Jeremiah 23:23
"Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away?"
Sermons
God Nigh At HandJ. Parker, D. D.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Divine OmnipresenceA. MacDonald.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Divine PerfectionsJ. Jortin, D. D.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Omnipresence of GodA.F. Muir Jeremiah 23:23, 24
The Omnipresence of GodW. Dickson.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Omnipresence of GodS. Summers.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Omnipresence of GodR. Price, D. D.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Omnipresence of GodS. Charnock.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Omnipresent GodJ. Waite Jeremiah 23:23, 24
The Practice of God's PresenceJ. H. Barrows, D. D.Jeremiah 23:23-24
The Present GodHomilistJeremiah 23:23-24
The Giving Forth of the Word of Man as the Word of GodD. Young Jeremiah 23:23-32


I. A PERSONAL ATTRIBUTE.

1. Infinitely near to all his creatures.

2. All-seeing.

3. Filling all in all.

II. A MORAL INFLUENCE. The question is asked. Every conscience confesses it. The dispensation of the Spirit which convinces the world "of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment" is the latest expression of this.

1. Deterrent.

2. Intensifying.

3. Encouraging. - M.









Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?
God is nigh at hand for judgment: the period of judgment, therefore, need not be postponed until a remote age; every man can now bring himself within sight of the great white throne, and can determine his destiny by his spirit and by his action. God is nigh at hand for protection: He is nearer to us than we can ever be to ourselves: though the chariots of the enemy are pressing hard upon us, there is an inner circle, made up of angels and ministering spirits, guarding us with infinite defences against the attacks of the foe. God is near us for inspiration; if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God: what time we are in doubt or perplexity as to the course we should take, let us whisper our weakness into the ear of the condescending and ever-accessible Father, and by the ministry of His Spirit He will tell us what we ought to do.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

