Monthly Archives: May 2016

Is God in Hell?

Meditation Journey Day 37                         

Hi Friend,

The short answer is Yes! By the way, hell is not the abode of Satan.

But that may surprise some people so lets see what the Bible says…

Today we focus on verse 8 of Psalm 139, “If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in hell, you are there!”

Other translations of this verse add the accent word “Behold” to the second part of the verse. It reads “If I make my bed in hell, Behold, you are there!”  Adding the word “Behold” underlines the fact that David is startled by God being in hell too! Does the idea of people meeting God in hell surprise you? It did me when I first began my study of Psalm 139 in 1974. I once believed hell was the place absent of God, but that can’t be true because God is omnipresent. He is everywhere!

What would God be like in hell? You might want to sit down for this because the idea of hell does not seem too nice. Here on earth we know God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the face of God and all the fullness of God dwells in Him. He is the Good Shepherd Jesus 1Shepherd and loving Friend to all who believe in Him. When we get to heaven Jesus will be the Lamb that was sacrificed to become our Redeemer and the Savior of the world. Jesus Christ is the Bright and Morning Star, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will welcome all who trust Him into a kingdom of peace, joy and love. It is a Kingdom filled with sweet sounds of worship and beautiful colors of the rainbow.

In hell, and to all who reject Him, He will be very different. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of The One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” In hell God is the Judge of perfect Justice. God’s complete judgment and wrath will be poured out on all who have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:36). I know this is not popular teaching in our present world, but it is what the scriptures teach. Actually it may surprise you to know, Jesus taught more about the reality of an eternal hell than anyone else in the Bible. He taught this because He wanted everyone to understand God’s holy love is full of Justice. (See, Luke 16; Matthew 13, 25; Mark 9; and Rev. 20, for some of what He taught.)

Knowing that God is everywhere, including hell, means God is in control of everything.

David learned that there is no place in the universe where the LORD does not administer justice.  Not one particle of the smallest atom is out of His Sovereign Authority. He is the Almighty and Everlasting God that will bless the faithful that trust His Son and the Perfect Judge that will punish the evil doers. He is worthy of our complete trust because He is the faithful God of Justice. He is worthy of all our worship because He alone cares for us with absolute authority. We can rest secure in Him because the LORD of heaven and earth is a good, loving and just God!

If God does not have full control and authority over everything what value is it to me to belong to Him?

Observation: David is surprised to learn God is everywhere. That God is in Heaven is expected, but to find God in hell shocked David….. and most of us!

Interpretation: God being in hell reveals God is in total control and He is a God of Justice. He now reveals Himself as our Good Shepherd and invites us to enter His Kingdom. He desires all people to be saved from God’s wrath. We who believe will one day receive the full reward of our faith by being with Him in Heaven forever. He is worthy of worship because He is the Sovereign God of Justice. We can fully trust Him to defend the weak and ultimately bring peace to the whole universe.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for being so powerful and the Sovereign God over all good and all evil. My trust grows in You as I see your control of everything. I rest in your loving kindness and powerful justice… in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Does God know too much?

Meditation Journey Day 36                   

Hi Friend,

Have you notice in verses 7-12 of Psalm 139 David covers everyplace we can go? Read the passage and reflect on the dimensions he is considering.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,  even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

In these six verses David takes us to heaven and then to hell. We already know He is with God knowsus when we are near to Him, yet David has learned God stays close even when we think we are far away. If we try to hide in the dark He is there. The darkness and light, the visible and the invisible, nothing prevents God from seeing us and being with us. The Holy Spirit wants us to understand there is no place we can hide or run away where He is not already waiting. We belong to Him and He will never allow us to be alone. If we feel alone it is not because God left us!

