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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Not Far Off



"Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:23-25 ESV). In this portion of scripture, the Lord is speaking to false prophets and reminding them that there is nowhere they can hide from Him.

False gods were considered territorial, and their jurisdiction was thought to end at certain boundary points outside a temple or region. People believed If they were far enough away from the false god’s temple or domain, they could no longer be seen, and their actions no longer judged.

What a chaotic, evil world results when there is no accountability. Most of us were raised with boundaries and limitations. The watchful eyes of our parents and teachers followed us in most places, and respect for authority was instilled in us. However, parents and teachers had limited abilities to see us, and we could hide things from them. Not so with the Lord, and that is to our benefit.

We are always under God’s watchful eye. His omnipresence assures that, for He fills the heaven and earth. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3). Unlike evil principalities that are territorial and regional, God’s presence has no boundaries. He is not limited by space or time; He has no limitations at all. His glorious presence can be with us in the car, as we drive to work and pray or sing to Him. His presence can overshadow us in the stillness of the early morning hours, as we awaken from sleep and turn our thoughts toward Him.

He can be in small, intimate places with us—our homes, a hospital room, a secluded park bench—or in the noisy halls of a school, on a football field during an exciting tackle, in a courtroom…anywhere, anytime. The Lord can be both near and far off. The NLT Bible records Jeremiah 23:23-24 as, “Am I a God who is only close at hand?" says the Lord, "No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?" says the Lord.

None of us are insignificant to the Lord. Psalm 33:13 tells us, from heaven, the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. It’s not just that He watches us to keep track of our comings and goings. His gaze goes beyond the physical realm as He views our hearts. Psalm 14:2 states, the Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Even a silent prayer uttered from the depth of a lonely, searching heart catches the attention of God’s watchful eye. We do not need to make noise to be noticed by The Almighty.

Do you sense He is noticing you today? If He seems far off, He has not lost sight of you, despite your feelings of His absence. He’s a teacher, a parent, a true God who never leaves the classroom, your home, or His temple. Further on in Jeremiah, the Lord tells us, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB).

As for His temple, it’s us. 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 defines where that is: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? God’s temple has no structural limitations; it does not end at property markings, walls, or city limits.

Bring Him near. He is not far off. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV). Why? As for me, the nearness of God is my good (Psalms 73:28).

© 2023, Chris Werre

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