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Sermon 1-24-10
Jeremiah 23:23-24

Audio Sermon


’Am I a God who is near?’ declares the Lord. ‘And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

This sermon is part of a series, in which we are looking at the Person of God. Who is He? This God who created us and sustains us; what is He like? Two weeks ago, we saw that He is Holy. Unlike humanity, a people full of mixed motives, the Lord God is pure in all His ways. He is utterly good. Last week we observed that He is Omniscient – He knows everything, including every thought, every act that you and I ever considered or committed. This week we look at God’s Omnipresence – Is He in enough places to help you when you are in need? Next week we’ll see His omnipotence – Is He powerful enough to do the job? There’s a recent Christian song that asks, “Are You Lord God Almighty?…” Yes He is.

The context of today’s Scripture is about the prophets who filled the land at a time when the man Jeremiah walked the earth. Many who claimed to speak for the Lord were never sent by Him. You can see the Lord’s concern in places like Jeremiah 23, our Chapter for this week, where He said through Jeremiah, who WAS a true prophet of God – “’I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied… I am against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘Who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares…’” and there is more. You can read those statements in Verses 21, 31 and the section in between.

If you have a title such as pastor or minister or priest or teacher or whatever, you have taken on a great and wonderful responsibility. God loves you and He delights in and blesses those who minister to His people. But to those who claim to be something and are not, He says, “I will put an everlasting reproach on you and an everlasting humiliation which will not be forgotten” (Verse 40). Those who mislead His little ones will be embarrassed – forever.

As a young man, I met and got to know a false prophet, though I did not know what he was until later. He had interesting things to say, especially about the popular topic, the “end times.” A number of people followed him, but then he began to do and to say questionable things. When at last we decided there was something very wrong with him and confronted him, he became angry and shouted that he was “a demon named power.” That was scary. We surrounded him with prayer and hours later he claimed he was “delivered,” but much harm had been done, and the fellowship of believing Christians in that place disbanded. Many of them were young people of the 1960’s who shook their heads and returned to the drug culture they had come from.

I lost touch with most in that group, but heard that he continued to say questionable things and later still, heard that he died. If that is so, it is good that the Lord has removed him from causing further harm, but the thought that there is on him “an everlasting reproach and an everlasting humiliation which will not be forgotten,” is distressing. We can only hope he was truly delivered from this false “power,” and found forgiveness before it was too late.

God is right here at this moment, knocking on the “door” of our hearts and lives. He calls out to the church in Revelation 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him and He with me.” It’s time for us to throw open the door and welcome Him into the parts of our hearts and lives that we have kept closed. He is right here – all we have to do is say, “Yes,” to Him.

A.W. Tozer, a pastor and author, said, “When we sing, ‘Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,’ we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect awareness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.” John Wesley said, “Best of all, God is with us.

The Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, is here with us, right this minute. How many people are on earth at this time? Have we reached seven billion yet? If we haven’t, it won’t be long until we do. If every one of the millions who have read the words on our church site at www.FridayStudy.org were to send me an email, I would be pleased, but I would also be overwhelmed, for I could only read one of the emails at a time and could only respond one-by-one. God’s abilities are very different than ours. To pray is not that different from sending an email, only we don’t need a machine. Our prayers, each and every one of them, are “read” by the Lord, and He responds to each one as they are received.

As to the other young people who were part of that fellowship long ago, I have lost touch with them all. I can’t recall their names. I remember John, but not his last name and could not do an internet search to find him. What happened to them? I do not know. But God knows. He knows your name and does not have to do some kind of “search” to find you. He is as close as your need, and He loves you without limit.

No one can say it like David, the shepherd boy who became a king. Here are excerpts from his words in Psalm 139: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether… If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there… If I… dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me…and it goes on to say that God sees right through darkness, and David, like all of us, was carefully formed by God, while he was still in the womb… "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand… As Jeremiah said, He "FILL(s) the heavens and the earth" (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

There’s more in Psalm 139, but you get the idea. David KNEW, and no doubt KNOWS right this minute, that God is – everywhere! The Lord knows your thoughts and He knows mine, and it is true of all who are in humanity. He knows the thinking and the intentions of the just and the unjust alike. He knows what every creature, every animal is up to, right this minute. He is completely aware of what the rivers, the seas and the crust of the earth are doing and are about to do. He is omnipresent. He is everywhere. He sees it all, and even apparent disasters are carefully contained by Him, with the idea that we will brought to a place where we will need Him so much that we will place our trust in the Lord.

The other day, I talked with someone on the telephone who is having a financial downturn in a family company. It is not clear whether or not the business will survive. As the conversation continued, it also became apparent that this person was closer to the Lord than ever before, and their spouse was beginning to trust in Him also. A bonus is that their long-term marriage is stronger than it ever has been. This difficulty will work for good in their lives because God sees and responds to every need.  He is here for you.

Dear Lord, You know everything about me, about us all; and You love me. Please forgive my unbelief. You "fill the heavens and the earth." I am Yours. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131 USA