The Knowledge of the Holy: God’s Omnipresence
[Editor’s Note: This is a 23-Day Series exploring different aspects of God’s nature and personality, using Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” as a discussion starter. You can read the introduction of the series here.]
Air is everywhere. Air is something we take for granted. But if we were to remove all the air from the room that we are in we would definitely appreciate it more. And when we think about God and His ability to be present everywhere, we relate to Him in the same way. We take for granted His presence but would certainly notice His absence. But awakening to His constant presence is the sweet spot of Christianity that we all strive for. And this is what Tozer encourages us to do.
He first explains omnipresence. Presence is being close to or next to someone or something. Adding the “Omni” to the front means God is next to or close to everyone at all times. Tozer makes the argument God’s omnipresence is assumed and expounded upon throughout the Bible. God is all around us, what water is to fish and air is to birds.
Tozer presents God’s presence in the world as the answer to many of our questions. The secular world is constantly asking whether the world is only physical or a mixture of physical and spiritual realities. God’s presence throughout the world answers these questions with a strong yes. God loves creation. It is both physical and spiritual. God’s presence also means that He is always with us. No believer has to wonder whether God has left. Our awareness of His presence will continually change, but His actual presence never changes. He is always with us. This truth sustains our heart in confusing and turbulent times.
Tozer summarizes all this by telling his readers that we should be comforted by God’s omnipresence, but that we should attempt to live life aware of His presence. For all the comfort of the truth God is near us, it changes believers to be aware of God in their daily lives.
What I love about today’s reading was the assumption that God is there. Obviously that’s true, but we operate so many times without it, even though theologically we know it’s true. We feel abandoned by God. We feel like some how if God was there, He would have saved us from sorrow. But God is always near.
In the house church world that I live in, there is a wing of the house church movement in the United States that base their meetings on a concept called God’s prevenience. Prevenience means that God has already been doing something in a certain place or situation before You got there. (You can read more about the “prevenience model” of church here.) God has always been in a place before you got there. Your job is to point Him out. His omnipresence has existed, He’s actually even been doing things there, but as a believer your job is to bring others’ attentions to this fact.
We do this by first learning the truth: God is everywhere. And then we begin to take moments of time, acknowledge the truth in our hearts, and look for signs of God’s being with us in whatever place we are in. As we look, God begins to show us signs of His presence. We begin to realize we are not alone. Sometimes we even begin to realize that the place we are standing in is holy ground (Exodus 3:5). As we sense and become aware of God’s nearness, we begin to get better at making others aware. We can speak into situations showing the world God’s activity. What started as a simple doctrine becomes a means for God breaking in to the lives of our friends.
All of this starts, though, with this simple truth: there is nowhere God isn’t. If you feel like He isn’t with you, we may need to work on your feelings, but He is there. He is not absent. He is always with you. He will show Himself faithful again and again by proving He is with you, even in the darkest of nights. This truth, properly placed in the believers life, will act as a rudder during the storms of life, making them strong in hours that would have overwhelmed anyone else.
That’s my takeaway today. What’s yours? Leave a comment so we can all grow together!
Day 14: God’s Omnipresence
Day 15: The Faithfulness of God
Day 16: The Goodness of God
Day 17: The Justice of God
Day 18: The Mercy of God
Day 19: The Grace of God
Day 20: The Love of God
Day 21: The Holiness of God
Day 22: The Sovereignty of God
Day 23: The Open Secret