140. God Knows Everything About You And Still Loves You. Psalm 139:1-6. Series No.2 of 7

“You can’t hide from God!” These words may make some people feel that their personal space has been invaded. Others may feel that if the words are true then they cannot ever be completely free. On the other hand there are those who read the same words and praise God that they are never out of His sight. King David knew perfectly well that God’s eye was always upon him.  He tells us of his experience in this Psalm.  He tells us that not only does God have His eyes upon him, but He knows everything there is to know about him. And he is glad!

As we work through the verses in this Psalm we will see why they have brought a great deal of blessing to those who have studied them. We begin with the first of the attributes of God that David describes in this psalm, namely His omniscience.

GOD’S OMNISCIENCE. He knows all things. Verses 1‑6. 

{1}  O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

God’s search is not like ours. Some of us when we are sent to look for something, return and declare that our search has been unfruitful. To which the reply by the female of the species often is, “I bet you only had a man-look!” Sure enough the “female-look” uncovers the missing item! But God never misses anything in His searches. Ever!

The word for “search” here is châqar. It has the meanings to penetrate, to do a thorough search, to explore, to find out. In Jeremiah 17:10, God declares, “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” He is entirely fair in all His doings with His creatures because His knowledge of every individual is perfect.  But just how precise is His knowledge? The following verses tell us.

{2} You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

The Lord knows every action we ever make. Most of us would not know how many times we sat down and later got up during a day. Even the most diligent employer would not know how often his employees sit down during a day. But the Lord knows these things, precisely.

His precise knowledge covers another area where we may have felt we were in our own private zone. It is in our thought life. He knows what we are thinking at all times. There was an old expression which said, “A penny for your thoughts.” It may have been that we were wondering what our spouse or a friend was thinking and it was our way of finding out what was going on secretly in their minds. But God is not going to ask that question of any human. He knows what is going on in a person’s mind at all times.

 {3} You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

The Lord also knows our routine, even though we may change it drastically from time to time.  He even knows exactly the times when our teenagers leave home and arrive back several hours later. When we ask our kids what time they got home they might reply, “Pretty early really!”  But the Lord knows that it was exactly 3.15am. Not only that but the verse says that the Lord is “familiar with all our ways.”  Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows our thoughts. He knows our motivation in whatever we do or say. He knows what we read and what we watch on TV. If He was to play on national TV what was going through our minds, many of us would be extremely embarrassed. But He knows it all.

 {4} Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. Many husbands have the disturbing experience of having their wives read their minds. Accurately! But their readings are not always perfect! However the Lord reminds us that even before we formulate our speech, He knows what we are going to say. Many Christians testify to the fact that at times they were about to say something to another person, when they “felt a check in their spirit” (as they expressed it) and said nothing. They realised afterwards that what they were about to say would have been inappropriate. The indwelling Holy Spirit “nudged” them, as it were, to be silent.

I remember my wife and I driving a woman we had just met around Sydney one night. As we drove along I pointed out a well-known cliff where several people a year leap to their deaths. I was about to add something to what I had said, formulating the words in my mind, when the woman burst out before I could utter what I was about to say, “Our son did that last year but it was under a train.” I was so grateful to God that He had stopped me from saying something that would have been insensitive and totally inappropriate in that situation. It would have stopped the healing process that later followed. A fraction of a second off verbal disaster! Praise God!

What a difference it would make if we allowed the Lord to give His verdict on every thought that came into our minds, on every word we were about to speak and on every action we were contemplating taking. It would be great preventative medicine. As James wrote about speech in his epistle, Jas 1:19  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Or in the delightful words of The Message, Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. Or the words I found so helpful when I first became a Christian and shyly began to attend Christian meetings, Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent,Pro 17:28. The Lord wants to be the Lord of our thoughts and of our speech.

{5} You hem me in‑‑behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

The Hebrew word here can mean to besiege, to encircle. But it is also used in the sense of encircling for protection. The Message translates it as I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too– your reassuring presence, coming and going. The laying of the Lord’s hand on David is seen by him as a sign of His protection, guidance and blessing in which he feels secure.

It is interesting that in the Greek Old Testament version the word πλάσσω (plassō) is used which is translated as to form, fashion, mould, shape, so that Brenton’s translation for this verse is thou hast fashioned me, and laid thine hand upon me. Other versions say, “You have shaped me.” The hemming in is for David’s protection and blessing.

 {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

There is nothing that God doesn’t know about us. He knows what we do, what we are thinking, what we are going to say even before we say it. He knows the motivation of our hearts. One of the deepest hurts we can suffer in life comes from being misunderstood. It hurts when we believe our motivations are right before God but people still seem to misunderstand us or question our motives. The great truth is that others may misunderstand us, but God never does. It’s so comforting to know that there’s Someone in the universe who never gets it wrong. He is the most important Person in the universe. His opinion matters the most. He knows exactly the motivation of every heart.

The doctrine of God’s Omniscience is a blessing to those who understand it. We will see even more clearly what the doctrine means when we come to the prayer at the end of the Psalm. But for now, how wonderful to know that the world is not out of God’s control. We often feel like letting Him know what is happening in the church and in the world that we are not happy about. It seems to our way of thinking that He doesn’t seem to realise the danger of what is happening in various places around the globe. Doesn’t He realise that His name is being blasphemed even in Western cultures and sometimes in His church. Doesn’t He realise that His people are being persecuted and killed in many parts of the world. Doesn’t He realise that there are those trying to destroy the power of His word by ridiculing it or by having it banned in schools and made scarce to the military.

Yes! He knows all things. We help His purposes by praying that His kingdom may come and that His will may be done in all those areas of concern. That is our responsibility. It is also our responsibility to pray for all those who are rejecting Him, ignoring Him, blaspheming Him. They have been blinded by Satan and don’t realise it. We need to pray that God’s kingdom may come into their lives before it is too late for them to repent, to change and to help undo the damage they have done in their rebellion against God.  After all, He and He alone knows the time when Jesus will return. He knows everything!

A prayer in Anglican Prayer Books reminds us of this truth. It has these words which Anglicans have been praying for centuries, “Almighty God unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no Secrets are hid:” It then goes on to express the desire that God by His Spirit might work within us to enable us to live in such a way as to bring glory to His name, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blog No.140.  Jim Holbeck. Posted on Monday 10th February 2014

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
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1 Response to 140. God Knows Everything About You And Still Loves You. Psalm 139:1-6. Series No.2 of 7

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