ATTRIBUTES OF GOD INDEX
|OUR GOD IS…
The Hallelujah Chorus
OMNIPOTENCE (Ps 68:14; 91:1, 2; 115:3; 2Cor 6:18) means God is all powerful and thus has unlimited authority & influence. He has the ability to do whatever His will dictates. Man may have the authority but not the ability to carry through. The term omnipotence is not found in Scripture but clearly is declared in Scripture (Ge 18:14; Job 42:2; Nu 11:23; Mt 19:26; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 19:6). His omnipotence is seen in His act of creating (Ge 1:1, 2, 3; Ps 33:6, 7, 8, 9). and sustaining everything (Col 1:17b; Heb 1:3), in His relation to mankind (Gen. 45:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Ex. 4:11; Da 4:17, 25, 32; Luke 12:20; Acts 12:21, 22, 23, 24), in His relation to the hosts of heaven (Da 4:35; Heb 1:14), in His power over Satan and his minions (Job 1:12; 2:6; Luke 22:31, 32), and as Commander in chief (Ex 9:3, 4, 5, 6, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33; Ps. 107:25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Jonah 1:17; 4:6, 7, 8; Da 3:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).
Although God has all power He cannot do that which contradicts His holy character or essence and thus He cannot annihilate Himself because He is eternal, immutable, and all wise. He cannot lie because He is truth (Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18). He cannot not keep His Word because He is faithful (2Ti 2:13). God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13). The omnipotence of God gives every saint a firm foundation to trust Him and confidence in His ability to keep the precious and magnificent promises in Scripture.
What is a practical application of KNOWING God as OMNIPOTENT? CLICK for a great Biblical example and brief discussion.
Spurgeon rightly says that "Every conversion is a display of omnipotence."
Ray Pritchard in his sermon series on the "omni" attributes of God writes that…
these attributes are difficult to grasp because they describe truths about God that have no analog in human experience. We are limited as to place, power and personal knowledge. God is not. Thus we say that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), and omnipotent (all-powerful).
Theologians sometimes speak of God's attributes in two categories—communicable and incommunicable. That sounds strange until you remember that we commonly speak of communicable diseases—diseases that can be spread from one person to another, such as chicken pox. Incommunicable diseases are those that cannot be spread from one person to another, such as rheumatoid arthritis or most forms of cancer.
When this distinction is applied to God, communicable attributes refer to those aspects of God's character that we may share in some way—such as mercy, grace, anger, justice, and holiness. Incommunicable attributes are those that are unique to God and unshared in any way by his creatures. The three "omni" attributes fall into this category. I have always remembered that distinction because that was the subject of the very first question on my ordination exam almost 20 years ago—Define the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God and give an example of each. Talk about a tough way to get started. I'm not sure how I answered, but I must have done all right because they voted to ordain me.
The Definition - With that as background, we turn now to the final "omni" attribute: omnipotence. The word means "all-powerful" and refers to the fact that God's power is infinite and unlimited. He can do with power anything that power can do. Said another way, God has the power to do all he wills to do. He has both the resources and the ability to work his will in every circumstance in the universe.
If you prefer a simpler definition, just think of these three words—"God is able." That's what omnipotence means. He is able to do everything he needs to do or wants to do.
The Scripture - This doctrine is assumed everywhere in the Bible. One might easily find 500 verses that either teach omnipotence or implicitly assume it. Although the word is not found in our modern translations, the concept might be truly said to be assumed on every page of the Bible. (It is found in the King James Version of Revelation 19:6, "For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." George Frederick Handel composed his majestic "Hallelujah Chorus" around that phrase.)
To make matters easy to understand, let's list four categories of scripture that lead us to the doctrine of omnipotence:
A. Nothing is too hard for God.
"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." Jeremiah 32:17
"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37
B. No one can stop God's plans.
"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2
C. He made all things and all things serve him.
"Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you." Psalm 119:91
D. He does whatever he pleases.
"Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." Psalm 115:3
Seven Stages of God's Power
In his commentary on Ephesians (God's New Society, pp. 139-140), John Stott shares a delightful analysis of Paul's famous benediction at the end of Ephesians 3:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)
I am going to retrace his comments, with one or two slight changes. Let's call this the Seven Stages of God's Power.
1. He is able, for he is the true and living God..
2. He is able to do, for he is neither inactive, idle, nor dead.
3. He is able to do what we ask, for he hears and answers prayer.
4. He is able to do what we ask or imagine, for he reads our thoughts, and sometimes we imagine things for which we do not dare to ask. But he can do those things anyway.
5. He is able to do all that we ask or imagine, for he knows it all and can perform it all.
6. He is able to do more than all we ask or imagine, because his expectations are higher than ours.
7. He is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, because his power is unlimited.
As a simple summary statement we may say that there are no limits to what God can do because there are no limits to GOD.
