A God Nearby

Read: Jeremiah 23:23-24

Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? (v. 23)

The first Toy Story movie begins with a crisis. Woody, a toy cowboy, experiences a fate worse than death: separation from his beloved owner, Andy. When he realizes his predicament, Woody cries in despair, “I’m a lost toy!”

To God’s people, the exile was a fate worse than death. Separation from their homeland represented separation from their God. The Israelites were convinced that God resided nowhere but the temple in Jerusalem. In the exile, God allowed the temple to be destroyed and his people to be scattered. He did so to prove that he couldn’t be confined. But as the exile progressed, he would also prove that he couldn’t be lost. He was a God nearby and far away.

We are quick to limit God. In defiance we withhold parts of our lives from his authority. In despair we withdraw from God’s holiness. We imagine that there are places outside his influence, and we fear our sin could place us beyond his reach. Yet our true peace lies in knowing that our God is a God who is nearby and far away. In other words, nothing “in all creation . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

God cares about the big picture of your world and the small picture of your life. Entrust your cares to him, because he cares for you. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, remember that nothing is beyond the reach of God’s love.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.

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