Here, There, and Everywhere - Psalm 139:7-12 - Skip Heitzig
There is no God. I mean, look at what's going on.
I am my own God.
God, Allah, Buddha, whatever.
He's just waiting to destroy us all.
There's like hundreds of gods. It's just like that bumper sticker says.
I am my own God.
Dog is my co-pilot.
There is no God.
There is one true God. He is all knowing, all powerful, and he loves you.
God isn't really something to worship.
He's just waiting to destroy all of us.
I guess there's a God out there somewhere.
I hope there is a God.
God isn't really something to worship.
God, Allah, Buddha.
God is everywhere.
Well, hello and welcome to our church service online. We know that there's a lot of you that are watching around the country and around the world. Thank you for your notes of encouragement.
Thank you for your notes of testimony and transformation. They are so meaningful to us. And as you can tell, every week, we love to read them. Because we want to, not only include you in this, but also celebrate what God is doing in your life. So we're so thankful for that.
And we are committed, every week, to making this broadcast a really good online experience. We consider you part of us, we'd like to minister to you, we'd like to pray for you. And no matter where you're at, we can still be in touch and be a church together again, virtually like this. So we want to take advantage of all these technologies. And we're just simply adding this service to our other live services here in New Mexico, so we're glad that you joined us for this study.
We are in Psalm 139 for this study this weekend. Psalm 139, it's a message I'm calling, here, there, and everywhere, which incidentally, was a Beatles song many years ago. But I think it fits what we're dealing with here in Psalm 139.
Now, I'm going to have you look at a word as we begin. And you tell me what this word-- what this word says? What does that say?
OK, look at it again, a little more carefully. There's a couple of ways that you can go with this. It can be, God is nowhere, depending on where you put the emphasis. Or, God is now here.
And it all depends on how you look at it. It a lot depends on your predisposition. Today we're going to consider one of the most difficult attributes of God, and that is God's omnipresence-- that God is everywhere.
Brings up the question that people have asked for thousands of years. Where is God? Where do I go to find God?
Do I go to Jerusalem? Do I go to Rome? Do I step inside a cathedral, or do I just find God out in nature somewhere? Everybody wants to know. The seeker, the skeptic, and the saint want to know where they can find God.
There was a little boy talking to his mother, and he said, mom where is God? And she said, God's in heaven. And he said, so does God live in heaven? And she said, yes.
And so he said, well, where's Jesus? And she said, Jesus is in your heart. And, as a little boy putting two and two together would ask, he said, well, wait a minute. I thought God and Jesus were like the same?
And so there's a long pause. And he said, how can God be in heaven and in my heart at the same time? And she said, sweetheart, it's hard to explain. That's what we say. It's hard to explain.
And there was a long pause and he said, so where's the Holy Spirit? There's another long pause, and she said, you know, I think it's time for you to take a nap sweetheart. Now, David's question is short and simple. It's a question where? He asked it twice.
Psalm 139 verse 7, "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?" Essentially, he's saying, where is God?
And David's answer back to himself, in the following verse, is equally as simple. He says, where and he answers it, there. He says, "If I ascend into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me."
So where is God? Here, there, and everywhere. And so I guess if God had a map of the universe, it would look something like this. You are here and here and here and here and here and here. Because God is everywhere present.
Now, David's question is a rhetorical question. When David asks, where can I go from your spirit? It's not like David needs the information. He already has the information. He is simply making a point with his question, so it is a rhetorical question.
Psalm 139, as we noted last time, comes up with four different ideas, for different attributes of God. So we have four sections, each of them having six stanzas a piece, talking about each one, a different attribute of God. We are dealing with what we call, the omni attributes of God.
Last week we looked at God's omniscience. And we saw, if you recall, that God knows everything. God is omniscient. He knows it all.
And God's knowledge is instantaneous, it's intuitive, it is utterly complete, it never has to be learned or researched, it's totally comprehensive. And now he deals with God's omnipresence. And here's what you need to know about this Psalm, or be reminded of, I think.