God is a Mind having all possible perfections, and one of these is Omnipresence. The deepest thought of modern poetry is that of the Divine immanence in nature, and the best modern theology recognises it. Emerson said that "Nature is too thin a veil, God is all the while breaking through." Are there not those among us who imagine that God dwells in churches, in certain consecrated places, at certain appointed times, and who rarely think that He is in their houses, unless one lies dead there and prayer is being said by, an open coffin? The Syrian enemies of the Israelites caned the God of Israel the God of the hills and not of the valleys," believing that Jehovah's presence was stationed there, as the Greeks believed that Neptune was confined to the sea. And something of this misconception lingers in us all when we think of God as being somewhere else than where we now are. Such mistakes make worship impossible. If God's nature had any bounds, if it were limited to any portion of space, it would be defective in being. If you could conceive of God as confined to any one place, He would immediately be shorn of His glory. In order to be God, He must be everywhere in His perfection. He cannot be restrained and confined by any higher power, for there is none other equally exalted. He would not voluntarily shut Himself out from His dominions, for He would not willingly curtail His own perfections. But, it may be asked, is not God peculiarly present in heaven, in the assemblies of His saints, in the hearts of His loving children? Yes, wherever He reigns without opposition, there He manifests His completer glory. But how can God dwell in heaven, in human temples, and in the hearts of His scattered children, without being omnipresent and without being purely spiritual; that is, incorporeal? God is in my soul, if there at all, in His whole nature, and in yours also; and when you come to realise the presence of God, never think that a fragment of Him is before you. No; the whole nature of the Eternal and Infinite Jehovah, before whose presence angels hide their faces, from whose throne the heavens and the earth flee away, and in whose light in the celestial climes the sun himself dare not shine, the whole essential glory of the Lord, God Almighty, penetrates, sustains, and glorifies our lives continually. God is an infinite Mind, present here in His infinite glory, and present in whatever other part of the universe I may ever dwell. And if you say such a mode of Being as His is mysterious even to inconceivability, I gladly and reverently grant it. God is Light, and as the light of the sun fills a globe of crystal with its splendour, displacing no particle, and yet not becoming identified with that which it illuminates, so God fills all this crystalline universe with His shining presence without becoming identified with that which He glorifies. Thus a rational philosophy justifies the teaching of God's omnipresence; but modern science throws even a more dazzling light on this sublime theme. Science, as taught to-day, presents to us four commanding facts, each one of which runs into practical religion. The first of these is the omnipresence of thought and adaptation in the universe. The doctrine of evolution, as Professor Drummond has said, has not affected, except to improve and confirm it, the old teaching that all things have been created on a plan. Now the plan is a complicated one, requiring the fitting together of many parts. It is plain that He who brings in the winter months directs the honey-bee to lay up in summertime its store of food for the season of cold, and teaches it to build of waterproof wax its six-sided cells, wherein the honey may be packed without waste of room. Mind is present, not only in the bee's instinct, but in the world which supplies with its blossoms the sweetness on which the bee feeds. The second fact which science presents to us is the universality of motion. It is a mistake to speak of anything as being at rest. The universe is one blazing wheel within another blazing wheel, all rushing with inconceivable rapidity, and testifying, by the omnipresence of motion, to the omnipresence of that Mind that created and upholdeth all things, and without whose continued activity the very thought of universal motion is inconceivable and inconceivably absurd. The third fact that science presents to our attention is the universality of law. There is no caprice in the motions of the universe, but undeviating submission to intelligent regulation. But the proof of the universality of law is the proof of the omnipresence of God. Law is only the method of the Divine activity. Law is inconceivable except as the working of a willing Mind. Law, self-made and self-executed, is an absurdity, as much so as a proposition made to yonder organ that it should compose and then render the "Hallelujah Chorus." So that when you extend the domain of law so as to embrace the rushing hosts of the stars, and you find law everywhere executed, you only announce the omnipresence of Him who said to Jeremiah, Am I a God at hand,... and not a God afar off?... Do I not fill heaven and earth?" And the fourth fact which science presents is the omnipresence of conscience. The moral law cannot be escaped. But this law is not of human origin. It was not enacted, it is not executed by man. It existed prior to all human legislation. It is universal and infallible; and, above all, it is executed by a Power not human. God is behind it and in it: and if we can escape by no possibility from its action, then by no possibility can we escape from the presence of Him who is its Author and Executor. "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord." Neither heaven, nor hell, nor the uttermost part of the sea is beyond the immediate presence of Him who filleth all in all It is sometimes said that God is in the world. It is truer to say that the world is in God. In Him we and all things move and have our being, and thus the universe becomes what Sir Isaac Newton called it, "The vast sensorium of Deity," with God vital and throbbing in every part. He upholds all things by the Word of His power. When the question was asked of Basil, one of the Christian Fathers, "How shall we do to be serious?" he answered, "Mind God's presence." "How shall we avoid distraction in service?" he replied, "Think of God's presence." "How shall we resist temptations?" "Oppose to them God's presence." This is God's method of perfecting holiness. Enoch, the first saint, is described as one who walked with God. His faith was to him the evidence of things not seen. His loving trust made God a present reality. The Lord said unto Abraham, "Walk before Me, and be thou perfect." The secret of perfection is to know God's presence. Remember this truth when you are abroad in nature, and nature is everywhere, in your solitary room as truly as among the summer fields. This is God's universe, in every part of which He is actively present. Behold Him in the light, as the Persian poets did, for He is there. See Him in the sun, as the makers of the Hindu Scriptures did. Breathe in His life as you breathe the morning air, for it is God's atmosphere in which you dwell. Let every created thing be a reminder of the Infinite Father, the Eternal Spirit, who lives in all life, moves in all motion, shines in all splendour, and filleth heaven and earth. And remember this truth when you pray. It will kindle your soul to devotion, it will control rebellious thoughts, it will make prayer a real communion with a personal God. Remember this truth in the midst of sorrow. It brings to the weary and troubled heart the immediate presence of the Infinite Comforter. It brings before the mind the consolation of an omnipresent love, and the sure defence of an omnipotent hand. And remember this truth in your daily toil. God is with you, and you may build a chapel to Him in your heart and sing His praises from morning until night. But if God is everywhere, the Spirit of God, embodied in His people, should go everywhere. There can be no righteous divorce in our best lives from this sorrowing and sinning world. The Church has lived too much apart with God, in meditation and worship. Its business is to enter human life in every division of it, with the Divine Spirit of healing and help.

