For many years, Psalm 139 has been an encouragement and comfort for me. Because my parents died when I was a child and I was raised with an aunt and uncle who didn’t go to church, l always felt disconnected. With my aunt, my only value was how hard I worked and how promptly I obeyed her demands. I did get to go to church but was often condemned for not being a “good” Christian. She was determined to “put the fear of God” in me.
When I first read Psalm 139, I felt like I was being watched and judged by God for not being good enough. But, over the years, as I read and pondered this psalm, I realized there was no condemnation in it — simply an intimate and loving knowledge of where I came from and who I am. The verses printed below are especially precious to me.
O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thoughts from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all. Psalm 139:1-4 AMP
For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed[as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139:13-18 AMP
Something God has shown me through this psalm is that he treats every person I know and meet the same intimate, loving and non-judgemental way. By putting their name in place of “I, me, my” at the beginning of the psalm, I can begin to see others the same way God sees me. This is a good way to learn to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
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