May 15, 2015
A Local Call
By Skip Heitzig
If you go to Jerusalem, the tour guides there will sometimes say—tongue-in-cheek but also with an air of seriousness—"You can pray to God anywhere on earth, but here it's a local call."
In Psalm 139:7, King David wrote, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" Essentially, he asked the question, "Where is God?" This is a rhetorical question; it's meant to lead you to one conclusion. Where can I flee from God's presence? Nowhere. Or, to put it in the positive: where is God? Everywhere. This is the omnipresence of God.
This is either a great comfort to you or a great concern, depending on how you're living. You can run, but you can't hide; God is inescapable. For New Testament believers, it's not just that God is everywhere—it's more personal. Jesus is Immanuel, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). He came to earth and lived here for thirty-three and a half years. And before He left, He told His disciples, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). He was referring to the presence of the Holy Spirit of God dwelling inside the believer.
From Psalm 139, we can draw three conclusions about the omnipresence of God. First, death itself can't hide a person from God. Psalm 139:8 says, "If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." For the believer, "to be absent from the body" is "to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). But doesn't death end it all for the unbeliever? Nope. After this, you're not just eternally unconscious. The Bible says, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" before God (Hebrews 9:27).
Second, because God is everywhere, distance can't hide us from Him. Look at verses 9-10: "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." To rephrase: "If I could travel the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) and shoot across the universe to any place, God is there." What does this mean to us personally? It means you don't have to go on a pilgrimage to a holy place or crawl on your knees to get to God. You can open the Bible, pray, and instantly make contact with heaven.
Finally, darkness doesn't hide us from God. Look at verses 11-12: "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 are both alike to You." The word fall in verse 11 literally means to bruise, crush, or oppress. All of us have been crushed spiritually or emotionally in dark times. But Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). That's a promise.
Think back on what those tour guides say: "You can pray to God anywhere on earth, but here it's a local call." That's just not true. In Acts 17:24, Paul said point-blank, "God…does not dwell in temples made with hands." I pray we would meditate on the great truth that God is here and everywhere. If there's ever a truth that you should filter all the activities and decisions of your life through, it's this one.
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