Praise Power and Peace in the Psalms #8 God’s Searching
Text: Psalms 139:1-24
A Beginners Sunday School Teacher told her class about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. About how God had placed them there and then how the were driven out because of sin. She then asked the class to draw a picture of something in the lesson.
There were pictures of Adam and the animals or Eve and the serpent, but one little boy drew a picture of a car with someone with a long white beard in the front behind the wheel and a man and a woman in the back. Try as she might she couldn't figure out what that picture was about. Finally, she asked,
"Johnny, what does your picture of a car have to do with Adam and Eve?"
"Well, Teacher, that's God driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden."
What about your concept of God?
Introduction: The Psalmist considers the 3 great attributes of God,
Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence, not from the standpoint of a Theology lesson, but rather from the impact of these in his life.
How do the attributes of God impact and affect me? Do I have an experiential knowledge of what God's power can do? What his knowledge of me means? Or of the comfort that His presence can bring?
God's Knowledge of Me Ps 139:1-6
O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
By the omniscience of God we mean that He knows Himself and all other things, whether they be actual or merely possible, whether they be past, present, or future, and that He knows them perfectly and from all eternity. He knows thins immediately, simultaneously, exhaustively and truly. He also knows the best ways to attain His desired ends. Henry Thiesan "Lecture in Systematic Theology"
In Hebrews 4:13 it says, "There is no creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
But God's omniscience is nothing to me unless He also knows me. As David says, "
Searched and Known me
Know my Sitting and rising
Know my thoughts from far away
Surround my walk and lying down
Acquainted with all my ways
Know my words before I speak
Know where I am going and where I have been
For David this knowledge was not an invasion but a reassurance of God's interest in David.
Inspired by God's Knowledge of us.
Do you realize how much God knows about you? That this knowledge is more that just one of God's attributes but a reflection of His personal interest in you.
When I can appreciate God's knowledge of who I am, then I also will be awestruck by what we share, the intimacy of God with me, Which His omniscience makes possible.
Do you realize that God is the only being in all the universe you can be totally honest with. Sure can't hide anything so you might as well be yourself and just enjoy the wonderful fellowship with God.
God looks on the heart.
Samuel looked upon the outward form but God was looking upon the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
I think of this scripture and wonder what did God see when he called me? What did he see when he called you? And what is He seeing even now?
Transition: David revealing his deep relationship with God goes on.
From God's Omniscience he now considers God's omnipresence, in vs. 7-12
God's Presence with Me Ps 139:7-12
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Henry Thiessen: By the omnipresence of God we mean His infinitude in relation to His creatures. Because God is immense, He is omnipresent.
American Heritage Dictionary: Present everywhere simultaneously.
Paul said this in Acts 17:27, "He is not far from each one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being"
David's definition is again very personal: Read vs 7-8
Psalm 139:7-8 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
David was not trying to run from God, he was rejoicing in the character of God as it impacted his life. Look at vs 9-12
Psalm 139:9-12 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
God’s hand shall lead me. God’s right hand, the hand of power and intimacy, shall hold me. I may be surrounded by the darkness of the night but God’s presence turns it into light.
He was expressing his thankfulness for God being with him at all times in all trials, in all sorrows and in all pain.
Comforted by God's presence with us.
God’s presence with us is the greatest promise for the NT believer next to eternal life.
Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you." in John 14:18. In Matthew 28:20, “He said, "Lo, I am with you alway. Even to the end of the world."
We underestimate and take for granted this powerful promise.
When Jesus was asleep in the bow of the ship when the storm struck, the disciple woke him and asked why he didn't care if they died. His answer was, "Why were you so afraid?" Yet he had not promised them a miracle or safe passage. No, all they could count on was his presence with them in the storm. And that was all they ever needed. Why are we so afraid? Jesus is in the ship of my soul and "no sorrow can swallow the ship where lies the master of ocean and earth and skies."
I never can be sure what will be the outcome of every trial we go through, but I am always sure of who goes through that trial with me.
Illustration; Joan Murphy, my mother-in-law on her deathbed.
Joan was in pain, afraid, wanting to leave, even wanting to die. She looked at me, her son-in-law but also her first and only pastor, for she had just gotten saved a few months before, pleading for some help. What did I have that could lift her from that dark, dark valley. In truth, I had nothing, but Joan did. She had a promise.
I bent down closer to her ear, I held her hand through the tubing, wires and the tape and I whispered, "Joan, Be quiet listen to your heart. Jesus is there. He's here with you now and He will not leave you alone."
I looked at her and she nodded her head. She knew, He was there, and all the fear and pain of this world could not take away His presence.
