“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
Psalm 139 offers a reassuring statement of God’s sovereignty over life. The Psalm unfolds in a way centered on God’s character and activity.
1. God is all-knowing (omniscience) 1-6
- God’s knowledge covers one’s posture, thoughts, ways and words
- God’s knowledge is expressed with a series of verbs: God searches, knows, perceives, discerns and is familiar with…
2. God is all-present (omnipresent) 7-12
- God’s presence is so pervasive that there are no escape routes or hiding places
3. God is all-powerful (omnipotent) 13-18
- God not only knows and is present, He’s the Creator.
- The development of the embryo in the womb is ascribed to God
- This is not Mother nature mysteriously at work.
Think about it
This psalm has touched our hearts because it presents —God as one who is near and intimately knowledgeable of our lives.
He is presented as the author of life – as the one who fashions life in the womb and ordains the number of days planned for us.
- This resonates with us because it tags into a deeper innate sense that we are here by design and not by accident.
- This connects with a deeper sense that we come from a personal Creator not an impersonal process of evolution tracing back to some chance collision of the forces of undirected energy.
Here we meet an all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful Creator!
- Our moral impulse as humans cries out for a source of morality.
- Our desire for purpose and meaning cries out for a point of reference and a destiny.
- Our affections themselves (loves and passions) demand deeper connections than some impersonal primordial ooze.
- Here is a God who is intimate, involved, tender and inescapable!
- Here is knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain!
- “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!”
All of these truths invoke a sense of concern, leading the psalmist to cry out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me”
The truths in this psalm do not exist as empty theory. They must be applied to the complexities of life in a fallen world — a world where a good bit looks like it is contrary to God’s providence and will.
We must read this psalm in a world where the name of God is not honored, His Kingdom has not yet come and His will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven!
In such a world, some babies don’t make it out of the womb; some are at risk of what we call imperfections – appearing not to have been fashioned by a perfect loving Creator.
Some of the days ordained for me in this world are painfully difficult — many of them. How does this all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful Creator relate to a broken world full of sadness and evil?
There is a reason why we must end such a psalm with “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me”
After contemplating God’s detailed knowledge of his life, the psalmist broke into:
- A burst of praise: (6) “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (cf. Romans 11:33 – “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”)
- A word of trust in God’s care: (9-10) ”If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (cf. Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.)
- An expression of endearment: (17-18) “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”
- A prayer of invitation: (23-24) “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Audio message: When I was made in secret