From Psalm 139:
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
The covenant keeping God of Israel has knowledge of my inner being, my heart and soul; He knows me more completely than my wife, kids, folks, family and boss knows me. Neither the CIA, NSA, Google nor Julian Assange could enter the sanctum of my soul. He knows my personal successes and failures, highs and lows, my history and my destiny.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
He knows my schedule, the patterns of my relaxing and getting going in the morning, from ploughing through evening episodes of ‘24’ to coffee and browsing on Breitbart.com when I wake in the morning. He knows my thinking patterns, the way I think about issues of the day, what websites I frequent, what sport I prefer, what food gets me salivating, what arouses my indignation and more intimately than that, my anxiety and despair, my likes and dislikes, my moments of inspiration, the things I normally pray about.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
He knows my route to work and back home, my shift times, my driving and picking up the wife and kids; He knows my patterns of thinking, speaking and doing from daily to yearly, which row I prefer to sit in at church, my old familiar fears.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
He knows my thoughts before they form words, or even if they are pure emotion and words cannot utter them. Though I may not utter obscenities or profanities the thoughts are there for him to see.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
He is all around me, like Secret Service agents hemming in the US President in diamond formation; not since the attempt on Reagan have they failed. The Lord is better because he knows where the danger lies well in advance.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
He knows the quirky about me, the goofy sense of humour, the personal, the minutiae and seemingly silly and useless details that number in the trillions; like what I’ve had to eat every day of my life, the number of hairs on my head at any given time and how many are gray, which days were good and were bad, memories that I’ve forgotten, dreams that I have discarded. The level and scale are beyond comprehension…why would He choose to know me or anybody as ridiculous as me at this level? I must be worth something to Him.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
His Spirit is present; there are no geographical or time boundaries – how could I run away? The idea that I could hide from him is like a conceit that a 3 year old child can hide in their cupboard and not be found by the parent who knows they are there.
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Sitting in an airplane seat at 35 000.00 feet, being present in heaven, or my body being in the grave, He is there wherever I am. All these places are inaccessible or hard to get to; when a person’s body dies (bed in the depths) we cannot see them or access them but He can access them. In heaven once again those left behind cannot see us, but being apart from the body is to be at home with Him. In a remote and dangerous place, He is there where we are. He knew us ‘before’ we existed and he knows us in our passing and eternity. No one has more knowledge of us than that.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Whether travelling supersonically, at dawn or dusk, in Cape Town or Leytonstone, He is there…
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
…with me, holding me with his right hand they way I would hold what is precious to me with my right hand, it’s natural.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
My doubts, any depression or confusion is like darkness [John 1: 5 says that ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’], and at times my thinking is like when the Earth was formless and void and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and God said for light to be and there was order. God knows and understand everything and my confusion and doubt cannot trip Him up. He reaches to me even then, especially then.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
He has knowledge of and participates in molecular biology; either He established the biological principles, or even more stunningly also participates in the development of a baby. This is a powerful argument against abortion; can you imagine God seeing His Son developing in Mary’s womb? The mystery of the incarnation that is too deep to comprehend.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I’m a wonderful creation with cognition, a body and a soul in wonderful combination, able to seek and know Him, with highly developed systems and specialisation in function: endocrinal, immune, cardio, muscular, visual. He is an artist.
15 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.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Gynaecologists rely on ultrasounds and blood tests. The womb, so intricate and robust, He sees everything about me as I grow. Nobody else comes close to that knowledge. He saw me before anyone else did and sees me after no-one on Earth sees me anymore. He is at the beginning and at the end. He planned how many days my body would live. Forensic pathologists may grab a piece of the puzzle but He sees it all unfold and knows the beginning from the end. The information on tomb-stones and obituaries is an informational echo of His knowledge and what is written in His book. No one can refute or escape it.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you…
His thoughts about me are priceless, they cannot be purchased and they are voluminous; His knowledge of me is encyclopaedic. Are the more than the grains of sand a hyperbole? Or what if it isn’t and He has that many thoughts about me?
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
I want Him to examine and test me, to know for sure what is in me. A prosecutor would use it to punish me but He uses that examination to root out everything that is bad and put me back on the right way with Him, the most precious thing in the world, or the next. His purpose is always at the right time, useful and redemptive.
I love this psalm because while it reminds me that I’m known and loved, it also infers that He is knowable and invites me to find Him. My knowledge of Him is experiential, scriptural and historical. Who has known the mind of the Lord? This psalm concerns His mind about me and one thing I desire then is to know Him in return.