What is your most favourite Psalm in the Bible? There are 150 to choose from, so which one do you favour over all the others? Would it be Psalm 139?
That’s my favourite Psalm is 139, too, as it details our relationship with Him. There is so much richness in it, so much truth, that I thought it would be great to examine it section by section. So, grab your favourite Bible, your cup of tea, and even a pen for notes and colour pencil to mark words as we go along. Are you ready?
While I love to study the Bible inductively, this study of Psalm 139, will be a modified version of that as we catch the highlights.
God Knows Us
If I were marking this, I would definitely be circling the nouns referencing GOD and ME. By marking these words, it helps me to focus on ‘who’ this passage is speaking about.
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
What does this passage tell us? The Psalmist, David, opens the chapter with a statement to God that God has searched him and knows him.
This is pretty powerful stuff. God searches the hearts of those who love Him and He knows everything about them. There is no hiding anything from God.
He knows when we sit, when we stand and He understands our thoughts well in advance of when we think them. Like tomorrow, He already knows what we are going to think. He knows every right step we will take and every wrong step.
His hand is upon us, there isn’t anything that He doesn’t know about because He created us. We are His workmanship. We can be comforted with the thought that we are not alone, that God knows us better than we know ourselves and that He is with us. And like David, we can simply marvel at this knowledge and rightly so because it is way beyond us finite beings.
God With Us
Can we escape from God? Can we run and hide from Him? Jonah tried that. Elijah tried that. Will we succeed?
Let’s look at the text. David is saying “if”. He is not saying that he wants to get away from God, he is saying, “if I was foolish enough to try to get away from You, where would I go?”
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Even if we flew in a jet plane, or a spaceship for that matter, we cannot escape God. A submarine would not get us deep enough to hide from Him.
God is everywhere. He will not leave us nor forsake us. We do not have to think we are alone and that no one knows what we are going through.
God Sees Us
Ah, we now come to my favourite section of this Psalm, verses 11 and 12. If you read my post, Breakthrough Verses for Freedom from Fear of the Dark, you will know why. If you missed it, you can catch it here.
These two verses are so powerful! So powerful that as a young 19 year old, with a gripping fear of the dark, the spoken word of God freed me from this fear. When I realized that even in the darkest of nights, that God can SEE me, that the darkness is as bright as a sun shiny day to Him, He sees ME!
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
God sees you, even in the darkest of nights!
Doesn’t that just boggle your mind? We are surrounded in darkness at night time but that doesn’t matter to Him. He sees US! We may need flashlights to get around but not God. There is nothing to be afraid of. We can trust His word to be sure and true.
God Made Us
David now shifts his thinking towards his being as he thinks about his body. Even conception is under God’s control. He knew our names even before our mothers named us, actually, before the foundation of time. He called us, He chose us, He gave us a purpose and a destiny (Ephesians 1).
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
This confirms Ephesians 1 which teaches us that we have been pre-destined before the beginning of time. Our body was fashioned when as yet there was nothing. How can anyone not believe in creation?
And, did you notice the word, ‘book’? We each have a book with our name written on it. From before time began! It’s our destiny book. Are you interested in learning about your destiny? Read Check out this Amazing Book in Heaven about Your Life.
Nothing was hid from Him. God created us and this is a mystery but yet so magnificent. Because He made us, His design of us is perfect. Not that we are perfect since we are striving for perfection, but that He made us perfectly.
We are what He wanted us to be.
When we realize that He made us according to His plan, we can learn to love ourselves the way we are.
God Thinks of Us
I love everything about this Psalm. I have been encouraged so much with what we have just studied. And now we learn what He thinks of us. Let’s look.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
In these verses, I also noted the word ‘thoughts’ in purple. I used to have low self-esteem issues and I’m sure I am not alone.
What is comforting to me is that God thinks of me…OFTEN! In fact, so often that His thoughts of me outnumber the grains of sand on the WHOLE EARTH! On every beach, in every child’s sand box, every playground, every road, everywhere!!!
David says that these thoughts that God thinks are precious to him. God does not think like we do. His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours.
His thoughts toward us are deep thoughts, thoughts that we cannot fathom or comprehend. They are thoughts of good and not evil, Jeremiah 29:11.
He watches over us to build us, Jeremiah 31:28. His thoughts are loving, kind, and multiple! He’s thinking such thoughts right now, towards me, towards you. I cannot fathom that! He LOVES US!!
Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
God Has Enemies
Ah, now the tone changes to some degree. Now David speaks of those who are against God. He calls them ‘wicked’. In this section, I marked the word ‘wicked’.
19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
Those who speak against God speak wickedly and are God’s enemies. David took a stand against such men who blaspheme the name of God, who speak wicked things of God as he wants nothing to do with them, no fellowship, no friendship.
He asks God, do not I hate them who hate thee? He does not like seeing the indignities placed upon God’s holy name. He is grieved because the wicked rise up against God.
He is grieved with their rebellion and because David knows God, he sees the ruin of the wicked. When he says he hates them with perfect hatred, he is saying that he hates the works they perform, the indignities, the blasphemy.
The wicked count themselves as enemies of God, therefore David also counted them as his own enemies and will have nothing to do with them. Psalm 69:8 “ I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.” (KJV)
God Searches Us
As David concludes his psalm, he appeals to God to search him and know him, to see the sincerity of his heart before God and man.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
We can take comfort in knowing that omniscient God is our witness of uprightness before Him. We can ask God to search us, to know us and to reveal to us anything that is not right.
It is our desire to stand true before God and others and to do that, we need God to search us and reveal to us the things that need to be corrected, repented and rooted out as there is no room for ungodliness in our lives.
David ends with a plea to God to lead him in the everlasting way. This is a plea of believers everywhere, that we would live godly and pleasing lives before our Father.
That’s a Wrap
We have discovered these facts:
- God Knows Us
- God is With Us
- God Sees Us
- God Made Us
- God Thinks of Us
- God Has Enemies
- God Searches Us
Finally, sisters, If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
So, as we conclude our study of Psalm 139, which section spoke directly to you? Is there anything that you would like to add concerning this Psalm? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
- Check out this Amazing Book in Heaven about Your Life
- Breakthrough Verses for Freedom from Fear of the Dark
- My Life, His Plans: Living Out My Destiny
- What Are the Books of Heaven?: Living Out My Destiny
- Called & Chosen: Living Out My Destiny