The Word Made Fresh
(For the worship leader. A psalm of David.)
1LORD, you know all about me.
2You know when I sit and when I stand.
You know what I’m thinking, even though you may be far away.
3You know when I am busy and when I am resting
because you are familiar with my habits.
4Even before I can think what to say,
you, LORD, know every word.
5You surround me on all sides
and lay your hand on me.
6These things are beyond my understanding.
Your ways are higher than I can reach.
7Where can I go from your spirit?
Where can I run from your presence?
8If I rise into the sky, you are there.
If I lie in the ground, you are there.
9If I fly with morning winds
and settle as far as the sea reaches,
10even there your hand guides me,
and you hold me securely.
11If I fear that I will be covered with darkness,
and the light around me sinks into nighttime,
12even the darkness is not dark to you,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are all the same to you.
13You are the one who formed all my inner organs.
You are the one who shaped me in my mother’s womb.
14I lift my praise to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,
like all your works. I know that very well.
15When I was being put together in that secret place,
I was not out of your sight while I was being formed.
16You saw me before I was put together.
You had already written down all my days before they existed.
17Your thoughts are too heavy for me, O God.
All together they are so vast!
18Even when I try to count them, they are far too numerous,
and when I awaken you are still there.
19I wish that you would do away with the wicked, God.
I wish that those who thirst for blood would go away.
20When they talk about you they make fun of you.
They think their evil ways are beyond your control.
21I hate those who hate you, LORD.
I loathe those who think they can go against you.
22I hate them with a perfect hatred
because I know they are my enemies, too.
23Examine me, O God. Search my heart.
Test me and know all my thoughts.
24See if there is any wickedness in me,
and always lead me in your way.
Superscription: the 66th of David’s 72 psalms; it continues this series of 8 successive psalms ascribed to David.
1-6: In theological terms there is perhaps no more powerful statement anywhere in the Bible of God’s omniscience (all-knowingness) than Psalm 139. Here that attribute of God is expressed in terms of an intimate relationship with an individual. God’s infinite knowledge is condensed to the level we can understand – God knows me.
7-12: The affirmation of God’s omniscience is followed by an affirmation of God’s omnipresence, also condensed to a personal level: God is with me. There is nowhere we can go that God is not. Charles Lindberg, noted aviator of the early 20th century, had verses 9 and 10 engraved on his tombstone on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
13-18: God’s work in creation is celebrated in touching terms in which the author imagines his own creation, and God’s foreknowledge is beautifully expressed in verse 16.
19-24: But now the psalm takes a sudden turn in an unexpected outburst against “the wicked.” It is as though the author of the psalm suddenly feels the need to ally himself with the awesome omniscient omnipresent author of life, and so the psalm ends with an invitation for God to search his inner being to make certain he is not among “the wicked.”
We should take time or make time each day to sit in God’s presence for a bit. God knows everything about us and is always ready to receive us. That is an invitation we should take advantage of often.