Is he is not writing a theological treat, as though we're dealing with it as a theological topic. This is a worship song in David's church or in the temple. David was writing words of lyrics that became a worship tune in that tabernacle and in the temple.
And so just a reminder that David sees these truths as a part of his worship. So when he looked at this, he was not looking theologically as much as applicationally. And that's what we must always once again do with God's truth.
As Philip Yancey so beautifully put it, God doesn't care so much about being analyzed. He wants to be loved.
And that's what David does. He loves the lord. I just want to ask you, when was the last time you just paused to thank God for who he was? Not for what he did for you, not for where he is, but just look-- you are all powerful, you are everywhere and just for his being, rather than his doing. That's what David does in this Psalm.
Now, all of these attributes that we're dealing with, all of them are out of reach for us as human beings. In other words, none of us can be any of these things. They are called, gods in communicable attributes. He can't pass these things on.
However, this is, I think, so far the most difficult one because we can't sort of grasp omniscience and sort of grasp omnipotence. Let me explain. We can partially grasp omniscience.
God knows everything. We don't, but you can have two people and one knows more than another person. So comparatively, one is just more knowledgeable. So we get that idea. And we can grasp omnipotence because there are some people who are stronger or more powerful than other people.
But when it comes to omnipresence, this is a brain freeze. This is something none of us can ever grasp. That is because we can only be in one place at one time.
All creatures can only be in one place at one time. Your dog, your cat, your mom, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa they can only occupy one particular space in the universe at any given time. They are localized finite beings.
But when we look at how God has described, God can be present everywhere. He, in one sense, can be our Father in heaven-- Matthew chapter 6. But at the same time he can be, God near at hand-- Jeremiah 23. So he is everywhere present and we're going to delve into that here in this study.
Now sometimes, in the Old Testament especially, God's presence is localized. So for instance, in the wilderness. You remember the pillar that went through the wilderness-- a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night? It was emblematic of God's localized presence with his people. He dwelt among his people.
Also, when Solomon had the temple constructed and offered a prayer, the glory of the Lord-- a cloud of glory locally inhabited that particular place at that particular time. So in a very unique sense, God was present in the wilderness and in the temple. But even Solomon, in his prayer of dedication, wisely said, "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? For heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you, much less this temple."
So it is a little-- no, it's a lot difficult to grasp but here we go doing it. In Psalm 139, verses 7 through 12, which deals with this, it's simply outlined. There is a question, there is an explanation, and then there is a conclusion.
David asks a question, a universal question, where is God, followed by a rational explanation. He says, there is God in all these particular areas. And then finally, I want to end in verse 10 with a practical conclusion. So three components to this attribute of God.
First of all, a universal question. Where? Where can I go from your presence-- verse 7.
Or, where can I flee from your presence? "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I go from your presence?"
I guess my question is, why would anybody want to flee from God's presence? If God is who he said he is, why would anybody ever seek or desire to get out of his presence? Well, it all depends on how you're living.
And one of the mistakes that people make is to think that they can actually do that-- get out of God's presence. We, the other week, mentioned Jonah. Jonah was a man who tried to leave the presence of God.
The Bible says he got in a boat and he went to Tarshish, or he was on his way there, to flee from the presence of the Lord. Now you would think this guy would know better. But he wasn't living right, and he wanted to escape the presence of God.
I read this funny story this week. In most states, police officers are told that when the weather gets really, really cold that they are, if they see a car by the side of the road, they are to stop and investigate and make sure that everybody's OK. Check every stalled vehicle on the highway.
Well, it was wintertime in Montana and 3:00 in the morning. And a state trooper, Montana State trooper by the name of Allen Nixon, responded to a call that there was a car stalled on the shoulder of the road. And so he drove out to this road, outside of Great Falls, Montana, noticed the car in a bank of snow, pulled his police car behind and flashed his lights and walked over to the window, and tapped on the window and looked inside with his flashlight. And there was an older man passed out with a bottle of vodka on his lap.
