In this wonderful Psalm we have the precious truth of God’s OMNISCIENCE (He KNOWS ALL THINGS) in verses 1-6, His OMNIPRESENCE (He IS EVERYWHERE) in verses 7-12, and His OMNIPOTENCE (He is ALL POWERFUL) in verses 13-18. Let’s take a look at verses 7-12 using the NASB.

Verse 7: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”  As I said in the beginning, this section of verses teaches us the marvelous truth that God IS EVERYWHERE! He is in every place at the same time! If one were to try to hide from God, he would find it to be “an exercise in futility.” No one can hide from God because wherever they go God IS THERE.

Verse 8: “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” So, if you could travel to heaven, He IS THERE. Of course, heaven is actually the place where God dwells on His throne (see Isaiah 57:15 & Matthew 5:34). If you could make your bed in Sheol (the state at death where the SPIRIT departs from the BODY and goes to the “region of the unseen”), He IS THERE. In your question you asked if verse 9 speaks of death. We shall see that it does NOT but this verse does. There are people who want nothing to do with God and they actually believe they will escape His presence when they die, but they are mistaken, for even in the “region of the unseen” God IS THERE.

Verses 9-10: “If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me. And Your right hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” One commentator said that the expression “wings of the morning (dawn)” appears to mean “the swiftness with which the rays of the morning sun stretch out into the dawn, suddenly dispelling the darkness” (J. M. Flanigan). Another commentator said this: “The wings of the morning are an illusion to the rays of the morning sun that streak across the heavens from east to west at 186,000 miles per second.” He goes on to say, “Even if we could travel to some remote corner of the universe at the SPEED OF LIGHT, we would find the Lord there, waiting to guide and uphold us” (William MacDonald). The point is no matter how fast you could travel or how far you go, you could never flee from God’s presence. Of course, the child of God would never really want to flee from God. Mr. MacDonald also said that this verse has brought great comfort to him in this age of jet travel, for he has gone on many missionary trips by jet to remote parts of the earth and it is a blessing to know that He is safe in the “Hand of God” wherever he goes.” I believe he is saying, “God’s PRESENCE is there to GUIDE and to PROTECT us!

Verses 11-12: “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night.’ Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Some may think that one could escape God’s presence in the DARKNESS, for Scripture says that “God is LIGHT and in Him is NO DARKNESS at all (1st John 1:5) and that God “dwells in unapproachable LIGHT” (1st Timothy 6:16). What they fail to realize, and what this passage teaches us, is that to God “the night shines as the day” and “darkness and light are both alike to Him who is Omnipresent.” I will quote one more commentator on this: “The light of God’s divine essence penetrates every dark place and makes the deepest darkness to radiate as the brightest light.”

In closing, our feeble and finite human minds cannot possibly comprehend God’s Divine attribute of OMNIPRESENCE, but we can “accept this by faith” and allow this tremendous truth to comfort us and to bow us at His feet in worship.  (DO)  (500.5)