Transcendent and Immanent (Psalm 11:4) - Radical

Transcendent and Immanent (Psalm 11:4)

“The Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.”
– Psalm 11:4

What a picture. Psalm 11:4 really summarizes what theologically is often called God’s transcendence and eminence. So God is transcendent in the sense that he is separate from his creation, he is over his creation, he doesn’t depend on anything in creation in any way, he’s sovereign over everything, he is mighty, above everything. So he is glorious above creation, transcending everyone and everything. At the same time, he is eminent, which means God is present in the universe that he has made, he is working so this is not like pantheism like creation is God, but God is at work in all of creation, and he is at work in every single detail in our lives.

God rules and reigns over us. He is intricately involved in the very details of our lives.

Psalm 11:4 Reminds Us That God Knows Everything

So you put that together here in Psalm 11:4, “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” That’s a picture of his transcendence, he reigns holy above all on a throne yet his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. Like he knows every single detail in our lives. He’s not distant from us, he is with us. He knows everything about us. He knows every thought that you’ve had today in ways that you can’t even remember. And he knows every desire you have had. And he knows every word you have said, will say, everything we have done, he sees it all. His eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man so when we think about God, when we talk about God, when we pray to God, we must always be aware of both of these qualities in God, his transcendence and his eminence, the fact that he rules and reigns over us and the fact that he’s with us and is intricately, intimately involved in the very details of our lives and nothing is hidden from his sight.

This Verse Praises God For His Power And Glory

So just think about how that affects the way we pray. Oh God, we praise you, we exalt you, we worship you for your transcendence and your eminence. We glorify you as the God above all, over all, who reigns supremely above all. We praise you for your power and your glory which are beyond our comprehension, your holiness, your throne is in heaven. You are in your holy temple. At the same time we’re awed by the fact that you see and know everything about us. Not only see and know but you are working in all of the details of our lives. So God, in light of that, we pray, make us holy. God, make our thoughts holy. You see them all, make them holy, we pray.

Psalm 11:4 Asks God To Make Us Holy

God, make our desires holy. You see them all. Your eyes see every single thing we do, every single thing we think, every single thing we say, so God, please make us holy, make us holy. By your presence with us, help us to be holy as you are holy. Help us to live in ways that honor you. God, help us never to fool ourselves into thinking that we are hiding anything from you, that we could hide sin from you. Even when we do sin, help us to be quick to confess it, not to be foolish in thinking we can cover it.

God, help us to be quick to confess our sin and know that you give grace, that Jesus has died on the cross so we can be forgiven of our sins so God help us to be quick to run to you for mercy. God, we praise you, for your greatness and your goodness, your transcendence and your eminence, your glory above all and your presence with us right now. We are in awe of you. We’re in awe of this reality. We praise you. The Lord in your holy temple whose throne is in heaven and we praise you for seeing, even testing, every single thing we do. God, we want to honor you today. Please help us to honor you in your holiness, your transcendence above us, and your eminence with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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