January 05, 2016

The Immensity of God

Psalm 139:7-17

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.

—  Psalm 139:7-8

Before astronauts walked on the moon, I used to wonder if God knew what the far side of the moon looked like. Now, however, I can’t imagine that God is struggling to keep ahead of our space probes so that we don’t surpass his knowledge of the universe. God is everywhere in the universe. Theologians call that his omnipresence.

The gods of many folk religions are what might be called “little gods,” especially nature gods, believed to have limited areas of supervision, like a river god or a mountain god. Often they are also petty, quarrelsome beings, more powerful than we are, but no better. And of course such gods are not real.

Ancient Japanese mythology tells the story of Susa, the storm god, who was a mischievous guy. One day he sneaked behind the throne of his sister, Ama Terasu, the sun goddess, and “relieved himself” there. Disgusted, she stalked off to a cave and refused to come out. Of course, the farmers were in trouble when the sun didn’t shine; they begged her to come out. When she did, everyone was happy again.

The true God is not little or petty. “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” says the psalmist. The Lord is the great and good and awesome God.

Lord, we easily fall into making idolgods in our own image. Help us not to diminish you by the limitations of our understanding. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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