WORRY DISPELLED BY WONDER
Almighty God, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. Your steadfast love is the mainstay of my restless heart.
Read PSALM 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 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,[a] 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.
- Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.’1
What is your God like? This much-loved psalm ruminates on three great qualities of God: his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. His knowledge of us embraces the most trivial of daily details and our innermost thoughts that are inaccessible to others (vs 1–4). Nothing is hidden from him. Some may view this as an oppressive intrusion, but the psalmist views it as a cause of reassuring wonder (vs 5,6). Then the psalmist turns to meditate on God’s inescapable presence. God is present throughout space and time. It’s impossible to avoid God anywhere in his world. I’ve heard some wonderful testimonies of people who’ve tried to do so by traveling to some inaccessible place, only to meet him there and be converted (vs 7,8)! It’s equally impossible to avoid God at any time of day or night (vs 9–11). Why, he even knew us well before we were born, having created our wonderfully complex human bodies (vs 13–18). Again, the thought moves the psalmist not to fear but to worship, as he mulls over God’s ways. The final section of the psalm (vs 19–24) seems to strike a different note. In fact, though, it assumes God’s awesome power and his ability to act justly on behalf of victims.
This final section lends reality to the psalm. It is not a poetic hymn, composed by tranquil waters, but a down-to-earth testimony, wrung out of life’s harsh experiences, written in the heat of the battle for survival. The implications are twofold. It brings comfort. Why worry when we have a God on our side who evokes such wonder? Perhaps less comfortingly, note that the psalm comes full circle. It starts with God having searched our lives (v 1) and ends by inviting him to search the psalmist again (v 23). What reaction does that provoke?
Invite God to examine your inner thoughts, motivations, and attitudes today. What do you expect him to find?
Ever-present Lord, thank You for Your presence with me. Unlike me, You never sleep on the job.
1 Ps 48:14
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