This holy, reverent love has a second component. Not only does the fear of the Lord have the attribute of otherness, it also has the attribute of openness. You might even call this attitude that of nakedness. A reverent love for God lives with a profound sense of being open, exposed and known by God, with no attempt to hide, lie or deceive God. Psalm 139 is a master-teacher of openness.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Trying to hide my words, thoughts and deeds from God is useless, and trying to hide from His physical presence is even more futile. Where could I go?, David asks. Whether I go through the first heaven of the clouds, or the second heaven of the cosmos, or the third heaven of God’s throne, God is there. Travel to the known edges of our universe, 14 billion light years away, find the place where even light has barely reached, and you have not moved an inch away from God. Go down to the depths, go to the centre of the Earth, go beyond that to the place of the dead- Sheol, to the suffering pit of Hades, and you have not escaped God. Is God in hell? Of course He is. Not His blessings, or His sweetness, but His presence. Those who think they will escape God in Hell will be terrified to realise that Hell will be a manifestation of God’s holiness. Perhaps the fire of God’s glory warms those in heaven who love Him, and burns those in hell who hate Him. A heathen philosopher once asked, “Where is God?” The Christian answered, “Let me first ask you, Where is he not? (John Arrowsmith)
Could we not move so quickly that we outrun God?
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.
The wings of the morning is an image which picture the sunrise, with dawn breaking, and the light of the sun in a moment come flying over the land, and reaches the furthest reaches of the sea. The idea seems to be, if I could catch a ride on the beams of light, if I could travel at lightspeed, would I then outpace God? Could you move so quickly He could not keep up? Even there, it would be God’s hand leading, God’s right hand holding. He made the light, sustains it.
Well, if we cannot find a place that eludes God’s presence, or outrun God’s presence, perhaps we can simply avoid being seen by Him. Perhaps we can skulk away, disguise ourselves.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
What time of day do people prefer to commit acts of wickedness? Even in an age of all kinds of electric lights, people still prefer the cover of darkness for sin. It’s not only criminals. I’ve often wondered what would happen to nightclubs if they were forced to become dayclubs, with big bright windows installed. Darkness has an age-old attraction to the human conscience, as if somehow my sin is less visible, less noticeable.
David says, God sees you as well at night as He does in the day. God does not need physical light to bounce off an object and stimulate His retina in order to see us. That is how we see. But God’s presence and knowledge of us doesn’t even need light to see us perfectly. Your darkest deed in your darkest hour done in the darkest place, was as clear to God as if it were done at midday in plain sight.
David is showing us how futile it is to run from and hide from the God who knows you. And yet people still try. There is Adam, trying to find a spot in the Garden where God won’t find him. There is Jonah, heading as far west from Nineveh as possible, thinking that perhaps the ocean will put distance between himself and God.
Did you ever think what a silly thing it was for Adam and Eve to hide amongst the trees of the Garden? It was irrational. They knew that God could see everything. They knew that God was everywhere. Yet they hid. It was, in a way, their first lie. They were acting as if they could avoid the presence of God. Anytime we are convicted about something, and instead of approaching God to deal with it, we cover it, hide it, excuse it, we are retreating into a world of lies.
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. (Jer 23:2
The fear of the Lord understands a basic truth of Proverbs:
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3)
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:13)
When we are confronted with the greatness of God in his omnipresence, and his omniscience, then reverent love, the true fear of the Lord is totally open, transparent and honest with God. John calls it walking in the light in his epistle. He writes
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 Jn. 1:6-8)
God is light. There is no darkness in Him at all. This does not only mean that God is morally pure. Here light and darkness have more to do with revealing versus hiding. He is saying, God is light, in Him there is no place to hide. If we walk in darkness, we are lying when we say we have fellowship with Him. Verses 6, 8 and 10 describe what this walk in darkness looks like: it is refusing to deal truthfully with God. Walking in darkness is saying we have no sin, or saying we have not sinned. Verses 7 and 9 give you the opposite. Walking in the light is walking openly in his presence – His light- is to deal truthfully with God. According to John, if we deny our sin – past and present, we do two things – we say He is a liar, and we deceive ourselves. We tell a lie about God, and we tell a lie to ourselves.
We walk in darkness we say, “No it isn’t a sin” or “I didn’t do that” or “It wasn’t my fault” or “Everyone’s doing it, it can’t be wrong” or “It’s not a sin to me” or “I was forced to do it, so I’m not responsible” or “I meant well by it, I had good motives”. All of those excuses say one thing: I have not sinned. In turn, we are saying, “God, you are wrong, and I am right.”. To say that is to say – ‘God, you have lied about me.’ Then, we turn to ourselves and say, ‘don’t worry, you are quite right in what you are doing, you are justified. Forget about what God says.’
John 3:19-21 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
People hide from God when they have sinned. They also hide from God when they are about to sin. Jesus says that the reason people do not come to the light is because the light exposes them. They do not want to be exposed, so they prefer the darkness. They prefer their own take on life, their own way, their own authority.
Reverence is impossible to those who continue to live in lies. You cannot see more light if you are shutting your eyes to it. You cannot see the truth, if you are actually preferring the lies you tell yourself. Darkness is simply the absence of light. To choose lies over truth is to block out the light, and make our own darkness. You can do whatever else you want to do once you have blocked out the light – but the one thing you cannot do is continue to see the light.
For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9)
Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. (Luke 8:18)
Dealing truthfully with God, dealing with Him in sincerity, is one of the beginning points of the fear of the Lord and of reverent love. Treat Him as He is: the all-seeing, all-present, all-knowing God. God can save you from your lies, but He cannot save you while you are lying. He can save you from self-deception, but He cannot save you while you choose to keep deceiving yourself. We can do many things when we walk in darkness, but the one thing we cannot experience is illumination. You cannot face north and south at the same time. You cannot avoid the light and see it simultaneously.
In Psalm 51, David said that the confession of his sin was in effect, justifying God. It was saying, “God, you are right, I am wrong.” Denial is to block out the light and hide from it. To love God reverently, to love Him as He is, means being open and exposed to God, covering nothing.
C. S. Lewis said, “The prayer preceding all prayers is “May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.”