Among the many titles given to God in the Old Testament is one that relates directly to his omnipotence. In Genesis 17:1 God speaks to 99 year old Abraham who has been promised a child by God. By this time his body is "as good as dead" (see Romans 4:19, 20, 21, 22). In the face of all his very understandable doubts God reassures him by calling himself EL Shaddai, which means Almighty God (See study). It was God's way of saying, "Don't look in the mirror, Abraham. Look at me. If I say you're going to have a son, it's going to happen. Age means nothing to me. I am Almighty God." (For the full sermon message see Is Anything Too Hard For God? The Doctrine of God's Omnipotence by Ray Pritchard)
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
Inherent in Old Testament Names of God:
Other Modes of Expression:
Unlimited Extent of the Divine Power:
Forms of Manifestation:
Significance for Biblical Religion:
Spurgeon's Devotional on Isaiah 40:10:
Isaiah 40:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
God has a strong reserve with which to discharge this engagement; for He is able to do all things. Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Think not that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the power of God. Whilst the earth's huge pillars stand, thou hast enough reason to abide firm in thy faith. The same God Who directs the earth in its orbit, Who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength. While He is able to uphold the universe, dream not that He will prove unable to fulfill His own promises. Remember what He did in the days of old, in the former generations. Remember how He spake and it was done; how He commanded, and it stood fast. Shall He that created the world grow weary? He hangeth the world upon nothing; shall He who doth this be unable to support His children? Shall He be unfaithful to His word for want of power? Who is it that restrains the tempest? Doth not He ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds His chariots, and hold the ocean in the hollow of His hand? How can He fail thee? When He has put such a faithful promise as this on record, wilt thou for a moment indulge the thought that He has out promised Himself, and gone beyond His power to fulfill? Ah, no! Thou canst doubt no longer.
O thou Who art my God and my strength, I can believe that this promise shall be fulfilled, for the boundless reservoir of Thy grace can never be exhausted, and the overflowing storehouse of Thy strength can never be emptied by Thy friends or rifled by Thine enemies.
"Now let the feeble all be strong,
|Our Daily Bread The Awesome Power Of God Read: Psalm 114
Back and forth, back and forth go the pounding waves of the sea. From ages past, the continents have been separated by the mighty oceans. Man has learned to travel over them, to descend to the bottom of them, and to travel through them--but their immensity and the relentless force of their waves remain untamable. Rocks are crushed, shorelines are changed, and even experienced sailors can be driven aground or sent to the bottom of the sea. The combined genius of man and the most powerful equipment can do little to conquer the oceans. They are no problem for God, however. The One who created the mighty oceans does with them what He wishes. Psalm 114 refers to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:13-31) to describe God's great power. The psalmist wrote, "The sea saw it and fled" (Ps 114:3-Note). Then he asked, "What ails you, O sea, that you fled?" (Ps 114:5-Note). The answer is implied: The seas were obeying the command of God. When the turbulent seas of adversity are threatening, we need to remember the awesome power of God. As the seas fled before Him, so too can the obstacles that seem so overwhelming to us. They have no more resistance to God's power than water in a teacup! --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
God gives to His servants a promise:
You'll not have to face life alone,
For when you grow weak in your struggle,
His strength will prevail--not your own. --Hess
The power of God within you is greater than the pressure of troubles around you.
When life gets you down, take time to look up.
To Show His Strength Read: 2 Chr 16:1-10
Although it's God's desire to reveal His power to us, we seldom give Him the chance. We're like the accountant who was told by his boss to falsify company records. Afraid of being fired, he chose to comply--even though as a believer in Christ he knew he was lying and breaking the law. Worse than being out of a job, he ended up in jail. He missed the opportunity to trust God and give Him a chance to show His power. I'm afraid we're not much different. We're like King Asa, a good king who foolishly chose to make a treaty with Ben-Hadad rather than trust God. Asa had reason to worry--Judah was at war with Israel. But Hanani the prophet told Asa, "Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped" (2 Chr. 16:7). As a result, the rest of Asa's reign was plagued by war (1Ki. 15:16).
God continues to show Himself strong to those who remain loyal to Him. Whenever we rely on a crooked boss or a clever scheme or a pack of lies, we are headed for trouble. But if we stay true to God when we're under fire, we give Him the opportunity to show us His power. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In God we trust, let others trust their rulers,
Our problems can be opportunities to discover God's solutions.
Safest Place In A Storm Read: Psalm 46:1-11
The safest place in South Florida during the hurricane season may be the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The $5 million structure boasts 10-inch concrete walls designed to withstand the force of 130 mph winds. Because the fierce storms come every year, the Center is there to provide a safe working environment for the people who monitor the weather and issue the warnings. When other residents leave, they must stay. Just like hurricanes, the storms of our lives arrive with unnerving regularity. Often they strike without warning and linger without welcome, testing the limits of our faith and endurance. But God has given us a place of safety in the midst of our circumstances. The prophet Nahum wrote, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him" (Nah 1:7). And the psalmist confidently stated, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed" (Ps 46:1, 2). God Himself is our center of safety. It is not our strength but His that shields us from the whirling winds of circumstance and change. --D C McCasland
Give me a spirit of peace, dear Lord,
When trouble blows into your life,
Dear saint, God's omnipotence has several implications that should greatly encourage your faith and give you comfort and stedfast hope that if the all powerful God is for you, who can be against you…
No power or will can
HYMNS THAT RELATE TO
Attributes of God - The Power of God (Can God Do Everything?) - by Dr S Lewis Johnson - and The Power of God, part II Recommended Resource - includes Mp3, Pdf or MS Word document. This is only one study out of over 100 in depth lectures by Dr Johnson on Systematic Theology including studies of the doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, etc. (click for this extensive list)
What God Is Like by J. Hampton Keathley III
The Omnipotence of God by D. H. Kuiper
The Omnipotence of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
Is Anything Too Hard For God? The Doctrine of God's Omnipotence by Ray Pritchard
The Omnipotence of God by Sam Storms
Omnipotence of God by C H Spurgeon - multiple quotes
Mercy, Omnipotence and Justice by C H Spurgeon
Discourse On the Power of God by Stephen Charnock (from his classic work "The Attributes of God")
The Lord of Power by John M. Frame
Of the Omnipotence of God by John Gill
The Power of God by A. W. Pink
The Omnipotence of God by A.W. Tozer
The Power Of God by David Legge
How Much Does God Control? Loving a God who is all-powerful and good - a small booklet from Radio Bible Class about 40 pages
God Is Able from The Joy of Knowing God -- Action To Take: List some problems in your life that seem to be impossible to solve. Now meet the conditions for enjoying God’s power: Yield your will fully to Him; Commit the problems to Him in prayer regularly; Believe that He will solve them in His own perfect way.
