I have been reading “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer lately. I have read other authors refer to Tozer but had never picked up a copy of one of his books.
Tozer, of course, was from a different time. He passed away in 1963, after over thirty years in the ministry as a pastor.
"Go to church once a week and nobody pays attention. Worship God seven days a week and you become strange!" AW Tozer #tozer
— A W Tozer (@TozerAW) April 26, 2014
The most recent chapter I read is called “The Universal Presence.” The chapter starts with Psalm 139:7.
Tozer quotes the KJV:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
There are are a couple of things I want to point out from this chapter.
First, I love the passage he begins with, Psalm 139:7. More so, I love how the late Rich Mullins turned it into a song.
Nothing Beyond You was recorded on the Jesus Record, the final of Rich Mullins’ works. There was the demo version recorded by Rich before he passed way, and then the amazing version by Amy Grant.
Rich Mullins really captured the essence of Psalm 139:
Rich Mullins – Nothing Is Beyond You Lyrics
Where could I go, where could I run
Even if I found the strength to fly
And if I rose on the wings of the dawn
And crashed through the corner of the sky
If I sailed past the edge of the sea
Even if I made my bed in Hell
Still there You would find me
‘Cause nothing is beyond You
You stand beyond the reach
Of our vain imaginations
Our misguided piety
The heavens stretch to hold You
And deep cries out to deep
Singing that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You
Time cannot contain You
You fill eternity
Sin can never stain You
Death has lost its sting
And I cannot explain the way You came to love me
Except to say that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You
The second thing I want to point out is a very poignant passage in the chapter, that, five decades later still ring true.
We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar. (p. 65)
I think he was talking about me. Indeed, all of our life belongs to God, and so does all our time, and its not that we are expected to spend multiple hours a day just thinking about God and praying, however, we fail to drink in the presence of God in anything but a small glass. Is it any wonder we are “bankrupt” as he said of a keen understanding of God’s presence. At least, that is what I see in me.
We can’t really escape God’s presence, as the Psalmist says, so, we might as well enjoy God’s presence.
Listen to Nothing is Beyond you by Amy Grant on Spotify.