As I read the Psalms I’m constantly struck by the power of the poetry. It evokes strong emotions from deep within me, and indeed, when we truly consider the breadth of Imprecatory Psalms (those which invoke judgment, curses, and a call for action against one’s enemies or those who are seen to be the enemies of God), one can’t help but think that these words of Scripture were written both in the heat of and from the height of emotion. But such a human expression of emotion is part of who we are. It’s part of how we are created by our loving God.
When is it that we, ourselves consider the scope of God? Our God is quite big. He is all-wise and all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows us from inside out. GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT US!!!
Psalm 139 New American Standard Bible
God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.
For the music director. A Psalm of David.
139 Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know [a]when I sit down and [b]when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
3 You [c]scrutinize my [d]path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 [e]Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
5 You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [f]Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will [g]overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even darkness is not dark [h]to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, because [i]I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My [j]frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
The 139th Psalm is yet another song within the Psalter which gives us insight into the truths about ourselves, including our emotions. Verses 21-22 (outside of the scope for this devotional writing) expresses our all to obvious capacity for hatred. And yet portions of the devotional reading, particularly verses 1-2 and 13-15, celebrate the awe and wonder of humanity while giving perspective on the awesomeness of Divinity. “Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You created me. You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Somehow our capacity for both hatred, and joyful emotions belongs to the mystery of our personhood.
The Right Reverend John Wesley once commented “this psalm is, by many of the Jewish scholars, esteemed the most excellent in the whole book.” He said this, in part, because of the crystal-clear testimony given within all its verses which genuinely demonstrate God knows what all of our thoughts will be long before we do, God discerns every step we take, with God’s all-seeing providence He keeps us 100% secure with His strong hands in His sight, under His power.
And yet far from being a source of fear, worrying that we are so well known, and our emotions and lives are often not in line with God’s will, John Wesley saw this rather as a Psalm of the greatest assurance. God knows us!!! And yet, as the Scriptures point out time and time again, God loves us ALL, nonetheless.
Saint Ambrose, writing around the year 383, said of this passage that God is clearly “our supporter, for He has supported us with His hands. He is called a supporter as the Creator of the human race. And He is our supporter, for He has supported us by His visitation, that He may protect us.”
It ought to be for us, even in these days of pandemic and fear, a source of great comfort to know that God knows us so well, and yet loves us so much. “Your eyes saw my embryo, and on your scroll every day was written what was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened (Verse 16).” It can boggle the mind, “your plans are incomprehensible to me! (Verse 17),” and yet there can be a peace that comes from trusting in the One whose “knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it (Verse 6).”
When we look to our Lord and Savior Jesus, we see One who, because of His own self-awareness, was able to love selflessly and serve graciously even in the face of greatest and deadliest animosity. He knew that He was God’s Son, beloved and well-pleasing. He was secure within Himself and therefore could not be demeaned by any task or distracted by any temptation. Knowing that God was 1000% with Him, that God loved Him, allowed Him to fulfill His mission for us.
When we have that measure of 1:1 personal divine security it enables us to be freer in how we live and serve, too. If I have assurance, security in my job, I can speak freely to my boss without fear of being fired. If I have such security in my neighborhood, I can leave my car unlocked without fear of it being stolen. If I have such security in my relationship with God, I can express my questions thru prayer and my doubts without fear of losing His love or falling out of His grace.
When we 1000% know God is with us, that God loves us, it allows us to live free lives in fulfillment of God’s calling. If I have security in my relationship with my Lord, a 1000% assurance of my salvation, then I don’t have to fear what others may say or what life may bring (see Psalm 118:6 and Hebrews 13:6).
Psalm 139, our Scripture text for today, makes outrageous claims about God.
- God has searched every last inch of you and known every last centimeter of you.
- God knows exactly when you sit down and exactly when you rise up again.
- God knows every single one of your thoughts – not one escapes His notice!
- God knows what every single word of what you’re going to say before you say it
We are absolutely known to God! God knows us yet loves us 1000%. So, we can say with 1000% confidence, “I give thanks to you I was marvelously set apart. Your works are 1000% wonderful, my soul knows that very well (verse 14).”
Psalm 139 is a glorious celebration of the multi-faceted splendor of God and the imminently practical implications that it bears for you and me. The treasures in this psalm concerning the nature and activity of God are timeless and priceless, 1000% knowable and genuinely deserve our prayerful, considerable attention.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
Psalm 100 The Message
100 1-2 On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.