Known and Loved By God (Psalm 139)
Topic: Love Passage: Psalm 139
Summer in the Psalms
Grace Community Church
Sept. 5, 2021
Known and Loved By God (Psalm 139)
Please turn with me to Psalm 139. Summer wraps up this weekend and so does our Summer in the Psalms series. Next week we will be starting a series on the Holy Spirit.
To close out our time in the Psalms I chose one of the most intimate and personal psalms of all, Psalm 139. Written by David, Psalm 139 is a prayer from beginning to end but it’s a prayer that is filled with beautiful truth and insights about who God is and who we are.
Last week I said that our lives are a story and faith roots our story in God. The Bible also roots our identity and our worth in God. Our lives are valuable because we were created in the image of God. Sin has marred but not destroyed God’s image which is why human life is sacred. The gospel of Jesus transforms our identity from children of Satan to children of God. From “once we were not a people” to the people of God. The final goal of the gospel is God restoring His image in us by conforming us into the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29). The gospel speaks deeply to our identity and our worth.
Psalm 139 speaks deeply to who God is and who we are, reminding us of the intimate and personal nature of God’s involvement in, and the great value He places on, our lives. This is a very personal prayer from David to God, and it’s important that we hear it speak to us personally, more than corporately. To that end I will be sharing what it says to “you” rather than “us” but know that I am including myself in the “you”. This psalm speaks to all believers, but in a very personal and individual way. If you aren’t a Christian, this is the intimate relationship God invites you into but it can only begin by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Let’s pray and then read the first six verses of this beautiful psalm. (Pray)
You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways.4 Before a word is on my tongueyou, Lord, know it completely.5 You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me.6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6
Four points from this psalm.
- God knows you and loves you (God’s omniscience)
Do you ever wonder if God sees you or cares about you? Do you ever wonder if God loves you? Does God really know you?
The other day I was listening to the podcast “Office Ladies” where Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey dissect episodes of The Office (now you know a little more about me - don’t judge me!) and as they ended a broadcast thanking the listeners for tuning in, one of them said, “we love you.” It got me thinking, how do you love thousands, or tens of thousands, of people you’ve never met and know nothing about? I don’t think you can. You can love the fact that they are listening, you can appreciate their loyalty as fans, I’ll even go so far as to say we can love a group of people in a general sense. But to
love someone personally takes knowing them personally.
Our desire to be loved is integrated with our desire to be known. If someone loves our image but doesn’t really know us, deep inside we know they don’t really love us, and we wonder if they would love us if they really knew us.
David writes that the Lord has searched him and known him. David is talking about God’s omniscience – God knows everything, but David realizes that God’s omniscience gets very personal. He knows everything we do, not even the smallest things escape God’s notice. He discerns our thoughts from afar. God sees not only what we’re thinking, but where those thoughts came from. He sees how something I experienced when I was five years old started a stream of thinking that still affects me today, even though I can’t see the connection. He sees where my thoughts today will take me tomorrow. And five years from tomorrow.
God knows our motives, and He knows the motives under the motives. He knows our fears, our frustrations, our irritations, our hopes and dreams, our vulnerabilities and our strengths. God knows what we’re going to say before we say it, what we’re going to do before we do it. And for the child of God, our lives are hemmed in on both sides by God’s good providence. Absolutely nothing happens by accident, nothing happens randomly. Whatever happens in our lives, we can look for God’s good hand in it. We can trust in His Providence.
God knows each of us intimately. Jesus also emphasized God’s intimate knowledge of us when he said the Father numbers the hairs on our head. If God with all this knowledge about us kept a ledger against us, it would be a terrifying thing. Psalm 130 says
If you O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared (Ps. 130:3-4)
Jesus has cleansed the ledger and offered forgiveness to all who believe in him.
God doesn’t say I love you to a nameless, faceless group of people He doesn’t really know. God knows us inside out, and knowing us He says I love you enough to give my Son to die for you. God demonstrates His love in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That’s love!
- God pursues you wherever you go (God’s omnipresence)
Where can I go from your Spirit?Where can I flee from your presence?8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,if I settle on the far side of the sea,10 even there your hand will guide me,your right hand will hold me fast.11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide meand the light become night around me,”12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;the night will shine like the day,for darkness is as light to you. Vv. 7-12
On one hand, we all have a deep desire to be known and loved, but on the other hand, we fear being looked at too closely. We fear being exposed. We want some things about us to remain unknown.
