A walk through Psalm 139…
I was never quite sure why I always seemed drawn to this particular Psalm. Perhaps it was because it was regularly quoted in church, or maybe because it made me feel so good when I read it. Needless to say, I’ve always loved this chapter in Scripture. I’ve memorized it, and I’ve meditated on it countless times. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago, though, that I was tasked with the incredible responsibility of turning this chapter into a devotional prayer walk for our women’s retreat. All of the emotion that my heart felt over this Psalm came flooding to the surface so I sat down, and I began to write.
Far more than just passing on my love for this Psalm to these women, I wanted them to hear God’s voice speaking His love over each one of them. I wanted them to know and believe the matchless love of the Father for them. Ultimately, I wanted them to be changed by His love. My heart desires the same for you. Will you join me today as I travel down the road of Psalm 139 again? Will you dare to believe that the God of the universe sets His affections on you?
I’ve broken the chapter into five sections, ending with our response to God’s love displayed for us in these verses. There is always a response to the reading and hearing of God’s Word, always. What will your response be today?
We’ll start in verses 1-6. As I read through these verses again (and I encourage you to do the same), I see a resounding theme over and over: We are fully known. The opening line reveals a beautiful aspect of God’s love for us. He searches us and knows us. Searching requires a desire. He wants to know us intimately. He desires a close relationship with us. He even perceives our thoughts. He knows everything about us because He’s always been involved in every detail of our lives. It goes on to say in verse 5 that He’s placed His hand upon us. This, my friend, is an active pursuit on His part. What astounds me is even though He knows my every sorted detail, He still passionately pursues me with His unfailing love. It’s too wonderful to grasp or fathom. That is my Jesus!
As we move on to verses 7-12, we receive an incredible promise from a loving God who keeps His promises: We are never alone. And as if God knew that we would doubt His promise to us, He gave us several other verses in the Old Testament alone to reaffirm to our hearts that He will always be with us. In addition to Joshua 1:5 and 1 Kings 8:57, I just love Deuteronomy 31: 6 & 8. There’s only one verse in between the two, yet God felt the need to repeat Himself by saying again in verse 8, “The LORD Himself goes before you and He will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Sometimes, we just need a reminder. The psalmist describes all sorts of places he could go in effort to escape the Lord, yet not a single place was away from God’s presence. “Even there” His hand will guide you. His hand is holding you, dear one – to strengthen you in weakness, to comfort you in sorrow, to guide you in times of confusion, to heal you in sickness. You are in His hand, and you are never alone. Find rest in this precious promise.
The next four verses seem to just shout God’s love for us. Verses 13-16 display this amazing truth: We are intricately crafted by the Master Designer. First we see in verse 13 that we were knit together. I’m not sure if any of you knit. I don’t, but I do know that it requires the use of your hands. As I reflect on the creation account in Genesis 1-2, I see repeated again and again, “God said…..and it was.” God spoke the universe into existence. He said, and it was. Only on man did He use His hands! This should send your heart fluttering faster than any romantic comedy ever could. God could have spoke us into being, but He chose to get intimately involved in the process, and not only does He form us but He calls the finished product wonderful. The works of God’s hands are always wonderful, and that includes you. The same hand that knit you together has also written out your every day. This classic line of our faith rings so true in light of verse 16: “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”
Verses 17-18 will be our final steps through this Psalm before ending with our response. I pray that by this point, God has opened your eyes to see His love and opened your hearts to receive these truths. We now see a final truth in these two verses: We are constantly on His mind. Can you even imagine counting each grain of sand in just a handful? Now think about the sand that covers the earth. His thoughts of you outnumber the grains of sand. In other words, He never stops thinking about you. How great is His love for us!
How does a heart respond to such love? Verses 19-24 offer some suggestions. When we choose to embrace such love, we have a heart like His. What does that look like? We have a righteous anger against God’s enemies (verses 19-22). This means that we despise what God despises. We hate sin because it breaks God’s heart. Secondly, we have a righteous desire for God’s way (verses 23-24). We long for what He longs for. We want God to expose sin in our own lives so that we can be set free to walk in righteousness. What will your response be to such love? I am fully aware of the constant struggle we face of feeling unloved, unwanted, and alone. Might I suggest that we feel this way because we forget God’s presence. Spend just a few moments reflecting on the truths of this Psalm, and allow God’s love to wash over you. You are loved.
Cherie – Thank you for sharing this! These verses have been on my refrigerator since April, and since then they have been covered by kids art projects, calendar reminders, and the other weird odds and ends that end up on our most prominent surface of the kitchen. It’s just too easy to let life get in the way sometimes! Thanks for helping me uncover these words, what a great meditation to start the morning!