The grim and unpredictable challenges facing our world which began in 2020 are still upon us. By God’s grace we are walking through them, but still unsure what may come next. Sometimes reluctantly, each day we may anticipate what will be the next negative news headlines. More Covid deaths, mass shootings, political divides, racial tensions, or another troubling occurrence? This is a part of this life, experiencing tumultuous, troubling seasons. Christ did tell us we would in John 16:33, “…In this world you will have trouble….” What’s bothersome about this is that, humanly, we don’t usually know when, where, or how trouble will hit us. It happens abruptly and unknowingly we find ourselves baffled. This pandemic did. Out of nowhere, it seems, Covid suddenly surfaced, multiplied, and turned our world upside down. And no one knew. Should that be our concern though—about the troubles we don’t see coming? Or is there One who knows us and about life’s troublesome times?
I find assurance during these times through one of my favorite psalms—Psalm 139. I previously posted a blog about this psalm. On his website, Discover the Books of the Bible, Ken Cayce describes this psalm as “…certainly one of the grandest psalms in all of the Psalter, it is also one of the richest theologically. It combines an exposition of the greatness of God’s character with the reality of human experience…They may be summarized under four key thoughts as David addresses the Lord: You know me (verses 1-6), you are with me (verses 7-12), you created me (verses 13-18), and your cause is my cause (verses 19-24) (Cayce, K. (n.d.) Retrieved online January 24, 2021 from https://bible-studys.org/psalm-139/). Let’s look closer at verses1-6.
Our Human Limitations
Humans are limited in what we know. This pandemic should have made us more aware about this. Scientists were unsure where the virus emerged and how to treat or stop it. Governments were not certain how to advise or manage citizens. Doctors and hospitals had to revise protocols on patient visits and procedures. Corporations and their employees were leery about continuing business as usual. It was never clear, and still quite isn’t, how Covid affects the younger generation. Some schools are closed while others have students attending a couple days a week; many school-age students are doing virtual learning. It’s confusing. I’ve never witnessed a time as such of mass confusion or lack of assurance. The prevailing indirect or direct message is almost the same everywhere—”we really don’t know.” When we don’t know or aren’t quite sure about something, we speculate and make our best judgments based on what we see, feel, hear or sense. We try our best to secure favorable outcomes, but, unfortunately, it does not always fair well. Why? Because humanity is frail, weak, limited in knowledge, and thus, prone to error. God, on the other hand is not; He always makes right choices and accurate judgements because He knows all people and all things!
This characteristic of God whereby He knows all things is called His omniscience. In the first six verses of Psalm 139, David opens and identifies God by saying, “O, Lord, You…” The Lord is his main subject. It is who David is talking to and about. What will follow in this discourse will be about Him. We may first wonder, “Okay, ‘O Lord, you’…what?” Well, David continues by describing aspects of God’s nature. We connect this idea by the various verbs he uses.
- searches and knows (vs.1)
- knows when… (vs.2)
- perceives (vs.2)
- discerns thoughts (vs.3)
- is acquainted or familiar with (vs.3)
- knows before it’s said (vs.4)
- encloses or hems in (v.5), and
- lays His hands upon (vs.5)
God’s Knowledge is Superior
Can you envision a God who may possibly be like you? Have you connected an emotional aspect to His being? I did. I thought of the investments into my son’s life, while raising him. Like God, I watched him closely, discovering who he was, his likes/dislikes, or what he was good or not so good at (character traits, school subjects, foods, fun, church/social activities). I asked questions to discover how things were going or if I perceived a problem. I scrutinized his friendships and carefully screened the neighborhood homes he visited. I recognized also how, like God, I sometimes call or visit a family member or friend to embrace them just because, or because they were sick or going through a difficult time; I wanted to help.
