Where does this concept of God come from, are we certain of it and are there any exceptions?
The idea that God is not measurable or defined by physical dimensions allows Him to be present at every point in space, whilst able to act independently and uniquely in different places. We can be in one place and think about being in another, but God is actually there too!
One of the great Old Testament themes is that the God of Israel is greater than the so called ‘gods’ of the other nations. Many of the idols were considered to be regional gods that only held sway over specific geographical areas. We find an example of this in the view of the Arameans.
Now the king of Aram's servants said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hill country. That's why they were stronger than we. Instead, we should fight with them on the plain; then we will certainly be stronger than they. …Then the man of God approached and said to the king of Israel, "This is what the Lord says: 'Because the Arameans have said: The Lord is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys, I will hand over this entire immense horde to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'"1 Kings 20:23,28 HCSB
In the story of Jonah we see that he was trying to get away from God and by taking a trip to “the ends of the earth” (Tarshish was as far away in the opposite direction as was then known). He travelled with the idea that Jonah might be free from God’s will in that “God forsaken place” (which was what Tarshish was considered to be).
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me." 3 However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord's presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, from the Lord's presence. Jonah 1:1-3 HCSB
It is not that a little bit of God is here and another small piece of God is there, but rather that in every place the fullness of God can be experienced, and His whole being is available.
If it true that there are no places that God’s presence is not in some way expressed then what about the dark places, centres of immorality and evil, drug dens and torture chambers? When I was a young man in church we were taught of keep out of pubs and cinemas. We were specifically taught that Jesus was coming back soon and when He arrived if He found us in the cinema we would be left behind. People who would question this by saying ‘what if I am in the cinema praying?’ would be told that there are better places to pray, and ‘what if I am watching a Christian film’ would be told that perhaps God would over look that!
No wonder then that when I queued outside the cinema to see ‘Jaws’ as a teenager I wore a trench coat with the collar turned up and stood with my face to the wall so that no one walking past to church would see me (but that didn’t hide me from God!)
"Am I a God who is only near"—this is the Lord's declaration—"and not a God who is far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places where I cannot see him?"—the Lord's declaration. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?"—the Lord's declaration. Jer 23:23-24 HCSB
Perhaps the most famous scripture that highlights God’s omnipresence is:
Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
9 If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits,
10 even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will become night"—
12 even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You. Ps 139:7-12 HCSB
One of the key matters that this should bring to mind is our own accountability.
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Rom 14:12 HCSB
If they dig down to Sheol, from there My hand will take them; if they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. Amos 9:2 HCSB
There are places on earth that are not pleasant at all, very dark places, but not all of them are places where the people have chosen to go. Think of those people, many of them still children when they are abducted for prostitution. The fact that God can even be there when they call out to Him is a shaft of hope in this world.
Whatever dark valley we find ourselves in, God is still there! He may not be the one who carved the valley or directed our pathway there, but like the Father out waiting for the prodigal, God is there for us.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. Ps 23:4 HCSBI will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. Isa 43:2 HCSB
There cannot be a place where there is no God because the universe is too small to contain Him.
the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 1 Kings 8:27 NIV 2011
When we walk into a room, we bring God with us, as He is with us.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt 28:20 HCSB
though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:27-28 HCSB
But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. Matt 6:6 HCSB
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. Matt 18:20 HCSB