Psalm 139

12/22/2016

 

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

I wanted to first lay this psalm out in its entirety before providing any type of commentary.

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.

To know that the God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, out of all the people in the world, He takes the time to not only think about me, but He takes it to the next level and searches me until He knows me. Intimately. He knows me better than my own wife knows me. He invested the time to find out every little thing about me.

Granted, He created me, but He also searched me. That may not be so significant to a lot of people, and it may only be a subtle difference to some, but to me it makes the biggest difference in the world. Being that quality time is a love language of mine, taking the time the search me to know me is very impactful.

But that’s just me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

To know there is someone out there that knows me so well as to know every time I sit down or get up and can perceive my thoughts from afar is both comforting and humbling. Further, it says He is familiar with my ways. This goes back to Him studying us. He didn’t just cram some information in preparation for a final exam; no, He took time and studied us, frequently and often, to become familiar with our ways. How much? To the point where He knows what we are about to say before we even say it.

I realize that a lot of people believe God is omniscient. And I’m not saying He is or is not. But let’s just assume, for conversational purposes, that He does not know the future; that He can only predict what will happen based and what He already knows. If that were the case, how much more would verse 4 mean? That would mean He knows us so thoroughly that He can predict our very words and thoughts just based on what He knows about us already. How awesome is that? That’s a lot of knowledge to obtain and compile about someone, let alone all of us; it is indeed is too wonderful for me to understand and too lofty for me to obtain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

This is one of those verses that has such depth and can be looked at from several different perspectives. On one hand, the question of where could we go from His spirit might come from a place of shame. Maybe we want to escape God because we’ve done something, and like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we simply want to hide from the impending judgement we are due. And therefore, we ask the question because we are seeking a hiding place from His wrath.

Maybe we think we are so bad that our sins have cast us into the deepest chasms, beyond the reach of God and this question stems from wondering if there is indeed a place so gone, so lost, so far removed from God to a place He doesn’t venture. Which would further propelling our emotional instability into an endless sense of self-loathing, believing we are beyond redemption.

Maybe we think about our future with great promise and hope, wanting to take on the unknown and we ask this in hopes that there is nowhere we can go that God will not be with us, granting us confidence in our quest.

Still, some may read this and think; “Why would anyone run from God?” understanding that all good things come down from the Father of Lights and it doesn’t make sense to run and hide from someone who wants to bless us so richly.

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

This psalm is the very first thing I read once I dedicated my life to Christ. And this one verse hit me as being so profound. It makes sense that God is in heaven and that if I set my mind on heavenly things that He would be there as well. That makes sense. But even if I made my bed in hell (that’s how one translation writes “depths”), He would be there with me.

This blew my mind. To think that the creator of heaven and earth would leave His sanctuary just for me. That no make where I was or how bad things were in my life, He would never leave me nor forsake me. To know that even if I was in the worst possible place, that is hell, then He would be right there with me, because He loves me that much. It’s too magnificent for me to comprehend.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

This pretty much supports the previous verse.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

I can see the writer of this first verse saying; “Woe is me; look how terrible I am! I’m so bad I turn the day to night!” But it says that the darkness is not dark to Him. Imagine being so light that the darkness itself isn’t dark around you. That’s pretty cool.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I like how the writer used the term “knit” because that word conjurors the thought of a grandma knitting a Christmas sweater for her beloved grandchild. It is with that same kind of love and adoration that God created us.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

There is a lot of sand. Like, a lot. And He has that many thoughts toward each of us. That’s pretty amazing.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

It is interesting how the entire mood and focus of this psalm changed with this part.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The writer does tie that last part back in, though. I’m guessing while thinking about the enemies, he asked himself the sobering question of whether there was any wickedness in him. Thus, he asks God to search his heart, and if there is any wickedness, to reveal it. Ironic, considering the start of the psalm was an admission that He has already searched us to the point of knowing us completely.

Perhaps the revelation here is that when we ask God to search us, it’s not for Him to learn more about us, but for Him to reveal who we are to us.

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