(J. H. Barrows, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. THE FOLLY AND SIN OF EVERY FORM OF IDOLATRY. When Pompey, the Roman general, had conquered Jerusalem, his curiosity prompted him to enter the temple; and finding no image there of any divinity, he was filled with astonishment, and would fain have called the Jews atheists. The presence of an image seemed to him an essential part, or, at least, an important prerequisite, of Divine worship. As Pompey thought, so all pagans think; hence we term them Idolaters (from εἴδωλον, an image), because they either worship an image as God, or adore their divinities through the instrumentality of an image. This practice both reason and revelation condemn, as being exceedingly senseless, and exceedingly sinful.

II. THE TRUTH OF THE TEXT SHOULD STIMULATE US TO THE CULTIVATION OF AN INCESSANTLY DEVOTIONAL SPIRIT. The whole universe is but one vast apartment filled with the Divine presence, and everywhere, therefore, we may be closeted with God

III. SURE CONSOLATION TO THE CHRISTIAN, AMIDST THE SORROWS TO WHICH HE IS EXPOSED. God sees every tear, hears every groan. His seeing is blended with sympathy. "Like as a father pitieth his children," &c. With the exercise of sympathy is connected the putting forth of Divine power. He will either deliver us from our sorrow, or give us strength bravely to bear it.

IV. WHAT A SAFEGUARD AGAINST THE SEDUCTIONS OF SIN MAY THOSE NOBLE WORDS PROVE, Shall we yield to temptation beneath the gaze of the infinitely Holy One! Shall we dare to oppose the righteous will of Him, "in whom we live and have our being"? Shall we dare to break the holy commands of the Divine law-giver, in whose presence we are at all times placed?

(Homilist.)

There are three ways of discoursing upon the perfections of God.

1. We prove that there is a God, and that He must have these powers and qualities which we ascribe to Him.

2. Supposing that God is, and that He possesses all perfections, we explain them as far as the sublimity of the incomprehensible subject permits, and confute the wrong opinions which have been entertained concerning them.

3. Supposing that they to whom we address ourselves have just and honourable notions of all God's perfections, and confining ourselves chiefly to practical truths, we show the effects which such a belief and such knowledge ought to produce, and endeavour to excite in them a behaviour suitable to their faith.

I. GOD'S OMNIPRESENCE, UNLISTED KNOWLEDGE, AND IRRESISTIBLE POWER.

1. God is present everywhere. A proof of this may be taken from the creation. The world is plainly the offspring of one great and wise mind, which produced it, and disposed all its parts in that beautiful order in which they continue, and gave them those regular motions which they preserve, and by which they are preserved. Now God must of necessity be present with the things that He made and governs.

2. He is present everywhere in knowledge. This perfection is united with the former: for, if God be everywhere, everything must be known to Him.

3. God is also present everywhere in power. He is the only independent being, He is before all things, He made all things, He upholds and governs all things; from Him all powers are derived, and therefore nothing is able to resist or defeat His will

II. WHAT EFFECTS THE FORE-MENTIONED TRUTHS SHOULD PRODUCE IN US.

1. We should endeavour to resemble God in these perfections, and in the manner in which He exerciseth them.

2. This consideration should deter us from sin.

3. This consideration should teach us humility. Pride is a very unfit companion for poverty and dependence; and vain men should remember that they receive all from God, and that they can acquire and preserve neither strength nor skill unless by His blessing, by His appointment or permission.

4. A particular encouragement to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.

(J. Jortin, D. D.)

I. THE DOCTRINE OF GOD'S OMNIPRESENCE. The omnipresence of which the Bible teaches us that God is possessed, is that attribute by which He is present everywhere, equally, at all times, in the possession of all His perfections.

1. The uniformity of the operations of nature, and of the moral principles by which the universe is governed, — everywhere that we are able to trace them, — leads us to conclude that the same God is everywhere present, as the Ruler and Disposer of all.

2. The possession of this attribute is necessary to the perfection of His other attributes, and the want of this would destroy the analogy and resemblance that otherwise exists between them.

3. The declarations of Scripture regarding the omnipresence of God are both plain and numerous: Job 11:7-9; Acts 7:27, 28; Psalm 139:7-11; 1 Kings 8:27; Amos 9:2, 3; Jeremiah 23:23, 24; Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20.

II. THE PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF THE DOCTRINE OF GOD'S OMNIPRESENCE.

1. God is everywhere present, as the Preserver and Governor of all.

2. God is everywhere present as the object of religious worship,

3. God is everywhere present as the inspector of our conduct.

4. God is always present as the helper and Saviour of His people. In the time of duty he will give them strength to perform, in the time of trial strength to resist, and in the Period of trouble strength to endure.

