Psalm 139

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 me, too lofty for me to attain.

(7) Where can I go from your Sprit? 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, 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 was written by David and dedicated to the Chief Musician (some translations say to the Director of Music or the Choir Director). Some believe the Chief Musician to be God Himself. Others say Asaph or the sons of Asaph- those in charge of worship in the temple or tabernacle. Maybe it is all of them and especially to God Himself!

Many claim this as David’s greatest song.

"David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.
2 Samuel 23:1b NLT

Titled, God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man (NKJV); Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart (ESV); God Knows Everything (ICB); and God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience (NASB).

If you have ever felt like you walk this life alone and no one truly knows you or understands you, this is the psalm for you.

It is a beautiful song and a good one to memorize and treasure in our hearts. God is everywhere. God knows all. He created all, and He keeps it all moving in His hand. Yet, He knows you. He sees you. God knows your thoughts. He knows your heart. And He loves you.

A prayer of David.

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
Psalm 139:1-6 NLT

You know me, God.

Whether I sit or stand. Whether I am here or there. At home or out and about.

You search my heart and even know what I will say and do before I say or do it.

You walk ahead of me on my path, and you follow behind me.

You lay your hand upon my head in blessing.

I do not understand you. I cannot understand how vast yet how personal you are to me. My mind cannot comprehend it.

There never was a time in which we were unknown to God, and there never will be a moment in which we shall be beyond his observation.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892

Jesus reminds us,

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

There is nowhere that we can go where He does not go before us and behind us. He knows our hearts and our words before we even say them. This brings comfort.

And is also uncomfortable.

The fact that God sees all is a reminder to watch what we say, keep control of our tongues, and mind our thoughts. Because God is everywhere and sees all, He knows our sin before we even do. He knows the thoughts in our minds that would be embarrassing to say out loud. We cannot turn our backs and say the word we don’t want Him to hear. We cannot hide our response in the car when someone cuts us off. When we lose our tempers and speak hurtful things, He already knew what we were going to say.

God’s constant presence is a comfort and a reminder to walk the path He lays before us.

The NIV says, “He hems me in behind and before,” like a protective barrier. When bad things break through- which they do- we know that God allowed that bad thing through. This is something that is hard to understand. If God protects us and knows and sees all, why would He allow that bad thing around His wall of protection?

Many of these things will not be revealed to us in this life.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to understand.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night, but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
Psalm 139:7-12 NLT

We cannot hide from God. Adam and Eve learned this in the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit and then heard God’s approach. They could not hide (Genesis 3). Jonah tried to hide from God by running away. He ended up in the belly of whale (Jonah 1).

We must be, whether we will it or not, as near to God as our soul is to our body. This makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to his face and commit acts of treason at the very foot of his throne.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892

When we do the thing that He told us not to do, He is watching. When evil lurks in the dark, God sees it like we see the day. He sees all.

Even in the darkness of night when our fears and worries grow, God is there. The night is as the day to Him. That is comfort.

In fact,

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
John 8:12 NIV

Wherever we go, He is with us. He is the Light of the world. In the darkness of night when it seems like evil lurks, God is there. He does not bring light, He is Light.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:13-16 NLT

God knows you now, but He knew you before you were born. His love for you did not start on your birthday, it began when you were conceived. His hands knit you together, and the days of your life were ordained in His book before your birthday.

Life is precious to God.

Because God knows and loves children at conception, so should those who love Him. This could not be clearer than in Psalm 139.

Here is what God said to the prophet Jeremiah:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

God says, “Before you born, I knew you.” “Every day of your life was recorded in my book before even one came to pass.”

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
Psalm 139:17-18 NLT

Verses 17 and 18 paint a beautiful picture of David’s awe and gratitude toward his God. The God, the Creator of all, thinks about you and me. That is hard to wrap our minds round. And David says that God’s thoughts of him are more than grains of sand on the beach!

Oh, that we would live our lives with this kind of awe and passion toward the Lord. That David’s songs and prayers would be reminders to live as he did, his eyes always up, at his Father in heaven.

O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O LORD, shouldn't I hate those who hate you? Shouldn't I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. 
Psalm 139:19-22 NLT

David’s words switch quickly, from nothing but awe and wonder of his God, to utter hatred of evil. David loves the Lord so much that the thought of someone else dishonoring Him fills David with hatred. He wants to defend the honor of the Lord.

Christians are often afraid or apprehensive of passages like these. But . . .

Can we truly love the Lord- who is nothing but good- without hating what is evil?

Evil exists simply to destroy God’s plan and the things that God loves. Everything Satan does is to destroy the children of God.

Therefore, can we love the Lord and not hate what is evil?

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Proverbs 8:13 ESV

If you respect the Lord, you also will hate evil. It is wise to hate pride and bragging, evil ways and lies.
Provers 8:13 ICB

We do not hate the person that God created, we hate the sin. This strong feeling keeps us running or fighting. It keeps us aware of, and on the lookout for, evil so as not to be tempted ourselves.

Note, sin is hated, and sinners are lamented, by all who fear God.

Matthew Henry, English minister, 1662-1714

The loyal subject must not be friendly to the traitor.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

God, examine me and know my heart. Test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me in the way you set long ago.
Psalm 139:23-24 ICB

David goes from hating evil to seeking God’s help to keep his feet on the right path- Test my heart. Show me where I am messing up. Help me to stay on the path you have laid before me. Help me to see evil and sin so as not to fall into its snare.

This could be a painful prayer. When we open ourselves up to God’s direction, He will point things out. Things we need to work on. Things we need to flee from. Things we need to clean from our minds and hearts. But it will ultimately lead us to a deeper relationship with Him.

Trust God with your heart.

Remember- He knows you. He knew you before you were born. He goes before you and behind you. He lays His hand upon you. He knows your thoughts and what is in your heart.

And . . . He loves you still. You are never alone.

Father in heaven, thank you for this beautiful song and reminder of your omnipotence and your omniscience. You know all and you see all. You knew each of us before we born. You have seen each day before it comes to pass. You are ahead of us and behind us. Yet you care about our hearts and our thoughts. Thank you for your word and your promises. Give us strength to love what is good and to hate what is evil. Help us to know the difference. Amen.

He xoxo

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