The Nearness of God!
AUTHOR: Wilkerson, David
PUBLISHED ON: March 20, 2003
PUBLISHED IN: Christian Living

Times Square Church Pulpit Series

The Nearness of God!

  By David Wilkerson
  November 11, 1996 


    I want to share with you two verses from Helen Spurrell’s
original Hebrew text:

    “When designing pursuers approached me, who are far from thy
law; then Thou, O Jehovah, wast near, with all thy faithful
commandments…” (Psalm 119:150-151).

    There is a glorious truth in this passage that can change
your life, bringing you peace and giving you rest beyond anything
you have yet experienced.  You see, once you understand the truth
of God’s constant nearness to you — that he loves you and is
continually near you — all fear and anxiety must go!

    In this text, David sees the wicked coming closer and closer
in an attempt to ruin and destroy him.  He is saying, “Vile,
corrupt, plotting sinners are gaining on me.  They’re all around
me, and their power is mounting.  They are bent on my total

    We all have such an enemy — the enemy of our souls, the
devil.  And he has always had one purpose in mind: to destroy
God’s work, and to seduce and discourage His people.  Indeed,
Satan uses all of his power and craftiness to cut Christians off
from the favor and presence of the Lord.  And that is exactly
what he is trying to do right now in your life — attempting to
discourage you, seduce you, wipe you out!

    “…Come, and let us cut them off…that the name of Israel
may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4).  The principalities
and powers of darkness are always at work, designing and plotting
our ruin.  They’re saying, “Let’s destroy God’s people.  We’ll
make them no more than a passing memory!”

    The Edomites came to destroy Jerusalem with the war cry,
“…Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof” (Psalm
137:7).  They were saying, “Cut the city down to its foundation.
Level it, wipe it out — take it down to the very ground!”

    Likewise today, Satan will not be satisfied until he sees
the total ruin and downfall of every godly ministry, church and
true lover of Jesus.  The devil is not merely some cosmic jester
or jokester, plotting and playing tricks on us just to make
things difficult for us.  His demonic spirits are not just imps
who go around making life miserable.

    No — Satan’s purpose is much more serious than that!  He is
bent on the total destruction of the church of Jesus Christ.  His
one goal is to raze us, cut us down and leave nothing more than a

    The devil was boldly blatant in this purpose even with
Jesus.  He tempted the son of God outright, urging him to turn
against his own father and set up an earthly kingdom.  What a
liar — what horrible thinking to take such boldly wicked steps!
Yet Satan will try everything in his power to destroy all that is
righteous and holy.  And he never stops; he is always pursuing.
There is always a design out of hell!

    You simply cannot ignore such a devil.  Yet, please
understand: I am not in any way glorifying Satan.  Legally, he
has been stripped of all his power.  He can’t damn anyone to hell
by crossing the blood line that Jesus draws.  But the fact
remains, the devil has a hellish design for all Christians — and
he is at work in this world implementing it.  If you don’t
believe that, you’re already in trouble!

                  The Devil Is Encouraged by
                    All His Past Victories!

    In New York City, you can find the ruins of many ministries
that started out with God’s power and blessing.  Satan has cut
them down, leveling them to their very foundation!
    Consider Columbia University, founded as a college to train
godly ministers.  I have a book of sermons by the school’s first
president — and it is full of Christ-centered preaching!  The
founders were holy men, full of Christ, burdened for a lost
world.  And they had a ministry that was blessed.  Powerful
holiness preaching poured from the school’s pulpit.

    Today, Columbia is the devil’s playground, a hotbed of
humanism and decadence.  God is but a distant memory on campus.
The ruin of that institution has gone down to its very

    The same is true of Harvard, Yale and other universities
nationwide.  They were founded by men of God as training
institutes for ministers of the gospel.  Those schools once
enjoyed great revivals — but now humanism is in full control.
They have become darkened, idolatrous institutions.

    New York City also once had many on-fire churches and
powerfully effective ministries to the poor and downcast.  But
many of these have been brought down by Satan’s designs and

    * There once was a Presbyterian church that shook this city
with its fiery preachers.  The sanctuary was continually packed
with God-seeking saints.  Today, that church is a mausoleum — a
house of spiritual death!

    * Fifty years ago, pentecostal churches in Manhattan were
packed throughout the week, boasting fiery preaching and lively
orchestras.  Those churches readily funded countless missions.
But now many are dead — vanished from memory!

