I am going to take a break from our 1 John series this week and have a look at one of the Psalms that has really spoken to me. We will return to John next week.
I was reading Psalm 139 this week. As I read four things really stood out to me. As I thought about them I realise they are four things that are important for us to know if we really want to be all we can be for the Lord. Hence, the title of my message is “Four lessons from Psalm 139”.
Before I read the chapter I want to have a quick overview of David’s life as he is the one who wrote many of the Psalms.
Overview of David’s life
God raised David from humble origins as a shepherd from Bethlehem to rule as Israel’s second king. According to Bible Scholars David was born 1040 BC and lived to 970 BC. He was 69 or 70 when he died. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. David led Israel to its pinnacle of power and glory and as history tells us David’s descendant was Jesus.
David showed success in various roles, including:
- Military leader
- Covenantal recipient
- Religious example
David’s failures as a father and king show him as an imperfect man whom God both disciplined and blessed. After all his failings, to hear God describe as a man of His own heart is amazing. It says a lot about David and even more about God.
A summary of David’s rise from shepherd to king:
- (1 Sam 16:11)—Tended father’s flocks near Bethlehem
- (1 Sam 16:12–13)—Anointed by Samuel as Saul’s eventual replacement
- (1 Sam 16:17–23)—Served at Saul’s court playing harp and caring for Saul’s military equipment
- (1 Sam 17)—Defeated Philistine champion Goliath
- (1 Sam 18:1–16)—Won respect from Jonathan and nation, but suspicion and jealousy from Saul
- (1 Sam 18:17)—Married Saul’s daughter
- (1 Sam 19–27)—Fled, gathered a private army, spared Saul
- (1 Sam 31:2–5)—Ruled Judah, then all Israel after Saul’s death
1 A psalm of David. O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.
5 You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous–how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
19 O God, if only You would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme You; Your enemies misuse Your name.
21 O LORD, shouldn’t I hate those who hate You? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose You?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for Your enemies are my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
As I read through this passage four main ideas spoke to me.
1. God really knows us
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” (v1-2)
Verses 1-6 tells us that God really knows us inside out. He knows our thoughts and our daily actions. He knows all about us like no one else. He knows us better than our parents or our spouses. And He loves deeply. He cares for us deeply… even though He knows all!
It is reassuring to remember that God knows us personally and intimately. If the very hairs of our heads are numbered as it tells us in Matthew 10:30, then God does not need a birth certificate or a social security number to prove who we are; to know who we are, and where we are, and what we are deep down inside!
As humans, we naturally only show our good sides to people. We fall into the trap of wearing masks to conceal who we really are. We figure if people knew the real us, they would not like us or they would reject us. Not so with God. He knows us inside out. He knows us warts and all. Yet He still loves us and He chooses to be our friend.
2. God is always with us
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (v7)
“You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.” (v5)
Verses 7-11 tell us that God is always with us. There is nowhere in all creation that God is not present with us. There is no place we can flee to escape His presence. This gives me great comfort knowing God is always there.
God always being with us is a recurrent theme of the Bible…
Deuteronomy 31:8 “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
1 Kings 8:57 “May the LORD our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us or abandon us.”
Matthew 28:20 “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”
God is always with us. He goes before us when we are on the move. He promises to be with us like He was with those before us who called on His name. When we are doing His work of making disciples, He is with us. We don’t have to fear for the future and His provision, He will never abandon us. Finally, His Spirit dwells within us. God is always with us… in all situations of life. He is not going anywhere.
3. God made us wonderful
“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.” (13-14)
Verses 13-18 tells us that God made us. He knitted us together in our mother’s womb. He was right there at the beginning. He created exactly as He needs us to be… and it is flawless. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
As I shared several months ago in my message 10 things God says about you…
- You are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27)
- You were chosen before the world was made (Ephesians 1:4-5)
- You were created and equipped for good works (Ephesians 2:10)
- You are adopted into His family (John 1:12)
- You have the Holy Spirit living inside you (Romans 8:11)
- You are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1)
- You are seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7)
- You were knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)
- You are truly loved by God (1 John 4:9-10)
- You are free in Christ (John 8:36)
Today I just want to remind you that God made you wonderful. You are amazing. You are special. You are loved.
4. We need God to search our hearts
“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.” (v23-24)
In the last section of verses 19-24 we see that David wanted God to search his heart. He didn’t want any wrong attitude or thought to be in his mind. He didn’t want his hatred for his enemies to blind him or be something between him and God. He wanted a clean and pure heart. We need to ask God to search our hearts too.
Jeremiah 17:10 talks about God searching our hearts too. “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
If we want to walk closely with the Lord, we need to ask Him to search our hearts like David did. We want God to create a clean heart in us too. Asking Him to search our hearts is a key to learning if our attitudes and desires are wrong in His eyes.
As I said a few weeks ago, that when we sin we can be like Adam and Eve and hide from God, but God went searching for them. He also sent His Son to die for our sin and Jesus now is our Advocate in heaven.
It is better to be like David and ask God to search our hearts, then we can be right with God and walk with Him with a clean heart.
God knows us inside out and He still loves us. God is always with us wherever we go in this world. God the Master craftsman, created us wonderful. We need God to examine and pinpoint any offensive ways in us so we can confess and walk in purity and holiness.
- Psalm 139:1 - 24