|OUR GOD IS…
|This is an eminently practical attribute of God which describes His presence in every place at the same time! As a result there is nowhere in the universe that lies outside of God's cognition and care. God can be scoffed at, mocked at, disbelieved, impugned, spurned, blasphemed, etc, but ultimately He is unavoidable! Every man must prepare to meet God now through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ as Savior or later in Christ as Judge (2Ti 4:1-note, Jn 5:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)! As William Secker put it "A man may hide God from himself, and yet he cannot hide himself from God." Tozer adds that "The notion that there is a God but that he is comfortably far away is not embodied in the doctrinal statement of any Christian church."
GOD IS NOT
Spurgeon succinctly defined God's omnipresence…
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rightly said that
Ray Pritchard illustrates God's omnipresence with this humorous story…
The scene: A young boy and his mother are having a serious discussion over lunch one day. "Where is God?" he asks innocently. "He's in heaven," his mother replies. "Does He live there?" "Yes." "Where's Jesus?" "He's in your heart." "But I thought Jesus and God were the same Person." "They are." "How can he be in heaven and in my heart at the same time?" "Sweetheart, it's hard to explain." A short pause. "Where does the Holy Spirit live?" Another short pause. "I think it's time to take a nap."
Thus we are introduced to one of the more difficult doctrines of the Bible—the doctrine of God's omnipresence. "Where is God?" This is a very important question. The seeker wants to know ? and so does the skeptic and so does the guilty sinner so he can run the other way. And so does every hurting person who feels abandoned by the Almighty. "Where is God when I need Him?"
The "Omni" Attributes - There are three attributes of God that should always be kept together in your mind. They naturally go together since each begins with the four-letter prefix "omni": Omniscience/ Omnipotence/ Omnipresence. The first means that God is all-knowing, the second that he is all-powerful, the third that he is present everywhere.
Tony Evans comments that these three attributes work in tandem:
He knows what needs to be done—that's omniscience.
He has the power to do it—that's omnipotence.
He's always wherever he needs to be to do whatever needs to be done— that's omnipresence.
Omnipresence is the hardest for us to grasp. We can only be one place at one time, but God is everywhere at the same time. Our problem is that we have nothing to compare to it. Is God all powerful? Yes, and we can slightly grasp that concept because we have power and strength. Is God all wise? Yes, and we can conceive of that on some level because we have wisdom and knowledge.
But there is no sense in which we are can be present everywhere! We can't even be two places at once—a fact that we sometimes forget. For that reason omnipresence is mysterious to us.
Satan is Not Omnipresent - But we're not alone in this. Only God is omnipresent. All other beings are restricted to a given place at a given time. When I preached this sermon, I comment that the angels and demons can only be one place at one time. I also pointed out that Satan is also limited. He is not omnipresent. That thought apparently was new to many people. They had somehow conceived of Satan as being like a "junior God" who could do everything God could do, only at a lower level. But a moment's thought will show the impossibility of that notion. Either you are omnipotent or you are not. There is no such thing as being 90% omnipotent, or 60% omniscient for that matter. By the same token—and even more obviously—either you are present everywhere all the time or you are not. There is no such thing as "partial omnipresence." Because Satan is a created being, he is limited and localized in the spirit realm, as are all the angels and demons. This should give comfort to those who feel overwhelmed by attacks they believe to be Satanic in nature. While we would surely agree that Satan works today through a vast array of spirit beings who work his infernal will, he himself is no more omnipresent than you or I.
Not a 99% God! - In his classic seven-volume Systematic Theology, Lewis Sperry Chafer advanced the following argument for omnipresence. He said in essence that God's perfection demands it. If we could conceive of even a tiny portion of the universe where God is not present, then we might conceive of a being in that locality who is greater than God himself. Some years ago a certain brand of soap advertised itself as "99 and 44/100th pure." But God knows no such sliding scale with regard to himself. A 99% God is no God at all! If your God is not present everywhere in the universe, then he is not the God of the Bible.
That leads me to offer this simple definition of omnipresence (courtesy of John Bisagno):
The Lord Our God is everywhere at once.
He is everywhere present all the time. That is a truly awesome thought.
God is Not Limited by time or space - Perhaps the greatest statement of omnipresence is found in the inspiring words of Psalm 139:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
As David contemplates how God knows him inside and out, he wonders where he might go to hide from the Lord. Heaven, hell, east, west, the far side of the ocean—it doesn't matter for the Lord is already there. What about the darkness of the night? The darkness will not deter God, for "darkness is as light to you." There are several important implications of this truth.
First, God cannot be contained in a building. Solomon said as much in the dedication of the First Temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes I hear well-meaning people call the church the "house of God," as if his presence somehow specially dwells in a building made by the hands of man. But a church is not a holy place in the sense that the temple was a holy place. Today God dwells among his people and in his people wherever they are and wherever they go.
Second, God cannot be localized in a city or a nation. This truth should keep us from boasting too much in our supposed moral superiority. God is not an American nor does he exist to defend and perpetuate our form of government.
