“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8 (NRS)
Our life consists of more than “flesh and blood”. It includes our assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that regulate our personal preferences and pursuits; they can be “of the world” or “of God.” These assumptions, beliefs and behaviors eventually influence the choices we make daily and are ultimately reflected in our life style.
It is important that God’s influence is evident in our lives. This begins by our acknowledging His glorious presence. In Psalm 139 David shares the effect such knowledge can have in the life of the believer.
In this psalm God’s presence is demonstrated through several of His key attributes. In verses 7-12, from which our text for today is found, David speaks specifically of God’s omnipresence. God is everywhere all the time. In Jeremiah 23:23-24 this characteristic is spoken of by God Himself. “Am I a God near by, says the LORD, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.”
The impact of living in God’s presence offers extraordinary benefit for the believer. First, knowing God is everywhere offers us great comfort. The new norm for living in the 21st century requires us to be ever vigilant—watching for potential risks and dangers that may threaten us physically, financially, and/or socially. To know that we are never out of the presence of God should settle the faint-hearted. God alone can make good on His promise that He will “never leave nor forsake us” (Gen. 28:15).
Secondarily, believers living in the presence of God possess great confidence knowing that God is ever-present. Even in the most routine of transactions, recognizing that the “only wise God” (Rom. 16:27) is there to guide and direct our steps, releases us from unnecessary stress and concern (Phil. 4:6-7).
Finally, living in God’s presence provides us great clarity as to how we are to live in this present age (Titus 2:11-13). This acknowledgment requires that we live obediently according to His Word and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word, especially the Epistles, describes God’s expectation of the believer’s conduct in light of living in a fallen world. The believer’s reality is expected to be very different from the world’s view (Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 John 2: 16-17)
As believers in Christ, our reality recognizes that God is the center of our universe and it is God who sustains us and keeps us (Ps. 3:5; Heb. 1:3). We are to joyfully seek His will—the divine purpose of the ever-present God. The believer’s life and reality is derived from knowing we live continuously in the presence of God.