Psalm 139:7-10 - Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
Why would we want to run away from the Holy Spirit? Why would we ever flee from the presence of God? Still, we may think we have a reason to run. Adam and Eve tried to run from God, intent on hiding their guilt and shame from their Creator. Like our first parents, we may feel guilty and ashamed of our own rebellious thoughts and actions. Although we too may try to hide, feeling unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord, we can be certain that He eagerly waits to forgive every repentant sinner.
Yet the psalmist David is not really trying to escape judgment. He has already confessed that the Lord knows him inside and out, and certainly knows where he is: "You hem me in; behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me" (Psalm 139:5). David could not get away if he tried, and he knows it. But His question, "Where shall I go?" is not an attempt to run. It is a statement of assurance and trust that we, too, confess. There is no place we can go where God will not be. If we ascend to heaven, well, of course God is there. Any place we might go on earth, north, south, east or west, God's mighty hand still keeps a firm hold on us.
Even when we lie down in death, making our "bed in Sheol," the place of the dead, God is present with us. He is there because our Savior Jesus Christ has been there ahead of us. Jesus took onto Himself the sins that threatened to separate us from God for all eternity, every sin that makes us want to run and hide. On the night He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus may have sung the words of another psalm, words that expressed His desolation as the hour of His death approached: "The snares of death encompassed Me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on Me; I suffered distress and anguish" (Psalm 116:3; see Mark 14:26). For the sake of our salvation, the Son of God suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our sins and made His bed in Sheol.
But the place of the dead could not hold our mighty Savior and, on the first Easter morning, Jesus rose in triumph over death and the grave. He ascended into heaven to reign as King over all things, over every place in heaven and on earth. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep, the Shepherd who promises, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28). Wherever we go, Jesus is there, holding us in His strong right hand.
THE PRAYER: Almighty God and Savior, wherever I go, hold me safely in Your strong hand. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Is it possible to run away—and stay away—from God?
2. Though we may try to run from God, we're glad He's there to look after us. Has there ever been a time when you've tried to run from Him only to find He was the One you needed most?
3. God wants us to stay close to Him. How do you do that in your daily life?
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