Weds 22 December - Psalm 139
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
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Meditation on Psalm 139
Here is a poem by Pip Wilson:
‘If you’re convinced there is no God … you are an accident,
You are a creation out of chaos,
You have no meaning, no reason for being here,
You are worth nothing, unless you perform a use or meet a need.
People may choose to value you for what you do because they want you to value them in return.
You have no inherent value.
You are a human doing, not a human being.
Your place of birth was accidental.
Your personality is a result of parents, friends and heroes.
You are nothing special, unless you are famous.
You must earn your love, unless you choose to love yourself unconditionally.
No one else will.
If you died tomorrow that would be your end.
What a contrast to this wonderful Psalm. What comes through is the exact opposite of the poem.
- ‘you are a beautiful human person’
- ‘you are a valuable person’
- ‘you are a special person’
- ‘you are a unique person’
- ‘you are beautiful’
- ‘you are precious’
- ‘you are unrepeatable’
- ‘you are mysterious’
- ‘no-one will ever exist like you’
- ‘no-one will ever experience the life you have experienced’
- ‘you are so special and valuable that Jesus died for you for you’
- His love is completely and totally 100% for you’
- ‘His love for you is unconditional’
That’s what this Psalm is saying.
But you are not alone in asking the question ‘Who am I?’
Meet Moses – “who am I?” “I am slow of speech” “I cannot do it”
Meet Gideon – “who am I?” “How can I do that?”
Meet Elijah – “Who am I?” “I’d rather be dead” “I have done all this but what is the point – I am the only one left.”
Meet Job – “Who am I?” “I wish I had never been born”
Meet Jeremiah – “Who am I?” “I am only a child”
Meet Mary – “Who am I?” “How can his be since I am a virgin?”
God never told any one of these people off.
Nor will He tell us off.
Let’s look at our Psalm – how appropriate that we are reading this Psalm this week. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus; as we follow Him through His short life; as we look ahead to the Cross and to the resurrection; as we look for His coming again in glory - God speaks to us about how much He values us and how much He loves us.
- GOD KNOWS ME Verses 1-6
Just spend a moment in the ‘doing words’ in these verses.
- ‘searches me’
- ‘knows me’ – He knows my every action
- ‘perceives my thoughts’
- ‘is familiar with all me ways’
- ‘knows what’s on my tongue before I speak’
- ‘surrounds me’
To the non-Christian this seems as a threat – how dare He knows me that well.
To the Christian this is a comfort – I am so glad He knows me. As the chorus puts it… ‘He knows the worst about me, yet loves me just the same.’
Notice that the psalmist uses the personal pronoun – ‘me’; ‘my’; not, the collective ‘our’.
- GOD PROTECTS ME Verses 7-12
It doesn’t matter where I go or why I go. I might try to run away; I might try to hide.
There is no ‘dark place’ for God because He is light and wherever He is, there is always light.
Where can I go if I want to get away from Him?
I can go…
- to the heavens
- to the depths
- on the wings of a storm
- on the far side of the sea
And each place I go, He is there waiting for me to guide me and protect me.
- GOD MADE ME Verses 12-17
These verses are a study in themselves. Just dwell on some of the words and phrases used.
- ‘knit together’
- ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’
- ‘woven together’
God oversees every boy and girl that is born – we might think in terms of birth to death’. God thinks in terms of conception through all ‘the days ordained for me’.
This speaks to us about God’s thoughts on abortion and euthanasia.
- GOD TESTS ME Verses 18-24
Why does the psalmist have to spoil it all by using such strong language in these closing verses?
The simple answer is because we live in a fallen world that has turned its back on the Creator. We are surrounded by those who don’t know God nor do they want to know Him. That is why we spend time reaching out across our community with the good news of the Saviour. But for so many people, the psalmist gets it spot on – ‘they speak of you with evil intent; … they misuse your name … they hate you … they rise up against you.’
That is why the psalmist goes personal at the end … ‘search ME … test ME … lead ME’
Thank God for Christmas - ‘a Saviour has been born. He is Christ the Lord.’
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