Have you ever watched a toddler test the limits of a parent’s authority? There seems to be a strong learning curve there. Mom and Dad said don’t touch that. I want to touch that. My two-old-brain is now in conflict. I want to touch that, but history has shown that I will get in trouble for touching that.


And so I give into my desire to touch that.

So many of us are acting like two-year-olds these days. We think, somehow, that we will get away with things that we know God has said, “DON’T TOUCH THAT.”

Don’t touch that other woman’s husband.

Don’t touch that alcohol or drug.

Don’t touch that nasty post you are about to type.

Don’t touch that temptation to speed on the highway, text while you’re driving, or swim without a lifeguard.

Don’t touch that desire to “assert your rights” at the expense of complying with a safety requirement.

Don’t touch that need to vent your anger in some vain attempt at finding relief for your pent-up feelings.

Just don’t touch that.

Psalm 139 (New Revised Standard Version)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For all the comfort that comes with knowing that God hems us in and lays his hand upon us, there also comes a warning when we are reaching out for something we shouldn’t touch. God is behind us and before us. He knows all of our ways. He will lay a hand of restraint on us.

God is inescapable.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Like a two-year-old, we need God’s right hand to hold us fast. We give in too easily to things that would harm us. No matter where we go, God is already there.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

God is a good parent, who waits in the darkness for us to need him. Like a tired dad who knows the toddler is going to try to climb out of the crib and get hurt, he stays alert and ready. The darkness won’t cover our misdeeds, for darkness is as light to God. His love is there to keep us safe.

So when you are tempted to flee to the farthest ends of bad behavior and have things your own way, remember that God’s hand is there to lead you, guide you, direct you, and restrain you. You can’t avoid him. You can’t run. You can’t even hide. He is discerning your thoughts before you even have them. So save yourself and take the easy way out.

Just don’t touch that.

The Farthest Limit of the Sea by Wende Pritchard