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. – Psalm 139:7-10
First, David asks a rhetorical question. Where shall I go from your Spirit? he asks. Or where shall I flee from your presence? Since God is Spirit, He is everywhere present. There is nowhere that David could go where God would not be.
Surely, there were times that David wanted to flee from God’s presence, but in his rhetorical question, we can see that he knows there’s nowhere to flee. We’ve heard the saying, “You can run but you can’t hide.” But from God, you can’t even run.
David then continues to poetically expand on the scope of this. If I ascend to heaven, he says, You are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. Now whether David’s referring to the spiritual places of heaven and Sheol or physically, the sky and the grave, it’s hard to say. But both are true. God is present in the sky and underground. He’s also present in heaven and Sheol. He is even present in hell. Hell is the place of the full expression of God’s wrath on sin, and He is Lord even there.
He goes on in verse 9, If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea…. The wings of the morning is poetically talking about where the sun rises, that is the east. And the uttermost parts of the sea is making a reference to the Mediterranean Sea, which is to the west of Israel. So, this is a poetic way of saying that God is present east to west. He’s present from heaven to Sheol, from east to west. He is everywhere.
But even more than God’s being everywhere, David highlights
God’s grace everywhere
David doesn’t stop at praising God for His omnipresence. He goes on to say that if he went to the east or to the west, even the uttermost parts of the sea, even there God’s hand shall lead him, and His right hand shall hold David.
It’s not just that God is everywhere. He also takes care of David everywhere. What grace that the God of the universe would lead this sinful man, David. What mercy that He should hold him with His right hand, His hand of power.
So, God is everywhere present and He is everywhere gracious to His people and even, to a great extent, those who aren’t even His people.
As we reflect on God’s omnipresence, may we be riveted by Him. Omnipresence can often be so lofty a scholarly endeavor that we forget that primarily, it should put us in awe, as it did David. And it should excite our hearts to realize that God, being everywhere is not as the deists say He is–distant and uncaring, but rather that He is as the Bible says–near and compassionate.
Do you live your life in acknowledgment of God’s omnipresence? He is with you this very moment.