Nearby—Far Away

Glenn Bruggers

READ : Jeremiah 23:23–40

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? (v. 24)

There is absolutely no place where we can hide from God. This is one of the most sobering facts of our existence in this world and yet it is one of the most satisfying.

Apparently the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day felt they were performing only before men. They seemed to feel that they would never be held accountable for what they said. Boldly they made proclamations in direct contradiction of the covenant. To give their words an official appearance, they prefaced them with the traditional “thus says the Lord.” It seems possible that some thought that by thus invoking God’s name, their private schemes might come true.

God’s answer to them is that he is both near and yet far away, both immanent and transcendent. In practical experience, when people serve God falsely, invoking his name without meaning, God seems very far away, unable to answer or put to shame these false prophets. Yet when the inevitable results of these false claims become apparent, they can find no place to hide from God.

On the other hand, those who serve God faithfully find him strangely near, comforting in times of great need, strengthening in times of weakness. People cannot hide from God. Neither does God hide from those who faithfully call upon him. (originally published April 17, 1964)


Heavenly Father, I pray that today I will live in your presence.