Third, God cannot be reduced to an image or a statue. This is why the Second Commandment warns against making "graven images." It is also why the Jews refused to make any pictures, drawings or statutes of God. The danger of idolatry is so great that J. I. Packer in Knowing God warns against the danger of religious pictures, even innocent drawings of Jesus. The truth is, we don't know what he looked like and any picture or statues meant as an "aid to devotion" may somehow lead to superstitious worship.
Fourth, he is always present whether we believe it or not. In the early days of space travel, one of the Russian cosmonauts returned from orbiting the earth to announce that he had looked out his space capsule and had not seen God anywhere. To which Dr. W. A. Criswell of the First Baptist Church of Dallas replied,
Let him take off his space suit for just one second and he'll see God quick enough.
Fifth, he is present even in the worst moments of life. God's omnipresence means that he is there in the midst of suffering, pain, sickness, sorrow, anger, grief, bitterness, divorce, betrayal, murder, rape, sexual abuse, cancer, AIDS, abortion, warfare, famine, earthquakes, fires, floods, every natural disaster, accidents, personal loss, and at the moment of death.
Sixth, he is always available to us wherever we go, 24 hours a day. We always have his full attention, we don't have to make an appointment, he's never too busy to hear us when we pray, he's never preoccupied with other problems. Can you imagine what it would be like if we prayed only to have a angel tell us, "I'm sorry, but God is busy handling a major crisis in the Middle East. Leave your name and number and someone will get back to you as soon as possible." That will never happen because all of God is completely available to you no matter where you are. Though there be a thousand wars in a thousand places, our God hears you as if you were the only one praying.
Seventh, we may rely fully on him no matter how desperate our situation may be. This week I spoke with two of our senior adults. One has just been diagnosed with cancer. When I talked with her, she said, "Pastor, don't worry about me. The Lord has been so good to me." She's 80 years old. Later I spoke with a woman who is 90, very weak and frail and eager to go to heaven. Her voice quivered, but her faith was strong. "I'm just trusting in the Lord," she told me. These dear saints have learned through a lifetime of walking with God that he will never leave them for he is always present with his people.
God is always present everywhere in the universe - Most of us struggle to understand omnipresence because it is so foreign to our experience. The doctrine teaches us that God is wholly present everywhere. "God is not like a substance spread out in a thin layer all over the earth—all of Him is in Chicago, in Calcutta, in Cairo, and in Caracas, at one and the same time" (Paul Little). God's presence is not like a layer of peanut butter on a piece of bread. All of God is completely present at every point in the universe all the time. He is present as fully as though He were nowhere else. Furthermore, his presence extends to all three Persons of the Godhead. That's a relief because what if I needed to talk to Jesus and found out that he was over in Indonesia and wouldn't be back in Oak Park for a month? Or what if the Spirit were in South Dakota when someone needed him in Turkey? Thank God, all three Persons of the Trinity are everlastingly available to all the children of God.
I have already commented that he is present even though we do not realize it. One writer said that God's presence is like the air we breathe. Air is odorless, tasteless, invisible (when it's not polluted). Most of the time we don't even think about the air we breathe, yet we depend on it for our very existence. Even so God's presence is everywhere with us, and if it were withdrawn, none of us could survive for even one moment.
Or consider radio waves. They are invisible yet everywhere. We don't realize that in this room there are thousands of signals floating through the air. Microwave, short wave, AM-FM, TV, cellular phone, CB, police, fire, ultra-low frequency and ultra-high frequency. Tens of thousands of signals float through the ether all around us. They are there all the time. We aren't aware of them because we don't have a receiver tuned in to the right frequency. Likewise, God is always there, but we're not tuned in to his frequency so we don't sense his presence all the time.
God can be ignored but he cannot be avoided - You can ignore God but you can't avoid him. This should be a serious warning to the unconverted. That's why Genesis 16:13 calls him (in Hebrew) El Roi, which means The God Who Sees. At the end of this age, in those terrible days leading up to the return of Christ, the unconverted will suddenly realize the error of their ways. But then it will be too late. Revelation 6:15-17 describes the scene:
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?
Think of it! Every sin you commit is committed in the presence of God. He hears every white lie, he knows when you cheat on your taxes, he listens when you swear under your breath, he takes note of every broken promise, he records the evil men do under cover of darkness.
Jesus Makes People Nervous - You can't avoid him even if you try. This week I heard from a couple in our church whose children attend the local public schools. One of their sons had to write an essay about a person in the past who changed the world for the better. When he chose Jesus, the teacher said he had to pick another person because to write about Jesus you have to use the Bible and she said it wasn't a trustworthy historical document. Now, before I say anything else, let me remark that the teacher was simply showing her ignorance. Her comments were pure prejudice—nothing more. I seriously doubt she has ever read the Bible. Even the secular experts agree that it is the most trustworthy ancient book in the world.
So the parents protested, called the principal, played phone tag with the principal, and then earlier this week the teacher relented under pressure. In fact, the principal said she thought it was marvelous that a young boy should know so much about his faith. When I discussed it with the mother, I asked what would have happened if one of the students had volunteered to write about Mohammed? Or Buddha? That would be okay, but not Jesus. "Jesus makes people nervous," she said. Yes, he does.
You can ignore him but you can't avoid him! Every time you write 1997 you are giving testimony to his power. All history is divided by his birth.
God promises to draw near to anyone who will draw near to him - God is always near his people. This promise is repeated many places in scripture. Hebrews 13:5b says,
‘‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
In Matthew 28:20b Jesus promised,
"I am with you always."