J. I Packer wrote a book titled, "Knowing God” In it he said, "Living becomes an awesome business when you realize that you spend every moment of your life in the sight and company of an omniscient, omnipresent God.
This is what David realized but still he was not through. Next, he is humbled by the power of God. Look at vs 13-16
God's Power over Me Ps 139:13-16
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
By the omnipotence of God we mean that He is able to do whatever He wills. - Henry Thiesan.
Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 32:17 "Ah, Lord Jehovah; behold, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by they great power and by thine outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for thee."
And how does David view God power? Again as that power affected him personally and intimately.
He says, Thou has possessed my reins. The Hebrew here literally means, you made my inward parts, the mind, the soul, the seat of desires and affection. (Barnes) Thou has covered me in my mother’s womb. Covered means to weave, to knit together. It has the idea of God working by His power has woven together the very fabric of the child in the womb of the mother and built that frame of tissue, bone and blood around the reins, the soul of child.
By your power I am fearfully and wonderfully made. David is saying, "I see the incredible and awesome power of God in my very existence and creation."
Humbled by God's creation of us.
Like David we can only wonder at God's gift of life and the vessel that holds it. If David was amazed at what God had done in the creation of life and the body, we should be utterly astounded. David knew nothing of xrays, microscopes, or DNA. He had no idea of how God, step by step, formed life and a human being from the union of a man and woman. But we can see into the womb in this day of science and medical miracles. We can see a living child grow through actual pictures and videos or sonograms of the womb while the child is devolving, moving laughing, and dreaming. The more we can see the more we should be in awe of God’s power that brought us into existence and knows us down to the very core of our being.
What a wonder it was to see my children born, to hear their first cry and see them come into this world through the miracle of birth. My firstborn, Jason was 2 months premature and you cannot imagine how much we prayed for him that morning. If I ever believed in a personal miracle it was that day when I say his tiny, little body come into the world and heard him cry and knew that God was responsible for all of it.
Of course LeeOra, my wife, also helped a little, if I remember. No actually she was in the very center of God’s miracle of life that morning.
Our life, all human life, is the surest reminder of God's power. Now, let me deal with a related issue for just a moment. For it is appropriate here. Let me say a few words about one of the greatest legal sins in our country today, and there are many, but this is one of the worst. That sin is abortion.
The Bible is very clear, a child in the womb is just that, a child. It is not a non-person, not a blob of tissue, in the sight of God it is a person. David make that clear here in Psalms 139 but let me share a few more verses with you.
Isaiah 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine:
Perhaps no other passage of scripture is clearer that a child in the womb is a child more than Luke 1:41 and 44. Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: Luke 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
In this passage John the Baptist, still in his mother Elizabeth’s womb, leaps with joy when Mary, Jesus’s mother, speaks to Elizabeth. Showing that even before he was born John by the power of the Holy Spirit recognized Jesus, the Messiah, Son of God and Savior of mankind. Before he was born, the prophet John the Baptizer was touched by the Holy Spirit. That could only happen if the unborn John was a person who had been created by the power of God.
Transition: David in this Psalms had considered God's omnipotence, His omnipresence and His omniscience and he comes to an undeniably conclusion. I wonder if after you’ve considered these same things, if your conclusion will be the same as his?
God's Will for Me Ps 139:17-18, 23-24 (Conclusion)
17-18 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 23-24 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.
David's complete surrender to God.
David is overwhelmed by the full realization that God in all His power and knowledge is thinking of him.
How precious are thy thoughts toward me
How great is the sum of them, more than the sand.
When I wake up I realize that even when I was asleep and could not think of you, you never quit thinking of me.
David, because of God's intimate love for him, then brings himself to an even more complete and full surrender and submission to God.
Search me, know my heart
Try me, and know my thoughts
See any part of me that would grieve you and then
Lead me in the path of eternal life.
Will you surrender to God?
What else can we do? When the One who has all power all knowledge and is in all places reaches down into the deepest place of all, my heart and whispers, "I know you. I know what you're going through. I know every detail of your life, every victory, every joy, every failure and every sorrow. I knew them all before you were even born. I am the one who holds the reins of your life. I am the one whose hands covered you in your mothers womb. I am the one who watches over you through the night and it is by my power that you rise in the morning. Now, yield yourself completely to me that you might fully realize my knowledge, presence and power in your life."
Have thine own way, Lord. or Search me O God.
Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way.
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
While I am waiting, Yielded and still.
Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way.
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in they presence Humbly I bow.
Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way.
Hold o'er my being Absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!