The All-Knowing, Everpresent God

We have started 2022, spending the month reading four great Bible chapters that reveal God’s true nature and character. The first week we meditated on Isaiah 40, considering God’s greatness and magnificence as He rules and reigns over the universe. This week our focus has been on Psalm 139.

Everyone wants to be known. Whether naturally introverted or laid back or outgoing, we all want to be acknowledged, understood and valued. Contemplating God in a rational way, it seems unlikely that He would even notice us out of the billions of people He has created. But then there’s Psalm 139 . . .

God knows Everything (vs. 1-6)
This song written by David for the chief musician begins with “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.” The great Searcher of hearts has His eyes on you and me in a manner that is barely imaginable. Inexplicably, God knows where we are and what we are doing from the moment we arise to the instant our head hits the pillow—and even as we sleep (Psalm 3:5;4:8). He knows every intricate detail of your business and home life. He knows who you meet with and who you email. God even knows the thoughts in our minds before they are even formed, and our words before they are ever spoken. Does this realization blow you away?

God’s intimate knowledge of us creates a great paradox. Yes, it’s a basic human longing to be known and yet many of us are already worried that if anyone really knew me . . . my insecurities, my fears, my motives, my fantasies . . . if someone really knew me, would they accept, much less respect or love me? This may be true for humans, but God tell us a different story.

David didn’t write that he couldn’t bear the weight of God’s intimate awareness. He didn’t turn away in shame or fear. David had personally experienced God’s mercy and grace and favor, even after many great failures. “You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” (New Living Translation)

God is Everywhere (vs. 7-12)
The second stanza reflects on a new question: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” This reminded me of a Southwest Airlines ad . . . Wanna get away? Another good news-bad news irony: You’ll never be alone without God and you can never escape the presence of God. Richard Foster described our human dilemma in Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, “At the same time we long for God, and we also hide from Him.”

David wasn’t saying that God was floating around him somewhere, but that He was actively holding and leading him (v.10). Even in the darkest places and moments, David was confident that God was at hand and at work— “even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me.” (NLT)

If it troubles you that we can’t evade God’s knowledge or presence, you need to know that He does not stalk us but pursues and draws us out of His great love. His instinct is fatherly, protective, longing, patient, defending, cherishing. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

God is Executing His Plans (vs. 13-18)
David becomes incredibly descriptive in the third section of this psalm, about the lengths God went to when He made us. Biology and physiology and anatomy and genetics are wholly wonderful sciences that He continues to unlock for us; but such terms are wholly inadequate when it comes to the artistic elegance of human beings who reflect His divine image. The science of conception and gestation are a wonder in themselves, but the spiritual significance that God figuratively “knitting us together” in our biological mother’s womb is far greater. God was there before we were. Each intricate part of our being possesses His stamp. An earnest reflection on this should lead us to admire and adore Him.

Our Creator went to great lengths to give us life but beyond that, God is a master planner. “Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (NLT) This reveals the intentionality God has for our lives from beginning to end. He is thinking of you. He is present with you. He is working in you! Try putting your whole life on a project timeline or spreadsheet. Remarkably, God already has.

David (and all humans) must respond to God (vs. 19-24)
When David was confronted with all these great truths, he became overwhelmed with the recognition that humanity owes God honor and obedience and worship. The thought that this was not the case seemed to awaken and enrage him . . . until his gaze was returned to his own need and response to the Lord and King. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (NLT)

David was—perhaps literally–brought to his knees, not in humiliation or shame, but in trust and sweet surrender. Aren’t you grateful that we too, are the beneficiaries of a whole songbook and prayerbook full of giant thoughts like Psalm 139?

This week join me in meditating on Romans 8 as we continue to pursue a greater vision of God.

Pursuing Him with you,

David Atchison

Lord, who am I, that you would even notice me? Your intimate knowledge all my ways and my days is astounding. I do not have words to describe how amazing it is that you know how sinful and broken I continue to be, yet you have not only made away to be forgiven but continue to lavish me with Your love and blessing. I do invite You to search the deepest parts of me and bring to light whatever would be a barrier on Your everlasting path for me. Amen.

“Psalm 139 is not a psalm about me, fearfully and wonderfully made. It is a psalm about my Maker, fearful and wonderful. It is a psalm to inspire awe.” –Jen Wilkin