I have the privilege of teaching this week during our AWANA program. I get to hang out with and invest in our T&T kids. We are going to discover, from the Scriptures, that God is Omnipresent. What in the world does “omnipresent” mean? Omnis, in the Latin language, means, “all” or “every“. The word present comes to the English language from Latin via French. It means, “to be within reach“. When we put all of this together, it means to be within reach at all times, everywhere. The Scriptures teach us that God is everywhere, at all times. This is what we are going to cover in this lesson.
I. The Lord’s Actions
God introduces Himself to the audience as “LORD” in Psalm 139. The Hebrew word in this text translated as Lord is Jehovah. The Name Jehovah is a description. Jehovah means, “the Self-Existing One“. God exists within Himself. He does not need anything outside of Himself. He does not need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, or even space to exist in. God does not need human beings in order to be satisfied. When Jehovah interacts with mankind, it is always for the benefit of mankind and not for God’s benefit. All of the actions on God’s behalf in verses 1-5 are done for mankind’s benefit.
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. (Psalm 139)
The first thing that the Lord does, according to verse 1 is, He searches us. God examines His creation. He investigates us to the core of our being. He knows us better than we know ourselves. To know, in this context, means to have intimate knowledge of someone, the way that a husband “knows” his wife and visa versa. How well does God know His creation? He knows when we sit down and when we rise up. God even understand our thoughts and He knows what we do, even when we are all alone and no one else knows what we are doing. He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. God even knows our words before we speak them. There is no where we can go to get away from His presence. How should knowing this information impact your daily life? First of all, this is for our own good. We need to know that the Lord is with us at all times. He knows our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. That will impact the way I control my thoughts, the attitude that I allow to take root, words that I use with others, and the actions that I take, even when no one is around to see them. This is a reminder not to give in to my sinful desires. I need that reminder. You need that reminder. We all need that reminder. Secondly, there is no need to live in fear of anything because the Lord is always where I am.
II. The Lord’s Location
The psalmist begins to ask rhetorical questions. He knows the answer to these questions before he asks them. He answers them immediately upon asking them.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” (Psalm 139)
The psalmist’s question is, “is it possible to flee from the presence of the Lord“? What if I ascend to space (heaven)? God is already there. What if I descend to the place of the dead? God is already there. What about flying through the sky? God is there. What if I sink to the bottom of the sea? God is already there. What about trying to hide in the dark? God can see in the darkness just like it is in the light. God is omnipresent. There is no where I can go to get away from the presence of the Lord.
III. Biblical Example
There is a great case in the Bible where all of this seems to converge. If you have been around church activities for more than 5 minutes, you know of the story of Jonah. This man tried to run away from God and he found out very quickly that this is impossible because God is omnipresent. The Word of the Lord came to Jonah, commanding him to arise and go to Nineveh to proclaim His mercy and grace to them. Jonah did not want the people of Nineveh to repent and experience God’s forgiveness so he decided to run away from his calling. He boarded a ship and set sail in the opposite direction. God knew he was in the ship. Then, Jonah thought that he could escape the presence of the Lord at the bottom of the sea. The Lord knew that he was there too and found him. Finally, in the belly of a great fish, Jonah cried out to the Lord and the Lord was there with him. God heard Jonah and intervened on his behalf.
It is very important for all of us to understand that God is omnipresent. Knowing this brings many important benefits to our daily lives. We do not have to live in fear because the Lord is always with us. The fact that the Lord is omnipresent also reminds us to be aware of our thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions, even when we think we are alone and there is no one there to see or hear.
May the Lord help us live our daily lives in the light of the knowledge that He is omnipresent!