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God is Omnipresent
By Matt Shockley
Wednesday, April 20

Psalm 139:5-12

5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.

One of my favorite childhood games during a warm summer night was what I called “Search”.  My neighborhood friends and I would spread across our two acre yard, hiding behind large trees, the grape arbor, the wood pile or amongst the corn growing in the adjacent field or in my dad’s garden.  The person designated “it” counted to a high number, and then armed with a flashlight, the person searched the grounds seeking to find others.  When a person was spotted and identified by name, the person was hauled off to “jail” to be later joined by others. I remember playing for hours in the dark until I heard my dad’s famous two-fingered whistle signaling that it was time to come in for the night. 

In our scripture for today, I was immediately drawn to one phrase in David’s psalm, “You hem me in—behind and before.”  Imagine sleeping in a warm sleeping bag during a cool summer night.  In this verse, “hemmed in” means enclosed, surrounded, and being shut in on all sides.  A simple way to understand it is that God is all over you!  When thinking about the game “Search,” God can be seen in a couple of ways.  First, God is like the person who is “it”, searching high and low trying to find his lost children by name.  Yes, God is not sitting on His majestic throne waiting for you to come to Him.  He is actively searching for you.  Why else did He send His only Son, God incarnate, to come to live on Earth among us?  Would an impersonal, distant god do such a thing?  Not our God!  Second, God is also like my father, who calls us home.  God is always ready to welcome us with arms open and protect us from harm and trouble.

You cannot escape God’s presence.  So, why keep running and hiding?  God has His eternal flashlight (with no batteries required!) searching for you.  Acknowledge His omnipresence and place your faith and trust in His bountiful love, grace, and forgiveness! 

God, let us praise you that you cannot be contained!  You are with us no matter our location or our situation.  Open our heart and mind to your Holy  Spirit. Amen.

Other scripture references
Genesis 28:16; 1 Kings 8:27; Isaiah 25:1; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Acts 17:27

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