    * Many ministries to the poor, alcoholics and drug addicts
have become mere social agencies.  These outreaches are no longer
dependent on the Holy Ghost, but on government dollars.  And they
have turned from the Bible to psychiatry.  The leaders are no
longer on their knees, praying for people.  Instead, they sit in
their offices, with pencils poised and psychiatry books open.
They’ve lost all their power and anointing.  It’s all gone!

    The devil has succeeded in bringing these once-godly works
to ruin, right down to their foundations.  And he is out to bring
you to ruin as well!  You may even feel the designing pursuers of
Psalm 119:150 approaching you right now — determined to cut you
off and make your present walk with the Lord a mere memory.

    Not long ago, I was on the corner of 49th Street and 8th
Avenue, buying a newspaper, when two drug addicts walked up and
said, “Hi, pastor!”  They both were stoned. 

    One of them put his arm around me, and I recognized him.  I
said, “Hey, you were at Timothy House, weren’t you?”  He
answered, “Yes, for six months.  But one day a friend and I
walked out.  My friend got busted yesterday.  He may get five

    Then he turned and introduced me to the man with him.  The
man was president of the Suicide motorcycle gang in Brooklyn.
This killer gang has been in the newspapers for its exploits.
And now its leader said to me, “Mr. Wilkerson, I know you.  My
dad’s a pentecostal preacher.”

    The man from Timothy House began to cry.  He fell against me
and said, “I love you.”  Suddenly, I felt the great love of Jesus
flow through me for these two men.  And I said, “I love you too.”
The crying man said, “Pastor David, the devil’s trying to kill
me.  He’s trying to destroy me!” 

    I told him, “You can pray with me right now.  But if you
don’t want to do that, you know you can always go just down the
street to our Upper Room, and they’ll pray with you.  You know
where it is.”

    Suddenly, the gang leader — the preacher’s son — began
backing away.  He said, “Hey, man, I’m out of here!” 

    This man had demon powers all over him.  I could sense it,
and he knew it as well.  Yet even as he tried to flee from God’s
presence, I felt Jesus reaching out to him with His awesome love.

    Right now I’d like to ask you: How is it that Jesus can show
such love to those who shoot drugs and commit crimes, and yet you
can say to yourself, “God couldn’t possibly love me because I’ve
failed Him!” 

    You bet God loves you!  If His river of love flowed through
me for these two men, how much more does it flow toward you?  How
is it that you can offer grace to a world dying in its sin, and
yet not offer it to yourself?

                      There Are Times It
                        Appears as If the
                      Devil Is on the Verge
                      of Gaining Victory!

    The devil succeeded in binding the apostle Paul with chains
and taking him to Rome to be murdered.  But God intervened and
delivered Paul!  Satan also stirred up some Jews from Antioch,
who railed against the apostle.  They stoned him and then dragged
him out of the city, thinking he was dead.

    Can you imagine the multitudes of demons looking on from the
spirit-world — laughing gleefully, counting the great preacher’s
last breaths, waiting to attend his funeral?  Can you see Satan
himself boasting, “We have cut him down, razed him to the ground,
ruined him!  Paul and his preaching soon will be just a memory.
We have destroyed the gospel.  The greatest enemy to us on the
earth has been brought down!”

    “Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he [Paul]
rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed
with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 15:20).  Paul was raised up
immediately.  And he marched right back into the city, his head
held high.  Can you imagine what those demons must have thought?
They probably fled in all directions!

    Paul explained why God permits the devil to try us so
severely: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we
should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead”
(2 Corinthians 1:9).

    I believe Satan’s most powerful weapon against God’s people
is temptation and lust that leads to sin.  His purpose is to
engulf believers in guilt, fear and condemnation — to make them
discouraged and downcast.  And the more they love Jesus, the
hotter and heavier their temptation will be!

    Perhaps you think the reason you are tempted so heavily is
because you have an evil spirit.  But when you love Jesus — when
he is the savior of your heart and Lord of your will — you are a
marked person in hell.  And Satan will try to cut you down to the

    You may be saying, “Brother Dave, I can feel those designing
pursuers you’re talking about.  They’re closing in on me.  And
Satan is wanting to ruin me, to cut me off from Jesus.  He has
put me in a lion’s den — a fiery furnace of temptation!”

    David said, “…If it had not been the Lord who was on our
side…then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was
kindled against us” (Psalm 124:2-3).

