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Devotional Week 6 | Our God is Omnipresent

Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Omnipresent, Day 1

“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

Our God is omnipresent, that is:

  • God does not have temporal or spatial dimensions

  • He is present at every point in space and time with his whole being

  • God also chooses to act differently at different places and times

  • God also chooses to make his presence more or less apparent to humanity in different places and times

Because I’m a bit odd, I’ve always wanted to be able to get out of my car when driving across a state line and stand with one foot in this state and one foot in that one. I’d be able to say, “I’m in Georgia and Tennessee at the same time!” In reality, I’m not really in two places at the same time--I just have both feet standing on two different properties. I’m still in just the one place.

Indeed, I can’t be in two different times at the same time. I can’t be present in yesterday and tomorrow.

But God isn’t bound or restricted to time or space. He’s omnipresent. Everywhere at all times, he exists. And it’s not like he’s just got one foot here and one foot there. He’s not playing Twister. God is fully and totally present in all places and times. He’s present to know, feel, speak, and act.

God can be this and do this because he’s the Creator of all things--the Creator of time and space. For lack of better terms, God was here before there was a space to call “here” or a time to call “now” or “before.” As Creator over space and time, he’s master and Lord over them. He doesn’t have to wait until the sun rises to find what a new day brings--he’s already there and always been there.

We ought not think of God’s omnipresence in terms of God being “bigger” than space--it’s much better to think of him in terms of unbound by or beyond the constraints of space. This is a mind-boggling mystery for sure!

The good news is, as you think about God and talk to him in prayer, you can know:

  • God is present with you now to hear clearly and intimately what you’re praying over

  • You can’t go anywhere that God can’t reach you and do his mighty and good works on your behalf

  • God was with you in that painful time back then and he was already here today, ready for you to arrive exactly where he wants you to be

  • There are no surprises to omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent God--he never wrings his hands like you and I do and he doesn’t find himself in unexpected circumstances

1. Today, focus on thinking of and feeling God’s presence. He’s here with you, right now, as you’re reading this. As you work, speak with your spouse or friends, and do chores at home. God is omnipresent.

2. Pray today as if God is close by, rather than on some distant throne (he’s in both places and his attention isn’t divided!). Talk to God as your close-by Father, rather than your distant, detached deity.


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Omnipresent, Day 2

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)

Many Christians have experienced a special closeness to God in particular place or time. In 2002, after walking away from Jesus and his church for five years, I felt, very strongly and happily, that I was with God again. I was at a church in Atlanta, listening to Pastor Louie Giglio preach and when we all began singing worship songs (with David Crowder!), the presence of the Lord exploded into my head and heart. It was exhilarating! I didn’t want it to stop.

So, I bought the CD recording of Louie’s talk that night and Crowder’s worship album. Over the course of the next days, weeks, and months, I kept trying to reproduce and get back to that experience of God’s presence by listening to what was happening when I first felt God. A lot of the time, it was helpful and encouraging, but it never truly gave me God’s presence in the same way.

As I said, many Christians share this experience. When God took hold of you at a particular church, you’re tempted to think it’s there, at that physical location you need to keep returning to, as though it’s a holy place, centralizing God’s presence for you, like the ancient Jewish temple was for the Hebrews. Some have closeness with the Lord on a mountaintop or cathedral or on a boat.

In truth, there is no special place for Christians that we have to make a pilgrimage to, where God is especially present. Our God is omnipresent, and though he may choose to make his presence known to you more or less at some specific place, in some specific time, he is in all places and in all times fully--and he chooses to make his presence known more or less when and where he wants to.

That’s why our church building, though a terrific gift from the Lord, isn’t holy ground. We might refer to it as the “house of the Lord,” but he doesn’t live in our church building like we live in our homes. We can be anywhere and the Lord will make his presence known. There are no sacred spaces or times--only the Lord and his Word are truly sacred. We respect the property God gives us to gather in and worship him. We are thankful for church buildings, cathedrals, monasteries, and other good places--but the Lord can, will, and does meet us anywhere and everywhere.

The knowable, feelable presence of God comes out of a “faucet” which has no knob or dial for us to turn. So, as good and as helpful as it is to repeat past experiences of God, we can’t turn the water on. Only God can.

But, we can stand under the faucet and pray for the Lord to show up.

1. As you read and pray today, you might or might not feel very close to the Lord. That’s okay. It really is. Reading and praying can’t obligate God to make him disclose his presence in a great way...but it’s one reliable way of staying under the faucet.

2. If you don’t pray for anything else today, just spend some time in solitude and quiet (or in some peaceful, undistracting state) and ask the Lord to show you that he’s with you. Take your time. Don’t rush. And don’t believe you did it wrong if you don’t have a wonderful, spiritual experience. Just trust the Lord and wait on him to show up.


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Omnipresent, Day 3

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. “ (Colossians 1:17)"

"Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.” (Isaiah 59:2)

“...the Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7)

While God is omnipresent--everywhere, at all times--he often makes his presence more or less known...more or less felt. We call this the manifest presence of the Lord. I like to hide nearby where my son Martin is playing and watch him. When he least suspects it, I like to jump out of hiding and startle him (he loves it, too). Even though he didn’t know I was there, I was. I chose to make my presence known by making a scary sound and jumping out from behind his bookshelves, wearing a Scream mask (yes...I know, my kid’s issues are my fault).