So he tapped louder until the man woke up. And the man turned around and saw the state trooper and he panicked. And you know what he did because the car was still running? He hit the gas.
Now, when he hit the gas, the car's speedometer started reading 20 miles an hour, 30 miles an hour, 40 miles an hour, 50 miles an hour but he was still stuck in the snow. So his wheels are spinning, but he's not going anywhere. Well, the state trooper had a sense of humor. And so he decided to run in place next to this car that was speeding but not really going anywhere.
And the driver looked out and he is totally freaked out. He's thinking, this police officer is running 50 miles an hour. Finally, the state trooper he's-- it was hard for him to hold it in without laughter. And he said, pull over, pull over.
So the guy stopped the car. Needless to say he was arrested. But he was sobering up in jail thinking there is a state trooper guy in Montana who can run 50 miles an hour.
So the answer to the rhetorical question, where is God, is God is everywhere. God is omnipresent. Whether you are in a parked car, or you're going 50 miles an hour, or that it's light or dark God is everywhere. And you can never escape him.
And that will either be, for you, a great comfort or a great concern. In fact, even a great conviction if you're not living the way you should live. You see, if you live right, if you live to obey God, then you realize not only can I not get out of God's presence, I never want to. Heck, I want to get closer to God.
I want to experience his presence more and more intimately every single day. That's the desire of the child of God when it comes to the presence of God. But if you live a disobedient life like Jonah the Prophet, you want to flee. You want to get out of town quick.
Or even like our first parents, Adam and Eve-- it says Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of the garden. Why? Because their hearts were already departed. They were disobedient.
So when we say God is omnipresent, the way that is typically stated, theologically, is that God is everywhere present in the totality of his being. Once again, God is everywhere present in the totality of his being. You are here, here, here, here, here. Like that little cartoon.
Now, there's a couple implications to that truth. If that's true, and it is, it means that God cannot be contained in a building. Solomon, at his dedication, realized I can build a temple, but God cannot be contained by any temple on earth. There's no place that can house the majesty and the glory and the presence of God in it's fullness.
Now, we hear all the time people, well-meaning people, saying, well, I'm going to go to church, or this is the house of God. I remember hearing that as a child. Today, especially in New Testament times, God does not dwell in a building or on a property.
God dwells inside people-- inside people. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are God's building.
My mom used to always tell me when I'd go to church-- because I would run up and down the aisle, I was just a crazy little kid-- she'd go, stop running in God's house. That's what she said. Don't run in God's house.
And so I complied. But then imagine how delighted I was, years later, to read my Bible and find out, you know what? I am God's house. You are God's house. God has occupied himself inside you as a child of God.
So that's the first implication. God can't be contained in a building. Here's another implication to the omnipresence of God.
God cannot be localized in a city or in a nation. I'll tell you why that's important. Because people, for years, have thought the only way I'm going to really get close to God is for me to spend a lot of money, get on an airplane, and take a tour to the holy land, or go to Rome or go to someplace and make a pilgrimage to this holy site where I can get close to God.
Even the Jews were geocentric in their worship. For God said, I'm going to put my name in Jerusalem. And they we're told three times a year to go to Jerusalem to these pilgrim feasts.
And that's why today, when you go to Israel, the tour guides make a big deal out of this. They like to say, you know you could be from the most beautiful state in America, or the most beautiful city in Europe, but you're in Jerusalem. And though it looks a little funky here, and it might not be as grand as the Grand Tetons or as some of the Great Lakes or the oceans of California, you are in the place God put his name. And if you want to pray to God here, it's a local call.
They like to say that. It's a local call. You can pray to him anywhere, but here it's a local call. They did localized their worship. They were very geocentric in their worship.
But, especially in New Testament times once again, that is not the case. Listen to Jeremiah, Chapter 23 Versus 23 and 24. God said, "Am I a God near at hand, says the Lord and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I shall not see him," says the Lord? Do not I fill--" there it is-- "fill heaven and earth?"
