Psalm 139

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 2, 2019 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

I believe that our relationship with God is the biggest paradox of the Christian faith. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the entire universe, and He is, of course, infinitely better than us in every aspect. Based on that, He should be unknowable to us - and to some extent He definitely is. But at the same time, this almighty God also desires to have a personal relationship with Him. He knows us more intimately than any other person ever possibly could, and that’s not because He “has to” as our creator but that He wants to as the loving God He is. It’s quite a paradox!

Psalm 139, which we’re taking a look at today, highlights that personal relationship between God and us, and the intimate knowledge that God has of us. The words that the psalmist writes are personal between him and God, but they apply to us as well. I’d encourage you to go read the entire psalm here before continuing on reading this post because it’s important to have the context of the whole psalm in mind.

The theme of verses 1-6 is that God knows His people. That’s not a knowing like I know someone’s name or maybe a few facts about them. This knowing is the most intimate kind of knowing that there is. God knows both our thoughts and our actions. He knows the words we’ll say even before we speak them! All of this knowledge is too “wonderful” for us; it would make our human brains explode. We can’t even begin to comprehend knowing any one person in that intimate manner, yet God knows us all.

God alone is capable of having this knowledge not only about a few people, but about every person who has ever lived, who is currently living, or will ever live! Just that fact alone should blow your mind, not to mention actually knowing every word or action of every person ever. Wow.

That shows us the paradox of our relationship with God. He is so amazing that He can have all that knowledge, and yet He still knows each one of us on such a personal, individual level that it truly is amazing.

We see in verses 7-12 that we can never escape God’s presence. Whether we go high to the heavens or low to the depths of the oceans, God is there. It’s not that the psalmist is trying to escape from God for some reason, but he is showing us the amazing presence of this all-knowing God. This just further shows us that God is so far beyond our grasp in His amazing presence and knowledge. God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all of creation; even darkness cannot overpower Him because He is light.

Now that we have established how well God knows each of us and His presence throughout the entire world, we now ask, for what purpose? What does all this mean and why does it matter?

Verse 13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” We can be confident in God’s ability to know us because of how He created us. He didn’t just throw each one of us together without any thought, or create us like a copy-and-paste job, but He created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That is a very intentional creating, showing how much God knows, loves, and cares for each and every person - even before we’re born.

What should we do because of that? We should praise God! Verse 14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We need no other reason than to praise God but that we are created by Him. We know that God only does wonderful things, and because one of His actions was to create each of us, we know that we are wonderfully made. We should praise Him because of that. We can be aware of God’s presence with us and the amazing knowledge that He has about us, and the fact that He still loves us; for that God is worthy of all praise.

Verses 15-16 go into more detail about how God made each one of us. Even when we were not yet born and God was creating each of us, He already had a purpose for our lives. He had already ordained all of our days - as many or as few as we get to live on this earth - before we even lived our very first day.

In verses 17-18, the psalmist is again amazed at God’s thoughts and how He is so knowable but yet completely unknowable. God’s thoughts are way too magnificent and wonderful for mankind to comprehend. They would outnumber the grains of sand if we were to try and count them - which, of course, is impossible.

In verses 19-22, the psalm’s tone changes from one of thanksgiving, praise, and amazement to one of anguish. The Lord has been good to the psalmist, but people in the world have not treated him in the same way. He knows that God is good, and he prays that God would remove all of the evil from this world that is messing up God’s perfect creation. The psalmist goes into detail about how he hates those who hate God; he cannot even be in relationship with them if they are against His God, the God who created him and knows every intimate detail about him.

It is only because of his love for God that the psalmist hates those who are evil. He knows that the goodness of God cannot be present around any evil at all. Coming off of accusations of those who hate God, the psalmist asks God in verses 23-24 to help discern his motivations. The psalmist wants to honor God by following His will no matter what, even if that makes him change how he feels about those who do evil in this world. He knows that there is an “offensive way” and a “way everlasting,” and he desires for God to lead him in the right way.

How does it make you feel that God knows every intimate detail about you? He loves you so much that He wants to know you that well. The amazing, all-powerful God who created everything wants to know every little detail about us!

Do you believe that God created you, and every human, so intentionally that He knit you together in your mother’s womb? What is your reaction to this? Do you praise God for it and live your life in a way that honors His creation? God has a purpose for you; are you living it out, or at least working on discerning what that purpose is?

Are you following the way of the world, or are you seeking God to lead you in the way everlasting? God knows us, God loves us, and God will lead us as much as we will follow Him and be obedient to Him. I pray that you will realize even a fraction of how much God loves you and that you would truly desire to live that out every single day that God has ordained for you.

If you want to dig deeper into Psalm 139, I encourage you to check out the devotional book Known: A Journey Through Psalm 139 written by my good friend Katie Wolfe. As a fun bonus, it's a coloring book too!

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