When God talks about his presence in the Bible, he generally means one of three things:

  • God’s presence to sustain

  • God’s presence to punish

  • God’s presence to bless

God is present to keep your blood pumping, your brain’s neurons to keep firing, and the atoms of your body from flying apart. He’s maintaining the physical laws of gravity, magnetism, and the weak and strong electromagnetic forces of the universe. Everywhere that you look--at your body, the galaxy...everywhere--God is present, sustaining it all.

When the Bible speaks of God’s wrath and punishment, it mostly describes his presence as being withdrawn. God removes the experienced and felt benefit of his presence. When I’m far from home and my wife and kids, it hurts my soul because they’re not nearby. I don’t experience the benefits and joys of seeing their faces, hearing their voices, and touching them with hugs and kisses. Sin creates an experienced distance in our relationship with God, which makes us feel like he’s not with us--not present. So, while we often describe Hell as the place where God isn’t, that’s not entirely accurate to say. God is omnipresent, ruling over even Hell. Hell is where no benefits are felt from the presence of God...and it hurts like hell.

God’s presence is often most wonderfully felt to bless us. To give us hope, to give us comfort, to give us courage, and to give us peace. We don’t feel God’s presence in this way twenty-four hours a day, but he makes his presence most greatly known when we most desperately need him. Heaven is the place where God and Man are together and we will always be aware of and experiencing the blessed manifest presence of God.

1. We often feel far from God and, sadly, we need to consider the likelihood that it’s because we’re walking in unconfessed, unrepentant sin. What’s in your head, heart, and life that’s creating a divide between you and God’s presence?

2. Take time today to think of all the ways the Lord is sustaining you, without your attention. Pray in gratitude for all the prayer requests God is answering that you haven’t even thought to pray!


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Omnipresent, Day 4

“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. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

As we peer into the knowledge of God each day in these devotions, learning theology, we don’t just want to find information, but experience transformation. God wants to change the way we think and feel about him, ourselves, and the universe.

So, today I want to ask and answer the question: So what? What difference should it make that our God is omnipresent? Why is that a good thing?

It’s good that Our God is omnipresent because:

1. There is nowhere for Satan and God’s (and therefore, our) enemies to hide

2. There is nowhere you can run with your sin that God can’t find you and bring you back from

3. Nothing is outside of his authority--God is God everywhere. There is no other nation or territory under another god’s jurisdiction where the Lord isn’t sovereign

4. Times, cultures, and societal norms (though they will try to) can’t over-rule or over-power God’s authority and omnipotence...he is God at ALL times and in ALL places

5. No matter where you’re at, physically or spiritually, God hears you, sees you, and cares about you

6. No lost person is beyond the reach of God’s saving grace

I want you to read over, meditate on, and pray through the list above. I hope the Lord will make his presence with you today manifest (that is, experienced and felt) as you’re changed by the truth of his omnipresence. I hope you receive courage, hope, comfort, peace, and freedom directly from the God who is nearby you and never too far.


Who Is This God?

The Attributes of God

Our God is Omnipresent, Day 5

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:7-10)

Jesus tells us that his Holy Spirit blows and goes where he chooses and that no one decides for him (John, chapter 3). God is sovereign and no one has the right or power to command him to go here or there. There is no apparent “equation” in the scriptures which guarantees that if we plug in (A: action) and (B: words), then (C: God will be somewhere or do something).

...and yet, James, Jesus’ own little brother (half-brother, to be precise), gives us a list of helpful things to do. While doing them won’t make God be anywhere, they’ll put us in the best position to feel and be close to God. If we want to be ready for God to “draw near to us,” we need to “draw near to him.” That includes things like confessing sin, turning from sin, feeling contrition over sin, and being humbled, asking God to come near and forgive you, restore you, and exalt you.

Below, I want to offer you another list I think helps us be in a good position to be ready for God to make himself known to us. Remember, you can’t turn the faucet on, but you can stand and stay under it, crying out until the Lord decides to act:

  • Pray and read your Bible: relational presence is more felt when you talk and listen

  • Obey the Lord’s commands: don’t damage or distance yourself from the blessing of God’s presence, but put yourself in the best position to receive it

  • Repent of sin: turn away from it and return to God

  • Worship and enjoy God: do what awakens love for the Lord (hobby, singing, study, community with saints, ministry, etc, anything that honors God and is good for you)

  • Stick and stay with God’s people: the church is the family of God and our Father loves to spend time with his kids. Sure, you can be with God (he’s omnipresent) in your deer stand or bass boat...but there’s no replacement for the presence of our Father God with our Family of God

1. In what ways do you need to obey James's commands? What are you doing in your life that draws you away from God, rather than draws you nearer to God?

2. No one’s relationship with the Lord looks exactly the same. We’re all made unique as we’re with the Lord. But we are all part of the same spiritual family with the same spiritual DNA. So, from the above list, what might you do alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ to draw near to the omnipresent Lord?

3. Remember that we’re seeking the manifest presence of God. If you’re not having a “mountain-top” experience of the Lord all the time, that doesn’t mean you’re always in sin and not doing it right in your relationship with the Lord. He chooses when to make himself known. So, don’t feel bad if your prayer and Bible reading time and church life is just a lot of you, standing under the faucet and crying out. We’re all with you together, crying out, waiting on omnipresent God to show up--and he will.

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