"Let Israel hope in the Lord…"   
Psalm 130:7             

Our goal is to lovingly present the Gospel to anyone who God brings to us… to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.                                   (Romans 1:16)

What Do We Know About God? - Thoughts on Psalm 139     ►  RETURN TO HOME PAGE


The summer of 2009 will be remembered in Central Canada as an “almost summer.” Days of rain often followed by one day of sunshine that quickly ‘evaporated’ back into more ‘days of rain.” We often become depressed by the weather. In this part of the world we often joke about our very short summer. Canadians too often refer to the weather patterns here as 11 months of winter and then July-construction season to fix the roadways from all the winter damage. Really, we enjoy a bit more than one month of ‘summer-like’ weather. But too often we do seem to focus more on the dreary side of things. The summer of 2009 was one of those seasons that reminds us too well of how fickle weather can be. Climatologists insist that we are experiencing ‘climate change.’ All this is due they claim to our ‘carbon footprint’ that we are leaving behind. Personally, I find this too ‘inconvenient a form of truth’ as far as explaining away the events we are experiencing weather-wise. The political upheaval, the natural disturbances and cosmic disruptions Jesus articulates in Matthew 24:4-8, are exactly what we should expect in this age. Jesus clearly stated in both chapters 24-25 of Matthew’s Gospel what will happen in the last days. It is merely the ‘beginning of birth pangs-verse 8’ which clearly means the signs of the times we live in should point us to look upward to the very God of creation and not to scientists with unproven theories. There is peace to be found in The Psalms, and number 139 in that book provides that very peace. Psalm 139 focuses on 4 great attributes of God. God has knowledge of all things-vv. 1-6; His presence is everywhere-vv. 7-12; His power (is displayed) in the formation of man; God’s holiness destroys (the evil) and searches the believers heart, vv.19-24. I want to have us focus on God’s infinite knowledge here.

God Has “Excavated” For You

The word search in verse 1 is a word used for careful scrutiny. It is a word that is used in mining operations, or the careful exploration of a new country. Simply put God has carefully ‘excavated’ each one of us. He knows us through and through. He knows you completely. These first six verses of Psalm 139 indicate God’s infinite knowledge of all things and ultimately all people. This speaks of what theologians call God’s omniscience. I like to refer to God as having “the 3 O’s.” These are not the first three batters in a Baltimore Orioles lineup card, but are God’s omniscience-He knows all things; His omnipresence-He is everywhere and His omnipotence-He is all powerful. This is the central theme of this whole psalm.

Dwell On These Things

We are often told in Scripture to “dwell on these things.” Paul wrote this to the believers in Philippi encouraging them to dwell or think deeply about what is true, honourable, right, pure, is lovely, is of good repute, (whatever) is of excellence, is worthy of praise-all these being positive attributes. These are the attributes of the person who has acknowledged the true God of creation. If we consider Paul’s call to think on worthy things, we cannot but return to the One Who has made all things worthy! God’s omniscience is further described in vv. 2-4. Not only did God know his actions, he also knew David’s thoughts. David wrote this as his “sitting and rising”-NIV. It is a figure of speech known as a merism. The contrast of knowing all of David’s activities is what is at the heart of these verses. Simply, the total of the daily thoughts and activities of the psalmist here is fully known to God. David is moved by The Holy Spirit further in verse 4. Before David even uttered a word off his lips, The Lord was thoroughly familiar with what he would eventually say. The book of James speaks of the tongue as an instrument of boasting, that causes all kinds of destruction-James 3:5-6. James was the first book in chronological order in the New Testament. Its theology is not as developed in the context of the New Testament. James often harkens back to an Old Testament understanding of thingsbut a good understanding. As David acknowledged how the omniscient God knows our words even before we speak, shouldn’t we then be careful as
to how we use our tongues? The fact that God knows the words we will speak before we say them point to the supreme omniscience of Who God is

The Staggering Knowledge of God

As David considers how deep the knowledge of God runs, he states how this troubles him. How could anyone understand their creator in this manner? One commentator contends that David finds himself confined or besieged by God. It’s as if God had “cupped His hand over him.” Beyond this, David felt totally out of control. It was too wonderful for him. The word wonderful here in verse 6 is a specific Hebraism used repeatedly in the Psalms. In Psalm 9:1 David wrote of his praise to tell the wonders of God. This is the same root from the Hebrew ‘ni-pla ot’ which speaks to things extraordinary or surpassing.

What Do We Need To Remember?

The omniscient God of creation knows each one of us. This whole psalm speaks to the “three O’s” of God His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.
The world may be in dire straits. Economies may appear to be teetering on the edge of destruction. Iconoclast corporations that have existed for enerations
may be auctioned off, or receive “bailouts” to keep them alive. This is all for a time. When you consider that God knows all the thoughts of all people at all times in all places, you too realize how “wonderful” God truly is.

Rev. Ron Grossman is executive director of Israel’s Hope Ministries and lives with his wife Hilary and their family in Ottawa, Ontario.

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