Psalm 139 is God’s way of telling the Christian, “I’ve been thinking about you!” That’s a funny phrase, isn’t it: “I’ve been thinking about you.” We use it all the time in our conversation with others. It conveys warmth, concern, well-wishes, and often it stands as a euphemism for prayer. When we hear it we feel encouraged: someone cares, someone remembers, we are not forgotten.
Let’s think about this Psalm together for a few moments today. It contains David’s description of what it is like to walk with God. He tells us, “I am daily, constantly, eternally surrounded by a being before whom I have no privacy and from whom I can have no escape. And yet, this experience fills me with delight, not regret.” The thought of God's surrounding all-knowing presence thrills David’s soul. God’s eternal mind is alive with thoughts of me - kind thoughts, precious thoughts, many thoughts. So many in fact, that they cannot be counted. More in number than the grains of sand. Think about that for a moment. Remember the last time you held a handful of warm sand on the beach. Remember the tiny grains falling through your fingers. How could you even begin to count them? Yet God’s thoughts towards you, Christian are more than all the sand on all the beaches and deserts of all the planets in the universe. You are front and center, the object of His concentrated focus. This is true at all times and in all places for all God’s people. Unlike us, you see, God is able to give everything His focused attention. As His child, you are never a peripheral “no one out somewhere on the horizon of His contemplation. He loves you with an undivided passion; it’s as if there was no one else to love, know one else to know in all the universe. He couldn’t love you anymore. You live in the center of His tender gaze. This and more is the teaching of Psalm139
How does God think about you, Christian?
How Carefully God thinks of You:
Look at the verbs in the first stanza: “Searched,” “Scrutenize,” and “Intimately acquainted.” - These verbs speak of a difficult and a deep probing that brings exhaustive knowledge. Like a child pouring out a box of lego pieces on the ground, spreading them out, examining them. This is no brief search, he sees them all before he finds the very one he wants. It's like that with God. All the details of our lives are spread about before God. He sees them all with perfect clarity. Nothing is unknown. He knows us through and through.
How Completely God thinks of You
Everywhere we go, in everything we do, our rising up, and our sitting down, He is there searching, knowing, observing, understanding, loving you. Sometimes we can know someone so well, we can guess what they are about to say. Their body language, perhaps betrays what is really going on in their mind. God knows us so well, He knows our thoughts from a far, from a million miles away! Even before we speak, He knows the heart behind our words right down to the bottom.
How Personally God thinks of You: -
Verse 2 - “Your yourself have known my sitting and my lying down.” The doubling of the personal pronoun stresses God’s personal engagement in the knowing. This knowledge God has by personal observation not by the report of another.
How Kindly God thinks of us
Verses 5-6 are alive with tenderness. “He has enclosed us behind and before, and laid His hand upon us.” We are surrounded by His providential care. He holds us in gentle hands that wrap us all around with inescapable love. Think of a little girl cherishing a little chick. How gently she holds it’s fluttering breast in her fingers. This is the way God holds you.
How Closely God Thinks of you -
We live our lives in the bubble of God's presence. We can never escape Him. No matter where I go, He is with me. If I go up as high as I can, or go down as deep as I can, or go out as far as I can... God is always there, always leading me, always holding me.
Even when I think myself lost, covered in the black hole, trapped in outer blackness far away from God. Even when all my senses tell me, He has abandoned me and all ll hope is gone. Even then, David says, “The darkness is not dark to Him, and night is as bright as the day!” His ability to know you, to find you, to care for you, to lead you, to rescue you does never fluctuates. It remains the same no matter your situation, your experience, or your fears.
How Lovingly God Thinks of us
Verses 13-16 speak of God as the master craftsman forming us in our mother’s womb. The very word “Form” is inextricably connected to the idea of ownership. Every part of my being is lovingly brought into being - from the kidneys to my knees ("Innermost parts" and "Frame). Every day of my life is designed before hand. Nothing is ad hoc here. When it comes to His children, all the details matter to God. Nothing is left to chance.
Notice, it begins with the Word “For" at the beginning of the stanza - David is explaining why God takes such pains to know and to care for His people, never to let us out of His sight. Why? Because He is the one who made us, and owns us from the womb; He cannot be indifferent to us.
A Jarring Departure
Verses 19-22 is a jarring departure from the Psalm.... These words probably provide the context of the Psalm. David is surrounded by violent, blood thirsty men, who pose an imminent threat to his life. Yet, do you see how God-centered David’s feelings are towards these men. His antipathy is not fueled by personal or petty spite. His anger towards them is driven simply by their posture towards God. He cannot be indifferent to God haters! As momma used to tell me, Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. The same can be said about our enemies.
The final stanza brings us back full circle. “Lord do what you have always done! Keep knowing me, searching me. Do not let me out of your sight!” Get to the bottom of all my godless fears “My anxious thoughts!” These are the “What if” questions of life: ‘What if God forgets me? What if God isn’t really in control? What if God drops the ball?" These questions betray a heart that’s not fully connected to God by faith. The Psalmist hates this about himself - His heart is an anxiety factory. He wants the fiery light of God’s searching gaze to uncover and to banish such dross from His heart.
“And see if there be any hurtful way in me.” “Hurtful” is an ancient word that goes back to the very dawn of time, to the beginning of human misery and pain (Genesis 3:16-17). Eve’s “Pain” and Adam’s “toil” are both derived from this word. Could it be that the Psalmist echoes this post-fall dialogue to say - “O God search me and see if there be any way in me that mirrors that first bad choice of Adam and Eve - a choice that led them away from you into hurt, toil, and a world of pain!” Because I never want to be away from you!
In the final analysis, Psalm 139 is a test - Can you say these words and mean them? Are you knowing these words and living them? Answer these questions honestly, and you will discover whether or not you are close to God.
3 Take Homes
- Read these Words in Christ: How can God feel this way about my sinful heart - The NT gives the answer - Because God has never known you apart from Christ and He never will know the Christian apart from Christ (Ephesians 1:3ff). He chose you in Christ before the foundation of the World. God has never existed without thinking of you in connection to His lovely Son. He views you through Christ colored spectacles; they change the way He sees you.
- Pray these Words into Your Heart - Ask God to help you to remember Him. Strive never to resist the Spirit tugging your heart from sin, from the world, to prayer….. This is what it means to walk with God…
- Remember these words in the darkness. Whatever you are facing, my child, God assures you, “We will go through this together. I will be with you, and you will be with me. You will not face this alone. It is going to be okay!”