Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
In Psalm 139 David exalts the omnipresence of God – his everlasting love, his sovereignty over everything. This verse is often heard in hymns and gospel songs, and just about summarizes the entire concept of God‘s omnipresence – we cannot flee from God, even if we want to; we cannot be separated from God, even if other things try to make us. God is still with us, even if we cannot see him. There is nowhere we can go from God, because he is always with us – he is omnipresent.
Omnipresence of God
Spirit – the use of Spirit here most likely do not refer to the Holy Spirit, but God as a Spirit. Or perhaps it means the Trinity as a whole. Either way, it signifies the omnipresent quality of God – he is a Spirit, there is no physical body to limit him. The sentiment of God being spirit is rare but not unique – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth [John 4:24]. God has the qualities of spirits – invisible, immaterial, incorruptible, uncompounded – yet he alone differs from all other spirits – he wasn’t created, but was the creator. There is no going from him, there is no escape from his righteous anger, there is no hiding place that he doesn’t own. His omnipresence is always closely related to his omnipotence – because he is everywhere, because nothing escapes him, he sees everything, and he knows everything and therefore he is all powerful.
Omnipotence of God
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? There is absolutely nothing is this world that can separate us from God – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord [Romans 8:38-39]. Because God is all-knowing, and he is almighty, there is nothing in the world that can obstruct us from God‘s love for us. Never be misled into thinking that the Satan is God‘s opposite number, because he isn’t. In the end of days, it will only take an angel to subdue the devil. Not an all-out war between God and Satan. Not even an archangel. Just a normal angel [Rev 20:1-2]. Satan may be crafty and strong (as compared to us weak humans), but in the Lord we have nothing to fear, because God is definitely more powerful than the devil, anytime, anyday
When we flee from God
Jonah is probably the best example of someone who has attempted to flee from God, from God‘s calling, from God‘s work. Yet even as he ran away, escaped to sea, God was there [Jonah 1:3]. Even when he asked to be thrown overboard to calm the storm, God was there and sent a fish to swallow him. Some times you may be called to do work that you do not want to do. Or you may be doing the Lord’s work till a point where by it suffocates you, and you escape. In fairness, much of God‘s work isn’t easy to do – it takes a lot more love, a lot more compassion, a lot more faith and a lot more hope than worldly work. And sometimes, loving someone could be extremely hard.
“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD [Jer 23:24]. The Lord sees us, even when we hide from him, and he sees our hearts, even if we turn away from him. Sometimes we need a breather, or sometimes we don’t have enough faith to do God‘s work; not enough love to serve God‘s people. Playing Hide-and-Seek with the Lord is useless, because he has an unfair advantage in the game. He is omnipresent. Instead let us turn to him. Lift our problems up to him. And trust in his deliverance.
When we can’t see God
Where can I flee from your presence? Some older translations render presence as face. Where can I go where you won’t be facing me? Where can I go where you cannot see me? Have you heard of the Footprints in the Sand story? When a man describes how life is like walking along the beach with the Lord, and yet as he looks back in life, he noticed that during his lowest and saddest times, there were only one set of footprints. This, according to the tale, was the Lord’s reply: “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
Let us take comfort – whether we want to hide from God at times, because the laws and the expectations of a Christian life has become too tiring for us, or whether we’re facing a rough patch in life and we can’t seem to feel God‘s presence – let us take comfort, because God is omnipresent, and even if we cannot seem to see him, hear him or feel him, he is there with us. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death [Romans 8:2] – there are many expectations in the Christian lifestyle. Loving somebody alone for example could be very, very hard. Doing the Lord’s work could be at times very challenging. But the Christian lifestyle isn’t meant to suffocate us. Let us find peace in the Lord. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you [Deu 31:6]. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and even for ever more [Psalm 121:8|Article] – even in hard times, even in sad times, remember that our Lord is carrying us, along with our burdens, on his shoulders. He shall preserve our going out and our coming in – he is here with us.
“When you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”