1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
I’m truly blessed with people who know me and still love me! My wife, kids, family and friends know me and all my foibles and faults, yet still love me. And, it’s a two-way street: I know and still love them. To be known, and to know is a wonderful experience. And yet the depth of knowing each other has its boundaries. We don’t know what each other is doing at any given moment. We don’t know each other’s words before they are spoken. There is one who does know us this well: God.
In Ezekiel 8, God speaks to Ezekiel about the elders performing abominable acts in the temple; these elders were saying God couldn’t see them. But, in this conversation between God and Ezekiel, we find that God does see what they’re doing behind stone walls and closed doors. And this same God sees us. But, just like David, the author of Psalm 139, this shouldn’t fill us with fear! There’s joy at the thought of God knowing us to these depths before we knew ourselves! And, freedom is joy’s companion.
The freedom in not having to hide is immense. When I finally witnessed the bright light of God’s knowing me, my journey to surrender began. Just as Jesus was counter-cultural in his time, this thinking is counter-cultural: surrendering is freedom. As the realization of God’s knowing us sinks in, facades become unnecessary, and the desire to surrender ourselves becomes stronger. By pursuing surrender, the weight of hiding things diminishes, and our freedom grows.
I invite you to search your own heart and look for those hidden areas in life. With the understanding that God already knows about it, lift them out and up to the Light of God’s presence, and feel the freedom surrendering brings fill your soul. As you read this passage, allow the depth of God’s knowing you lead to surrender.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
— Psalm 139:7-18
By Rich Obrecht