Psalm 139

Psalm 139
The Faithful and the Wicked in Light of God’s Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence
Psalm 139. This Psalm of David is one of the most complete expressions of faith concerning the attributes of deity. We have the acknowledgement of the faithful of God’s omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. The first eighteen verses are a confession of faith, followed by two requests: for judgment on the wicked, and for moral purification. Prophetically, this Psalm gives us the confession of the ten returning tribes as they experience the searching presence of Jehovah, and call down the judgment of God on those of their number (the “rebels”, Ezek. 20) who speak wickedly against Him.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 “Thou” knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off;
3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways;
4 For there is not yet a word on my tongue, but lo, O Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thy hand upon me.
6 O knowledge too wonderful for me! it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
vv.1-6 The Omniscience of Jehovah. The Psalmist reflects on the omniscience of God: He knows all our ways, all our thoughts, all our secrets, and all our words; and He has laid His hand upon us for blessing. This knowledge goes beyond our human minds!
7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? and whither flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into the heavens thou art there; or if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there;
9 If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 And if I say, Surely darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night;
12 Even darkness hideth not from thee, and the night shineth as the day: the darkness is as the light.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins; thou didst cover me in my mother’s womb.
vv.7-13 The Omnipresence of Jehovah. The Psalmist next reflects on the omnipresence of God: we cannot escape His presence! In the heavens, in the realm of the departed spirits, in the uttermost parts of the sea (e.g. Jonah), in the darkness, His presence is there. God has always been there, from the time of our conception in our mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee, for I am fearfully, wonderfully made. Marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My bones were not hidden from thee when I was made in secret, curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my unformed substance, and in thy book all my members were written; during many days were they fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 But how precious are thy thoughts unto me, O GOD! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee.
vv.14-18 The Omnipotence of Jehovah. The Psalmist next reflects on the omnipotence of God: His works are marvelous! The thought of Jehovah’s presence in the mother’s womb leads to the thought of the formation of the body in the womb, evidence of the power and skill of a wise Creator! Notice is taken of the bones, formed in secret where no eye can see, and of every member fashioned over many days. In all this we see not only the power of God but His care for us; “how precious are thy thoughts unto me, O GOD! how great is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand”.
19 Oh that thou wouldest slay the wicked, O +God! And ye men of blood, depart from me.
20 For they speak of thee wickedly, they take thy name in vain, thine enemies.
21 Do not I hate them, O Jehovah, that hate thee? and do not I loathe them that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I account them mine enemies.
23 Search me, O GOD, and know my heart; prove me, and know my thoughts;
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
vv.19-24 Judgment on the Wicked, and Judgment on Self. The Psalmist makes two requests, on the ground of what has come before: for judgment on the wicked, and for moral purification. The faithful long to see Jehovah vindicated, and they long to enjoy communion with their God. They have already been searched (v.1), but they want to be searched again! The light exposes everything, but for the faithful, it warms as well as searches.