The Inescapable God
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—
20 those who speak of you maliciously,
and lift themselves up against you for evil!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
This passage is titled “The Inescapable God.”
- unable to be avoided or denied.
|synonyms:||unavoidable, inevitable, unpreventable, ineluctable, inexorable;
“meeting the future in-laws is inescapable”
Do you find comfort in this or discomfort? It sort of depends on how you see God or the nature of God. If you see God as an all loving, omnipresent (all present), and omnipotent (all knowing) that’s our strength and our shield and a very present help in times of trouble, you are comforted by this Psalm. You realize that even though God knows all you’ve done and said and the things you’ve hidden away and the deepest recesses of your heart, God loves you anyway. Jesus scatters your sins from the east to the west and they’re not held against you anymore by grace alone. Christ is the victor over all evil and injustice in this world and we work with the Holy Spirit to bring God’s kingdom to earth.
On the other hand, if your view of God is a task-master, one that checks off like Santa if you do this naughty thing, or that, or if you simply don’t trust God because what you see God doing in the world seems so unfair, unjust, and unfathomable, then you have an entirely different picture of who God is. If you think of God as a vengeful God that causes all kinds of calamities in the world or in your life, then you indeed have an entirely different picture of who God is.
Scriptures abound painting with all kinds of different strokes about the nature of God, but if you take the full picture, the full painting, you begin to see that God is longing for us to return home. Just like the father in the familiar prodigal sermon. God’s longing for us to come home so that God can throw a party just as the father did in the story.
God created us from the dust of the earth. God breathed his ruach into us. God knitted us together in our mother’s wombs. This points to what United Methodists call prevenient grace. God woos us to God’s self, even before we knew, even before we are aware of it. God seeks each of us out to have a relationship with God. God calls us where we are, in all of the mire and muck of sin, and as Jeremiah 18:1-4 says, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.” God, as the potter, has the power to make all things new. As Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God creates each of us and calls us each by name. God cares about each of us. God seeks the heart of each of us. To give us hope and a future. God leaves the 99 and goes after us.
Some take theological issue with the song Reckless Love, can God’s love really be reckless? I would say that my love would appear reckless and it would go to extraordinary lengths for Enoch or Evy. We are God’s beloved children. Sons and daughters of the most high King.
We don’t have to define ourselves by what we do, how much we accomplish or how much stuff we have, we can claim we KNOW who we are and WHOSE we are – we are God’s Beloved Children. Our identity should be rooted in that truth.
8th grade was a very difficult year for me. My dad was a United Methodist pastor so we moved the summer before my eighth grade year. The exact wrong time to move if you’re a 5 foot 11 ½ inch girl and none of the guys at your school had hit their growth spurt yet. I grew to this height in seventh grade, but we had been in the Hartsville schools for 7 years, but when we moved to Cheraw I was fresh meat. My nicknames abounded that year: giraffe, Olive Oil, stick. They made fun of me for my long fingers and after a dance where some people had gone through my purse, I went home crying and being oh so dramatic and yelling at the top of my lungs to my parents, “I hate this town and everyone in it!” I wanted to go “home” to Hartsville. I felt out of place and wanted my old friends, old church and the familiar status quo. As I was teaching at the United Methodist Women’s Missionu last week, I showed them this book that my cousin Lindsay made on one of my grandmother’s last Christmases. The study was all about the covenant with the land and it asked what land do you most relate to, When I was 17, I wrote this poem. “My “Ganny’s.”
This place has been my haven, through life’s many storms
A constant place of refuge, where things are close and warm
It’s seen my tears, it’s seen my smiles, and it’s picked me up each time
The one place that has never changed in the journey of my life
When I have felt lost – no real “home” – and confused
Or when I thought my heart was broken and my soul had been stripped bare
I go through life as a little child trying to keep on her disguise
But in these walls my face lights up for this is where my strength and hope lies
Things are brighter, life more precious, feelings really matter
Here I find my true self, amidst the family’s chatter
This place is not a castle, a mansion, or a dream
What makes it great is not itself but the things that are unseen
The simple words full of wisdom, lack of pretense, and genuine love for people and each other
Are the things I admire and respect about my grandfather and grandmother
Although I can’t say I have the pleasure of living here from day to day
This place is my strength and my rock and in my heart it will stay
A place given from God to me, to help me light my way
A place where I can dance and sing, a secret hiding place
Everyone needs a refuge, a place to feel free and loved
There’s always a light, open door, some chocolate cake and a hug
People need a “Ganny’s” to escape our stress-filled world
A home that shows the love and grace of Jesus Christ our Lord
Everyone should have a safe space, where they can simply be. Simply to take off the armor we sometimes carry around in our day to day lives. The Psalmist is letting us know that the great God of the Universe created us and calls us for a purpose. God created YOU. God created Me. With all of our persnicketies and peculiarities. God calls us BELOVED. And that was why Ganny’s was my home. Because it was there I felt most beloved. My grandmother said something I’ll never forget at my Gandaddy’s visitation, She looked at us grandchildren standing there trying to slouch into a corner and said y’all were not only the apples of your grandfather’s eyes, you were his very eye balls. That may sound gross to some of you, but it meant more than the world to us. Just thinking about how much our Heavenly Parent loves us is mind-blowing.
No kid in school, no co-worker, no coach, no supervisor, no professor, no parent or sibling nor anyone in all of creation can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing can strip our belovedness. It’s time to lay your doubts, worries and fears down at the altar and be free to rest in the love of God.
I know what I’m saying is easier said than done. Some of us hold tight to our woundings like familiar, old security blankets. Ask God to work on that with you. God created your inmost thoughts, God knows everything about you, and God desires to give you abundant life in Christ. Not a half life. Abundant life. The next step is to share that belovedness with others.
We cannot love our neighbors with God’s agape love until we first love ourselves with God’s agape love. As Mother Teresa says, “When you know how much God is in love with you then you can live your life radiating that love.” I want us all to radiate the love of God. Radiating the love of God is what we’re here for.
I will tell you if you let go and let God in, God doesn’t promise to take the pain away, God doesn’t promise it will be easy, God doesn’t promise you will not be challenged and face all that the world throws at you, but God promises to be with you. In Psalm 139:18, “I come to the end – I am still with you.”
You are chosen. God created you in God’s image. God created all of us in the image of God and freely forgives us no matter the baggage, no matter the doubt, no matter what. You are loved. Claim that. Know that. Don’t let anyone or anything wrestle that fact away from you. You are a beloved child of God. And that should be a thing that we all say Amen to.
The below is a powerful testimony to living into and Being the Beloved.