Psalm 139 is a song of David, a lament actually (NKJV Chronological Bible, 2008, p. 426). David emphasizes God’s perfect knowledge of man (p. 428). That bears a brief inspection, right?
We believe God has both ability and capacity. He heals. He makes whole. He reveals truth and wisdom. He gives access to understanding. He has perfect knowledge. In that is the peace that extends beyond our natural minds (Phil. 4:7) , but do we receive peace? Not often enough, I gather. We instead consider that because there are things we do not yet know, that we must persist in our requests for revelation knowledge. His perfect knowledge not yet revealed brings torture for some, anxiety for others. Only for the few tried and true is there a reconciliation with the unknown that God has perfect knowledge of us. Selah.
Inherent in the understanding of God’s perfect knowledge is God’s abiding presence. God is there, David says,
(v. 8a) If I ascend… (v. 8b) If I make my bed… (vv. 9-10) If I take the wings... (vv. 11-12) If I say… Consider Romans 8:38-39, where Apostle Paul declares that nothing shall separate us from the love of God. David too acknowledges God’s perfect knowledge of us through His omnipresent Spirit. If the choice is heaven or Sheol, God is there. If the choice is 30,000 feet in the air or the ocean floor, God is there… and not just there as in present and observing, but leading and holding.
Let’s not glaze over God’s ability to lead us and hold us in our choices. WOW! Even if we choose the ocean floor — deep and overwhelming depths — even there the hand of God guides us. Even there His right hand holds us. This is noteworthy because saving strength is at His right hand (Ps. 20:6), and His right hand is full of righteousness (48:10). Cross references: Ps. 18:35, 63:8, 73:23
What about where we make our bed? There is the suggestion here of where we take our rest like Psalm 1 warns of taking a seat with the scornful. Think of the places we set up camp — mentally (thinking patterns, old tapes), emotionally (fear, comparison), financially (debt, rescuing others), professionally (compromise), in our families (envy, fear of success), our civic responsibilities (underestimating the power of one) and spiritually (confusion, deception). Consequences have binding power, the kind that convinces us of never breaking free. Yet, there, where we choose to make a bed, GOD IS THERE.
But why? God is there, because He formed David (and us!) on the inside. God knitted us in the wombs of our mothers (v. 13). Creators keep tabs on the creation. God made our internal wiring. He fashioned us, meaning He got His hands involved. The details that make up you and I are the details of God, like a homing system. We cannot escape Him. We cannot escape His presence, no matter our choice to run far away.
The Good News of Psalm 139:7-13 is that God remains accessible. Relationship with Him remains a real possibility if we ever want to run to Him. That is the beauty of choice, to know that if God is never bound in presence by my choice. So that if I just choose Him, I do not have to flee Him for fear. Instead I can choose to reach for Him and let Him guide me from the ocean floor to the surface of life, to live in Light and Fellowship with Him.
Shaunta D. Scroggins is the lead contributor for The Bereans’ Commentary.
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"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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