Omniscience And Omnipotence
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
INTRODUCTION Omniscience and omnipotence are among the attributes of God which are beyond human comprehension. In fact, man would not even imagine a Being with such qualities if God had not clearly revealed to us in His Word that He is such a Being.
How can God know all things perfectly from eternity and be everywhere present at the same time? Of course, we do not know, any more then we can understand His omnipotence: we can only believe that the God Who made us and Who has chosen to reveal Himself to us in some measure will surely tell us nothing but the truth. He is the "God that cannot lie" [Titus 1:2]; His Word will stand when heaven and earth shall have passed away [Matthew 24:35].
Religions of human or satanic invention prefer little gods which can be managed and used by their inventors under the pretense of worship. Only in the Bible do we find revealed the unique God, the Spirit Who fills heaven and earth, and Who yet has a personal interest in the least of His creatures [Jeremiah 23:24; Matthew 10:29].
Like David, we must recognize that God's "knowledge is too wonderful" for us: yet He condescends to teach us what He enables us to learn about Himself, about ourselves, and about the rest of His creation.
This lesson may be outlined as follows: 1. God sees, Psalm 139:1-6. a. Searching our souls, 1-2. b. Scanning our secrets, 3-4. c. Surpassing ur senses, 5-6. 2. God stays, Psalm 139:7-12. a. Unchanging presence, 7-8. b. Unchanging promise, 9-10. c. Unchanging power, 11-12. 3. God saves, Psalm 139:23-24. a. Sinner convicted, 23. b. Sinner corrected, 24. NOTES ON THE TEXT:
GOD SEES, Psalm 139:1-6. All things are visible to the invisible God. He has no need of a telescope to see the most distant star, no need of a microscope to inspect the tiniest particle of matter, no need of an army of spies to bring Him reports of what His creatures are doing! If He does make use of heavenly hosts, it is not because He is in any way dependent on them; rather, like all other creatures, they exist merely to serve His pleasure, while He watches over and provides for all.
Searching Our Souls, 1-2. No doubt the language is adapted to human understanding. Without the necessity of a lengthy "search," God has perfect knowledge and understanding of all our outward acts and also of our inmost thoughts and motives, even before they enter our own minds.
Scanning Our Secrets, 3-4. Whether we walk on an open road or in a secret path, whether we stand in plain view or lie under cover, our ways are not hidden from God. Whether we shout or whether we whisper, our words are all known to Him.
Surpassing Our Senses, 5-6. God is Spirit [John 4:24], and as such has no literal hands, but David recognized the divine watchfulness of God "behind and before," and felt as it were an unseen hand upon his life, guiding, helping, and protecting him. God lifts us over snares and pitfalls that we have not seen, and wards off enemies that we were not aware of. Indeed such knowledge is too wonderful for us; we cannot reach it; we can only bow and worship.
GOD STAYS, Psalm 139:7-12. In a manner of speaking, we may think of God as being present more in one place than in another, and even of people and places being "without God" or "forsaken of God." The Bible often uses such language of accommodation to human terms. Really, however, the reference is to the degree of manifestation of the divine presence.
In some sense, God is always present everywhere. His manifestations vary from time to time and place to place, but God always stays the same. Situations, conditions, feelings, and circumstances change, but God stays the same. Like David, we need to get hold of this fact and "hang on" by faith.
Unchanging Presence, 7-8. Can we not see how foolish it is to try to flee from the presence of God, since He is everywhere present? Most readers will see no difficulty in David's testimony to God's presence in heaven, but some will stagger at his statement, "If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there."
"Hell" here is "sheol" or "hades." This is not the same as gehenna, the lake of fire. But if it were possible for a genuine child of God to go to gehenna, he would find the love of God still with him. And when the wicked are cast into the lake of fire, they will find the wrath of God still upon them.
So God's presence is unchanging; it is the manifestation of that presence that varies. Let us seek the manifestations of His grace.
Unchanging Promise, 9-10. For the heirs of promise, there is no getting away from God's loving favor. Possessors of eternal life, justified by faith in the blood of Christ, they are saved "to the uttermost" [Hebrews 7:25] of time and space; God's "hand" will still lead them, His "right hand" will still hold them, on land or sea.
GOD SAVES, Psalm 139:23-24. Escape from God is impossible; we can escape His wrath only by taking refuge in His love; and we find this refuge only through faith in His Son [John 14:6; Acts 4:12].
Sinner Convicted, 23. David understood, though unbelievers do not, that only God the Holy Spirit, using the truth of His Word, can so convict us of sin that we are enabled to see not only sin in gene- ral, but in particular the enormity and ugliness of our own personal sins as they appear to God. May that Holy Spirit search and test our minds and hearts, that we may come to know with Him our need of continual cleansing by the blood of Christ [1 John 1:5-10]!
Sinner Corrected, 24. Regenerated children of God do not persist in wicked ways [1 John 3:9; 5:18]. Let us pray with David that God will lead us "in the way everlasting."
CONCLUSION [Hebrews 4:13] Jesus Christ will declare the judgment of God at the time appointed [Acts 17:31J, and nothing can hide our sins from Him except His own precious blood applied through personal faith in Him. =============
[From Ashland Avenue Baptist weekly paper, May 2, 1975, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More NT Lessons
Baptist History Homepage