And in Deuteronomy 31:6, as he was nearing the end of his long life, Moses reminded his people,
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
In our worship services we sometimes have a prayer called an "invocation," which means we pray and invite God's presence in our midst. Now I know what is meant by that. We are praying for God's manifest or powerful presence in our midst. However, I do think it's good to remember that we don't have to ask God to be with us because he is always with us. We don't have to "invoke" God's presence. He's already here!
The Bible also tells us that he draws near to us in times of pain and suffering. Psalm 34:18 tells us that "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Many of God's choicest servants have experienced God's powerful, uplifting presence in the midst of unspeakable sorrow. Often they look back later and marvel at how God brought them through when their own resources completely failed.
"Open His Eyes, Lord" - He is also near when we least expect him. In this regard I often think of Elisha and his scared servant at Dothan. 2Kings 6:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 tells how the mighty armies of Aram had completely surrounded the people of God at Dothan. When his servant saw the enemy drawn up on every side, he cried out in fear, "What will we do?" Elisha told him not to fear because, "those that are with us are more than those who are with them" (2Ki 6:16). Then Elisha prayed that the servant's eyes might be supernaturally opened. They were, and as he looked up, he "saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2Ki 6:17).
Something like that needs to happen to many of us. We need a glimpse of God's presence all around us—even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Maybe you don't need a new neighborhood or a new job or a new school. You need to see the angels of God surrounding you right now!
We also know that he draws near to those who approach him in humble faith. In Psalm 145:18 we read that "the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." James 4:8 challenges us to "come near to God and He will come near to you." To quote Tony Evans once again, "God is with you if you are with God! If you are far from God today, who moved? He's right where he always said he would be. If you aren't conscious of his presence, perhaps it's because you have moved away from him."
"When John Comes Home" - There is one final promise we need to remember. This is the most important promise of all. He promises to walk with us in the hour of death.
You will not pass across the threshold of death alone. In one of his sermons Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrated that truth this way. Think about a mother with son serving in the military. She doesn't know when he'll be home, so she constantly speaks of him this way: "When John comes home, he'll fix the window shade." "When John comes home, he'll plant the garden," "When John comes home, he'll sit in his favorite chair and eat dinner with the whole family." Why the third person? Why does she say "he" and not "you"? Because John isn't home yet!
But when he finally comes home and she sees him for the first time, she cries, "John, you're home." Why the change from "he" to "you"? Because John has come through the door.
Now listen to these familiar words:
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me" (Psalm 23:1, 2, 3, 4).
Why the change from "he" to "you"? Because even though the Lord is with us every day, we don't always feel his presence right beside us. But in the moment of death, we are not left alone. The Lord Jesus comes for us and walks with us across the Great Divide. Thank God, I do not have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone. For he comes, he enters the room, the stands by the bedside, he reaches down and takes my trembling hand, and he walks with me from this life into life eternal.
The Best Part of the 23rd Psalm- The best two words in Psalm 23 are two little words in verse 4:
"You are with me."
The shepherd is no longer up ahead leading the flock. The valley is too dark for that. Now he is walking with us, step by step, walking side by side reassuring his sheep by his calm presence.
The famous scientist Isaac Newton , a believer in Jesus Christ, drew this profound conclusion about God…
As believers we should love the comforting attribute of God's omnipresence, for as Isaac Watts said so poetically…
But the comforting doctrine of divine omnipresence is also convicting, as Spurgeon explains…
Scriptures that speak of God's Omnipresence…
Richard L. Strauss gives several practical applications of omniscience for contemplation…
Stephen Charnock the great Puritan writer reminds of the comforting truth that…
J C Ryle in his booklet Thoughts For Young Men has this to say about the eyes of God…
RESOLVE NEVER TO FORGET THE EYE OF GOD. - The eye of God! Think of that. Everywhere, in every house, in every field, in every room, in every company, alone or in a crowd, the eye of God is always on you. "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good" (Pr 15:3), and they are eyes that read hearts as well as actions.
Endeavor, I beg you, to realize this fact. Remember that you have to deal with an all-seeing God, a God who never sleeps, a God who understands your thoughts, and with whom the night shines as the day. You may leave your father's house, and go away, like the prodigal, into a far country, and think that there is nobody to watch your conduct; but the eye and ear of God are there before you. You may deceive your parents or employers, you may tell them lies, and act one way before their faces, and another behind their backs, but you cannot deceive God. He knows you through and through. He heard what you said as you came here today. He knows what you are thinking of at this minute. He has set your most secret sins in the light of His countenance, and they will one day come out before the world to your shame, except you take heed.
How little is this really felt! How many things are done continually, which men would never do if they thought they were seen! How many matters are transacted in the rooms of imagination, which would never bear the light of day! Yes; men entertain thoughts in private, and say words in private, and do acts in private, which they would be ashamed and blush to have exposed before the world. The sound of a footstep coming has stopped many a deed of wickedness. A knock at the door has caused many an evil work to be hastily suspended, and hurriedly laid aside. But oh, what miserable folly is all this! There is an all-seeing Witness with us wherever we go. Lock the door, pull down the blind, turn out the light; it doesn't matter, it makes no difference; God is everywhere, you cannot shut Him out, or prevent His seeing. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Heb 4:13-note). Young Joseph understood this well when his employer's wife tempted him. There was no one in the house to see them, no human eye to witness against him; but Joseph was one who lived as seeing Him that is invisible: "How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Ge 39:9)
Young men, I ask all of you to read Psalm 139:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12f. I advise all of you to learn it by heart. Make it the test of all your dealings in this world's business: say to yourself often,
"Do I remember Z
Live as in the sight of God. This is what Abraham did, he walked before Him (Ge 17:1). This is what Enoch did, he walked with Him (Ge 5:22, 24, cp Ge 24:40, 48:15, Ps 26:3, 56:13, 116:9). This is what heaven itself will be, the eternal presence of God. Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing, you would not like God to hear. Write nothing, you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, "Show it to Me." Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, "What are you doing?"
