The proximity of God and his word is a recurrent theme in the Bible. We find from the word that the nearness of God is the greatest gift man can have. In real experience though, is God and God’s word near? Is it easy for common man to decipher God’s word and obey?

Moses speaks to the Israelite nation in the context of God having given them the Law, asking them to keep the law and respond in obedience.

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Deuteronomy 30:14)

Paul talks about the readily evident characteristics of God, discerned through our conscience.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

‘Ignorantia juris non excusat’ is a timeless principle used in jurisprudence, which indicates that ignorance of the law can be no excuse for one who commits a crime. Paul goes on to say that man has a responsibility to respond to the urge of conscience within him, so that he might increase in the knowledge of God, failing which his thinking becomes futile and the light of God within him is replaced by darkness.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

For one who knows God, there is a similar responsibility to obey and increase in the knowledge of God. As difficult as that process of obedience might be, man needs to persevere through denial to attain an increasing relationship with God, which in turn ensures that God’s proximity becomes real.

Sin has a tendency to drive man far away from God. David’s words in Psalms 51 indicate a repentant heart struggling to re-establish the much needed proximity to God.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. (v 11)

So to summarize, God’s nearness is evident to one who has an inclination to positively respond to God. The proximity of God’s word is a reality for one who treasures God above all else.

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