    Let me warn you, especially if you are a new follower of
Jesus Christ: It doesn’t matter how holy, pure or spotless you
feel, or how secure you think you are.  You are not above being
tempted!  If you think you are untouchable, then watch out, lest
you fall into great temptation and sin.

    Like Paul, I have no confidence in the flesh.  Some of the
godliest people I’ve known have failed God miserably.  And I
think of the awful temptation and failure of David, a man after
God’s heart.

    David was sorely tempted, fell into adultery, lied and
murdered an innocent man.  I’m sure that when the prophet Nathan
exposed him, Satan was convinced David was down for the count.
He expected this man to throw up his hands and say, “What’s the
use?  I have disgraced God!  I have sinned against the light,
committed the very sins I’ve preached against.  God can never use
me now.  My heart is too black.  I’ve been overpowered by sin!”

    Yet how wrong Satan was!  Listen to David’s cries after he
repented: “The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given
me over unto death” (Psalm 118:18).  David said, “I was tempted
and tried — but God would not turn me over to Satan’s power!”

    Dear saint, if the devil comes at you with powerful
temptations, it is not always because your heart is wicked.  He
could be attacking you because you have turned to the Lord!  He’s
bringing fiery trials of lust and temptation against you to try
to destroy your faith.

    “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial
which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto
you” (1 Peter 4:12).

    “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to
man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted
above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a
way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians

    There is nothing strange at all about what is happening to
you.  Yet you may be discouraged because the enemy has come
against you like a flood.  The attack could be through
temptation, lust, marriage problems, a financial crisis.  And you
may be saying to yourself, “Here I am trying to serve the Lord,
doing my best to love him and be faithful to him.  But things
just keep getting worse.  Is there something wrong with me?  Why
can’t I get out of this hole?  Why do my problems keep piling

    I urge you to look to your right, to your left, in front of
you, behind you: Everybody is going through something!  Behind
the smiles of your dear brothers and sisters in Christ are many
tears.  They are hurting with trials you know nothing about.  No,
you are not alone in your suffering — and your trial is not some
strange, unusual circumstance.  What you are going through is
common to multitudes!

    Now, let me give you the good part of this message.  Here is
the glorious news:

                      The Devil Is Not as
                    Anxious to Destroy You
                    as God Is to Deliver You!

    God is more prepared to keep his promises to you than the
devil is to ruin you.  Indeed, the nearer the enemy comes to you,
the Lord is all the nearer!

    “When designing pursuers approached me, who are far from thy
law; then Thou, O Jehovah, wast near, with all thy faithful
commandments…” (Psalm 119:150-151, Spurrell).  David said, in
other words, “God, if my enemies are drawing so near to destroy
me, You must be all the nearer in my time of need!”      The Hebrew word for near in this verse connotes “defense.”
It means, in essence, “I am near you to defend you.”  God says he
is especially near to defend the downcast and brokenhearted:

    * “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth
eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive
the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite
ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

    * “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

    Are you a child of God?  Does the Lord Jesus live in you?
God says he is near to you in your anguish!  Here is his promise
to you:

    “…I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  When
thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through
the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest
through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the
flame kindle upon thee.

    “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy
Saviour… Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been
honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for
thee, and people for thy life.  Fear not: for I am with thee…”
(Isaiah 43:1-5).

    David saw God as holding him “…by my right hand” (Psalm
73:23).  He said, “God not only is near me, but he is walking
with me, hand in hand, through this whole mess.  Let all my
enemies come after me.  I’ve got my hand in the father’s!” 

    Moreover, David said God talked to him, giving him counsel
and guidance: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel…” (verse

    Many dear Christians tell me true stories of incredible
hardships — problems that keep piling up, discouragements that
keep coming at them.  Humanly speaking, they all seem to be
impossible situations.  And my heart goes out to every believer
who experiences such trials.

    But every Christian has to be convinced that he or she is
precious, loved — and that God is near!  In fact, the nearer the
enemy comes, the more faithful God is to reveal his nearness —
and the more tightly he will hold his precious child’s hand!

    “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble” (Psalm 46:1).  The root word for trouble here is “a
tight place.”  Are you in a tight place?  Read God’s promise to
get you out of that tight place:

    * “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the
God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and
strengthen thee out of Zion” (Psalm 20:1-2).

    * “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast
considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
and hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set
my feet in a large room.  Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in
trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my
belly” (Psalm 31:7-9).