(W. Dickson.)

Few things in nature but are mysterious to us. Outward appearances we know, but when we attempt to inquire into the causes of things, we find our researches quickly at an end. Our sensations give us no intelligence of the essence of those material objects which produce them, nor, indeed, immediately of their existence itself: and though we have an inward consciousness of our own existence, our perceptions, and volitions, yet what the intimate nature is of that self-consciousness, we cannot understand. Least of all can we form any adequate notion of the Supreme Being himself. By reflecting on ourselves, on the constitution of our nature, with its various tendencies, affections, passions, and operations, and by considering external objects as perceived by our senses, we are led to a persuasion of His being, power, wisdom, and goodness. By this method of inquiry we are also convinced that God is intimately present with us, and with all beings in the universe: yet still it is only by the means of sensible effects that we attain to this conviction. The Divine nature and attributes themselves, the inward principle of the Almighty's various operations, "no man hath seen at any time, nor can see." Hence it follows, and we find it so in experience, that the Perfections of God which are the most clearly manifested, and immediately exercised in His works, are the best understood by us. We have much more distinct apprehensions of power, wisdom, and goodness, than of self-existence and infinity. With regard, therefore, to those attributes which it is hardest for us to conceive, we shall still think and speak of them the most usefully, when, as far as it can be done, we consider them in relation to the works of God. God is from all eternity: He consequently exists without any cause; He therefore necessarily is, and it is impossible that He should not be. But it is certain that absolute necessity of existence excludes all relation to any one place more than another: for He who is, by necessity of nature, must be everywhere, for the same reason that He is anywhere; because if He could be absent from any one place, He might be absent also from any other place, and so could have no necessary existence. To necessity of existence all points of space are alike; and, therefore, it is equally necessary in them all. This argument is held to be irrefragable: but there is another, at once more obvious and more convincing. We see, in this vast creation, a power everywhere exerted in pursuing a design that is perfectly uniform and consistent: we see it exerted at all times, and in all places; the same intentions are, by the same energy, advanced from age to age. Now, wherever this power is exerted, there is God; in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath. But if we know that He fills heaven and earth, we know that there can be no difficulty in supposing that He is present in all imaginable worlds, and in all imaginable space. In this kind of reasoning, from obvious and manifest appearances, the mind rests perfectly satisfied. And thus we conceive, that as in man there is one individual conscious self, that sees, hears, feels, and determines for the whole body; so in the universe (but in a manner infinitely more perfect) there is one conscious intelligent nature, which pervades the entire system, at once perceiving in every place, and presiding over all To every good mind this must be a joyful reflection. It is a noted observation, that in the company of one whom we esteem and love, we are sensible of a pleasure which seems to communicate itself to all objects around us. And why should not all nature appear to us delightful, as it is everywhere the seat of the Divine presence; the seat of that presence which contains the perfection of grandeur and of beauty? God is here; and should not everything rejoice as in His presence? So the rising sun displays his beams, and the skies are filled with day; a thousand beautiful objects open to the eye, nature smiles on every hand, and the world appears a grand and delightful theatre. To look on the beauty of opening flowers, gradually growing up to all their pride, is certainly pleasant, even to a superficial observer; but to discern the Creator's hand which adorns them in a manner so delightful, and to consider them as the contrivance of the eternal Mind, eloquently displaying His intention to please the children of men, this shows them in a very different, and in a much nobler light. Even the most formidable appearances in nature, considered in this view, become easy to the imagination. If the thunders and the lightnings of heaven are conceived as having the Deity presiding in them; if the wild tempests and the tumultuous ocean are His servants, constantly under His eye, ever executing His pleasure, and having all their force measured by Him; they cease then to be terrible, for they discover a power which must be always tempered with kindness, and directed by love.

(A. MacDonald.)

I. INFINITE KNOWLEDGE. If a being is perfectly acquainted with me — if he knows all I do, and all I say, and all I think — he is, in an eminent sense, present with me. In this sense God is everywhere present; there is nothing hidden, nothing concealed from Him.

