“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.” (Psalm 139:1)
The marvelous 139th Psalm consists of a prayer by King David to his King, the omniscient, omnipresent, holy Creator God, the King of kings. In this psalm David reflects on and praises God for His majestic attributes, and by doing so is driven to introspection.
David claims that God knows when we sit down or stand up (v. 2). He even knows our thoughts (v. 2). Furthermore, He knows our direction and habits (v. 3). He knows our words better than we do ourselves (v. 4). In everything, God knows and guides (v. 5). “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me” (v. 6), David claims, and neither he nor we, trapped as we are in finiteness, can comprehend this omniscience.
Where can we go to escape His omnipresence (v. 7)? Neither to heaven nor hell (v. 8). Not to the air or the sea (v. 9). Neither darkness nor light (vv. 11-12) can shield us from His presence. In all, He leads and guides (v. 10).
Thinking such lofty thoughts should compel us to praise and thankfulness as it did David, especially as it relates to our own creation and growth. God knew us in the womb (v. 13) and controlled each stage of our embryonic development (vv. 14-16). He knew and planned all the events of our lives (v. 16). “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!” (v. 17). They are innumerable (vv. 17-18).
Reflection on God’s holiness makes David painfully aware of his own sinfulness, as it should us. Recognition of God’s nature should bring us to a place of submission and a desire for holiness, as well as a yearning to follow fully the omniscient God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vv. 23-24). JDM