Why is this important? Because this will keep us from any pseudo-moral superiority that says, well, God is an American. God is not an American. God is not a Republican or a Democrat.
God is God. And God dwells everywhere and is accessible to anyone and will come and live inside anyone. So that's the question, where is God? That's the issue we're dealing with, the omnipresence of God.
Now, he gives a rational explanation to his question, as we notice. There, there, and there. With you, I'm going to delve into these verses and take a closer look at how David, poetically, describes this attribute. He says a few things about this omnipresence of God.
He says, because this is true death can't hide us from God. Death can't hide us from God. Verse 8, "If I ascend into heaven--" now that can only happen when you die. "If I ascend into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold you are there."
You might die from a virus, you might die from a traffic accident. No matter how you died, even if you decided I need to escape it all and take my own life, you will not escape God. You're going to be hurled into the judgment seat. You're going to be face to face with the evaluating God of the universe.
Now, he says, you can go to heaven or you can go to hell. We know that God is in heaven. That's the unique dwelling place of God. The Bible talks about God being in heaven a lot.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name? But then notice that next little phrase, "If I make my bed in hell." Sheol is the Hebrew word. It means simply, the grave-- the grave.
And it was thought, by people in antiquity, that when you die and go to Sheol, the grave, the place of the dead, the abode of the dead, God isn't there. God isn't there. So they would say, when you die and go to Sheol, God is nowhere. David says, God is now here, even in hell.
See God is present on both sides of the grave. When a person dies, it's only a threshold into another form of living. It's a transition.
For the unbeliever, death doesn't end at all. You can't get rid of God. You will confront God, as I said, at judgment.
For the Bible says, "It is appointed to every man once to die, and after this, the judgment." I don't know if you've ever read much about Voltaire, that French atheist, he really hated Christ. And he thought he was morally superior to Christians and smarter than them.
He, in his lifetime, tried to get rid of God, try to get rid of Christ in the public arena even. And, of Jesus Christ, Voltaire said, "Curse the wretch." That's what he said, publicly-- "Curse the wretch--" concerning Christ.
But when he couldn't get rid of God at all, in culture or even in his friendships, he was on his deathbed and he cried out to God. I will give you half of what I have first six months of life. Like he could bargain with God. I'll give you half of what I have for six more months of life.
And then he said, then I shall go to hell and you shall go with me, oh, Christ, oh, Jesus Christ. That's how this man died-- in torment. David said, actually, you can't escape God. Whether it's heaven or Sheol, God is on both sides of the equation.
Now, for the Christian it's glorious. It's a homecoming. I never say, a Christian died. I say, he moved.
I say, he graduated. He's coronated. He didn't die. He's still very, very much alive. He's in the presence of God.
And in the presence of God in heaven, this will be a direct unmitigated presence. It will be a unfiltered, visible presence of God. Paul said, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
So David said, death can't hide us from God. Here's something else. Distance can't hide us from God.
Verse 9, "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." Now this is a poetic phraseology, a deep poetic description, to express distance, especially of going west in the Mediterranean Sea.
That little phrase, wings of the morning, is thought to be a reference to rays of sunlight in the morning that streak across the sky. The wings of the morning, the morning streaks of sunlight, as the sun rises or appears to rise. So you might say that David is saying, even if I could get on a beam of light and travel 186,000 miles per second, from one end of the visible spectrum of what I see on earth to the other, distance cannot hide me from God. There is no physical place on earth that I can escape God's presence.
Now, in the Old Testament there was a belief system among ancient cultures that God was localized, or gods were localized. It's called, henotheism. And henotheism was the belief that you could have a God of one region, but there would be a different God or goddess of a different region. So that when peoples battled together, armies battled, it was actually gods battling, determining which army would win depending on which region they were battling in.
