Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DO YOU STILL SURRENDER TO YOUR ALL-KNOWING SAVIOR? (Examining Psalm 139)


David opens up Psalm 139 with a declaration of what the rest of the chapter/Psalm is going to cover - that which God "searches" and "knows" about him and consequently - us. David portrays God throughout as a very personal being.

David says, "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me." Then he proceeds to describe how God searches and knows himself and the rest of us. The first stanza or block of verses deal with God's knowledge, omniscience or all-knowing. 
  • "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."(verses 2-6)
In the Second Stanza or block of verses, David uses the question and the conditional word "if" to describe the Omnipresence or Ever-presence of God.
  • "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (verses 7-12)
I think it marvelous to have not only somebody around all the time, but God who knows me better than myself - through the struggling times as well as the good times. 

The Third Stanza magnifies God as the Personal, All-Powerful God. David showcases God's wondrous creativeness in making him and the sheer amount of good will, intentions and plans God has for his life in this segment.
  • "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you." (verses 13-18)
Three things stand out to me in this section. First, God not only created my physical body and all it's systems and functions, but He also created "my inmost being", my soul. What a Creator! Second, God is always thinking about me. The image created by David is just that - God's gracious thoughts toward him, therefore toward us are countless. Last, but not least, the phrase "when I awake, I am still with you" jumps off the page. It reminds me that God never takes His eyes off of me and I can never escape His presence - sleeping or awake - which is very comforting.

The Fourth Stanza foreshadows the switching of hating one's enemies to loving them. David says,
  • "If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies." (verses 19-22)
Jesus would later visit and point out a practice that could be improved upon. He said, 
 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matthew 5:43-48) 

Another interesting observation is that David sings/prays for the "bloodthirsty" to be away from him - "Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!" - yet he was not allowed to build the Temple in Jerusalem because he was a man of blood himself. Perhaps by this time in his life he had changed.

The concluding remarks bring David and the reader full circle.
  • "Search me, 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." (verses 23-24)
"Search me, God, and know....". Knowing God knows everything about him, is with him always, created even his inmost being and has great thoughts toward him - David surrenders. What does he surrender to God? David submits his "heart", mind/"thoughts" and actions/"way" for probing or evaluation and molding. David acknowledges there is not only a way, there is "the way everlasting" and our personal God is just The One who can "lead" us in it. My encouragement and challenge today is even though you might know God knows everything about you - do you still take David's example here? Do you still humble yourself before the Lord? Do You Still Surrender To Your All-Knowing Savior?