One word of caution is in order regarding the doctrine of omnipresence. As Unger explains …
It is essential to the right conception of God in this respect that we avoid all materialistic notions of His presence that confuse God with everything and thus lead to pantheism (Ed: a popular false doctrine in new age spirituality). God is Spirit, and His infinite presence is to be regarded in the dynamical sense rather than in the sense of a substance infinitely extended. He is distinct from all His works while His power and intelligence and goodness embrace and penetrate them all. The omnipresence of God is also to be regarded as compatible with various manifestations of His presence according to the spheres of life in which He exists and operates. Thus in the most exalted sense He is “Our Father … in heaven” (see Mt 6:9; etc.).
|International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
Philosophical and Popular Ideas of Omnipresence:
"Do not I fill heaven and earth?" saith the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24
1. How strongly and beautifully do these words express the omnipresence of God! And can there be in the whole compass of nature a more sublime subject? Can there be any more worthy the consideration of every rational creature? Is there any more necessary to be considered, and to be understood, so far as our poor faculties will admit? How many excellent purposes may it answer! What deep instruction may it convey to all the children of men! And more directly to the children of God.
2. How is it then that so little has been wrote on so sublime and useful a subject? It is true that some of our most eminent writers have occasionally touched upon it, and have several strong and beautiful reflections which were naturally suggested by it. But which of them has published a regular treatise, or so much as a sermon, upon the head? Perhaps many were conscious of their inability to do justice to so vast a subject. It is possible, there may some such lie hid in the voluminous writings of the last century. But if they are hid even in their own country, if they are already buried in oblivion, it is the same, for any use they are of, as if they had never been wrote.
3. What seems to be wanting still, for general use, is a plain discourse on the omnipresence or ubiquity of God.
I. First, in some manner explaining and proving that glorious truth, "God is in this, and every place;"
II. And Then, applying it to the consciences of all thinking men;
III. A few practical inferences.
1. Accordingly, I will endeavour, by the assistance of his Spirit, first a little to explain the omnipresence of God; to show how we are to understand this glorious truth, "God is in this, and every place." The Psalmist, you may remember, speaks strongly and beautifully upon it in the hundred and thirty-ninth Psalm; observing in the most exact order, First, "God is in this place;" and Then, "God is in every place." He observes, First, "Thou art about my bed, and about my path, and spiest out all my ways." (Ps. 139:3) "Thou hast fashioned me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me." (Ps 139:5) Although the manner thereof he could not explain; how it was he could not tell. "Such knowledge," says he, "is too wonderful for me: I cannot attain unto it." (Ps 139:6) He next observes, in the most lively and affecting manner, that God is in every place. "Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit, or whither shall I go from thy presence? If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to hell, thou art there also.' (Ps 139:7, 8) If I could ascend, speaking after the manner of men, to the highest part of the universe, or could I descend to the lowest point, thou art alike present both in one and the other. "If I should take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there thy hand would lead me," -- thy power and thy presence would be before me, -- "and thy right hand would hold me," seeing thou art equally in the length and breadth, and in the height and depth of the universe. Indeed thy presence and knowledge not only reach the utmost bounds of creation; but
Thine omnipresent sight,
In a word, there is no point of space, whether within or without the bounds of creation, where God is not.
2. Indeed, this subject is far too vast to be comprehended by the narrow limits of human understanding. We can only say, The great God, the eternal, the almighty Spirit, is as unbounded in his presence as in his duration and power. In condescension, indeed, to our weak understanding, he is said to dwell in heaven: but, strictly speaking, the heaven of heavens cannot contain him; but he is in every part of his dominion. The universal God dwelleth in universal space; so that we may say,
Hail, Father! whose creating call
3. If we may dare attempt the illustrating this a little farther, what is the space occupied by a grain of sand, compared to that space which is occupied by the starry heavens? It is as a cipher; it is nothing; it vanishes away in the comparison. What is it, then, to the whole expanse of space, to which the whole creation is infinitely less than a grain of sand? And yet this space, to which the whole creation bears no proportion at all, is infinitely less in comparison of the great God than a grain of sand, yea, a millionth part of it, bears to that whole space.
1. This seems to be the plain meaning of those solemn words which God speaks of himself: "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" And these sufficiently prove his omnipresence; which may be farther proved from this consideration: God acts everywhere, and, therefore, is everywhere; for it is an utter impossibility that any being, created or uncreated, should work where it is not. God acts in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, throughout the whole compass of his creation; by sustaining all things, without which everything would in an instant sink into its primitive nothing; by governing all, every moment superintending everything that he has made; strongly and sweetly influencing all, and yet without destroying the liberty of his rational creatures. The very Heathens acknowledged that the great God governs the large and conspicuous parts of the universe; that he regulates the motions of the heavenly bodies, of the sun, moon, and stars; that he is
Totam Mens agitans molem,
et magno se corpore miscens:
The all-informing soul,
That fills, pervades and actuates the whole.
But they had no conception of his having a regard to the least things as well as the greatest; of his presiding over all that he has made, and governing atoms as well as worlds. This we could not have known unless it had pleased God to reveal it unto us himself. Had he not himself told us so, we should not have dared to think that "not a sparrow falleth to the ground, without the will of our Father which is in heaven;" and much less affirm, that "even the very hairs of our head are all numbered!"
