Saturday, June 19, 2010

Can An Omnipresent God Move Around? -- Genesis 35:13

Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him.

In Genesis 35:9 we read that God simply appeared to Jacob. Here in this segment of the text we gain a further understanding as how He may have done that. When God was finished meeting with Jacob, the scriptures say (35:13) He “went up from him (Jacob)”. One can assume, but never definitively, therefore, that God ‘had come down to meet with Jacob’ in the first place. Once again, the modern western mind has a dilemma. We have been taught that God is everywhere. We say He is omnipresent. If that is true, then why did He likely come down to meet with Jacob, and more certainly, why did He go “up form him”, from the place where He had spoken with Jacob?

My learning during a recent trip to Israel a month ago for a ‘rabbinical model’ pilgrimage helped me put it into perspective. The Jewish mind would have no problem with these two concepts. God is both omnipresent (from a divine perspective) and He is present in specific places and times (from a human author’s perspective). Both ideas can coexist with God.

I believe there is much to be gained by the believer with such an arrangement. Our almighty God is indeed everywhere at the same time. Understanding that, I receive the comfort and the peace of knowing He is fully in control and in charge of all events going on in the universe. He is able to see it all simultaneously and act accordingly as He deems appropriate. While my limited human capacity can fret about so much, His infinite authority is still in control of all. He is still on the throne and His plan for mankind is being fulfilled. I am thankful for that and realize it could not be any other way.

Yet this almighty God, in His role as a loving Holy Father, cares enough to come down and meet with one of His children. He cares enough to come meet with you and me, right where we are, in order to comfort us, assure us of His promises, share with us His plans for our lives, meet our very desperate needs, and so on. I am also very thankful for that. As a needy child, I could think of no better way for my Father to demonstrate His ongoing love for me.

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