|Galaxy M 109 - All these are known by God !|
Does God know me sufficiently well to really care about me? We often complain to one another that we feel misunderstood by family or friends . “You don’t really know me…” ; “you haven’t been in my shoes“; “You haven’t been through what I have been through…”
Is there anyone that does know you thoroughly? Most likely not – not even those who are closest to us , but there is the One who has made you!
Psalm 139 has been said by some to be one of the sublimest compositions in the world. Rabbi Ibn Ezra (1089 — 1164) born in Andalusia , Spain was one of the most distinguished Jewish men of letters and writers of the Middle Ages. He was called The Wise, The Great and The Admirable Doctor. He wrote commentaries on most of the OT , including the Psalms , and he had this to say about Psalm 139 : “This Psalm is the most glorious of the theme of the ways of God and is unequalled in the 5 books of the Psalter and in accordance with one’s understanding in the ways of God and in the disposition of the soul will he be able to see into its profundity.” It is not difficult to endorse this point.
This is a wonderful Psalm for it brings God very near to us in a comforting and perhaps even in a disturbing way. May God be pleased to use the study of the Psalm in your soul in the most appropriate way !
We are not certain on what occasion David was inspired to compose this Psalm. A. Anderson thinks that this is an individual thanksgiving offered to God after he had been acquitted by God. Whatever the case may be, this Psalm covers some profound thoughts. The Psalm is made up of 2 parts :
(i) Vv. 1-18 which may be subdivided into three main themes :
· God’s intimate knowledge of David (1-6)
· God’s omnipresence (7-12)
· God’s wonderful creation (13-18)
(ii) Vv. 19-24 consists of :
· An imprecatory prayer (19-22)
· A prayer to God (23-24)
God’s Intimate knowledge of David : The Omniscience of God (1-6)
[V1.] O LORD, you have searched me and known me! In the very first verse David lays down the doctrine of God’s perfect knowledge (omniscience) of us. He is probably trying to defend himself against enemies or false accusers, (like Jeremiah in Jer 11:20 & 12:3; also 17:10) and he needs an advocate to defend his integrity. He says: You have searched me. The Hebrew word for search means to dig deep, and is usually applied to the search for precious metals (see Job 28:3) .
You (lit you alone) have searched me and known me! Note David’s awareness of the fact that he knows that God knows him deeply and personally. God has dug into David’s heart and has bared it down to its very deepest being. The verdict is “God declares me not guilty! “. Notice that in the first verse he speaks of this searching in the past tense ”…you have searched me.” At the end of the Psalm (v.23) he prays in the present: “Search me oh God and know my heart.” God is the continuous searcher of our hearts, and we must be thankful that He is, and we should always pray that He would do this work always, so that we may not sin against Him.
“And known“ (me). In the Hebrew translation there is no ‘me’ after known i.e. you have searched me and known!
The knowledge of God extends ,according to David,to at least four areas:
1. To all our movements, [v.2a] “You know when I sit down and when I rise up”;
2. To all our thoughts: [v.2b] "you discern my thoughts from afar." God knows more than our actions. He knows our inner life; our secret thoughts. He knows what our thoughts have been, what they now are, what they will be. He who has made your mind knows what your thoughts will be at all times. Because this is so , God knows what will happen in the future, since He knows the thoughts of all men. He can know our thoughts without being the Author of them.
3. To all our actions: [v.3] You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Every step you take; every private or public action – for my entire life!
4. To all our words: [V.4] Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” God knows what we are going to say , even before we say it .
Nothing may be concealed before God – either good or bad. That is why we must always have this thought in mind: God knows all my movements, all my thoughts all my actions . He even knows my words ahead of time. A sobering thought! No wonder that David now makes the next statement:
|The DNA molecule|
v.5. You hem me in, behind and before ,and lay your hand upon me. David is boxed in! David knows that he is in the hand of an omniscient God – one who knows everything. He can get away with nothing! One may fool one’s friends and family, but one never fools God, and no-one can get away from Him. Now, such knowledge may be very intimidating, but not for David! The fact that this is a comforting thought to David is now seen in v.6:
v.6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. David marvels at the depth of God’s intimate knowledge of him. Of course when we think of it, we hardly would think that David knew the intricacies of the DNA molecule – utterly hidden from our eyes , and yet containing every single detail or information of what we are. Every DNA molecule is an entire program of what we are (individually) , describing every part of our being into every detail . This is the God who has made you , and who knows you .
This shows us that God has minutely intimate knowledge of us! Therefore you can trust Him with His analysis of you in His word !
God’s Omnipresence ( 7-12)
v.7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence (lit. your face) ? 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 dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Apparently, when people in Israel thought of ways of escape they looked first to the height and then to the depths (see Amos 9:2). David knows that neither heaven ( the highest heights) nor hell ( the lowest depths) provide an escape from God. The Universe is one big “ YOU ARE THERE!”
What about travel in a horizontal direction? If I take the wings of the morning… can you fly as far east or west as you can , hoping to escape? No place on the earth can hide you. The Marianna trench, in the Pacific Ocean at 11 km below the sea, the deepest part of our ocean, cannot hide you. Darkness is no obstacle to God. God is light in Himself and light by nature always displaces darkness.
This God ,wrote Francis Thompson (1859-1907) is the hound of heaven. Here are the first few lines from that poem which had a profound influence upon J.R. Tolkien ( Lord of the Ring)
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."
God cannot be escaped from. And those that think that they will escape at the end, when Christ comes, had better think again. The mountains which they call upon to fall upon them in that day, will not be able to hide them. For them this attribute of God must be a very frightening thought! For the Christian this is very comforting “…. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me !”(v.6)
God’s wonderful creation ( 13-18)
God’s omniscience and God’s omnipresence are non-communicable attributes of God . He does not share them with mankind . They belong to the infinite Creator alone . As Creator ,He is responsible for his creation. David says “  For you formed (created) my inward parts (lit. my kidneys) ; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
David now takes a different line of thought in the exposition of the knowledge of God’s intimacy of him. Not only does God know Him as he is in the present .He says that God knew him before birth. Before birth he was already under the control and guardianship of God. No wonder that David marvels :
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
The fact that he is so intimately known by God , comforts David.These are precious thoughts – too overwhelming to count – overwhelming like the information contained in a DNA molecule. And to think that God has taken care to make each of us different – no two people on the earth are the same . Spurgeon writes : “Imagine the world without a thinking , personal God! Conceive of a grim providence of machinery!- a fatherhood of law…”
May God be please to put you to bed tonight with this meditation, and then to awake tomorrow morning , saying: “I awake , and I am still with you!”
With Him ,in Him and for Him- intimately united with, and known by our Father ! Amen .