So this is why in the scripture, when the King of Israel is battling the King of Syria named Ben-hadad, and Ben-hadad, the Assyrian King, loses one round of the battle because they fought in the hills rather than in the valleys. The unbelieving King says, their gods are the gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we were. But if we fight against them out in the plain, we will be stronger than they are.
Of course he lost both battles because God is the God of the hills and the valleys. They are not two separate gods. Distance doesn't matter. Geography doesn't matter. You can't escape God if you went to the moon, let alone a hill or a valley.
By the way, I love that when we did land on the moon, back in-- that was 1969. That's a long time ago. 1969, Apollo 8, the astronauts read from the capsule Genesis Chapter 1.
You should go to the YouTube app and look at it. How, with reverence, the Bible is opened, the moon is looked at, and it's in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He realized God is here. I've traveled all this distance, 200,000 miles from the earth, and God is here. This is his creation.
Now, not everybody believes that. There was a cosmonaut, a Russian cosmonaut, who went up, looked around the moon, and arrogantly said, I looked everywhere. I didn't see God.
And someone heard that and said, well, if he would have stepped out of his spacesuit he would have seen God. So the cosmonaut is saying, God is nowhere. The astronaut is saying, God is now here.
He is acknowledging what David acknowledged, distance can't hide us from God. So death and distance can't hide us from God. There's the third the David is poetically writing about. Darkness can't hide us from God.
Verse 11, "If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me. Even the night shall be light about me. Indeed the darkness shall not hide from you. But the night shines as the day the darkness and the light--" get this-- "are both alike to you."
Now, we know that darkness limits our visibility. People are afraid of the dark because they can't see well in the dark. They don't know what's around, and they feel vulnerable.
And did you know, that in America, 11% of the adult population says they're afraid of the dark. More people are afraid of the dark than they're afraid of heights. It's a common phobia.
Now, let's just sort of twist that a little bit. He's talking about visible, physical darkness. But you know, because you're probably not afraid of the dark, you know what it's like to go through dark times in life-- emotionally, spiritually. This time of COVID has been probably for you, because it has been for so many, a time of darkness.
And God has felt to you, so distant. I just want you to know, what you feel is not what is. If you feel distant because of this time, it's not true. Your feelings are betraying you.
David is saying, even during dark times God is there. Now, other people are not afraid of the dark. Heck, they love the dark. They wait for the dark. Because the dark obscures their visibility, and they try to get away with things in the dark that they would never try to get away with during the daytime.
That's why, statistic after statistic, shows that in major cities crime goes up after dark. It spikes from about 6:00 PM and then it peaks at about 2:00 AM. 2:00 in the morning crime peaks because it's dark. And under the cover of darkness, they think they can get away with stuff.
It's always been that way, even in Bible times. Saul went to the Witch of Endor, the Bible says, and disguised himself and went at night. Judas betrayed Jesus. It says, he went out and immediately the Bible wants you to know, it was night. Jesus said, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
He spoke about that metaphorically, but it's also true in the physical realm. I heard about a family that went on vacation, and there was a thief who was watching their house during the day to make sure they left, locked up. And once they left and it got to be nightfall, at about 1:00 in the morning, close to 2:00 in the morning, he broke in.
He broke through the kitchen. It was completely pitch black, and he's walking through the house very slowly. And he hears a voice that says, Jesus sees you and so do I.
He gets freaked out, and he goes a little bit further. Hears it again, Jesus sees you and so do I. And so he turns on his flashlight, starts looking around, can't see anything.
He hears it a third time, Jesus sees you and so do I. He goes over, flips the switch in the kitchen so he can see everything, and he notices on the counter is in a cage a parrot. So he sighs, like that's all it was. No big deal. It's just a parrot in a cage.
And then he looks down and he sees a Doberman Pincher dog sitting with glistening teeth next to the counter and the parrot says, kill Jesus, kill. That was the dog's name, you see. Jesus sees you and so do why.
So David muses at the great attributes of God, and notices God is everywhere present and nothing can separate us from God, not death, not distance, not darkness. Now, I want to end on a conclusion. I want to end on a therefore.
