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Read Psalm 139

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

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
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.

Go Deeper

David celebrates and finds comfort in knowing we have a God who knows us and is with us. The overall message is a reminder of God’s character and why we can praise Him.

“You have searched my thoughts and know me” (v. 1) clearly states God understands us on a deep level. He knows our thoughts, actions, past and future. He knows the good and the bad. He knows our shame and our success. There are no secrets between us and God. There is not a detail too small. Matthew 10:30 tells us He even knows how many hairs we have on our head! His omniscience combined with love lets us know there is a level of intimacy in our relationship with Christ. His love comes from a place of deep, personal caring that goes beyond any love we have on this earth. How beautiful is our God who fully understands everything about us and loves us anyway. 

His amazing love for us is so much more than knowing us, though. He is also omnipresent.  His ever-presence means He is never far from us and nothing can ever separate us from Him. Romans 8:38-39 offers a similar message, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is comforting to know that in every moment God is with us. Since He has always been with us, He has known us since before we were born and has always had a plan for our future (v. 16). 

What are we supposed to do in response? David tells us in verse 14. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.” We are called to worship God and celebrate Him. We praise Him for loving us, knowing us and being with us. Whether it is through worship, prayer, or sharing God with others, we have been invited to celebrate God and ask, “search me, God, and know my heart.”

Questions

  1. In verse 14, a better translation would be that we are “fearfully set apart.” What does this mean for us? How does this change the message of the verse for you? 
  2. How does God’s omniscience (all-knowing) and omnipresence (all-present) make you feel?
  3. What stood out to you most in this chapter?

Quote

“It’s not just that God knows everything- he knows me. It’s not just that God is everywhere- He is everywhere with me. It’s not just that God created everything- he created me.” 

David Guzik

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6 thoughts on “Psalm 139”

  1. Today, I want it to sink deep into my heart that I am fully known by God, the Maker of heaven and earth. It is both comforting and sobering. Every single day of my life was already planned before I breathed my 1st breath. V23-24 remind me to closely & carefully examine my heart. Am I walking in an “offensive way” or an “everlasting way”? Please, Lord, help me to steward this one life, each day and moment, well, all to your glory!

  2. What most stood out to me were verses 23 & 24. It’s a call for greater intimacy with God and a desire for greater devotion to Him. The first first part of the psalm reminds me of God’s love and presence and these last 2 verses invite me to lean into his character even more deeply.

    1. The song “Faithful” by Erik Nieder references this passage. I’ve had it on repeat all morning and thought I’d share in case others want to use it to meditate on this psalm today.

  3. How grateful I am, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, knows my name.
    Not just that He knows my name but He named me before I was born.
    As I continue to lean into God, I continue to experience Him leaning into me. It’s a beautiful life with Him. I pray I live it well!

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