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Finding God in Sheol

Finding God in Sheol
Psalm 139:1–24
We’ve all felt distant from God. Sometimes it’s sin that makes us feel separated from Him; other times it could be a lack of prayer. Either way, when we feel apart from God, God has not moved away from us. God never moves—we do. But we can find solace in the words of Psa 139: “O Yahweh, you have searched me, and you know me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought from afar” (Psa 139:1–2).
We spend so much of life explaining ourselves to others. Trying to manage perceptions is a norm in our society—especially for those of us in fast-paced work environments. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as our motives are pure, we’re being honest, and we’re not obsessed with what others think. But it’s certainly comforting to know that with God, we never have to explain ourselves. He already knows. He has already searched us—and He is always present.
The psalmist writes, “You barricade me behind and in front, and set your hand upon me.… If I ascend to heaven, there you are, and if I make my bed in Sheol [the ultimate symbol of darkness in the Ancient Near East], look! There you are. If I lift up the wings of the dawn, and I alight on the far side of the sea, even there your hand would lead me, and your right hand would hold me fast” (Psa 139:5, 8–10). God is in all places. We may accept these concepts intellectually, but our minds become distracted when we’re feeling alone. Loneliness is heart work, as Psalm 139 concludes with the words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there is in me the worship of false gods, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa 139:23–24). The God who created the universe is waiting for us. He is ready to find our false gods and cast them out. He is ready to help us acknowledge His work of goodness and order in the world, and to alleviate the anxiousness we feel. Only He who is all-knowing and all-present can bring us ultimate comfort. Only He can close the gap we feel.
What false gods are you fighting? What anxiousness do you need to ask God to cast out?
John D. Barry

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