when it seems that no one cares, God is always there. Even during out separation during the Covid-19 season, God is there with you. God the Father is watching over us, always hearing our prayers. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. (Revelation 8:4)
God’s Presence is with us as Jesus walks with us as He walked with the two on the road to Emmaus. Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13)
And we are kept company by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and is with us always. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Now go with me to 139:13 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. God has been there with us from the very beginning, our beginning. He created us, He watched over us. We are His and He is ours, always has been always will be. In the old Jewish custom, when a child is born, they are considered 1 year old. Meaning they have lived the first year of their life in their Mother’s Womb. When a child is born today, I don’t consider it 1 year old, but I do know the moment before it was born it was a person. Just as it was a month before, two months, five months. God’s Prevenient Grace already has that baby within His caring.
Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Aren’t amazing words… fearfully and wonderfully I might have thought of wonderfully and wonderful, but fearfully? The human body is the most amazing of all of God’s Creations. James 1:18 – In His goodness He chose to make us His own children by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, became His choice possession. We are His Favorites, He made us that way, He knit us together to be His. (NLT)
Psalm 139:16b – All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (NIV) Please do not get this confused with the Calvinist teachings of predestination. This is simply saying God knows how long you will live, what you will do with your life and how you will respond to Him. He knows, but He does not predestinate you.
Look for opportunities to truly experience His Presence today, every day. As the song says, “Come just as you are, hear the Spirit call.”
Bostwick UMC 5/10/20