Psalm 139 is one of the most powerful psalms in the Bible. This psalm comes from King David, and it shows us that before we ever began to pursue God, God pursued us.
God knows the real you
The beginning of this psalm makes it clear that God knows us even better that we know ourselves.
Psalm 139:1-4 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
Theologians talk about the fact that God is omniscient. This means that God knows everything, including the past, present, and future. Certainly, Psalm 139 affirms God’s omniscience, but it seems like something deeper than omniscience is being talked about in this passage. God truly understands you. He knows all your thoughts, all your history, all your fears, all your joys, and all your sorrows.
God is closer to you than you realize
This psalm also shows us that wherever we are, God is there.
Psalm 139:7-8 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
No matter where we are, in life or death, God is there. The psalmist says that we could travel to the other side of the earth, to the farthest oceans, but God would still be present. Theologians call this God’s omnipresence.
Yet, as with omniscience, something more than a theological doctrine is discussed in these verses. It can be frightening to realize that we can’t ever get away from God. In fact, even David makes this point in verses 11-12. Because of our sin, we are tempted to try and run away from God. But this is futile; God is always near us and always wants to help us (Psalm 139:10).
God has always been at work in your life
If you have just started to pursue God, it might feel like God is a new part of your life. In reality, however, the Bible makes it clear that God has been at work in your life before you were born.
Psalm 139:13, 15-16 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb…You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 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.
From conception to death, God has a plan for your life. God has put you on this earth to know him, to honor him, and to help others. And God has been pursuing you for your entire life. The clearest evidence is that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for your sins on the cross. He did this so you would truly know him.
How do we respond to so wonderful a message?
Psalm 139:17-18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
Let’s get to know this wonderful God, and experience more of his presence in our lives.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What is the subject that you know the best? What do you consider to be your area of expertise? If you aren’t sure, what would other people say is the subject you know best?
- How does it make you feel that God knows all of your thoughts, and everything about you?
- Read Psalm 139:7-12. How are you aware of God’s presence in your life today? Give an example.
- Have you ever tried to run away from God? How did you come back to him?
- As you look back at your life, how do you see God at work in your past?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.