2. This comfortable truth, that "God filleth heaven and earth," we learn also from the Psalm above recited: "If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there thy hand shall lead me." The plain meaning is, If I remove to any distance whatever, thou art there; thou still besettest me, and layest thine hand upon me. Let me flee to any conceivable or inconceivable distance; above, beneath, or on any side;, it makes no difference; thou art still equally there: In thee I still "live, and move, and have my being."
3. And where no creature is, still God is there. The presence or absence of any or all creatures makes no difference with regard to him. He is equally in all, or without all. Many have been the disputes among philosophers whether there be any such thing as empty space in the universe; and it is now generally supposed that all space is full. Perhaps it cannot be proved that all space is filled with matter. But the Heathen himself will bear us witness, Jovis omnia plena: "All things are full of God." Yea, and space exists beyond the bounds of creation (for creation must have bounds, seeing nothing is boundless, nothing can be, but the great Creator), even that space cannot exclude Him who fills the heaven and the earth.
4. Just equivalent to this is the expression of the Apostle: (Eph. 1:23, not, as some have strangely supposed, concerning the Church, but concerning the Head of it) "The fullness of him that filleth all in all;" ta panta en pasin, literally translated, "all things in all things;" -- the strongest expression of universality which can possibly be conceived. It necessarily includes the last and the greatest of all things that exist. So that if any expression could be stronger, it would be stronger than even that -- the "filling heaven and earth."
5. Indeed this very expression, "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" (the question being equal to the strongest affirmation), implies the clearest assertion of God's being present everywhere and filling all space; for it is well known, the Hebrew phrase "heaven and earth," includes the whole universe; the whole extent of space, created or uncreated, and all that is therein.
6. Nay, and we cannot believe the omnipotence of God, unless we believe his omnipresence; for, seeing, as was observed before, nothing can act where it is not, -- if there were any space where God was not present, he would not be able to do anything there. Therefore, to deny the omnipresence of God implies, likewise, the denial of his omnipotence. To set bounds to the one is undoubtedly to set bounds to the other also.
7. Indeed, wherever we suppose him not to be, there we suppose all his attributes to be in vain. He cannot exercise there either his justice or mercy, either his power or wisdom. In extra-mundane space, (so to speak) where we suppose God not to be present, we must, of course, suppose him to have no duration; but as it is supposed to be beyond the bounds of the creation, so it is beyond the bounds of the Creator's power. Such is the blasphemous absurdity which is implied in this supposition.
8. But to all that is or can be said of the omnipresence of God, the world has one grand objection: They cannot see him. And this is really at the root of all their other objections. This our blessed Lord observed long ago: "Whom the world cannot receive, because they see him not." But is it not easy to reply, "Can you see the wind?" You cannot. But do you therefore deny its existence, or its presence? You say, "No; for I can perceive it by my other senses." But by which of your senses do you perceive your soul? Surely you do not deny either the existence or the presence of this! And yet it is not the object of your sight, or of any of your other senses. Suffice it then to consider that God is a Spirit, as is our soul also. Consequently, "him no man hath seen, or can see," with eyes of flesh and blood.
1. But allowing that God is here, as in every place, that he is "about our bed, and about our path;" that he "besets us behind and before, and lays his hand upon us;" what inference should we draw from hence? What use should we make of this awful consideration? Is it not meet and right to humble ourselves before the eyes of his Majesty? Should we not labour continually to acknowledge his presence, "with reverence and godly fear?" not indeed with the fear of devils, that believe and tremble, but with fear of angels, with something similar to that which is felt by the inhabitants of heaven, when
Dark with excessive bright his skirts appear,
2. Secondly. If you believe that God is about your bed, and about your path, and spieth out all your ways, then take care not to do the least thing, not to speak the least word, not to indulge the least thought, which you have reason to think would offend him. Suppose that a messenger of God, an angel, be now standing at your right hand, and fixing his eyes upon you, would you not take care to abstain from every word or action that you knew would offend him? Yea, suppose one of your mortal fellow-servants, suppose only a holy man stood by you, would not you be extremely cautious how you conducted yourself, both in word and action? How much more cautious ought you to be when you know that not a holy man, not an angel of God, but God himself, the Holy One "that inhabiteth eternity," is inspecting your heart, your tongue, your hand, every moment; and that he himself will surely bring you into judgment for all you think, and speak, and act under the sun!
3. In particular: If there is not a word in your tongue, not a syllable you speak, but he "knoweth it altogether;" how exact should you be in "setting a watch before your mouth, and in keeping the door of your lips!" How wary does it behove you to be in all your conversation; being forewarned by your Judge, that "by your words you shall be justified, or by your words you shall be condemned!" How cautious, lest "any corrupt communication," any uncharitable, yea, or unprofitable discourse, should "proceed out of your mouth;" instead of "that which is good to the use of edifying, and meet to minister grace to the hearers!"
4. Yea, if God sees our hearts as well as our hands, and in all places; if he understandeth our thoughts long before they are clothed with words, how earnestly should we urge that petition, "Search me, O Lord, and prove me; try out my reins and my heart; look well if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Yea, how needful is it to work together with him, in "keeping our hearts with all diligence," till he hath "cast down imaginations," evil reasonings, "and everything that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and brought into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ!"
5. On the other hand, if you are already listed under the great Captain of your salvation, seeing you are continually under the eye of your Captain, how zealous and active should you be to "fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life;" "to endure hardship, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ;" to use all diligence, to "war a good warfare," and to do whatever is acceptable in his sight! How studious should you be to approve all your ways to his all-seeing eyes; that he may say to your hearts, what he will proclaim aloud in the great assembly of men and angels, "Well done, good and faithful servants!"