II. DIRECT, CONSTANT, AND UNIVERSAL AGENCY. Wherever a being immediately operates, there He is present. When God created the world out of nothing, He was present at its production: but the same power is requisite to sustain, as to create, the universe. If we imagine the lights of heaven to exist and move, and the processes of nature to be carried on by the laws of this Creator, yet let it be remembered, that there is no binding power in law; it is only the ordinary rule by which creative energy and power sustains the world, and the works He has formed. Thus it is with God's power in the laws of nature, not simply by ordination or by appointment, but by a perpetual impartation of mighty energy, which, if for a moment withheld, the world would cease to be. And He is not only employed in preserving His works, but, as far as our knowledge extends, He is perpetually calling new beings into existence and terminating the present condition of others. Both are perpetually passing the opposite barriers of life — entering into existence, and passing out of it: but neither event transpires without the immediate presence of God.

III. THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS PURPOSES. The world was created for His glory: but if on its production he had retired from it, only sustaining it in being, we might have seen His power in creation; but His wisdom, His might, His goodness in the works of providence, would not have been displayed. But He governs the world which He has made, and His supremacy is so complete that nothing happens without His permission; and every purpose of the Eternal Mind will he fully and perfectly accomplished. "The purpose of the Lord shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure." To accomplish these objects He must be everywhere present; not only acquainted with external events, but with the thoughts and the intents of the human heart.

1. The grandeur and the incomprehensibility of Jehovah.

2. The nature of all true religion. All religion is founded on correct views of the Deity; it is the state, the habit of mind, which accords with our relation to God and His perfections. If, therefore, God be a Spirit, and by reason of His spiritual nature is everywhere present, then He must be worshipped in spirit and in truth; that is, in sincerity and with the heart.

3. Religion is a habit of mind. It consists not in isolated acts of worship; not in our regular attendance on the Sabbath in the house of prayer: but the conviction that God seeth us at all times should make us religious in all places.

4. Our subject is full of consolation to the good man. Oh, it is a delightful and cheering thought, that my heavenly Father is never absent from me.

5. However forgotten and contemned may be the doctrine of God's omnipresence, it is an awful truth to ungodly men.

(S. Summers.)

1. THE PROOFS OF IT. It is implied in the idea of an unoriginated Being, that there can be nothing to limit Him. Were His existence determined to one place, rather than to another, it must have been so determined by some prior cause; and, consequently, He could not have been the first cause.

2. That necessity by which the Deity exists, can have no relation to one place more than to another. It must be the same everywhere that it is anywhere. The infinity itself of space is nothing but the infinity of the Divine nature.

II. THE MANNER OF IT.

1. God is to be conceived as present with us in all we think, as well as in all we do. The motives of our actions, our most secret views and purposes, and the inmost recesses of our hearts, lie naked before Him.

2. He is present with us by His influence. His hand is always working to preserve us, and to keep up the springs of life and motion within us.

3. He is present with us by His sense. We feel Him in every effort we make, in every breath we draw, and in every object that gives us either pain or pleasure.

4. It follows, from hence, that He is present with us in a manner in which no other being can be present with us. It is a presence more real, more close, more intimate, and more necessary.

III. THE PRACTICAL IMPROVMENT OF THIS SUBJECT.

1. Since God is equally present everywhere, we ought not to imagine that our worship of Him can be more acceptable in one place than in another.

2. Since God is the only being that is present with us in the manner I have described, there can he no other being who is the proper object of our prayers.

3. The consideration of the constant and intimate presence of the Deity with us, ought to encourage us in our addresses to Him. He is our benevolent parent, and therefore no pious wish of our hearts, no virtuous breathings of our minds, no desire of bliss that can be directed to Him, can escape His notice, or fail of being properly attended to.

4. A reverential fear should continually possess us, since God is always with us.

5. The presence of God with us should deter us from sin.

6. The presence of God with us should support us in the performance of our duty, and quicken us in a virtuous course.

7. The consideration of God's presence with us should encourage and comfort us under every pain and trouble. A present Deity is a present friend, and a present helper in every time of need.

(R. Price, D. D.)

If you were cast out of your country a thousand miles off, you are not out of God's precinct; His arm is there to cherish the good, as well as to drag out the wicked; it is the same God, the same presence in every country, as well as the same sun, moon, and stars; and were not God everywhere, yet He would not be meaner than His creature, the sun in the firmament, which visits every part of the habitable world in twenty-four hours.

(S. Charnock.)

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