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Thursday, September 25, 2014

God's Ever-Present Love

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 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. (Psa 139:7-10)

Think about you would have felt if you were in Joseph’s shoes. His brothers sold him into the hands of foreigners, who took him to a land he did not know and sold him to an Egyptian officer. The initial language barrier, the realization of permanent servitude, and the finality of his separation from his loved ones must have made him feel a loneliness that few people ever know.

And yet the narrative of Joseph’s life in Genesis 37-50 demonstrates that he most certainly was never alone. From the time of his being sold into slavery to the time when he comforted his brothers with “what you meant for evil, God meant for good,” Joseph knew the blessings of God’s presence, provision, and love. A statement in the story of Joseph’s imprisonment is thematic for his entire time in Egypt: But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen 39:21, cf 39:2, 3, 5, 23). No matter where Joseph went, the Lord was present with him, loving him.

To the idolatrous culture of the ancient near east, the notion of an omnipresent god was unthinkable. In their minds, gods were territorial. They lived in temples made by the hands of their worshipers and did not venture beyond these boundaries. It is with this concept of localized, “kept” gods that Yahweh contrasts Himself in Isaiah 66:1-2a:

Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,” declares the LORD. 

Man can make no habitation for this God because He cannot be contained (2 Chron 2:6; Acts 17:24-25). He is everywhere present at all times. He knows no boundaries.

And His omnipresence means wonderful things for His people, not the least of which is that they cannot be separated from His love. David marveled at this truth in Psalm 139:7-10, noting even if he was buried in the uttermost parts of the sea, “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”  

God’s love for His people becomes an constant comfort when we understand the omnipresence of our Father. There is nowhere that we can go that we will not know the provision of His love. No earthly barrier can prevent our fellowship with Him. Truly nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39).

Have you felt alone recently? If so, be reminded of the truth: as a believer, you enjoy the constant presence of the Father and you are the blessed recipient of His ever-present love. You’re never alone.  Think on these things.

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