"Rhetorical Questions, Reality Answers"
"Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill Heaven and earth? saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
Yes. No. Yes.
The Lord's rhetorical questions about Himself, as recorded by the prophet, tell us much about great and monumental truths that must become far more than rhetorical in our hearts and minds.
First, yes, He is the "God at hand." This does not always seem to be the case, of course, and we presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). Nevertheless our Lord constitutes the nearest reality in our lives, to the degree that "in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Recall that the Apostle Paul said these words to unbelievers in Athens, adding that "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Thus, the presence of the God at hand constitutes the great fact of every human being's existence. "At hand" is not enough, however, so He works in all that He might become the God in heart, as provided by the entrance of the Holy Spirit into those who believe in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the rhetorical must become reality, so must the Presence with become the Presence within. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).
Next question: no, we cannot hide in secret places from the gaze of God. "The ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He pondereth all his goings" (Proverbs 5:21). Upon first consideration, we should be decidedly discomfited by the Lord's viewing of every atom, moment, thought, and way of our existence. A Being of utter perfection looks upon us. !!!!!! This would be the most disturbing consideration imaginable were it not for the truth that God's gaze is accompanied by grace. A Being of utter love also looks upon us, directing His focus for the purpose of redeeming rather than rejecting us. Thus, we cannot hide from the gaze, nor do we need to do so. Recognizing that God sees us leads to hope if we come forth from the trees of our futile attempt to hide from Eyes that penetrate for the purpose of exposure and then rescue. "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee" (Psalm 86:5).
Finally, yes, the Lord fills Heaven and earth. He is the God at hand and the God who sees all because He is the God so vast that Solomon declared, "the Heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee!" (I Kings 8:27). This speaks of a spiritual reality beyond our ability to comprehend. Our Lord is not physically present in all things as the pantheists propose or imply by their error. He rather encompasses and inhabits land, sea, air, and space in a manner of truth and reality He calls us to believe, but which He does not seek to explain. We couldn't handle the truth even if He attempted to tell us. "Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?" asked the Psalmist, who proceeded to answer that Heaven, hell, the sea, and even darkness all serve as the venues for God's universal presence (Psalm 139:7-12). We don't require explanation for the inexplicable omnipresence of the living God. We rather require awareness, acknowledgement, and the affirmation of faith.
Rhetorical questions must lead to reality answers. Truth, challenging as it may be, demands that we embrace its light for the purpose of being changed both internally and externally. The God at hand, the God who sees, and the God who fills all things will execute the work as we respond to His movings upon and within us for the purpose of redeeming us.
"O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles."
Weekly Memory Verse
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.