This coming Sunday, we’ll be looking at two famous passages of Scripture: Psalm 139 and Romans 8. Both say essentially the same thing in different ways, and since Paul was so familiar with the Psalter, I can’t help but think that he had this particular Psalm in mind when he penned the last part of his chapter.
David declares that that there is no place in the universe where God is absent so he is safe and secure because he is always in God’s hands. Whether he ascends into outer space, or into the underworld, or even into the uttermost parts of the sea (a very frightening place), God is there to lead and hold onto him. In other words, it isn’t possible for there to be any geographical location where he can be separated from the love of God.
This passage alone would have been a shock to many ancient people who thought that their gods were localized, and that if they drifted too far from home, they might get into some pretty dangerous territory where other gods might not be so friendly or hospitable.
Not so for David. No such thing. He could find himself anywhere on the planet, or above, or below, and God would be there to welcome him and take care of him. This is good news to believers who move frequently and live in foreign lands (ex-pats), and whose families may wonder whether they are going to be okay in strange environments. In the midst of our travels, relocations, and journeys, we all discover that God, God’s people, helpful friends, and strangers are drawn to us to care for us.
In Romans, the apostle Paul affirms the flip-side of this same truth. There is no experience we can have in this life that would, in any way, shape, or form separate us from the love of God and his Christ. He even spells it out in detail: no tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, death, life, angels, rulers, present, future, powers, height, depth, or anything else in all creation is able to separate us from his love. Most of this he personally experienced, so he’s not just giving us some nice, hypothetical sentiments.
And, just in case we can speculate as to some other event, sin, or life change, he covers that too. Apart from absolutely and forever rejecting God and his love for us in the first place, there is nothing in all creation that can come between his love and us, ever.
We’ll be focusing on this good news in even more detail this Sunday. Looking forward to seeing you in worship.
Photo credit: Mike Page