1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:1-6
“O Lord, You….” This simple introduction flips our thinking on the title of this section of, “God Knows” from being an ominous negative: “God knows what you’re doing, so you’d better watch out,” to “God is watching over you. He sees everything that’s going on with you right now.” John, one of the Lord’s disciples, recorded the Jesus’ words: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you” (John 15:16); and “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
This “choosing” in John 15 isn’t for salvation, but, as disciples, we choose to love God as a response to His first loving us. David says, “O Lord, You have known all my ups and downs and are acquainted with all my ways, and there is not a word that I am about to speak that you don’t know.” Who initiates this intimate relationship and knowledge of us? God does! He knows everything—when we get up, when we lie down, when we’re happy or sad, when our thoughts wander and our feet do, too—He knows it all. David continues: “And, Lord, knowing me the way You do, you’ve protected me and hedged me in, in a safe place.”
God knows our failures and struggles, and He’s always there to help us through them. Remember what Jeremiah said? “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to the dreams…. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord. For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good work toward you, and cause you to return to this place” (Jer 29:8-10).
Here, God told Judah that even though their seventy-year captivity was deserved and self-inflicted, He would still hedge them in, behind and before, and they were to remember that His thoughts toward them, especially as they headed into hard times, were thoughts of peace and not of evil. We’re all sinners. Look at David, God’s anointed, who made serious errors, entertaining thoughts that he shouldn’t have that led him into grievous sin. The Lord knew, and watched, as David followed his feet to his neighbor’s house and his neighbor’s wife. He knew what David would later say to the husband of Bathsheba, the woman with whom he had physical relations while Uriah was away, fighting for David’s kingdom. God knew the lies David would tell as he tried to hide Bathsheba’s pregnancy, and worst of all, He knew of the subsequent murder of a good man in David’s attempt to cover up his sin. And yet—God’s love was so great for David, his repentant servant, that He hedged him in, before and behind. Likewise, God knows your failures, struggles and doubts, and yet He actively makes Himself available as a “very present help in time of need,” not because we deserve it or have earned it, but because of the great love He has for us. He understands our weaknesses and our faults, and what He wants from us are repentant hearts and sorrow over our sinfulness. That He loves us still is too wonderful to comprehend, and yet it’s absolutely true. And He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us as we seek to walk on His path, letting Him guide us as we go through this life. Precious words again from Psalm 127:2:
“He gives His beloved sleep.” Rest in the Lord.
This is an excerpt from my soon to be published book “Beside Still Waters: Daily Devotions From The Psalms”.
2 thoughts on “Beside Still Waters: Psalm 139:1-6 ”
Awesome! Love it! God is so awesome! He’s been laying all of these verses on me in the last few months as I spend time in the valley of trials and decisions. Very encouraging! Thanks for sharing Pastor Barry!
Thank you, Pastor Barry, for your tender heart. This devotional is written in such an encouraging way yet surrounded in Yhe Father’s promises. We ARE like sheep, prone to wander, we need a shepherd. Because of your obedience and faithfulness, we hear and recognize His voice calling to us. I am eagerly awaiting this book. Abundant Blessings!