I think it’s with that in mind that David asks the question, where can I go to escape God’s presence? If I wanted to hide from God, where could I go? The answer is nowhere. God is omnipresent: He is everywhere all the time. God is there in the lowest depths of the sea, and God is there on the highest mountain peaks. If you were to charter a spacecraft to fly you to Pluto, when you arrived on Pluto, you would find God is there with you. He is omnipresent, everywhere at once.
But God’s attribute of omnipresence isn’t David’s main point here. It’s true, but how that hits David is that God will pursue him no matter where he goes. God loves us with a pursuing love. Jesus didn’t come to be pursued, he came to pursue us and return us back to God. He said the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. God pursued us right to the cross.
Why would God pursue you or me? He is God, perfect in all His ways, adored by angels, ruling over heaven and earth. You and I are so small, so insignificant, why would God even notice us, much less pursue us? Here’s where we find God’s very personal, very intense loving care for us. Each person is precious to God.
- God made you with love (God our Creator)
13 For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well.15 My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Vv. 13-15
You are not an accident. God was intricately, intimately involved in knitting you together in the womb. God was knitting an eternal soul, a person made in His image, and each life is precious to God.
Abortion is a hot topic today, and the controversy revolves around when life begins. These verses tell us when God says life begins: it begins at conception. One of the arguments for abortion is that the fetus is “part of the woman’s body”. Many protesting the Supreme Court ruling are declaring “our body, our choice!” But is the fetus the woman’s body? Science says otherwise. Every cell in a woman’s body shares the same genetic code, in other words, her body is made up of trillions of cells, and every one of those trillions of cells shares the same genetic code. But a fetus has a completely distinct genetic code from its mother, a genetic blueprint that accounts for every detail of its development including the child’s gender, hair and eye color, height and much, much more. The fetus is within the mother’s body, but it’s not the woman’s body. The fetus has a completely different genetic code, often has a different blood type, and half the time is a different gender from the mother.
From those earliest moments of conception, God is doing His work fashioning a unique and eternal human being. A person God knows, and God loves. God spoke to Jeremiah and said Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
We may not be prophets like Jeremiah, but that is true of you and me as well. You are no accident and you are no mistake.
Our worth isn’t determined by what we do, or how much we have. Our worth isn’t measured by how
many people like us or don’t, or by how attractive we are or aren’t, or by how successful we seem to be by the world’s standards of measuring success. Our worth is determined by who we are, and by whose we are. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, we become children of God who belong to God and are precious to God! God made you with love!
- God has a plan for your life
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!How vast is the sum of them!18 Were I to count them,they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you. Vv. 16-18
Last week we talked about our lives being a story, now we learn that God has written the story. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God planned out your life before you breathed your first. I know we have an amazing ability to make a mess of things! I know we can go down wrong trails and make bad choices. I do not underestimate my ability to mess things up but I trust that God’s ability to make things right is far bigger. The center of this beautiful psalm isn’t you. It isn’t me. It’s God.
The beauty of the cross isn’t what it says about you or me, the beauty of the cross is what it says about our heavenly Father. What it says about our Savior, Jesus. Our identity isn’t found in how great we are, but in how great God is, and how much He loves us.
David takes an unusual turn in the psalm, in that he starts to talk about hating those who hate God. In the Old Testament God used the enemies of Israel to represent the enemies of God, but in the New Testament we are told our real enemies aren’t people, it’s demonic powers. So we are told to love our enemies and pray for those who seek our harm.
But David comes back to his opening thoughts but with a significant difference.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting. Vv. 23-24
In verse one, David acknowledges that God has searched him and known him. In his closing words, David asks God to search him and know his heart through and through. His anxious thoughts, any offensive ways in his interior or exterior life, and lead him in the way of life everlasting.
God searches and knows us through and through. Inviting God to search us and know us doesn’t actually change anything about God’s searching or knowing, but it does change our heart position. Instead of trying to hide from God, instead of trying to cloak our sins, we ask God to shine His light on us, so that we live life His way rather than our way.
Is that a prayer you’re willing to pray? Are you tired of living your way? Is there some way you’ve been hiding from God, afraid of His light? Afraid of being exposed? That’s an exhausting way to live, and God sees it all anyway. Come to Christ, trusting his death to forgive you of all your sins, and his resurrection to give you new life. Let’s bow our hearts in prayer.