Under Ryrie’s scripture notes, he mentions Psalm 139:7-11 where David asks the question if there is anyplace one can escape from the presence of God. As he notes the answer is no and makes several more statements. The omnipresence of God is everywhere. We cannot escape from God’s observation no matter where we are or what we are doing. God is aware of all things we as humans are doing or not doing.
In the Old Testament, the spirit of God that indwelled the prophets and wisdom writers was not permanent. If the person committed sin, error, or was rebellious, the spirit of God would leave. It is apparent that David had experienced this indwelling and leaving of the spirit of God, but he also knew that God was watching everything he did as we see in Psalm 139:7-11. However, we see in the New Testament a change where the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost in KJV) was indwelling the believers permanently. What the unbeliever does not realize is that the spirit of God as in the Old Testament still knows and observes all that they do. This will become evident to them at the Judgment.
02/19/18 PM Post:
We use a daily devotional book called “Jesus Calling” which had an interesting remark for February 18. The subject thought for that day was “I am with you.” The writer says “But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go.” The writer’s theme was about the “ups and downs of life.” As we read about David in the Psalm 139 and how God’s Presence is always with us, it was interesting to read this and how God limits the downside of things we experience. As believers, how often do we give thought to that?
As a rule, I don’t disagree with Ryrie’s comments, but on the subject of God’s Omnipresence I feel that he has left things a little vague. Under his point 3 about some distinctions, he makes the following remark “…His whole being is in every place, and the presence of the Lord within every believer serves as a good illustration of this.” While his comment here is good, he fails to emphasize the most important aspect of God’s Omnipresence.
He says “the presence of the Lord within every believer…” which hints at the indwelling Holy Spirit. While this applies only to those who have accepted the Lordship of Jesus, it is a tremendous manifestation of God’s Omnipresence. There are believers all around this globe who affirm the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This fact has important implications for the existence and covering of God’s Omnipresence. He seems to make light of this with his short comment.
Also, God’s Omnipresence is evident to even unbelievers if they will be honest in their observations. However, because of the dominance of the carnal nature within the unbeliever, he will normally refuse to acknowledge the presence of God’s Spirit in trying to get their attention. The OT and NT both speak clearly of how God is trying to get the unbeliever to heed the witness of His Spirit within the natural world and from the witness of believers. However, in Ryrie’s defense, he does devote the entire section eleven of his book to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Maybe he is saying in a subtle way that we should study that entire section in depth: maybe some food for thought.
In the OT we see an interesting story about God’s Omnipresence. Elijah in 1 Kings 19 is running from King Ahab’s wrath after Elijah has called down fire from heaven to consume his water soaked sacrifice and then has all of the priests of Baal killed. This act has kindled the wrath of Queen Jezebel and the king. Elijah runs for his life into the wilderness mountains.
In a mountain cave, God confronts Elijah and questions him. In 1 Kings 19:9 (KJV) God says to His prophet: “What doest thou here, Elijah?” The prophet replies and then God displays His Omnipresence in grand style and in two different ways: in action and voice. A great wind breaks rocks and mountains. Then a great earthquake followed by a fire but God’s voice was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire but only His Omnipresent greatness. Then after this display of God’s omnipresent power, Elijah responds to the still small voice of the Lord which the prophet heard. “Elijah heard it, then wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out” and stood in the cave entrance. God then ask Elijah again what he is doing there.
In this incident, we see God displaying His Omnipresence in His acts and His voice. Despite the power of His acts, God is making the point that His Voice is to be obeyed in spite of all the visual and physical activity around us. Throughout the OT and the NT this teaching is given again and again. Obey God’s voice, and do not be distracted by all the physical activity going on around you. If you are not hearing and obeying God’s voice, you are in disobedience to what He wants you to do. In the NT God’s voice comes to us by the Holy Spirit and through scripture. We get this by daily prayer and reading God’s Word. Is God asking you what are you doing? “Yes Lord, I’m listening” is the right answer.
