The Bible is like a magnifying glass. The scriptures have a way of focusing my sight and enlarging my understanding of God. I am reading the scriptures to see God magnified up close so I can know Him and then magnify Him to others. As I do this, I am finding truths about God’s character and heart towards us, and I am learning how to express praise and thanks to Him.
Psalm 75:1 reveals and magnifies the truth that God is near to us, and that is a cause for praise to God.
- “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.”
The phrase “your Name is near” means that God is near to us. God’s name(s) are very important because they represent who God is. For example, in Exodus 3:14 God reveals that His Name is Yahweh – I AM WHO I AM. That term means God is self-existing and is the source of all life and existence. God Is.
When the psalmist writes Psalm 75:1 that the Name of God is near to us, he means Yahweh, the “I AM”- the source of all existence is near to us. I am reassured to know that the “Life giving God” is near me. This truth has given me courage and comfort as I daily walk through this pandemic.
In Joshua 22: 22a some of the Israelites call God by the name LORD (Yahweh) and then they refer to God as Elohim which means “the Mighty One.”
- “The LORD, the Mighty One, is God! The LORD, the Mighty One, is God!” Josh.22:22a
So, in Psalm 75:1 when the psalmist says “for Your Name is near,” he is saying, “God the Mighty One,” is near to me/you.
I am encouraged to know that God, the Mighty One who has all power and strength is near me. When I am feeling weak, vulnerable, frustrated and overwhelmed with life, knowing that I can turn to “the Mighty One” for help gives me relief. He is by my side. I am not alone.
We could go through the list of the names for God and get the same reassurance in faith as with these two examples, that the God who is the definition of all His Names is near to us.
In Other Words
The scriptures provide many ways of conveying this truth that God is near; that He is a personal God involved in our life. God is not just a distant power, but rather, He is a God who seeks to be close to us all the time and most especially in our times of need.
Here are some of the ways the Spirit confirms this truth.
- Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
- Psalm 119:151 – You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth.
- 16:8- I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
- Psalm 73:28 – But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 119:7-10 poetically expresses this continual nearness and presence of God who acts on my behalf.
- “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Hard to Believe
When I am hurting, feeling confused by the difficulties of life or betrayed by my own contrary nature which often seems to default to thinking, saying and doing things I don’t really want to, I can struggle with believing God is near, or that God even wants me near Him.
This thinking is flawed and not based on truth. God wants to be near us, He wants to have a deep personal friendship with us. The scriptures reassure us of this truth.
In James 4:8a we read, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” So, it is not a matter of whether God wants to be near me, but whether I am choosing to come near to Him, and whether I am making moves towards Him in faith.
In Ephesians 1: 4 and 2:13, we read how God brings all men near to Him through the blood of Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles: “ For He chose us(Israel) in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love, He preplanned for us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will. . . 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”
God’s desire for us to be near Him, in a very personal relationship with Him, was not a mere “good idea,” but it became reality in sending Jesus to destroy the barrier between God and us so we could be near God.
God in Us!
God is so “near” that He is in us who believe. The scripture speaks this truth in many forms. At times, when I am lost in my “self” I need to be reminded of this truth. Here are a few encouraging passages for study and meditation.
- “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
- “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
- “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him/her.” John 14:23
- “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:12
Respond with Praise
As I learn who God is and what His heart is towards me, I am encouraged, re-assured, and filled with a sense of security to know God is near me and in me. The psalmist who wrote Psalm 75:1 describes correctly what my response should be: “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near.”
- Meditate on this truth, that God is near to you. Consider these questions:
What does this truth that God is near me and in me mean to my faith and my life?
- Have I been living in the presence of God?
- What will I do today to draw near to God?
- Take some time to give praise and thanks to God for choosing to be close to you.