I want you to go back to verse 10, because he says, "Even there--" and notice these words-- "Your hand shall lead me. And your right hand shall hold me." Sometimes you need to be led, and sometimes you just need to be held.
In darkness, you don't know which way you're going. God will lead you. In times of instability, you feel uncertain and insecure. God will hold you. God promises to lead you, and God promises to hold you.
And because he is omnipresent, no matter where you happen to be in circumstances and situations or in physical dimension, God is there and present to lead you and present to hold you. Now, this means something. This means because God is omnipresent, I am never alone. I am never alone.
When you got up this morning, God was there. When you go to bed this evening, God will be there. When you got into that fender bender on the freeway the other day, God was there. When you went and saw the doctor and he said, I'm sorry, this is cancer. God was there.
God was there on your first birthday, your fiftieth birthday, your sixty-fifth birthday. And if you live to be ninety-some, he'll be there on that birthday. He'll be there at every stage of life. Because God is omnipresent, you will never be alone.
Isaiah Chapter 43-- I'm going to read to you from the New Living Translation. "When you go through the deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you." Now, just let that seep into your heart. Just let that sink in.
"When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you."
I think that includes COVID-19. I think that includes all the nonsense that has happened because of that. God is with us. God is with us.
One of Jesus's last promises to his disciples is, "Lo, I am with you always. Even to the end of the age." "Lo, I am with you always. Even to the end of the age."
Now, that's King James. And there was a minister on an airplane, sitting next to a woman on-- they were getting ready to take off, and she was very nervous. She had a Bible, and she was clutching the armrest.
And obviously, the minister figured out, she is a Christian, she is a believer, but she is nervous. That plane taxied to the runway and was about to take off, and she started sweating and shaking. And as before it started taking off the minister turned to her and said, dear woman, it's OK.
Really, it's OK. It's going be OK. We're going to be fine.
And besides, Jesus said he would be with you always. He said, I'm with you always. She said, he did not say that. You're taking it out of context. Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you always."
In other words, we're going up pretty high. Listen, whether you're low or high, Jesus is with you always, always, always. Light or dark, high or low, if you live in America or Arabia, God is with you.
I love the man that was talking to a kid getting out of Sunday school and he said, come here, Son, let me ask you a question. Where's God? If you tell me where God is, I'll give you $1.00
Little boy looked back and said, I'll give you $100 if you can tell me where God ain't. God's everywhere. You want me to tell you where God is, tell me where God isn't. If God is everywhere present, in the totality of his being, God is everywhere, and there ain't nowhere that God is not.
So because he is omnipresent, I'm never alone. A second implication, and second great truth here, is that because God is omnipresent, I can travel courageously. I just want you to think about this because, if you're maybe thinking about being a missionary somewhere, we've sent people on the mission field for years to some scary places, and they wonder, well, maybe I shouldn't go. My friends and relatives are telling me it's dangerous over there. It's wrong for me to go.
Well, if God's called you, Jesus said, go into all the world. He didn't say it would be a safe world when you go. He just said go.
My wife has been over in Iraq, and she walked through ISIS tunnels, previously occupied by ISIS fighters who kill people and cut their heads off. And she walked through those areas without fear because she felt God called her to that. I mean if the Earth is the lord's, and the fullness thereof, then yes you can be cautious-- not cavalier, be cautious-- but listen. It's time to start living our lives fearlessly. Not living in fear.
I have a friend that's traveled all throughout the Middle East, had guns pointed at his head, knives shoved into his ribs. He's been threatened on a number of occasions. He has so much joy, so much confidence, is so unafraid of life. Every time I'm around him I think, I want to be like Sammy Dagger. This guy just loves the Lord and trusts the Lord.
And I know it's a difficult time, and you might feel it's a lot easier to just stay cocooned and stay at home and not risk anything, but you know what? Life is all about risk at some point. And if God is calling you to something, step into that.
Isaac Watts said something, wrote something. He wrote so many great articles and books and hymns. And he wrote this.