One of our discussion group members, Bev Rindler, had a very appropriate addition to the 02/21/18 AM post, reminding us of Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God:…”
02/21/18 PM Post:
Today Marilee was reading in Jeremiah chapter 7 and came across two or three verses that add meaning to today’s morning post. In verse 23 Jeremiah is writing this from God’s instruction to him for Israel “But this thing commanded I them, saying, obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” But Jeremiah’s words apparently did not set well with the Israelites for he continues in verse 26, “Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.” No wonder that God called them a stiff-necked people!
Jeremiah continues in verse 28 “But thou shalt say unto them, this is a nation that obeys (KJV obeyeth) not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receives (KJV receiveth) correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.” This people not only stiffened their necks, but stifled the telling of truth! It doesn’t take much to see its application to what is happening in our own nation today. When people refuse to listen to God’s Word, things will get bad. Jeremiah goes on in verse 34 to paint a very dark picture for that nation. We can probably anticipate the very same things happening here in the U.S.
When God’s still small voice speaks to you, be ready to obey and act. Failure brings punishment. Obedience keeps you out of trouble with God.
In our last post, we read about Elijah and how God can manifest Himself is different ways: His actions and His voice. Today we will look at yet another manifestation of God’s presence. In the OT we see the phrase “angel of the Lord” used numerous times (52) to convey a message to specific individuals. He appeared to Abraham and his concubine in Genesis, to Balaam in Numbers, to Manoah in Judges, to Elijah as we saw in our last post, to David in psalms, to Isaiah and the minor prophet Zechariah. But his appearance to Zechariah is very interesting.
Under meaning In Ryrie’s comments on Omnipresence, he defines it as follows: “Omnipresence means that God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times.” One of the ways He does this we saw in the previous paragraph was His appearance as the “Angel of the Lord.” To those who He manifested Himself in this way He was bringing that person a message usually of a warning about some future event. However, to Zechariah in chapter 1 verse 8, we see the “Angel of the Lord” bring to Zechariah a different message.
Zechariah, apparently in a dream, sees horses of different colors, a rider and a message from the “Angel of the Lord.” The prophet asks “O my lord, what are these?” The Angel responds “I will show (KJV shew) thee what these be.” “And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.” The horse and rider bring back a message that “all the earth is (KJV sitteh) still, and is at rest.” No warning of chaos or calamity, but rest.
This message was not what Zechariah expected. He asks why God has not responded to the captivity of the Jewish people. What follows the Prophets question is an answer that their captivity is about to end and that the captives are going to return to Jerusalem. Apparently God is going to use this “earth is still…at rest” time to encourage the ruler over this captive people to return them to their homeland.
What is not so evident here is that God’s Omnipresence is at work in these earthly events to affect the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the city of Jerusalem. History does not record for us of any other people group being returned to their homeland like this. Yet we see here the Omnipresence of God orchestrating events that bring about such an extraordinary move. God had to be “everywhere present” to move such events in the right direction to bring about His will. Sometimes it is hard for us to see the complete picture as God does. We need to be open to God at work in global events around us.
How awesome is the omnipresence of God? It is beyond our comprehension. The following story from the book of Joshua (chapter 10) gives us an idea.
Joshua is leading the army of Israel and taking over the Land that God had promised to Abraham. They are in the midst of a battle and running out of daylight. Joshua prayed for God to intervene and give them more time. God did. The last part of verse 13 reads “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” So Joshua got the extra time he needed and went on to defeat the heathen kings in the Promised Land.
This incident is proof that God intervenes in the affairs of man when it is needed to accomplish His plan. Because God is omnipresent, He knows what is going on and what will accomplish the end result that He needs. The capture and occupation of the Promised Land was an integral part of what God was setting into place. The Children of Israel needed land and time to bring about the future coming of the Messiah. God mapped it out and worked it out to bring about the end result He wanted. If what you do is part of God’s Plan, He will see that it succeeds.