THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD – Psalms 139


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 Sheol, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me, And the light about me shall be night; Even the darkness hideth not from thee, But the night shineth as the day: The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalms 139:7‭-‬12 ASV

“Whither shall I flee from thy presence” (Psalms 139:7).

This line is parallel to the preceding one, the thought in both being:

“How can one hide from God?

HE IS EVERYWHERE!”

In an old fashioned, one-teacher schoolhouse, an atheistic teacher wrote on the blackboard:

“GOD IS NOWHERE.”

Whereupon a sixth-grade girl walked up to the blackboard and gave the inscription this treatment:

“GOD IS NOW HERE.”

As the girl sat down, the girl said,

“Teacher you forgot to put in the space”!

The astounded teacher made no further remarks.

Attempting to hide from God has been the chief business of the human family ever since Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden! Think of the myriads of ways in which men try to hide from God.

They forsake all attendance of religious services.

They become alcoholics, workaholics, drug addicts, or assume any lifestyle available in which they may hope to hide from the “all-seeing” eyes of God.

What a vain and futile exercise of human folly!

People cannot hide from God!

The omnipresence of God was the basis of the remarkable exhibition which the Moody Bible Institute displayed at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.

The exhibition stressed an amazing deduction from this element in the character of God.

Since God is everywhere simultaneously, He is still seeing everything that has ever happened in the whole universe!

Just as people can see the light of the constellation Andromeda which began its journey to earth two million light years ago, God’s presence as an observer is not limited either by time or space.

God’s presence is eternal regarding all events, past, present and future!

“In Sheol … behold, thou art there” (Psalms 139:8).

This teaches that death itself cannot hide people from the knowledge and ultimate judgment of God. The psalmist is aware of God’s presence even in Sheol.

“The wings of the morning … the uttermost parts of the sea” (Psalms 139:9).

The opposites mentioned here are the east and the west, symbolized by “the wings of the morning,” and “the uttermost parts of the sea,” the latter being a reference to the far western end of the Mediterranean.

These are some of the most beautiful lines in the literature of the whole human family. True to the antagonist spirit of criticism, some interpreters allege that this image is borrowed from ancient mythology which describes the goddess of the dawn riding forth on the “wings of the morning.”

This writer has read extensively the mythology of Greece and Rome but cannot remember any such myth. Helios did not ride “the wings of the morning” but “a chariot.”

In case there actually existed some such terminology in ancient mythology, which we seriously doubt.

There is no reason to assume that the psalmist here accepted any such mythological notions.

“Thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (Psalms 139:10).

The bringing together in this verse, of God’s `hand’ and his `right hand’ is an undeniable earmark of David’s authorship, as is the case in the preceding Psalms 138:7. AS Jebb said, there are a dozen such earmarks in this psalm.

“The darkness shall overwhelm me” (Psalms 139:11).

The marginal reading here is “cover me” for the last two words. Despite the fact that darkness cannot hide from God, wicked men still prefer the nighttime for their deeds of criminality.

The New Testament takes note of this in such terms as “the works of darkness” (Romans 13:12Ephesians 5:11).

But for thee, O Lord, do I wait; it is thou, O Lord my God, who wilt answer. For I pray, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!” For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin.

Psalms 38:15‭-‬18 RSV

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