You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
I have always loved this Psalm, and have come back to it for comfort and reassurance time and again over more than 30 years of following Jesus.
It speaks to my desire to be deeply known and understood.
But it is a Psalm, ultimately, about God.
Here is a wonderful picture of God, who has already searched us and known us. In His infinite knowledge and wisdom, He has plumbed the depths of our private thought world, even from afar. He has discerned our every action and understands our heart motives better than we understand ourselves. He knows each word we will speak even before it comes out of our mouth. He knows who we were, are and will be, because He sits outside of our constraints of time.
Here is a God who knows and cares about the infinitely small aspects of me, a being who is an infinitely small part of this universe. Take a moment to allow the truth of this to sink in – to consider that the Creator of the universe has made and knows even you, intimately.
We may desperately try to understand ourselves, but ultimately such wisdom can only come from God, who made us, who made all, who knows all.
The wonder and scope of God’s knowledge and wisdom is overwhelming.
David knows his place before God. He knows his own imperfection, frailty, weakness, sinfulness.
Yet he doesn’t seem to respond with fear at the thought of God’s deep knowledge of him. He has only praise for God and His greatness. David knows that this is a good God, a God whose knowledge of him is pure, merciful, loving.
What about us? We are also imperfect, frail, weak, and sinful before God. We too need His mercy and forgiveness. We have all the more reason to trust in the goodness and mercy of this all-knowing God, because we live after the coming of Jesus to this earth. We live in the light of God’s forgiveness, won by the death and resurrection of Jesus. We live with a deep reassurance that we are known, loved, forgiven, nurtured by the God who made the universe!
There’s no point pretending to be anything other than I am before Him, so I can stop trying to play games with God, and marvel instead at His greatness.
Read the whole of Psalm 139.
When do you wish you could run away from God? What things do you wish you could hide from Him in darkness?
Have you asked God’s forgiveness for these things?
How has God dealt with our shame? How is it that we can stand before God and not need to flee from His presence?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the wonder of creation and the gift of life.
Thank you that you know me so well. Thank you that in you I can be fully known. Thank you that you know me even better than I know myself.
When I consider your knowledge of me, I can only be convicted of my need for your forgiveness through Jesus, and the help of your Spirit to lead me in your ways.
Please show me by the work of your Holy Spirit the aspects of myself that I need to allow you to change in me. Please show me my true thoughts and motives, my true self, and lead me to become more like you.
Search me, God, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen