“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).
Have you ever talked to someone who you felt was not paying attention, but was thinking of something else as you were talking to them? I am sure most of us have experienced that. It makes us feel they do not care about us, what we have to say, and it leaves us feeling they don’t really want to know us and what is on our hearts.
In Psalm 139 David paints a very different portrait of God. David describes God as One Who is so attentive He knows everything about us. First, as the opening verses above describe, God knows where we are (i.e. “my sitting down and my rising up”, “my path and my lying down”, Psalm 139:2-3). Second, God knows what is going on in our hearts and minds (i.e. “understand my thoughts afar off”, Psalm 139:2). David adds, “For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). As David contemplates how well God knew him and understood him, he exclaims, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).
Furthermore, David believed nothing could distract or interfere with God attentiveness to David: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You” (Psalm 139:7-12).
Why was God so attentive to David? God created David and cared for the welfare of His creation: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:13-16). God attentiveness to David was so great that God’s thoughts regarding David were too numerous to count: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You” (Psalm 139:17-18). David took great comfort in serving such a God who cared about him and understood the struggles of his heart: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. When I get to feeling down and thinking no one cares about me, this psalm is such a wonderful reminder that God cares and that his thoughts to me are too numerous for me to count. Today, I will praise God and ask Him to: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).