All of us have either been a teacher or a student. Think back to ‘taking attendance.’ Teachers daily marked absent or present. The student may have replied, “Present”.
Later in the day, the teacher may have thought, “So and So was present in body today, but….,” indicating that the child was not totally engaged. Or, maybe, the teacher, with joy, determined that a particular student was present both physically and mentally...The student was ALL “there” today! The student was fully engaged. Very Present……
Maybe during a season of frustration or uncertainty, you’ve ‘taken attendance’ and asked, “God, are you present?”
The prefix, OMNI, as you may be aware, means ALL. Consider the OMNI Coliseum in Atlanta. When it was built, it was one of the first venues to host ALL forms of sports and entertainment. So, OMNI-present means that God is all-present….present everywhere….there is no place you can be that God isn’t there, too!
In a recent Bible study in which our church ladies participated, Psalm 46:1 (click here) was the theme verse of one week’s lesson. I had memorized this verse in the past and have shared it with others, but…this time I noticed something ‘new’.
The phrase, “very present” intrigued me.
Why did the Psalmist include what has been translated as the adverb, very?
Thus, I began to ‘dig’….(Digging for Nuggets). I dug into Psalm 46…which, I soon realized, I had done before when studying verse 10. Is there a connection?
So, let’s ‘dig in!’ Click here for Psalm 46:1-9.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (EBC) identifies Psalm 46 as “a Psalm that celebrates the presence of God”. The editor goes on to emphasize, as portrayed in verses 2-9, that not only is God with us—He is also FOR us. He is fully engaged!
In verses 2-3 the Psalmist creates a list of hyperbolic events that emphasize that even if all these events were to take place, God would be there in the midst (EBC). In verses 4-9, the Psalmist elaborates on all the ways God could ‘handle’ the situation.
The LORD of Hosts, the God of Jacob, is fully engaged and fully in control.
Charles H. Spurgeon stated the following in his timeless commentary on Psalms, Treasury of David:
“He is more present than friend or relative can be; yes, more present than even trouble itself….He is a friend in need and a friend indeed.”
When we consider verses 1-9, how should we respond to ‘trouble itself’? Oh, wait, there is another verse in Psalm 46! We will take a look at it next week!
Barker, Kenneth L and Kohnlenberger, John R III, editors, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary- Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (updated by Roy H. Clarke), The Treasury of David, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.