I did not visualize God in this text as a stoic monarch, sitting on his great white thrown with his chest sticking out and his nose perched up, looking lofty on His creation or being too preoccupied to involve Himself in their affairs. No. I feel a Presence in this text. His eyes are intently fixated on me, watching how I’m doing or what I’m doing. He’s aware of my coming and going–every day. I sense His intimacy and involvement on those days I’m just in a funk and not at the top of my game. I recognize His familiarity with my quirks when He reaches His hand, blocking the evil path I’m about to take. I recognize here His discernment is what shielded me from yesterday’s harm. I sense Him hastily lean to the edge of His chair, to warn me, “Don’t say that!” I will surmise (from me) He may also be quite serious; He’d have to be considering He hunts billions of souls and examines billions of hearts.
While we share God’s image, being made in his likeness, His nature does contrast our human nature. Isaiah 55:8-9 supports this where it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” David recognizes this as he shouts in declaration in verse 6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” See, the difference between you, me and God is, while we can know as He knows, God’s knowledge supersedes ours; His encompasses all humanity and all things. He knows everything. We too should enter this place of awe, and wonder, and amazement about God’s omniscience. We’re able to gain confidence in this truth. We can live and move freely in the fact that He knows all about us—what was, what is, what is to come. He knows. There’s no need for us to feel shame or to run and hide our eccentric, secret selves from Him because He already knows everything there is to know about you. If we’re humbled by this aspect of God, we would probably come more frequently to boldly approach His throne of grace to ask for the help we need. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the leaders of our world believed in our omniscient God and asked His advice about this pandemic? Oh yes, the Lord has the 411 on Covid (and on you)! David, the king, deduces himself here upon realizing the magnitude of God’s knowledge. In essence, He’s saying, Lord, this is way over my head; I’m not that!
It’s important to realize God is not directing us to make an attempt at attaining His omniscience; we’ll never be able to. Think about the times you presented your best case to someone close and was wrong. God is never wrong. The message God wanted King David to convey to us, to know, to become assured of and confident in is that God knows you completely. This is a truth about God that has personal implications for us. You see, not only is the Lord the main subject in this psalm, but there is also an object, another participant in this discourse. David’s not just blurting out a bunch of facts about God to maximize our scriptural knowledge or bolster our theological egos. Neither is he inciting us to be shaking in fear of such an all-knowing God, whom we dare not cross or attempt to get close to. No! In this discourse, David links together the omniscient God and humanity. We know because as he described God’s attributes of God using verbs, those verbs pointed to the object–that object being the personal pronoun “ME.” God’s omniscience, as described here, now become specific toward humankind. The Lord is not being for the sake of just being. He is not doing just for the sake of only doing. We’ve discovered, from Genesis to Revelation, the Lord has always had a plan He’s been working–to bring people close to Himself. This relational truth, He wants you to know today.
In closing, read again the words of Psalm 139:1-6, this time with the realization God is talking about you! In fact, where you see the word “me” or “my,” replace it with your name. Works for me! Believe! Be amazed and in awe! May this truth infiltrate your mind and spirit and bring a change to your life! Amen.
O, Lord, You…
search and know ME!
scrutinize (examine or inspect closely) ME!
are intimately acquainted with ME!
know it all before it’s said from MY (mouth)!
enclose (surround, circle, guard) ME!
lay your hand upon ME!
Next time, we’ll look at verses 7-12, how God is with us. Until then, be inspired… 😊.
Maybe you’ve never heard about Jesus Christ. This blog is your first-time hearing about Him. The apostle Paul tells us good news about Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 from the Bible. It says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…” Jesus really did this for you, my friend. John 3:16-17 from the Bible tells us why He did. It says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
So, you see, God sent His Son, Jesus out of a heart of love for you! Everyone’s looking to be loved. Well, I’m introducing to you the greatest love you’ll ever find! I know; I invited Jesus into my heart when I was a teenager. God wants you to simply believe and receive this truth about his Son, Jesus Christ. Believe He came from God and died for your sins, was buried, but rose again to give you eternal life and bring you close to God. He’s the only One who can do that!
Believe and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior right now, where you are. Simply tell him you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again from the grave. Then ask Him to come into your heart and make you the person He created you to be. Let us know you did!
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