1 O LORD, you have searched me 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 know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid 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, O 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 would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O 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.
As I read this psalm, I recall a friend whose desire was to commit this psalm to memory to remind her of how much God was really in control of everything around her. David who like Timothy was instructed in the ways of truth at an early age by his family was the writer of this psalm. His great grandmother was Ruth, so the history of faith must have run deep in his family. I too saw this strong faith in my mother’s parents (my grandparents) and in her life. As parents and grandparents, we must realize that actions speak louder than words and that, our children and grandchildren watch our every action. These actions should reflect a godly worldview as presented by this psalm. Note that this psalm starts with the phase “you have searched me, and you know me” and ends with the phase “search me, test me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. This psalm starts out by introducing the great teacher God and ends with a student eager to learn God’s ways.
This psalm starts by introducing an omniscience and omnipresence God who is involved in every aspect of David’s life. The question now arises “can I apply this psalm to my life?” The answer to this is a resounding YES. Just read Matthew chapters five, six and seven (Christ’s message to Israel). In these chapters, Christ is stating the way in which we should walk and how God seeing us will provide everything, we need. In I John 3:19-20 “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything” John states that he knows everything in our life. So yes, this psalm can apply to you.
From the introduction, I know that God is searching my heart and that he knows me. He knows my actions, my speech, as well as my thoughts. He even directs my path by placing a barrier around me. He is my potter the one that has created me. He knows how I was form and the purpose for which I was created to perform since these were written in his book before they even happen. Therefore, as the master teacher he knows the students.
One of the truths I learned as a classroom teacher was for learning to take place the student must be willing to learn. David recognizes the first step in learning was to trust the teacher. He recognized that God not only knew him and was always present, but that he was framed and created by God. We see David’s longing for knowing God’s thoughts. However, we also see David’s desire for God to get rid of evil. David does not hide his hatred for people with evil intent. However, his prayer is that God will intervene in this battle. One of the biggest issues facing classroom teacher today is the issue of maintaining discipline within the classroom. I have witnessed many times when an unruly student has interfered with the learning process of the class. How to handle the issues that result from evil intent is a delicate issue for the believer. This is why God has given us great examples of faith such as Joseph, David, and many others to help guide us along the way. Joseph’s reply to his brothers’ request from Jacob to forgive them for the way they treated him at seventeen reveals how we must approach evil intentions of other. He stated in Genesis 50:19-20 this truth “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? In addition, as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Therefore, when evil intentions are directed your way turns them over to God and keeps living a blameless life before God and man.
As I study the last eight verses of this Psalm, I gain an insight of how David must have felt as King over the nation of Israel. His desire was to rule over God’s people as a King who follow God’s way and a King who could transform this nation into a Godly nation. As I was reading, some news articles this morning I could not help reflecting on an article titled Bush debuts as motivational speaker by Alexander Mooney of CNN on George Bush’s comment that he made in a motivational speak in Fort Worth Texas October 26, 2009. One of the interesting points in this article was about how Bush’s faith played a large role in guiding his decisions as the President.
“Every single day, I was honored to be your president by bringing honor and dignity to the office,” he said. Bush also added later that his faith played a large role in guiding his decisions: “From a personal perspective, I don’t see how you can be president without relying upon an almighty.”
Just like David, the president’s first step was to get his personal life in the right with the almighty. Verses 17 and eighteen gives us a picture of this first step: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Where I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” We must turn our thoughts toward God and reflect on his way.
However, verses nineteen through twenty-two brings up the issue of dealing with those that are wicked. It is interesting that the first thing that David does is to turn his desires over to God. Verse nineteen starts out by stating, “If only you would”. Yes, David had no desire to be in their presences, he had no desire to take part in their plots. Yet how do you work with the wicked when it is part of your task on this earth? David’s desire was to create a kingdom for promoting God’s way, however, many of those surrounding him only wants to follow their desires and pleasures and promoting their way. When studying the Psalms, we see the challenges that David faced in his life as he tried to walk in God’s way. These challenges were the same as Christ faced when he came to earth two thousand years ago. The goal of his coming was given to us in Luke 4:16-21 as he recited Isaiah 61:1 and the first half of verse two. The mission Christ came to do was “he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Christ did not read the second of verse two “and to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”. Many believe that this will be fulfilled when he returns the second time.
So, as we study Psalm 139 and realize that God deals with us as an individual, we must not lose focus that God’s dealing with us is for his purpose, not ours. As David closes this Psalm with these words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” The central theme of this Psalm is God’s way and our desire to follow it. So, as I read this Psalm I am drawn to these last few verses. God usually uses a small still voice to speak to us, so heed the words of Eli and be quiet and listen for the Lord to speak to you.