"Within thy circling power I stand. On every side I find thy hand. Awake, asleep, at home, abroad, I am surrounded still by God. Oh, may these thoughts possess my breast where e'er I roam, where e'er I rest. Nor let my weaker passions dare consent to sin, for God is there."
The presence of God gave him courage, but also gave him the warning of not to sin because God is present everywhere. So because God is present, I can travel courageously. I'm never alone.
Here's the third thing that is a practical conclusion. Because God is omnipresent, I'm accountable. I'm accountable.
God's presence is a good thing, it can also be a bad thing. If I live my life like God doesn't exist, one day that's going to catch up with me. If I am running away from him, instead of running to him, one day that'll catch up with me.
Now, wherever you are, I have already said, God is there. God is with you, if you are with God. But let me just tell you, if you feel far from God, guess who moved?
Because some of you still feel far from God. It could be that you moved away from him. You walked away from him, and you need to come back to him.
There's a theological professor in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dr. John Bailey, who would begin his theology class every year with these words. "We must remember--" he said to his students-- "that in discussing God, we can't talk about him without his hearing every word we say. We can talk about others behind their backs, but God is everywhere."
Hey, let me ask you a question. Aren't you glad that God doesn't socially distant? He doesn't. He doesn't do that.
He's with you. He's not six feet away from you. He is with you. He is near at hand.
To Moses, when God called him, he said, "I will certainly be with you." To Joshua who succeeded Moses God said, "As I was with Moses, so I will also be with you." To Gideon, the warrior, he said, "Surely I will be with you and you will defeat the Midianites."
Paul was in jail in Corinth. He was shuttered up, didn't know if he would ever get out. At night God appeared to him and said, "Do not be afraid Paul. But speak and do not keep silent, for I am with you."
I'm here to tell you something. God is with you. God is with you.
And if you feel far from God, then run to him. Run to him. Run back to him.
Have you walked away from him in your Christian walk? Then run back to him. Well, I've taken so many steps away from him, it's a long run back.
No, it's not. It's one step back. One step back.
The Prodigal Son, when his father saw him, his father ran toward him and took him in his arms. Got will run toward you. It's one step back.
If you've walked away from God, maybe you can recall closer day's, more intimate times, wonderful times with God, and you haven't experienced that in a long time, please take this opportunity to run into his arms to be forgiven, to experience his glorious presence once again, his forgiving power once again. And maybe you've never done that at all. Maybe you've just hidden behind, I live in America, my parents believe in God, my grandparents maybe go to church every now and then. I'm OK. But you're realizing something's missing.
It is. He's missing. He wants to be ever present, your ever present help in trouble.
And he will do that, but you have to say yes to him. You have to acknowledge him. You must believe that he is, Hebrews says, and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
So it's as simple as praying a prayer right where you are, and inviting Christ to come into your life. And he will come in. He will change you.
He'll make all things new. He'll give you hope. He'll give you a reason to live. He'll give you strength, and you'll experience God's presence with you in a way you've never experienced it ever before.
You go, well I'm not sure that could ever happen. Well, why don't you try it? What have you got to lose? Sounds like you've got everything to gain and nothing to lose.
If there is a heaven and there is a hell then you've got, at this point, everything to gain and only hell to lose and nothing else on this earth. So come to him, pray to him, take him up on his word and see if he won't change your life. If you want to do that, I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
I want you to say these words after me. Say them out loud. I'm going to challenge you to do that.
Say them out loud, mean it from your heart, and just say, Lord, I give you my life. I am a sinner. I have failed.
I admit it. I know that. And I am sorry for my sin.
And I believe Jesus that he came from heaven to earth, that he died on a cross, that he shed his blood for my sin, but that he rose again from the grave and is alive right now. I believe that. I place my faith in him.
I turn from my sin, I turn from my past. I turn to Jesus, the Savior as Lord. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Helped me, hold me, lead me from this day forward, in Jesus' name, Amen.