Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Wisdom: The Wonders of God’s Omniscient and Omnipresent Intimacy

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wisdom: The Wonders of God’s Omniscient and Omnipresent Intimacy

“1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:1-16).

God reveals two wondrous truths about Himself in this text. Here we see that God is both transcendent and immanent. These two great truths are far more than theological jargon attempting to understand and describe the incomprehensible Creator. When we understand God’s transcendency, we understand that God’s abilities exceed our wildest imaginations, surpassing and exceeding the scope of what the finite mind can even comprehend. When we understand God’s immanency, we understand that although God is not part of His Creation, He is intricately and intimately connected to and involved within His creation. In other words, God is not out there somewhere disconnected from our lives or disinterested in our lives. He is intimately involved in every minute detail of our existence and loves us in a way we cannot comprehend. God knows us in ways we do not know ourselves. There is not one thought that passes through our minds of which He has not taken into account.

1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:1-7; compare Matthew 10:16-42).

The immanency of God is revealed in His intimate knowledge of the minutest details of our lives. It would appear that within this enormous crowd of people and within the chaos of entangled lives and thoughts of the crowd, Jesus was able to hear clearly the thoughts and whispers of the secret plotting and political maneuverings of the Pharisees (v 2). Jesus than warns His disciples to not be involved in similar plotting and political maneuverings. Every word covertly whispered in the darkness of concealment will be “heard” in the exposure of God’s revelation of righteousness. Every secret plotting of deceit and human manipulation whispered in the closets of concealment will be shouted from the rooftops. All secrets are known by God. All secrets will be revealed by God.

We must also conclude from this statement of Jesus to His disciples that God’s intimacy with His children goes beyond the knowledge of the details of their lives to His loving involvement in those details. God’s immanency intricately connects Him with His children’s lives. God has chosen to become a Partner in the believer’s combat with the secret plotting and political manipulation of the forces of evil. If we can understand God’s compassion for His children, His empathy and His love, we should never assume that we bear the trials of life alone or that we are in this struggle with evil alone. Although God is not a part of our trials, His immanency so unites Him with us that we can be assured that He suffers with us in the pains and wounds of spiritual combat.

Psalm 139:3 says, “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” Just as the air pressing in around us touches us at every area of our bodies, so is God’s immanency. The air fills our nostrils bringing smells to our senses. The air carries sound waves to our eardrums so we can hear. Light travels through the air to our eyes so that we can see. Yet, God’s touch upon our lives goes beyond the external to an intimate knowledge of our thoughts and motivations. Even the words on the tips of our tongues are known by God before they are spoken. David says, “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether” (Psalm 139:4) and “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:2).

God has such intimate knowledge of us and, yet, loves us anyway. I would imagine God being grieved by those professing to believe in Him and, professing to know Him, that we do not love Him the way He loves us. After all, if we loved Him that way, we would study the revelations God gives us of Himself. We would spend much more time talking with Him, worshipping Him and just wanting to be with Him. Yet, all these things seem so laborious and burdensome to most Christians. Those Christians most used by God were those that sought to intimately know Him. The Apostle Paul said:

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11).

The Apostle John tells us that those who profess to “know” Jesus will manifest that knowledge by willfully and lovingly seeking to obey His commands. This reality is evidence of genuine knowledge of Christ and a manifestation of the reality of faith in Christ.

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:3-6).

Wisdom understands that human suffering does not originate with God, but with “the satan.” God allows suffering as part of His dealings with evil and trying of the faith of His redeemed. For the person with wisdom, suffering causes him to draw nigh to God. For the person without wisdom, suffering causes him to question God’s love and to push God away in some degree of rejection. This too is part of God’s trying of our knowledge and understanding of Who He is and what our relationship with Him is all about. Certainly, Jesus radically reveals the contrast between God’s transcendency and God’s immanency. The incarnation of the Son of God is a radical expression of God’s intimate and loving immanency.

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:2-7).

Jesus knows the loneliness of suffering like no other human being in the history of the world. Our Creator (Jesus) not only stepped out of the glories of Heaven to put on a body of flesh to come to personally participate in the consequences of the curse and He not only bore our sins in His body on the Tree (I Peter 2:24), but He did it all alone. The depth of this loneliness is revealed by the cry from the Cross, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46b)? Jesus died for our sins to reconcile us to God and to restore man’s ability to have intimacy with God once again. God saves us for that purpose. Yet, so few professing believers want to make the effort to have an intimate relationship with God. After all that He has done for us, I cannot imagine how much that must grieve Him.

David speaks of God’s immanency in terms of awe and incomprehension, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence” (Psalm 139:6-7)? These words are both awe inspiring and fearfully sobering. There is not the smallest detail of our lives to which God is not fully aware and to which He is not intimately involved. The detail of the micro-aspects God’s creative genius is manifested in the human body to which David addresses by the statement, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14).

The human body is one of the most complex organisms of all of God’s creation. The human eye is one of the most complex parts of the human body existing almost as an entity within an entity.

“The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature ‘brain’. Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain.” (Dr. George Marshall; Sir Jules Thorn Lecturer in Ophthalmic Science)

The human body is a work of God that deserves reverential awe of His creative abilities. The human body is versatile, able to heal itself when injured. Yet, it is delicate as well. As complex as the human eye is, it is easily injured and can be severely damaged by the smallest of accidents. Therefore, we are also “fearfully” made.

However, perhaps the most wondrous and fearful aspects of God’s creation of the human body is the creation of the eternal human soul. David says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Before we ever came into existence, God saw our “substance” and recorded every detail of our existence. God saw the details of our life as if they had already been recorded on the pages of historical fact. The word “continuance” is from the Hebrew word yowm (yome), meaning from sunrise to sunset or day after day. Literally, this might read, God knows our end from our beginning and every detail in between.

Wisdom learns to rest in the knowledge of such a Being. Once we are “born again,” we merely wait for the unfolding of a destiny and existence beyond our wildest imaginations. Really wise people try to lead as many as possible to come along with them. “Whosoever will” . . . may come (Rev. 22:17) is Christ’s invitation. He wants us to do the inviting!

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