Several years ago I was teaching on Psalm 139 and one lady was really getting into the passage. She memorized it and the truth of God’s omnipresence began to sink into her heart.  After several sessions she came to me with tears in her eyes. She said with anger mixed with shame, “I do not like God knowing so much about me! I do not like God always hanging around me!” I am happy to report she did work through this anxiety and accepted the joy of God knowing her so well. Yet this true experience vividly underlines the fact that our Adamic nature wants to be independent of God. Our natural bent is to keep God in a Box 1religious box. Most people are comfortable with opening the box once a week to a moralistic religious message, but to have a living God that is always there with them, can get very uncomfortable!

The Great I AM is ever present with us and we can grieve His Spirit when we ignore Him. He loves us and desires us to love Him too. I trust you appreciate the tender care Father God gives to you. If you have had the privilege of being a parent then you know the joy of being with your new baby. Your Father in Heaven loves to be with His children too; only to Him we are always His darlings. We will come to know the love of Christ more as we consider His constant commitment of being with us. Paul makes a similar point in Ephesians 3 as he prays for the early believers:  

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…Amen.”

David experienced that depth of love in his day and we can too. We just need to keep walking in an attitude of humble repentance and thankfulness. If we allow God to wash us with His word through meditating on His truth, the sense of the Presence of God will become more real to us each day!

There is much more to glean from these verses, so please read them daily to receive the grace and peace the Holy Spirit wants to give to you. You are Loved!

Observation: In verses 7-12, David considers the full spectrum of God’s presence with us. There is no place where God leaves us alone.

Interpretation: God’s hovering presence is a demonstration of His loving kindness. I will grow in my assurance of His presence as I meditate on His word and walk in humility with His Spirit.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for never leaving me. When I feel alone or afraid remind me of your Word. Help me to grow in the awareness of Your presence and loving kindness… in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Do you know where your going to?

Meditation Journey Day 35                         

Hi Friend,

OK, lace up your boots and pick up your back pack we are moving on into the next section of Psalm 139. This next section many be rough for some of us. Verses 7-12 are all about going. It starts with a question, “Where shall I go from your presence? It ends with the conclusion the LORD is with me everywhere I go.

VastWe really are only going in one of two directions. The only variable is how fast we are moving. Either we are moving towards God or away from Him. That is always the choice we have in every major decision we make.

The author of this psalm, King David had a lot of experience in moving towards and away from God. If you know King David’s biography in the Bible you are aware he was on the run for many years before he ever became king of Israel. He was being hunted by King Saul and at one point actually ran away to live with the enemies of God for safety. He hid in caves in the wilderness and barely survived. He did not always make godly choices; you can read David’s entire story in 1st & 2nd Samuel. Knowing his struggles, fears and his flight adds depth to this passage.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

RuunnerJust like David we can run towards or away from God.  Are you running towards the Lord or away from Him? Remember it is not so much a physical direction as it is an attitudinal posture. Here are some questions to help you decide which direction your heart is heading. When truth about your behavior is presented to you do you embrace it or resist it? Are you wishing you could get away with things you know are wrong? When circumstances do not go your way do you give thanks to God quickly, slowly or not at all? When things go well do you thank God? When things go bad do you blame God or think He is punishing you? When you accomplish remarkable things to whom do you give credit…you or God? Are you mentally arguing with people from your present or past? Is there anyone you have not forgiven?

These are just some questions that reveal to ourselves what direction we are going. The Apostle James says we all stumble in many ways so do not think you’re the only one who is challenged by these questions.

If this inquiry felt a little rough to your spiritual knees and you realized you have stumbled and fallen down; I suggest you stop and evaluate what we have learned in verses 1-6. He really does love you and value you highly. Choose to humble your heart in surrender to Him. Go deeper in your faith by trusting His grace to lead you back to His path. Oh yes, if your knees hurt, do not forget to ask for His forgiveness.

Observation: We are all moving towards or away from God. David learned from his experiences that the Lord God is always with him.

Interpretation: Since we are always in route, it is important we keep focus on the right direction. We choose every day which direction we are going. Our repentance is God’s plan to get us back on His path.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for your word. It helps me to get up after I have stumbled. Your grace reminds me you will forgive my waywardness. I do want to go your way. Teach me your paths. I will walk in them… in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?