6. In order to attain these glorious ends, spare no pains to preserve always a deep, a continual, a lively, and a joyful sense of his gracious presence. Never forget his comprehensive word to the great father of the faithful: "I am the Almighty" (rather, the All-sufficient) "God; walk before me, and be thou perfect!" Cheerfully expect that He, before whom you stand, will ever guide you with his eye, will support you by his guardian hand, will keep you from all evil, and "when you have suffered a while, [he] will make you perfect, will stablish, strengthen, and settle you;" and then "preserve you unblameable, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Portsmouth, August 12, 1788
The OMNIPRESENCE of God by Thomas Watson (excerpt)…
Attributes of God - The Immensity and Omnipresence of God - by Dr S Lewis Johnson - Recommended Resource - includes Mp3, a 22 page Pdf or MS Word document. This is only one study out of over 100 in depth lectures by Dr Johnson on Systematic Theology including studies of the doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, etc. (click for this extensive list)
God's Omnipresence by A.W. Tozer
Here, There and Everywhere: The Doctrine of God's Omnipresence by Ray Pritchard
The Omnipresence Of God by David Legge
The Omnipresence of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
|OUR GOD IS…
Omniscience is from the Latin omnis = “all” combined with scientia = “knowledge” the combination meaning to know all or to have perfect knowledge.
God’s omniscience is His knowledge of all things including actual and possible, past, present, and future (foreknowledge).
God is all knowing, and His knowledge is in no way restricted by temporal considerations. He knows and sees the past, the present, and the future with equal clarity and absolute certainty. To Him, all is the present.
God knows all things perfectly (Ps. 147:5; Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20), sees and hears everything (Ex 3:7; 2Chr 16:9; Ps 34:15; 102:19, 20; Pr 5:21; 15:3; Jer. 16:16), knows from all eternity the entire plan of the ages and the part of every man in that plan (Isa. 46:9, 10, 11; 48:3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
God has perfect knowledge of each individual person and of all his ways (Ps. 33:13, 14, 15; 139:1-16; Pr. 5:21), his words (Ps. 139:4; Matt. 12:35, 36, 37), his thoughts (1Chr 28:9; Ps. 94:11; 139:1, 2; Mt. 9:4), his afflictions and trials (Ge 21:17, 18, 19; 1Cor. 10:13; Rev. 2:9, 10, 13) and his future actions and final state (Gen. 18:19; Ex. 3:19; Isa. 44:28-45:5; Matt. 25:31, 32, 33, 34, 41; Acts 27:22, 23, 24, 25).
God’s omniscience means that nothing anyone does escapes the knowledge of God and that one day we will be called to give an account at the bar of God for God will deal with each according to the truth of his life (Ro 2:2, 3, 6; 14:10, 11, 12). For more information on the various judgments, see The Doctrine of the Judgments.
God's omniscience gives us confidence in prayer knowing that He will not lose our prayers and that He always knows the best answer, even knowing our needs before we ask (Matt. 6:31, 32, 33, 34; Isa. 65:24).
Jonathan Edwards in his sermon "Man Naturally God's Enemy" observed that all men are naturally God's enemies because of five things: God's holiness, because we are not holy; God's omniscience, because he knows we are not holy; God's omnipotence, because this offends our desire for autonomy; God's mercy, because it is a holy mercy; and God's immutability (unchangeableness), because God will never be other than he is in these "offensive" attributes.
The Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics has an interesting note on God's omnipotence noting that…
Puritan John Owen:
Spurgeon on Omniscience
Ray Pritchard writes that (His Eye Is On the Sparrow: The Doctrine of God's Omniscience - Psalm 145:4, 5 )
|From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Tacit Assumption and Explicit Affirmation
Extends to All Spheres
Mode of the Divine Knowledge
Proverbs 15:3 says that
Secret sins, services, and sorrows, are all under God's eye (see commentary on Proverbs 5:21). This speaks comfort to saints, and terror to sinners. The great attribute of OMNISCIENCE then is not so much meant to be a statement of theology but an incentive for conduct.
Is Someone Watching and Listening? - In this age of electronics, we have all become aware of bugging devices. A person's office, hotel room, or telephone can be monitored so that every sound is picked up. This is accomplished through highly sensitive microphones that are so small they can easily be hidden. Heads of state, government officials, and business people in strategic positions must be exceedingly careful of what they say, especially when entering a strange setting. The awareness that they might be overheard is sure to make them think twice before they speak. Did you ever stop to think that God sees everything we do and hears everything we say every moment of the day? Heb 4:13 says that "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." This truth is both comforting and sobering–comforting because God stands ready to deliver us when we are in trouble (Ps 33:18,19 Spurgeon), and sobering because "the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good" (Pr 15:3). What a profound effect this should have on the way we live! The next time you are tempted or in trouble, remember that God is watching and listening." –R W DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
There is no time of day or night,
To know that our OMNISCIENT God sees us brings both conviction & comfort.
The Knowledge of God by A. W. Pink
The Divine Omniscience by A.W. Tozer
What God Is Like by J. Hampton Keathley III
His Eye Is On the Sparrow: The Doctrine of God's Omniscience - Psalm 145:4, 5 by Ray Pritchard (recommended)
Of the Omniscience of God by John Gill
The Omniscience of God by Thomas Watson (scroll down)
Perfect in Knowledge from by Lehman Strauss
The Omniscience Of God by David Legge