    * “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for
them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust
in thee before the sons of men!  Thou shalt hide them in the
secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep
them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

    “Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvelous
kindness in a strong city.  For I said in my haste, I am cut off
from before thine eyes: neverthless thou heardest the voice of my
supplications when I cried unto thee.  O love the Lord, all ye
his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully
rewardeth the proud doer.

    “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all
ye that hope in the Lord” (verses 19-24).

                      If You Can Believe
                      That God Is Near You,
                      You Must Believe He
                        Will Act for You!

    Do you think the Lord is going to sit by passively and let
the devil do to you what he pleases?  If God didn’t act on your
behalf when you needed him, He would be nothing more than the
false god Baal!

    Elijah had a showdown with the prophets of Baal at Mount
Carmel, where an altar was built.  The test was: “The God who
answers prayer today will be God!”  Elijah prayed that fire would
fall down supernaturally on the sacrifice he laid on the altar.
And that is exactly what happened. 

    But before that, the prophets of Baal danced from morning
till noon, crying, begging, pleading with their god to answer.
“…But there was no voice, nor any that answered…” (1 Kings

    Elijah mocked those false prophets: “…Cry aloud: for he is
a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a
journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked” (verse
27).  Elijah was saying, “Where is your god?  Is he on vacation?
Is he sleeping?  He must be out walking somewhere.”

    We would have to make the same mockery of God if he did not
answer when we cry!  You see, his honor is at stake when we pray
— and he will not be mocked for not answering!  The Bible says
of him: “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved…he that
keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4).
Our God is awake at all times.  And he is attentive to our every

    In closing, I have a word from the Lord for many who read
this message: There is a powerful promise in God’s word that you
must lay hold of right now.  I believe that if you act on this
promise from him, you’ll witness a great, new kind of victory in
your life.

    The promise is: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to
you….” (James 4:8).  But now you must read the rest of the
verse: “…Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your
hearts, ye double minded” (same verse). 

    This is a great promise of victory over all sin.  Yet you
cannot produce this victory yourself.  You can’t cleanse your own
hands or purify your own heart.  No — James is saying, “If you
want clean hands and a pure heart — if you want victory over
guilt, temptation and every evil pursuer coming against you —
you must draw near to God and believe he is near you!”

    It all hinges on the nearness of God!  Simply draw near to
him.  Believe he is near you.  And he will take care of all the
enemies in your flesh!

    You may ask, “But how do I draw near to God?”  The answer is
a very simple, childlike thing: Simply go to the Lord and talk to
him — anytime, anywhere, all day long.  In the shower, on the
way to work, on the job, everywhere — talk to him, drawing near
in full assurance of faith.

    Years ago I worked with the late Kathryn Kuhlman.  That dear
woman of God used to work seventeen hours a day.  I often
wondered, “When does she ever have time to shut herself into her
secret closet and pray?” 

    Then I realized — she always seemed to be muttering to
herself.  She was praying!  She prayed as she drove her car, as
she rode in elevators.  Everywhere she went, she always talked to
the Lord.

    One day she told me, “David, the Bible says to pray without
ceasing.  I talk to the Lord all day.  He’s just as real to me as
you are.  I don’t have to run somewhere to try to get in tune
with him, because we talk all the time.  We’re friends.”

    And, dear saint, God is always there for you as well!  I
believe in secret-closet praying.  But your secret closet can be
on the subway, in your car — anywhere you shut yourself in with

    Here is what God promises you, if you will practice drawing
near to him all day long:

    “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also
that hate him flee before him.  As smoke is driven away, so drive
them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked
perish at the presence of God. 

    “But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God:
yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.  Sing unto God, sing praises
to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name
JAH, and rejoice before him” (Psalm 68:1-4).

    Talk to God — practice his nearness — and he will do all
these things for you!  He will scatter your enemies.  He will
drive away all demonic pursuers.  And you will know the grip of
his hand at all times.  Hallelujah!

When in New York City Visit Times Square Church
Located at 51st Street and Broadway (Manhattan)

Schedule of Services
Sunday Morning……………………………10:00
Sunday Afternoon…………………………. 3:00
Sunday Evening…………………………… 6:00
Tuesday Evening [Prayer, healing, communion]… 7:00
Thursday Evening [Intercessory Prayer]……… 7:00
Friday Evening…………………………… 7:00

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