Music… I have always loved songs, especially when they come from the Scripture. Sometimes I’ll be reading the Psalms, and begin singing as I read, remembering choruses, verses, whole passages set to music. When Rich and I were married, one song that I wanted sung at our wedding was from Psalm 139. I always have loved that Psalm, and as we sang it at our wedding, I was overwhelmed by the wonder of God knowing us so intimately. With all my heart, I could sing “Wonderful are They works, and my soul knows it very well.”
This morning I was rereading this Psalm and again, moved to tears at the wonder of this great God whom I love and who loves me. The creator of the universe, involved in my life? When I meditate on the words of this Psalm, I am overwhelmed again, by who God IS.
I’ve pasted the first few verses of Psalm 139 below, and wanted to share a few thoughts with you today, thoughts that minister to me….
In Hebrew, the first verse reads: “For the choir director. A Psalm of David.” It’s a shame that in the English Bible this is separate, kind of like a title. But that phrase is also part of His word to us, and I think for a purpose. It is written for the choir director. That means that a choir would be directed (by that director) to sing this. So this was a Psalm sung in Temple worship. If it was relevant for worship then, how much more so today? God has not changed, and so worship of our wonderful God should not change. Second, it is written by David. As I read Psalm 139, I can think about all we know about David’s life. His successes and failures. Surely then, this Psalm can encourage me to be equally transparent in my worship of God.
Verses 2-6 (3-7 in English):
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
I remember years ago, attending a Bible study. An elderly friend, Hugette, was speaking on these verses. She shared that these, and the following verses (7-12) could be terrifying if one thought about it. In essence, absolutely nothing is hidden from God. She shared that sometimes it made it hard to approach Him, if we did not know that He wants us to approach Him. I remember not understanding this. I felt the verses were comforting, that God knew everything and still accepted me. These past few months, I’ve realized that both perspectives are true. The key, as I was reading this morning, is in verse 7 (6 in English): “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”
I realized this morning as I read, how can I ever begin to comprehend how great God is, how holy He is? More than that, in my struggles in life, how can I begin to fully comprehend the Hope HE has given me, to be with Him in eternity? An eternity that has no sin, where I will be changed, where all the things He knows about me have been cleansed, purified… how can we even come close to comprehending a perfect world? Surely this is too high. I cannot begin to attain to it.
And yet, He has enclosed ME completely in His care… I was in His care when I got on a plane in 1982 and flew to Israel. I was in His care when I walked down the aisle and married Rich in 2007. I was in His care (and so was Rich) when God took Rich home in 2010. And I am still in His care now, in 2011. And the amazing thing is, He knows everything, all my thoughts, my motives, my failings (which are very many), and I am still in HIS care.
I hope you too will take the time to meditate on this Psalm today, and discover the great comfort and awe of this God who never gave up on David, and will never give up on us, who knows it all, and who will answer the closing prayer of this Psalm, if we will pray it:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
“For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
(Psalms 139 NAS95)