I. Omnipresence – God is not there
One Sunday morning a minister told a young boy he would give him an apple if the boy could tell him where God is. The boy said, “Mister, I will give you a whole barrel of apples if you can tell me where God ain’t!”
While we live here, we are bound by both time and place. We are always “here” – never “there.” But God is not bound, or restricted to any one time or place. He does not decide to go where He is not, because He is already there. He is omnipresent!
Omni means “universal, without restriction, all.”
Omnipresence means “being present in all places at all times.” There is nowhere we can go that would be outside of God’s presence, because God exists everywhere at the same time. He is present in this room, and He is present on the most distant planet – all at the same time. We can never go where God is not!
However, the “omni” in omnipresence doesn’t mean that there is a part of God in every place, but that His entire being is in every place. It means that all of God is in all places all the time.
Augustine – “God is not partly here, or partly there, but He is totally present at every point of the universe!”
1 Kings 8:27 – “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”
Jeremiah 23:23-24: “Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord. “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.”
God not only inhabits the universe, He also inhabits eternity! There is no point in space, no moment of time, where God is not present. For Him, the past and future are simply now – as far as the end of our lives are concerned, He is already there!
Psalm 90:2 – “…from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
Isaiah 57:15 – “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
God is eternal and omnipresent – He dwells in what we know as the past, the present and the future – all at the same time. It is why God can see the end from the beginning, and why He is never surprised by anything (2 Peter 3:8 – “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”).
God dwells in “eternity,” but He created “time” for us – to give us a sense of reality. “Time” and “eternity” are not the same thing. “Eternity is not a long time – it is forever.” It has no beginning and no end. It won’t be until we are in heaven/hell that we will have the full sense of eternity.
II. The fact of God’s omnipresence
Psalm 139:7-12: “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.”
Since the Garden of Eden, people have tried to run and hide and escape from God. Every one of them discovers just how futile it is to even try.
Jonah 1:3 – “But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.”
There is no place or time, whether up or down, east or west, day or night, that is a safe hiding place from God.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “The fundamental thing, the most serious thing of all, about God’s omnipresence is that we are always in the presence of God!”
James Cabbett: “We cannot get away from God, though we can ignore Him.”
C. S. Lewis: “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God – the world is crowded with Him!”
William Seeker: “A man may hide God from himself, but he cannot hide himself from God.”
The apostle Paul said that God “…is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27).
God is just as near to a person here as one in Japan. He never needs to move to another place where He wishes to work or to answer prayer, because He completely inhabits His creation. There is no place you could be in the universe where you would be any nearer to God than you are at this very moment.
Because God exists everywhere at once, He is aware of all that happens – good or bad! Nothing happens in this world that escapes His attention. Job 28:24 – “…for He looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens.”
Since we know that God knows everything and is everywhere all at the same time, what effect should this have on our lives?
a) It should be a deterrent to sin
Ever since Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the garden (Genesis 3:8), man has been trying to cover up his sin from God. We may be able to hide our sin from each other, but we cannot hide it from God. “It is impossible to hide anything from God.”
Ezekiel 11:5 – “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and he told me to say, “This is what the Lord says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your minds.”
Acts 15:8 – “God knows the hearts of all men.”
Proverbs 15:3 – “The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.”
Do you understand that God is present with you and whoever you are around? Do you realize that every word, every thought, every attitude, is visible to God? Do you fully understand that God knows everything about you, that He knows what is in your mind and your heart? Do you fully realize what He means when He says there is nothing in our lives that is hidden from Him?
Hebrews 4:13 – “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”
The Bible is clear, God knows us all the way down to our very deepest and secret thoughts, dreams, and desires. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy thought, is it? Most of us would probably rather die than have our secret thoughts and feelings and actions put on display for everybody to see. And yet, that’s how we stand before God. Nothing is hidden from His sight. There’s nothing about us that He doesn’t know. There are no secrets.
Job 23:15 – “No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me.”
Knowing that God sees all, knows all, and is in every place – should cause us to want to speak better, act better, and think better!
b) It should give us great encouragement
Psalm 34:15-20: “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”
Because God is omnipresent and is concerned for us, He hears our prayers and cries for help, He is near the broken-hearted, and He wants to deliver us. God is mindful of each one of us! No one slips His attention!
II. Impact of God’s omnipresence
What does all of this mean for us today? “Because God knows everything and is everywhere, our lives are never beyond His reach.”
Maybe you’ve fallen so far away from God that you feel like you’re out of His sight, that you’re beyond His reach, that you have sinned so much, that you’ve made such a mess of your life that you’re sure that God can’t get to you, that He can’t reach you anymore, that you’ve fallen too far to be rescued. “God couldn’t possibly reach me where I am, and even if He could, I’m sure He wouldn’t want to.”
Stop it – you cannot fall too far for God to reach you, your life hasn’t faded from his sight, you are not forgotten. You can’t live outside of God’s presence – He’s right here with you. He’s not going anywhere!
Hebrews 13:5 – “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
God is all-knowing. He knows our flaws, sins, character defects, weaknesses, mistakes, and failures. He knows what a mess we’ve made of our lives. Yet in spite of everything, He still wants a relationship with each one of us, He still wants to be present in our lives.
No matter how far we have gone, the cross stands as the greatest reminder that God is willing to go further. You cannot outrun God – you cannot out-sin the love and mercy and grace of God, because God loves us more than He even hates our sin. And because of His great love for us, He was willing to endure hell on the cross to give us the promise of heaven in eternity.
Did you know that the last name by which God is known in the Old Testament is found in Ezekiel? It is the Hebrew name Jehovah-Shammah, it simply means: “The Lord, He is here.”
The message of the Bible is clear: wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be – unsaved, backslidden, going through trials and problems – God is here with you at this moment, wanting you to just trust Him – that He will take care of you and guide you safely home!
Psalm 118:5-7: “In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.”
Psalm 120:1 – “I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayer.”
Today you may be trying to run from God – It’s time to stop running!
Let God rescue you today! Psalm 6:4 – “Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love.”