1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
You know the scenario. Parents go away for the weekend leaving their two sons at home alone, taking with them the promise that the boys will behave. When the folks are out of sight and out of mind the older of the boys sends out the call that the party is on. Saturday night comes and the house fills up with rowdy kids. Inhibitions evaporate. Bad behavior escalates and property is damaged. Before long the house is a shambles. The younger son pleads with his brother to send everyone home. They promised to behave. What will their parents say? The older boy and his friends dismiss him with taunts and threats. The party goes on.
Suddenly, in the midst of the revelry, their parents walk in the front door. They have returned early. Dread silence and fear grip the scene. Some of the kids bolt, making their escape out the back door into the darkness. Others slink quietly away until the older son is left standing alone facing his parents; they holding a promise given; he, in tears, holding a promise broken.
It is an ominous portent that our age is so utterly devoid of the fear of God. Even in many churches, God has been stripped of the possibility of giving any offense. The radical attack of God’s sovereignty, God’s appearance in the midst of our waywardness is simply too much to bear so we look for God words that are benign, devoid of judgment; words that keep the fullness of God out of sight and out of mind.
The Psalmist brings us into the place of meeting where sinful man and woman are faced with the full reality of God’s presence and power. This is the place which faith inhabits, when the Word of God in all its’ power and might takes hold of us. ‘Where can I go to escape You?’, he asks. ‘Wherever I go You are there.’ This knowledge is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. Even the darkness, he exclaims, is as light to You, O God. There is nowhere to hide.
What is of supreme interest in the story above is what happens next. What did the parents say? What did they do? What were the consequences? For in the final analysis, everything depends upon this. So it is with us. Caught in the act as we are, what is to become of us?
In Christ Jesus the Sovereign One has arrived on the scene, full of grace and truth. This is the terrible, wonderful news of the Gospel. In Christ, the sovereign, electing God has gathered up all the selves of the world in His arms and embraced them, taking them with Him to the Cross. This is terrible because it means absolute judgment on our party going ways! At the same time it is wonderful because, in spite of being caught in the act, our broken relationship with God is restored. God, in His absolute sovereignty has had mercy on us for no other reason than, in His love, He has chosen to do so.
God is obligated to spare no one who is caught in the act. He is God, after all and His judgments are always just. The fact that He chooses to save anyone is a testament to His sheer grace and mercy.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”