“Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV
How does this declaration make you feel? Are you glad that God is with us or are you terrified? It’s true that the thought of being watched nonstop and having someone who knows all our bad thoughts can be quite indimidating — and that’s good! One reason for God’s proclamation about his omnipresence is that it may stand as a warning. Nevertheless, there is also a wonderful blessing in it which becomes apparent when you remember that God is good and that He loves you. It is the foundation of the amazing announcement of Paul who wrote,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
This statement does only make sense when God covers everything and it is just one of the divine providences that come with his presence. With your permission, I’d like to introduce you to Psalm 139 which contains a beautiful description the profoundness of the statement “God is with us, no matter where we are”.
God Knows And Surrounds Us
David starts this Psalm by explaining,
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6 NIV
Thus, God knows you inside and out and his mighty hands are fully surrounding you.
The Blessing In God Knowing Everything
The fact that God knows you thoroughly means that He knows the real you. He knows all the desires of your heart and loves you no matter what anyone thinks about you! This you can be sure of, because Jesus laid down his life to save you. And that’s not all of it! The Lord didn’t just save your life and then withdrew from you. Instead, He is constantly surrounding and protecting you. This last part is also wonderfully described by Gill who states that God didn’t lay upon us (or in this case David) his hand of affliction,
but rather his hand of power and providence, to preserve, protect, and defend him. Or it signifies that he was so near to him that his hand was upon him, and he was perfectly known; as anything is that is before a man, and he has his hand upon. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Psalm 139:5
Since God knows the real you, there is no need to pretend or act like we sometimes do it before other people. Instead, you can and should be yourself before God. And when you have made him the Lord of you life, you can also be sure that He will always guard you. Of course, there will be valley times, but
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:24 NLT
Therefore, don’t lose heart and trust in your Father in heaven. He is with you and He will rescue you from your enemies, no matter how desperate your situation may look like!
The Warning In God Knowing Everything
Next to being a blessing, God knowing us thoroughly does also stand as a warning. It is an exhortation for believers to stay humble and keep repenting of their sins. And for unbelievers, it is a serious admonition, because the Lord Most High declares,
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10 ESV
God sees everything we do and knows every single one of our thoughts. He records them for the day of judgement when our Lord will return to judge the world. For a scale, He will use the Ten Commandments and his standard is perfection,
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 NIV
Please don’t underestimate this warning! Every sin, may it be blaspheming, hating someone in your heart, lying or simply looking with lust will by itself sentence you to eternity in hell!
In case you think that this punishment is too harsh, you might want to read about The Perfection of God’s Justice.
Now, since all of us have broken at least one of the Ten Commandments (see also Romans 3:10), we all seem doomed
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 KJV
I love that scripture, because on the one hand, it points out how desperate our situation is by making it clear that someone must die for our sins. On the other hand though, it also shows us the way out which is through repentance and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
If you’re not saved yet, I’m begging you to read about Why We Should Fear God and how We Are Forgiven Through the Blood of Christ! I’m not doing this because I think my website is that good, but because I truly care about you and don’t want you to spend eternity in a lake of burning sulfur.
God Is Everywhere At The Same Time
Well, God reading our thoughts and looking at our hearts is not the only aspect of him being with us. Here is what David wrote next:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12 NIV
This means that God is with us all the time, regardless of where we are or how hard we try to hide from him.
The Blessing In God Being Everywhere
God loves you and He cares about you. That’s is why He is watching you continuously so that He can reach down to catch you whenever you stumble. He is with you through the best and the worst times of your life and will strengthen and guide you through it all if you just look to him for help.
If you are doubting this at the moment, please allow me to tell you more about how God Cares For Us.
Once you understand this truth, you will not lose heart when you’re in the midst of a storm and instead be able to boldly proclaim and also experience that
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3 ESV
My Experience With God’s Presence In A Storm
I know how hard it can be to keep our eyes on God when the waves come crashing down on us. That’s why I want to share one of my experiences with you.
A few months ago, I found myself in the middle of a great storm. It was so fierce that I couldn’t see anything; neither where I came from nor where I should go. One reason for this storm was an increasing amount of serious sicknesses in my family and circle of friends. This was accompanied by everyone suggesting me to keep working as an IT person while the cry within me tells me to instead serve the kingdom of God with all I have.
Those things left me broken and in a series doubts and fears. Nevertheless, I would not let go of Jesus, no matter how many terrible things happened around me! Here is what I wrote into my journal that night:
The only light I see in the eye of this hurricane is coming from above and called Jesus. I feel the storm around me, but it is not or just barely touching me. I feel God’s protecting arms around me and know that I have roots that go deep down into the foundation of stone. I am rooted in the unshakeable truth which will resist every storm. God crafted me into a strong tree with so many amazing people and he won’t let me fall off again.
As I was praying for him to not let me get pulled into the storm around me, I saw myself as this great, green tree in the eye of the hurricane. Everything was dark around me but I was radiating God’s light and standing firm, because I trust in Jesus. I know that he will bring me through and shine all the more in my weakness.
May your will be done, Lord!
Nina Rößling, 14th of June 2019
You might not have the same vision, but what I experienced and recorded back then is as true for you as it is for me!
The Warning In God Being Everywhere
Again, this promise does also contain a warning. As David said, you cannot hide from God. He will always find you and sees even the things you are doing in the dark of the night. Jesus proclaims,
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37 ESV
Now, if the words you speak are enough to sentence you to death, how much more will your deeds be condemning you! The only way to escape this judgement is the salvation through in Jesus Christ. However, this warning should also speak to all believers, because God says,
“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.” Ezekiel 3:18 NLT
This should awaken us and encourage us to preach the gospel to everyone. But as you’re doing this, please know that we are just the messengers. God is the one who saves,
For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:15-16 NIV
God Made Us And Has A Plan
Yep, there is still more behind the short declaration “God is with us”. David describes it as,
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16 NIV
God is with us right now, but He also created us and gave us life. In fact, we owe The Diversity of Creation to him! Furthermore, God has a good plan for each of our lives, but He won’t force his way on us. Instead He declares,
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 NKJV
That means that He won’t shout at us, but show us where to go when we look at him. Therefore, keep your eyes on God and trust him, then all will go well. I know that this is not easy while you’re going through a hard time. I’ve been there too and struggled a lot to lift my eyes to God. But whenever I did it, I felt a relief and found peace in my heart. And the great thing is that this will also happen to you, because God himself promises,
“Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4 NKJV
Why We Should Know That God Is With Us
In the last part of Psalm 139 which I want to include here, David set a good example of what we should do with this knowledge. He wrote,
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand —
when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18 NIV
Just like David, we too should value and take to heart every thought the Lord has about us. You see, both, his expressions of love and his rebukes are for our welfare. Added to that, we should constantly be aware that God is with us. When we do this, we’ll be able to sustain our fear of the Lord and discern his words from the lies of the enemy. Then, the accuses of Satan will leave us cold because we share common ground with Paul who stated,
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:31-33 NIV